Previously Read Books

November 2022

My First Summer in the Sierra by John Muir

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In My First Summer in the Sierra John Muir recounts his early travels in the Sierra while working as a shepherd. In the summer of 1869, Muir set out from California’s Central Valley with a flock of 2,050 sheep and made his way to the headwaters of the Merced and Tuolumne Rivers.

 

As one of America’s great philosopher naturalists, Muir captures the spirit of the Sierra Nevada and brings the reader along as a witness to his great journey. He explores in great detail the mountains, meadows, waterfalls, flora, and fauna of the rich landscape that captured his heart. My First Summer in the Sierra is an excellent introduction to the writings of John Muir.

 

"Oh, these vast, calm, measureless mountain days, inciting at once to work and rest ! Days in whose light everything seems equally divine, opening a thousand windows to show us God. Nevermore, however weary, should one faint by the way who gains the blessings of one mountain day ; whatever his fate, long life, short life, stormy or calm, he is rich forever."

October 2022

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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The Great Gatsby is a 1925 novel by American writer F. Scott Fitzgerald. Set in the Jazz Age on Long Island, the novel depicts narrator Nick Carraway's interactions with mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby and Gatsby's obsession to reunite with his former lover, Daisy Buchanan.

 

A youthful romance Fitzgerald had with socialite Ginevra King, and the riotous parties he attended on Long Island's North Shore in 1922 inspired the novel. Following a move to the French Riviera, he completed a rough draft in 1924. He submitted the draft to editor Maxwell Perkins, who persuaded Fitzgerald to revise the work over the following winter. After his revisions, Fitzgerald was satisfied with the text, but remained ambivalent about the book's title and considered several alternatives. The final title he desired was Under the Red, White, and Blue. Painter Francis Cugat's final cover design impressed Fitzgerald who incorporated a visual element from the art into the novel.

 

Gatsby continues to attract popular and scholarly attention. The novel was most recently adapted to film in 2013 by director Baz Luhrmann, while contemporary scholars emphasize the novel's treatment of social class, inherited wealth compared to those who are self-made, race, environmentalism, and its cynical attitude towards the American dream. The Great Gatsby is widely considered to be a literary masterpiece and a contender for the title of the Great American Novel.