January 2009 Archives

Fitzgerald, "The Great Gatsby"

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The Great Gatsby  is a phenomenal book.  I have previously read it, but I know for sure I'll enjoy it again after reading the first several chapters.  I kept my eye out for a quote that stuck out to me throughout the chapters, but I couldn't help but go back to the very first page in the very first paragraphs:

"In my younger years and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since.

'Whenever you feel like criticizing any one," he told me, "just remember that all the people in this world haven't had all the advantages you've had.' " 

I can't help but think that these two paragraphs set the stage for the entire book.  The father was a very smart man and I believe everyone should think about what he says even if he is a fictional character in a book.  He's smart.  Everyone, no matter who well-off or less fortunate you are, there is someone somewhere who has it worse than you.  People in college complain about how hard we have it, but is it really that hard?  We're getting an education.  Some people don't have the luxuries we do.  Sure, sometimes the food is awful and we have no spending money, but is it really that bad?  I don't think so.  

I just think if everyone thinks about what the father says every once in a while, everyone may be a little happier?  But that's just me giving out some food for thought. 

Frost, "Fire and Ice"

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This poem is one of the best short poems I have ever  read.  It's a poem that anyone can connect to.  The comparison of fire and ice, or love and hate, is wonderful.  My two favorite lines are:

"From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire."

I love these two lines simply because desire is extremely comparable to fire.  Anyone who has ever been in love, or even had a crush on someone, knows how it feels to have the feeling of their face burning from the blood rushing to it when they talk to the person they have those feelings for.  I know I have.  It is truly a beautiful poems that I could read over and over again.  

Foster, "After Apple Picking"

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Well, poetry is not my cup of tea, but this wasn't so bad.  I actually enjoyed reading his thoughts about apples.  I actually live near several apple orchards (I live near Gettysburg, PA) and I imagined some of the men I see there feeling like Frost.  The lines that stick out most in the poem to me is:

"I feel the ladder sway as the boughs bend.
And I keep hearing from the cellar bin
The rumbling sound
Of load on load of apples coming in.
For I have had too much
Of apple picking: I am overtired
Of the great harvest I myself desired."

These several lines really made me think of the men I see working in the orchards.  They stand on the ladders all day throwing the apples in bins only to have a truck carry them all away to the huge warehouse that holds all the other apples.  I really liked this poem and I almost want the men I see to read it  (but I don't think they would be able to because they are all Mexicans who can't speak English).  It was nice to read a poem that reminds me of home.

Foster, "How to Read Literature Like a Professor."

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At first I thought this book was going to be a book that was almost painful to read.  But as I started reading it, I realized the book was written almost as if it was a one-way conversation between the author and myself.  It was an interesting read. The first page interested me and I was pulled in, as silly as that sounds.  Before I knew it I had finished the selections and was ready to write this blog about a quotation I found interesting and I have to say I believe it was this...

"But it just looked like a trip to the store for some white bread. 

True.  But consider the quest.  Of what does it consist?  A knight, a dangerous road, a Holy Grail (whatever one of those may be), at least one dragon, one evil knight, one princess.  Sound about right?"

I really enjoyed this because it made me starting thinking about every other book I have ever read.  And this quote just about describes, in a round about way, the plot of all the books I personally have read.  Why?  Because there is always some kind of mission, a girl, a man, a danger, and someone trying to stop the man and girl from completing their mission.  

Foster just has a way of making me laugh about what he's saying.  It's funny and insightful at the same time.  It tells me what's going on in a way that keeps me interested.  I'm almost excited to continue reading.  

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