Hello all: I came to the realization the other day that a big bulk of my Instagram photos are me showing the world that I am yet again reading a book at a bar in the afternoon. I decided to turn this questionable habit into something productive and meaningful, so here goes!
I am very pleased that the first book you have to hear me ramble on about is by the incomparable Mr. F. Scott Fitzgerald., and fortunately its not The Great Gatsby. Don’t be fooled- I could go on for HOURS about Gatsby, but its the most common read as far as Fitz is concerned, and about a week ago I decided I needed to branch out.
The Beautiful and Damned has actually been sort of an ongoing, time-killing-in-Barnes & Nobles-before-a-movie device for me for a couple years now, but I finally made myself purchase it and get past page 41. Its similar to all other Fitzgerald works in the sense that it takes place in or around New York in the 1920’s and is fucking brilliant. What I mean to say is that not only does he demonstrate remarkable insight into human nature on the subjects of aging, sadness and love, but he does it with the most beautifully crafted imagery and emotion.
This story in particular follows the relationship of Anthony Patch and Gloria Gilbert, and you can really feel the mood of the book change as their lives do. It begins innocently and happily, with the excitement of being a twenty-something in the year 20 something, living off wealthy relatives, New York City for a playground, and falling in love for the first time. It follows very accurately the first year of their marriage, when they are still young, with no need or desire to provide for themselves, and slowly realizing the infuriating and endearing habits in each other. The tone of things slowly gets more serious as time goes on- they’re still holding on to their shiny lifestyle, but starting to worry about money, jealousy, and Gloria in particular starts to feel trapped within the life she’s created with Anthony.
The real talent in the writing of this book is that Fitzgerald makes you feel the whole range of emotions that comes in a life- the excited delusion of love, the hilarity of your friend’s sarcastic quips, the unbearable feeling of being trapped in a life you suddenly don’t want, and the hopelessness the comes from realizing you can’t actually support yourself and might be slowly losing everything you love in your world.
Seriously, if you periodically stop and think either “HOLY SHIT THESE WORDS?! HOW DOES HE DO IT?!?” or “…fuck…this is very real and very depressing and I don’t know if I believe in love or true happiness right now…” then you’re doing it right.
I reached a particularly depressing part a couple days ago, and as such haven’t finished the book yet, so now we can switch gears.
Let me tell you something about the glory that is Sap Suckers in Huntington: its glorious.
Their big thing is a constantly changing array of craft beers, local or not, and delicious food. Really, the food is amazing, and it always takes me forever to order something because I’m torn between getting something I’ve had before or trying something new. I decided today was a branching out day and I got the “veggie burger,” properly named Woody’s Vegetable Burger, but its nothing like a burger patty. The bulk of it is sautéed spinach, mushrooms, pepper and onions, topped with a thick slice of tomato, and all of it topped with yummy, melty fontina cheese. If that wasn’t perfect enough, there’s a little bit of that phenomenal humus spread on the giant, buttery bun. Obviously if you don’t like vegetables this isn’t for you, but if you’re into them at all, this is the way to eat them.
Now for the beverage- normally I’m a beer person, especially at Sap Suckers because they always have interesting and fantastic beers. HOWEVER, by some weird miracle I noticed that their house pinot noir was in fact my favorite pinot noir to date. Its Underwood Cellars, from Oregon, and thats the only place I’ve ever had it. I even tried to find it in Georgia (which is where I’m actually from) but to no avail. So this was pretty much the only possible circumstance that would have made me order something other than beer Sap Suckers, and it happened, so I had to.
Soooo…I’ll end on this, possibly my favorite quote from this book so far:
This is Gloria explaining to Anthony why you can’t really preserve old places or relics:
“Beautiful things grow to a certain height and then they fail and fade off, breathing out memories as they decay. And just as any period decays in our minds, the things of that period should decay too, and in that way they’re preserved for a while in the few hearts that react to them, like mine…trying to preserve a century by keeping its relics up to date is like keeping a dying man alive by stimulants” (Fitzgerald 1922, 166-167)
She was saying this in reaction to the fact that General Lee’s house was turned into a museum, and it infuriated her that it was filled with children littering it with peanut shells and everything was set up as a display, meant to look how it did, but obviously it could never have the same feeling and she saw no point in pretending that it did.
Any thoughts on this? I think its interesting, but I’m not sure if I totally agree. Should I try to foster literary discussion? Should I not give a fuck? How about both.