30 Before 30: Item 4, Part 2

Two Classic Novels down, three more to go! This book was an easy read compared to novel #1-Catch-22 and since it was a love story, it certainly was more within my scope of interest than a war novel. Thanks to the subject matter and my new obsession with Audio Books (I drive ALOT…started doin‘ a little multi-tasking), this book was a very fast read….er…listen.

Classic Novel #2 – The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

I very much enjoyed this wonderfully romantic and tragic novel. Told from the perspective of Nick Carraway, a young man living on the West Egg of Long Island in the 1920’s, The Great Gatsby tells the tale of one heartbreaking love story inextricably intertwined with two adulterous affairs.

Upon arriving in Long Island, Nick finds his rented summer cottage nestled between mansions and next door to the infamous Jay Gatsby. Through a series of fabulous soirees, trips to the city and visits with his cousin, Daisy Buchanan, Nick eventually befriends the mysterious Mr. Gatsby. He becomes immersed in a crowd of immoral aristocrats, observing their careless lifestyle and developing his own relationship with the female golfer, Jordan Baker.

Unfortunately, the fun times of the roaring 20’s don’t last long for the opulent group as tragedy strikes again and again. Nick finds himself understanding the true nature of his new friends and the high-society world they live in, while discovering the real identity of the Great Gatsby.

“Not a Love Story” Recommendation – Rant, by Chuck Palahniuk
All right, this book was down-right weird. Chuck Palahniuk demonstrates his literary brilliance with Rant, telling the fictional story of Buster Casey as an oral biography. Through the interviews of childhood acquaintances, parents, lovers, and friends, the reader quickly learns that Buster, or “Rant,” is already deceased.

The contradictory tales of Echo Lawrence, Chester Casey, Shot Donyan and Green Taylor Simms, illustrate a disturbing glimpse into Rant’s upbringing in the small, country town of Middletown. We learn of his extraordinary abilities, his sexual adventures and his snake-catching, spider-hunting activities that eventually infect him with rabies. As Rant leaves his small town for big-city life, the reader is introduced to a strange future split into two degenerate cultures: “Daytimers” and “Nighttimers.” With half the population infected with rabies, people start showing zombie-like characteristics and society further crumbles pinpointing Rant as the culprit for the downfall.

With the rabies epidemic growing, Rant joins a Nighttimer “Party Crashing” crowd who amuse themselves demolition-derby style by crashing into each other on the freeways. The intricate details and rules of Party Crashing allow the reader to uncover the party-crashing secret that immortality may be achievable for a select few. Naturally, one of those few might be Rant. The story of his father, mother and grandmother creepily unfolds and you realize that Rant may not be the person you thought he was (or still is) at all.

This book was somewhat nauseating (after all, they call him Rant because that’s the sound you make when you vomit) but it was brilliantly written, undeniably captivating and kept me sitting on the very edge of my seat all the way to the uncomfortable end.
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