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Posts Tagged ‘F. Scott Fitzgerald’

Radio Silence

October 2, 2013 | by

Highway 51 Bridge Between Wagoner And Coweta

I am driving west on Highway 51. It’s Tuesday, the day before Indie’s ninth birthday, and as I pass the city limits of Stillwater on my way to Oklahoma City, I switch from the Sinatra station, the one playing “I’ll Be Seeing You,” to the seventies station, the one playing Marshall Tucker Band’s “Heard It in a Love Song.” I’m gonna be leavin’ at the break of dawn. I rarely listen to the song now, though sometimes when Indie is in the car, I’ll let it play, even sing along, assume the next time she asks me why he left, I can say, “You know that song, the one about the guy who never had a damn thing but what he had, he had to leave it behind?” She’ll know the song. So many times, when she’s singing along to Ambrosia or Bread, Jackson Browne, especially America, in the car, I ask her how she knows all the words to those long-ago songs, and she always has the same answer, “You sing all the time.” He used to tell me that, too. I change the station to NPR.

I recognize a familiar voice:

The American family has changed. The nuclear family in the house across the street is still there, but different kinds of families live on the block, too: unmarried parents, gay parents, people who choose not to have children at all and, of course, single parents.

A new Pew Research poll asked Americans about these trends and found almost 70 percent believe that single women raising children on their own is bad for society.

Of course, there is a wide array of single mothers. Some women choose to raise children by themselves. Others find themselves without a partner through divorce or abandonment. But when seven in ten believe this is bad for society, it makes you wonder.

So we want to hear from single mothers today. How do people treat you? Tell us your story. 800-989-8255 is the phone number. Email us, talk@npr.org. You can also join the conversation on our website. Go to npr.org. Click on TALK OF THE NATION.

I grip the steering wheel and glance at my cell phone in the cup holder. I keep my eyes out for a rest stop. Read More »

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F. Scott Fitzgerald Reads Shakespeare

September 25, 2013 | by

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When we posted a recitation of “Ode to a Nightingale,” a reader noted that F. Scott Fitzgerald also made a recording of the Keats poem. That audio is great, but on the occasion of the author’s birthday, we thought we’d share another: Fitzgerald doing Othello’s act 1, scene 3 monologue. Keep in mind that the future writer trod the boards while at Princeton; while he may not recite like a trained Shakespearean, his reading is clear, emotive, and confident. And if you’ve never heard his voice, it’s a pleasure of a whole different kind.

 

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Paradise Found

September 16, 2013 | by

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On this day in 1919, Maxwell Perkins accepted twenty-two-year-old F. Scott Fitzgerald’s This Side of Paradise for publication. The novel had started as a shorter piece called The Education of a Personage; following a breakup with future wife Zelda Sayre, Fitzgerald became determined to achieve success and overhauled, expanded, and retitled the book (this time after a Rupert Brooke poem) while living with his parents in St. Paul. Published in March, 1920, This Side of Paradise was an instant bestseller. Scott and Zelda were married a week later.

Scottie Fitzgerald Lanahan donated the This Side of Paradise manuscript to the Princeton University Library in 1950; the library recently digitized the whole thing.

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Tolstoy’s Instagram, and Other News

September 13, 2013 | by

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  • The Princeton University library has digitized the manuscript of This Side of Paradise and made it available online.
  • What if famous authors did have Instagram accounts? What indeed?
  • Upon her death, an Ohio librarian quietly donated her life savings—one million dollars—to the Columbus Metropolitan Library.
  • Annie Proulx is penning the libretto for Charles Wuorinen’s Brokeback Mountain opera.
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    Gatsby-Jazz, and Other News

    August 6, 2013 | by

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  • “Over the years, I’d purchased books on Indian philosophy, Nepali architecture, alpine flowers, Hatha yoga, spirit possession, as well as old copies of The Paris Review, and I frequented the store long enough to see my own collection of short stories appear in the section for Nepali authors.” Kathmandu’s Pilgrims Book House rebounds, slowly, from a devastating fire. 
  • The Generative Gatsby lays out the text of Fitzgerald’s novel like music scores, designed along the lines of twenties-era jazz.
  • Scholastic Book Club is dead; long live Scholastic Reading Club!
  • “The phrase is alluring, stirring, and indistinctly evocative. It is also, strictly speaking, incomprehensible, and for all the time the phrase has been relished, readers and scholars have debated what the term actually means.” What, exactly, did Homer mean by “wine-dark sea” … if that’s even what he said?
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    Beer Paradise

    July 25, 2013 | by

    Ștefan_Dimitrescu_-_La_berărie

    My life might well be divided into two categories: Before Beer and After Beer.

    Life AB started in the middle of a trailing, boring Carolina winter. Previously, bourbon had been my drink, and I thought the horizon of beer extended only to bottles with “light” surnames. If you had asked me to describe beer culture, I would have said, What culture? But then one evening, prior to the first round of trivia at a local bar, a friend bought a Rogue Dead Guy for me. 

    Rather than commit impoliteness, the nastiest of southern sins, I sipped the beer with a smile. And then everything changed. This rich, decadent bread was nothing like the stale, crumbling crackers that filled the malted liquid basket of my past. Now, when referring to places I’ve been before the coming of hops into my life that day, I say, “I’ve been there, but I wasn’t a beer person yet.”

    At five o’clock on a mid-September Friday afternoon, the woman I am dating and I have to sneak out of our offices early for our first trip to Asheville together and my first visit to the city “as a beer person.” She comes from the eleventh floor, on loan to the bank from her consulting company. It’s her first job after graduating from Chapel Hill, and it’s a placeholder while she figures out what she really wants to do. I descend from the thirty-ninth floor, permanently on loan to the partners at my law firm. It’s my first job after graduating from the law school down the road from her sorority house, and I took it, in part, so that someone might introduce me to a woman or to her sister or to her mother much in the same way that Alec describes Fitzgerald’s semi-autobiographical Amory in This Side of Paradise:

    ALEC: Oh, he writes stuff.
    CECELIA: Does he play the piano?
    ALEC: Don't think so.
    CECELIA: (Speculatively) Drink?
    ALEC: Yes—nothing queer about him.
    CECELIA: Money?
    ALEC: Good Lord—ask him, he used to have a lot, and he’s got some income now.
    (MRS. CONNAGE appears.) MRS. CONNAGE: Alec, of course we’re glad to have any friend of yours—
    ALEC: You certainly ought to meet Amory.

    I wish I could have met Fitzgerald. I think of him frequently, or rather, I think of his pseudo-autobiographical characters often enough. The draining struggle between writing and money, loves and incomes, and seeming “queer” and appearing “respectable” draws me to Fitzgerald’s characters—Amory in Paradise, Anthony Patch in The Beautiful and Damned. While it may seem strange, even perverse, given his own history with alcohol, Fitzgerald and his writing have always felt particularly tied up with my budding passion for beer. Maybe it’s merely a question of timing, maybe of geography—but for me the two are inexplicably and inextricably linked. Read More »

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