It’s hard to believe but it’s been almost a year since curious book loving movie watchers (or is that movie loving book readers?) raced online to get a first glimpse of the trailer for the forthcoming Baz Luhrmann adaptation of F. Scott Fiztgerald’s The Great Gatsby (M). The film—set to open in Halifax on Friday—is just the sort of thing that gets people buzzing: a new adaptation of a great American novel, an all star cast (Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby, Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan), and a director who’s known for his daring and visually stunning films (including 1996’s adaptation of Romeo and Juliet that also starred DiCaprio).
With release almost here and the media buzz mounting, we’re starting to see interest in the original book grow here at the library. We’ve been stocking up on copies: in print, audio (both download and CD) and ebook. We’ve even added a few new study guides! (M)
While everyone’s mind is on Gatsby, here are a few other books that might make some good companion reading.
If your interests lie in the author himself, try Scott Fitzgerald: a biography (M) by Jeffrey Meyers, a 1994 biography that Publishers Weekly called a “compulsively readable, marvelously vivid” take on his life. Fitzgerald’s relationship with his enigmatic wife Zelda has long been a subject of interest and is addressed in Dear Scott, Dearest Zelda: the love letters of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald (M) or the well-known biography by Nancy Milford that is simply called Zelda: a biography (M).
Authors and publishers seemed hip to the potential for Fitzgerald-mania this year: Therese Anne Fowler’s novel Z: a novel of Zelda Fitzgerald (M) has become a fast hit, getting great reviews and climbing the best seller list. Out this week and perfectly timed with the film hype is a first novel from R. Clifton Spargo called Beautiful Fools (M) “that imagines the missing, final chapter in the tragic romance of one of America’s great literary couples”.
It’s not just this year that the Fitzgeralds or characters from Gatsby have been inspiration for fiction, here are a few others of note.
Gatsby’s Girl (M) by Caroline Preston: a novel of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s early love affair with Ginevra King (who is thought to be the inspiration for the character of Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby)
The Summer We Read Gatsby (M) by Danielle Ganek: a “delightful comedy of manners about two sisters who must set aside their differences when they inherit a house in the Hamptons” that actually has little to with Fitzgerald except that the title seems to describe the summer of 2013.
The Fitzgerald Ruse (M) by Mark de Castrique: even mystery fans can get in on the Fitzgerald craze with this novel about a newly opened detective agency whose first client wants “to right a wrong she committed more than 70 years ago. Her victim was F. Scott Fitzgerald. Her crime was stealing a manuscript…”
Finally of course, other novels by F. Scott Fitzgerald are sure to make a splash while everyone is talking about Gatsby. A few years ago we did a Reader post on The Beautiful and Damned, but there are lots of others to choose from including The Curious Case of Benjamin Button—originally published as a short story but released on its own after another successful film adaptation—or Tender is the Night. (M)