Ten Cocktails for You, From Literature

hem_drinking

If you’ve ever hosted or been to a book club meeting, you know that you will discuss the book in question for approximately ten to fifteen minutes before the conversation turns to sex. Why not at least attempt to keep things on a literary bent (and bender) and try something besides chardonnay. Here are ten cocktails that characters were drinking in novels, links to their recipes, and some quotes to make you sound super smart, especially to that one snotty chick nobody likes but always brings good food so we keep our mouths shut.

gimlet

1.  Gin Gimlet – Philip Marlowe, The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler

“You talk too damn much and too damn much of it is about you.”

singapore_sling

2.  Singapore Sling,  Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson

“We can’t stop here, this is bat country!”

Read the rest of this entry »


Sylvia Fitz in Time for Gatsby

Anyone who has ever marked up a page of The Great Gatsby, you’re in good company. Dangerous Minds this week posted a page from Sylvia Plath’s own copy, complete with annotations. But of course, as they’re Sylvia Plath’s, we inevitably find ourselves reading into them…

The excerpt comes from the first chapter of the novel. In it, Daisy tells Nick and company her reaction to the birth of her daughter. Here’s exactly what Plath found so interesting on the page:

She told me it was a girl, and so I turned my head away and wept. ‘All right,’ I said, ‘I’m glad it’s a girl. And I hope she’ll be a fool – that’s the best thing a girl can be in the world, a beautiful little fool.’

“You see I think everything’s terrible anyhow,” she went on in a convinced way. “Everybody thinks so -nthe most advanced people. And I know. I’ve been everywhere and seen everything and done everything.” Her eyes flashed around her in a defiant way, rather like Tom’s, and she laughed with thrilling scorn. “Sophisticated – God, I’m sophisticated!”

In the margin beside the highlighted second paragraph, Plath wrote the comment “l’ennui.” So whereas Nick “felt the basic insincerity of what she had said,” Plath herself felt Daisy to be suffering from listlessness. Was she sympathetic to Daisy’s cynical views of the world?

Seemingly, the passage resonated enough with Plath for her to mark it up like that. But should we take meaning from it, or simply chalk it up to active reading?

Any thoughts eNoters?


Judging a Book By Its Cover

A six year-old judges classic novels solely on their covers.

At a loss as to how to explain the premise of more than a dozen classic works to her kindergarten-aged daughter, one blogger mom decided to find out how they might appear to the mind of a small child. The results will amuse and surprise you, mostly for the fact that six year-olds expect any book they come across to have “a good really nice ending.” How wrong they are…

But don’t worry, no childhood innocence was crushed in the making of this article.

The Great Gatsby

“I think it’s a book about a haunted theme park and it stars a magical magic guy and he’s good and evil and he’s trying to get rid of the ghosts. And I think at the end, since it’s haunted by a ghost, he tried to make the park go on fire and it did. “

Animal Farm

“It looks like a book for kids. I think it’s about a donkey and a pig that do not like each other and they both live on a farm for animals. The same farm. It looks like it would be a funny book with a good really nice ending. “

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

“I think it’s a book for kiddies, it’s a colorful book. I think it’s about a tiny bird that flew over a cuckoo bird’s nest, that is why it’s named that. It looks like a really sweet kiddy book.”

Wuthering Heights

“It looks weird. I think this must be a book about a tree. I would not read a book about just a tree. And it looks like it’s a sad tree too since it has no friends.”

A Clockwork Orange

“It’s about a person who is a robot, a very colorful robot. He’s pretty fancy for a robot.”

The Fellowship of the Ring

“This book is about a tree on a hill. The tree is the star of the book and it’s a very nice tree but everyone else is mean. I think the tree has a magical ring and some evil guys capture the ring and put him on the top of the hill so they can watch him. “

Farenheit 451

“I think this is about a gigantic robot who goes on fire and he doesn’t like himself. It has a sad ending. It looks like a book for teens. The title means fire, a really really really big fire since the number is 451, that would mean it was really hot. So the robot must get really hot. Maybe that is why he is so sad.”

And just for fun…

Fifty Shades of Grey

“On the cover is a very weird looking Zebra. The book is about a zebra that wears pants. It’s a drama book about this zebra guy who likes to go fishing for aces.”

Click here for more hilarious and heartwarming summaries from the mind of a six year-old.


eNotes Q&A Reaches 100k Questions

We’re thrilled to announce that the eNotes Q&A section has reached 100,000 student questions. Appropriately enough, the 100k question was asked about one of the most popular novels on eNotes, The Great Gatsby. Click here to read the question and the answer.

If you are a student who needs help with your homework, check out our Q&A, discussion board, and in-depth study guides. If you are a teacher who would like to get paid for helping students, apply to become an eNotes editor.


Gatsby from Multiple Perspectives

After teaching The Great Gatsby for many, many years, I couldn’t help but get bored with the same old interpretation of the geography:  East Egg represents the old rich, West Egg represents the new rich, The Valley of the Ashes represents industrialization.  Blah, blah, blah.  That’s why I was excited to find a totally different (although controversial) interpretation right here on eNotes. 

 It all began with one of the answers in our Question and Answer section which, ironically, was on the synecdoche in The Great Gatsby.  Suddenly, my teacher-mind (numbed by years of teaching the exact same thing) became reenergized again and I posted a query to the discussion board.  What was most interesting was to hear the loud voices of dissenters!  (Was it truly surprising to me that, as teachers, we would desire to cling to our time-tested ways of looking at literary pieces?)  Desiring to research the new perspective myself, I came to a lesson on The Great Gatsby from Multiple Perspectives, began to peruse and be amazed.

Suddenly, I was being presented with The Great Gatsby from a feminist, Marxist, and archetypal point of view!  Never before had I broached the subject of how Fitzgerald himself had “treated” women in his novel or whether the female characters were, in fact, “complete” or victims of “gender inequality.”  It was totally new to me to discover a separation of the characters into the powerful and the powerless, as cars as the symbols of power, or of the impact of a specifically Midwestern, middle-class narrator.   I had never thought before to divide characters into types such as the hero, the scapegoat, the loner, and the temptress.

Furthermore, as a teacher, it is just so exciting to inject novelty into a subject that becomes so very monotone year after year.  Now the trysts of Daisy and Gatsby, the bloody blotch on the yellow car, Nick’s quaint cottage in West Egg, and those ominous eyes of Eckleburg will never quite look the same ever again.


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