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So We Read On Paperback – Illustrated, May 12, 2005

4.5 out of 5 stars 260 ratings

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Editorial Reviews


"Maureen Corrigan has produced a minor miracle: a book about The Great Gatsby that stands up to Gatsby itself."―Michael Cunningham

"No one is better at bringing a book to life than Maureen Corrigan. Her vividly personal evocation of Fitzgerald and
The Great Gatsby is at once a labor of love, the story of a quest, and a mother lode of information and insight. As a biography of a novel, it reads like a novel."― Morris Dickstein, author of Gates of Eden and Dancing in the Dark

"Second only to the pleasure of re-reading Gatsby is the pleasure of talking to someone about it, and Maureen Corrigan is the ultimate someone: boundlessly erudite, blazingly funny, and infectiously passionate. . . . As with the book that inspired it, my only complaint about
So We Read On is that it comes to an end."―Susan Choi, author of My Education

"An intoxicating cocktail of talent, celebrity, gangster noir, and the vicissitudes of reputation that create a classic."―
Ron Rosenbaum, author of The Shakespeare Wars

"As pleasurable to read as Fitzgerald's. ... It's smart and compelling, persuasive without demeaning other interpretations...a gorgeous treat."―
The Washington Post

"We have to be thankful to Maureen Corrigan for letting us in on her intriguing love affairs with great books, as in this wonderful account of her grand passion for
The GreatGatsby. She reminds us that perhaps one true promise of that elusive green light at the end of the dock resides in our creative imagination, and the intimate relationship between a book and its reader."―Azar Nafisi, author of Reading Lolita in Tehran and The Republic of Imagination

"Corrigan's research was as intrepid as her analysis is ardent and expert, and she brings fact, thought, feelings, and personal experiences together in a buoyant, illuminating, and affecting narrative about one depthless novel, the transforming art of reading, and the endless tides that tumble together life and literature."―
Booklist (Starred Review)

"A literary love letter... [Corrigan's] tone is lively and bright and her enthusiasm for the novel is infectious. You'll feel as if you're attending a lecture by your favorite prof or chatting with a brainy, bookish friend. Bursting with intellectual energy and fun facts, this paean to the 'great American novel will appeal to fans of Corrigan's book critiques and Jazz Age scholars, and will, one hopes, impel readers to pick up the brief work for the first (or fourth, or 14th) time."―
Library Journal (Starred Review)

"So We Read On is a fine book on many levels, almost too many to list. This book is a love story about a book. It's an expression of love for one of the most lyrical and engaging and prescient novels in the English language. Maureen Corrigan writes not only with passion about her subject, she writes with an understanding of America and the elusive goal represented by the green light on Daisy's dock."―James Lee Burke

"Coaxing us aboard her narrative Tilt-A-Whirl, Corrigan spins us from topic to topic and back again, each revolution both reminding and enriching."
Cleveland Plain Dealer

"So We Read On is a marvelous mix of the high and the low: solid literary criticism delivered in a user-friendly manner, coupled with the back story of the book's creation, replete with the sordid details of Scott (and Zelda) Fitzgerald's sad, unfulfilled promise."―BookPage

"Too genuine and moving to be resisted...[a] generous spirit warms every page of
So We Read On."―The Boston Globe

"NPR's resident Fitzgerald aficionado delivers the college seminar we all wish we'd taken."
O, The Oprah Magazine

About the Author

Maureen Corrigan is the book critic for NPR's Fresh Air, the Critic-in-Residence at Georgetown University, and winner of the Edgar Award for Criticism. She is the author of Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading (Random House, 2005).
Always the perfect gift

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Back Bay Books; Illustrated edition (May 12, 2005)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 368 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0316230065
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0316230063
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 11.2 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.5 x 0.92 x 8.25 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.5 out of 5 stars 260 ratings

