May I Read Another Book?

Confessional: I don’t have any runs planned for May. I don’t have any travel planned for May (except going home-home). All I want to do is read, plant my gardens & master the grill. While the garden and the grill ambitions cannot be quantified, here are the books!

Fiction:

  •  Nerve by Dick Francis ~ in honor of the Kentucky Derby being in May
  • A Gay and Melancholy Sound by Merle Miller ~ in honor of Miller’s birth month. BTW – This is a behemoth (nearly 600 pages) so I am not confident I’ll finish it in time.
  • H by Elizabeth Shepard ! in honor of mental health month. This is barely 160 pages & will probably finish on a lunch break or two.

Nonfiction:

  • Age of Gold by H.W. Brands ~ in honor of History month being in May (confessional – this looks boring)
  • Lusitania: an epic tragedy by Diana Preston ~ in honor of the month the Lusitania sank
  • Goodbye to all That by Robert Graves ~ in honor of Memorial Day

Series continuations:

  • “Q” is for Quarry by Sue Grafton ~ to continue, and for me, finish the series started in April in honor of Grafton’s birth month (AB). Should be able to finish this in a weekend (AB + print)
  • Henry James: the Conquest of London (1870 – 1881) by Leon Edel ~ to continue the series started in April in honor of James’s birth month.

Early Review for LibraryThing:

  • At the Broken Places: —- by Mary and Donald Collins

Zelda: A biography

ZeldaMilford, Nancy Winston. Zelda: A biography. New York: Harper & Row, 1970.

I want to be Zelda. Zelda as a young girl, that is. From the time she was a small child and all through her teens she was a strong-will, independent, defiant, do-as-I-like girl. She was wild and free, not confined to WhatWillTheyThinkOfMe thoughts. We do have something, one thing in common, “Zelda did not have the knack for forming close friendships with girls her own age” (p16). I can relate but unlike Zelda, it’s not to say the similarity didn’t cause me considerable angst.

Zelda, as Mrs. F. Scott Fitzgerald, seem to have it all. As a couple, they roamed America and Europe carefree and extravagantly. One of their friends made a prediction, “I do not think the marriage can succeed. Both drinking heavily. Think they will be divorced in 3 years” (p67). Even parenting didn’t slow down the partying. Scottie, their daughter was pawned off on nannies most of the time.
In the summer of 1929 Zelda quietly went mad. “…Zelda sank more deeply into her private world, becoming increasingly remote from Scott and Scottie” (p 155). Her turmoil during a stay in a mental institute is well documented through letters to Scott. It was heartbreaking to read and I decided I didn’t like F. Scott and maybe I didn’t want to be Zelda anymore. But, what I am now is fascinated with Zelda’s life. I want to read her book, Save Me the Waltz. I suppose it will have to wait until after the BLC.

Probably the thing that disturbed me the most about this biography is F. Scott. He blatently took Zelda’s life as subject matter for most, if not all, of his novels. When Zelda tried to do the same thing he became jealous and domineering, demanding she edit certain parts (which she does). It’s as if he is unable to accept the possibility that his wife has talent as a writer. The inequality in their relationship speaks volumes.

BookLust Twist: From Book Lust and the chapter “People You Ought to Meet” (p 183). She called the book “compelling” and I would say she forgot to add “tragic” because by the end of Milford’s biography of Zelda I was heartbroken.