As I’ve mentioned before, one of my borderline concerning annual goals is to keep track of every book I read in a given year, and make sure I read 100. It’s a goal, but it’s also fun. Reading, aside from sleeping, is one of my favorite parts of this world.

With 12 days left in 2011, I’ve only got 4 left.


One of these four will be The Great Gatsby. Not because I haven’t read it, and not because I don’t claim F. Scott Fitzgerald is the best writer of all time (which I do), but rather because I made the borderline deeply concerning error this week of forgetting that the Great Gatsby is actually, truly, entirely fiction.

Here’s what happened:

I started reading a new (to me) Chris Bohjalian novel this week, The Double Bind. He has some great novels about topics that I love, like midwives. And murder. And homepathy. I love him.

I don’t read many novels, and when I do I remember how fun they are. The Double Bind centers around a homeless man who dies in New Hampshire, only to leave behind strange photos indicating he may or may not have been the long lost son of Daisy and Tom Buchanan — central characters in The Great Gatsby.

Around about page 50 (a guess, since I was reading on Kindle) I began to think questions like:

Wait, wasn’t The Great Gatsby fiction?

Wait, were any of the characters in The Great Gatsby real?

Wait, was Jay Gatsby actually a living, breathing person in the 1920s?

Wait, was Jay Gatsby’s former house in East Egg really turned into a country club?

Although I believe in the back of my mind I knew I was going insane wrong, I cannot be sure. And so I asked my husband, who proceeded to look at me as if I really had lost it.

Which I had.

Needless to say (announcement coming!), the characters in The Great Gatsby are fiction. And I’m rereading it before I finish The Double Bind to ensure that I remember this essential truth for at least the next 15 years (the estimated length of time since I last read it). Then I’ll add both to my list and then read two more than have reached the 100 books in 2011 goal.


To see my on-going (I promise I’ll update it soon) list of books read in 2011, go here.

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