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Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5
260 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on March 12, 2015
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4.0 out of 5 stars Gatesby Good, but Not Great American Novel.
By Robert Webster on March 11, 2015
Mrs. Corrigan makes the case for "Gatesby" as the great American novel. For a 1920s and 30s historian, like I, this is a must read. However, FSF's best novel falls short. I re-read it to see what maybe I had missed. It is a great novel and FSF is a great writer, but "Gatesby" is unpowered. The makings of a great tragedy are in place, but FSF does not fully develop the story when there was so much room for more. There is no reason to believe that Gatesby was great or very little. But the major weakness of the novel is pointed out by Corrigan's notes by FSF to his editor. Simply put, Daisy is never developed enough for the reader to understand why Gatesby has been carrying the torch for her for 5 years and gone to all this trouble. Rhett chasing Scarlett for 10 years is a stretch, and even he understands that the man who says he understands women just hasn't lived long enough. Daisy is a flake, and being from Alabama and born in 1947, I am of Corrigan's generation and know the flighty southern belles. Gatesby is Jewish and broke, and that is a "no no." Arnold Rothstein was not a bootlegger and Gatesby's illegal activiities are vague. FSF knew nothing about the gang wars in New York in 1925 between the Irish and won eventually by the Italians. Gatesby was Jewish and would not have fit in with Jew Dutch Shutlz. Gatesby could not have operated like this and Rothstein was more a gambler and political fixer. Not bootlegger. To people that really know, and most do not, Gatesby's being a protege of Rothstein is not credible or really possible. I actually felt sadder for Myrtle than Gatesby. Used, and abused, she is struggling for a better life. Not glamorous, her death, trying to confront Tom and Jordan, who she thinks are in the car from earlier in the day, she loses her life to Daisy, who has nothing between her earrings. FSF said that "Gone with the Wind" was not a novel, but an indictment of the North. He was right. "Gatesby" is among many things an indictment on the Eastern establishment money class that still controls everything. Chicago ware heeler came east, and is Gatesby. Nick in the end wants no part of it and goes back home to the mid-west. Daisy's lack of definition as stated is the main weakness, but Gatesby is also somewhat affected. In trying to act Oxford sophisticated, he uses the British affectation of "old sport." This would be congruent with "I say old chap," or "Old man" or "tennis anyone?" It sounds phony and is. FSF thought of Clark Gable as Gatesby. Can anyone sane believe Gable could utter "Old Sport" without the theater erupting in laughter. Gable, Gary Cooper, and others were he men of the 1930s and the public taste had changed from the refined men of the 20s, like Wallace Reid (had he lived), Valentino ( had he lived), William Haines, John Gilbert, Charles Farrell, and others that were handsome Arrow Collar types. Have not seen the Ladd version yet, but remember the 1974 movie more for its publicity than being any good. Rough thug looking Bruce Dern as Tom, is the most dreadful miscasting I can remember. Peck was pathetic and miscast as Scott in Graham's 1958 "Beloved Infidel." I am a big Peck fan, but he made some poor role choices, as Dr. Mengele, Nazi exterminator, in "The Boys from Brazil." Redford failed to show up at the premier, where btw Scottie attended, because he knew it was a dog. The Di Caprio version made no sense to me at age 68. Who could have played Gatesby? Maybe the dreamer Leslie Howard as he was in "The Petrified Forest." But not the retched Howard who was miscast and never even bothered to read "Gone with the Wind." Obviously, Mrs. Corrigan is a woman of great erudition, and I applaud her effort. I just am not obsessed and as enthusiastic about "Gatesby." I also like that she pointed out how Hemingway really was an ass. "Gatesby " is still relevant in that nothing has really changed. Today, as in the 1920s, everyone is chasing money and fame. People invent themselves that have really nothing to say to the world. Gatesby was a choirboy compared to egomaniacs like the Clintons and lest us not forget the Khardasians. I guess the real female Gatesby would be Zsa Zsa Gabor, who married blank checks, and was famous for being famous. Zsa Zsa is still with us and in a way will always be part of the American dream. 3/12/2015
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Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on September 12, 2022
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on January 31, 2022
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on July 25, 2015
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Top reviews from other countries

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent companion to study of The Great Gatsby.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on July 25, 2018
Citrus Tree
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite book of the year, highly recommended!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on November 6, 2015
4.0 out of 5 stars The Great Gatsby - always a good read
Reviewed in Germany 🇩🇪 on December 7, 2020
L. Behan
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed this book as it brought new insight into the ...
Reviewed in Canada 🇨🇦 on July 20, 2017
Tom Kennedy
5.0 out of 5 stars Thomas Parke D'Invilliers would have approved
Reviewed in Canada 🇨🇦 on May 8, 2016
One person found this helpful
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