Before Prince created the Minnesota Sound, Jason Diamond reminds us that F. Scott Fitzgerald was a native Minnesotan. In his article for the travel section of the New YorkTimes – Tracing F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Minnesota Roots – Diamond reviews the Minnesota places haunting many of Fitzgerald’s work.
“He wrote The Beautiful and the Damned in the yellow Victorian home with the wide porch on Goodrich Avenue and took strolls along White Bear Lake, about 10 miles to the north, in his mid-20s, newly married and having just published his first book – it was the place where he was inspired to set and write Winter Dreams. Minnesota, it seemed, was good to him.”
I had never read “Winter Dreams,” and found the short story free online -you can read it here – Winter Dreams–full of Minnesota references.
Fitzgerald was a prolific writer but in 1936, as he was convalescing in a hotel in Asheville, North Carolina, he offered his nurse a list of 22 books he thought were essential reading – none of his were on the list.
These are books that F. Scott Fitzgerald thought should be required reading. Have you read any of them?
Sister Carrie, by Theodore Dreiser
The Life of Jesus, by Ernest Renan
A Doll’s House, by Henrik Ibsen
Winesburg, Ohio, by Sherwood Anderson
The Old Wives’ Tale, by Arnold Bennett
The Maltese Falcon, by Dashiel Hammett
The Red and the Black, by Stendahl
The Short Stories of Guy De Maupassant, translated by Michael Monahan
An Outline of Abnormal Psychology, edited by Gardner Murphy
The Stories of Anton Chekhov, edited by Robert N. Linscott
The Best American Humorous Short Stories, edited by Alexander Jessup
Victory, by Joseph Conrad
The Revolt of the Angels, by Anatole France
The Plays of Oscar Wilde
Sanctuary, by William Faulkner
Within a Budding Grove, by Marcel Proust
The Guermantes Way, by Marcel Proust
Swann’s Way, by Marcel Proust
South Wind, by Norman Douglas
The Garden Party, by Katherine Mansfield
War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy
John Keats and Percy Bysshe Shelley: Complete Poetical Works
Remember the summer reading lists when you were in grade school? And the book you read the day before school started?
By the time you got to college, you’d figured out how to read enough to get by. The freshman year experience usually orients new students to college with a course around a book. The book that was to catapult me to new vistas of understanding and an easy transition to college life was Siddhartha. I don’t remember the discussion, but I do remember the book.
In the New York Times Book Review section, Jennifer Schuessler lists some of the books ivy-covered and brick-and-mortar institutions of higher learning are requiring for entering freshmen – Inside the List. Have you read any of them?
Eating Animals by Jonathan Foer
Outcasts United: An American Town, a Refugee Team, and One Woman’s Quest to Make a Difference by Warren St. John
Born to Run by Christopher McDougall
Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Aron Ralston
Hamlet’s Blackberry: A Practical Philosophy for Building a Good Life in the Digital Age by William Powers
The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brain by Nicholas Carr
Homer and Langley by E. L. Doctorow
Wondering what other freshmen are reading?
Mount Holyoke’s required summer reading was Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. Tufts freshmen are discussing Brother, I’m Dying by Edwidge Danticat. The National Association of Scholars has a recommendedlist of 37 books for discussion.
One of my alma mater’s is requiring The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – have you read it yet?