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Defector Reads A Book

Announcing The February Defector Reads A Book Selection

Children reading in the library at their school in Alsace, circa 1950.
Photo: Archive Photos/Getty Images

I know what you’re thinking. Defector Reads A Book has now tackled a feminist translation of an Old English epic set in Scandinavia, a Canadian poet’s take on Greek myth and an English modernist masterpiece! When are we going to read some good old-fashioned AMERICAN LITERATURE around here?

The answer is: now. We are going to do that right now, this month. Our February Defector Reads A Book selection is The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Like our January pick, Mrs. Dalloway, Gatsby entered the public domain this year, which means legally speaking that anyone can do whatever they want with it, like download it for free or write Jordan-Daisy fan-fiction and sell it for lots of money. It’s public! We own it! For that matter, we should all get a cut of the royalties. I haven’t read The Great Gatsby since 10th grade, and I didn’t like it very much at the time, so I’m excited to revisit this novel about greed, repression and careless people. Best of all, at under 200 pages (my copy has pretty wide margins, too) this a fairly quick read. “It should be consumed in the course of a day. Two at most,” suggests critic Wesley Morris in his introduction to a new edition.

So here’s how this works. First, get the book. We recommend picking it up from an independent bookstore or Bookshop.org; checking it out from your local library; downloading it for free online here; or trying an audiobook, like this version recently recorded by the staff of NPR’s Planet Money. Next, you must read the book and think a little about the book. Finally, visit Defector.com on Thursday, March 4 to read our discussion and add your comments. Consider putting that date in your calendar so you don’t forget! If you’re a Pal-tier subscriber, we’ll make sure to send you some reminders in The Cipher, our daily newsletter.

The DRAB discussion group this month will be Kelsey McKinney, Giri Nathan, Tom Ley, and me. If you’ve DRAB-ed with us before, we’d love for you to join us again. If you haven’t, don’t worry! We’re always happy to see new commenters take part in the discussion. Happy reading!