Tag: Careless People

Monthly Review – December 2013

Posted December 31, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Monthly Reading / 2 Comments

and then there were noneThis is the end of 2013 and what a great year we have had. Let’s have a quick look back at the year for the book club on Goodreads and our books of the months. For me some of the highlights included; The Bell Jar, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Lolita, Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, The Fault in our Stars and The Shadow of the Wind. We seem to consistently get great books to read, including this month’s book And Then There Were None. I wasn’t sure what to expect, this was my first Agatha Christie and while I had some issues, I will read her again.

Next month we are reading an espionage novel, which will be Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carré. I’ve read this novel and really enjoyed it, so I’m excited to see what others think; the movie is pretty great too. I hope everyone had a great holiday period and look forward to the great things to come in 2014. If you’re not aware, the book discussion and everything else will be happening over on the Goodreads forums, so feel free to join in there.

This has also been a great year for this blog too, which spawned last year from the Goodreads book club. I originally hoped this would be a source for all things book club related but turned into a book journal of my life as a literary explorer. I’m glad it did turn into what it is today; I’ve had so much fun book blogging and sharing my bookish thoughts. For my favourite books of 2013, check out the post but I wanted to share some of my favourite posts.

As always this month lead me to discover some great books including The Explorer and The Echo by James Smythe, Maddaddam by Margaret Atwood, Careless People by Sarah Churchwell and a reread of Frankenstein. I thought maybe James Smythe (he made my top books of 2013 list twice) or even Frankenstein would be the highlights of the month but it was actually a non-fiction book; 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff. It’s only a collection of letters between a book lover and a second-hand book store but for any book lover, it reads like a love letter to books.

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My Top Five Reads of 2013

Posted December 30, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Top 5 / 4 Comments

As 2013 comes to an end, it is time to do that “Best of” post. I know it’s one of those posts you are either sick of or love seeing but I have to share my favourites. It’s been a great year; over 160 books read, some amazing books and some painful ones (see Twilight and New Moon). Like last year I’m going to split my list into “Best of 2013 (released this year)” and all other novels, but as I want to focus more on Non-Fiction too I’m adding “Best Non-Fiction of 2013” to the mix.

Top Five Reads Released in 2013
5. The Unknowns by Gabriel Roth
4. Tenth of December by George Saunders
3. The Explorer by James Smythe
2. A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra
1. The Machine by James Smythe

Top Five Reads in 2013
5. The People of Forever Are Not Afraid by Shani Boianjiu
4. The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
3. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
2. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
1. If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino

Top 5 Non-Fiction Reads in 2013
5. The Monsters: Mary Shelley and the Curse of Frankenstein by Dorothy & Thomas Hoobler
4. Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man’s Fundamentals for Delicious Living by Nick Offerman
3. Careless People: Murder, Mayhem and the Invention of The Great Gatsby by Sarah Churchwell
2. Perv: The Sexual Deviant in All of Us by Jesse Bering
1. 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff

Now it’s your turn to let me know of your favourite books, the new releases and the older books. It doesn’t matter; just what you discovered and loved.

Careless People by Sarah Churchwell

Posted December 19, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Non-Fiction / 3 Comments

Careless People by Sarah ChurchwellTitle: Careless People (Goodreads)
Author: Sarah Churchwell
Published: Virago, 2013
Pages: 358
Genres: Non-Fiction
My Copy: Paperback

Buy: AmazonBook DepositoryKindle (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Since the publication of The Great Gatsby in 1925, it has been talked and talked about. Some people were forced to read it in high school, some hate it and others love it. No matter what you think about the book you can’t deny its significance. Careless People looks at The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald and what was happening during the Jazz era. More specifically the months when this classic too place.

I loved The Great Gatsby, the first time I read it I got little out of it (see review) but the second time around, I feel like I really understood it (see that review as well). Though I’ve come to realise this novel is full of layers and the more you read and research the more you will get out of this novel. It has been widely though that The Great Gatsby was autobiographical in nature so understanding F. Scott Fitzgerald is important when reading this classic critically.

Sarah Churchwell has made life a little easier for people that love and want to learn more about this novel. Careless People looks at the text and then different events that were happening at the time of writing this novel. She also talks about the Fitzgeralds (a very interesting couple) and tries to give us some context about the motivations and thoughts behind this Magnum opus.

So you get historical context as well as a unique look into the lives of the Fitzgeralds and what we call the Jazz Age. I really enjoyed this book, as a lover of The Great Gatsby (not the terrible movie) I found it fascinating to learn about just what has happening at that time, especially in New York and F. Scott Fitzgerald. One of the most interesting thinks I learnt from the book was about the lexicon, and new words coined at the time that are used today.

Something I often worry about when reading a non-fiction book like that is referencing. It is not common practice but I seem to respect a book more if I can see where information was found. Careless People did a great job with this; over 50 pages of notes and a bibliography so if you are interested (like me) you can look further and do some independent researching. Part biography, literary criticism, history and true crime, Careless People has a lot of information in it but it is only a scratching the surface on all accounts.

I wish I had this much to say about a book, especially the ones I love; I just want to dive in and learn all I can about it. I often struggle to write a review post, but one day I hope I can pull something off like this; keep an eye out for my 400 page reviews. It is clear that Churchwell is passionate about The Great Gatsby. This would be a great companion next time you read the classic, I can imagine how helpful it would be. I loved Careless People; I want to read more books like this, particularly about novels I love.