Top 10 Books by F. Scott Fitzgerald

 

The writer of The Great Gatsby is considered to be one of the greatest and most esteemed American authors of all time. His life was a turbulent series of ups and downs with roaring success and rush of criticisms and also a plethora of personal crisis. Named after the creator of the State’s national anthem The Star-Spangled Banner, he had written some great pieces in his life, some really good, and some that have been criticised of not being of his standard.

 

Tender Is the Night

The story of a psychiatrist who marries his patient and then slowly their marriage meets with various peaks and troughs and disintegrates over time. The narrative of this book is taken directly from the writer’s own life, rather a very painful period of it.

Read it For:
If you rate the best F Scott Fitzgerald books in order of popularity, this will probably not top the list. But in terms of the writer’s raw emotions behind the written words, Tender is the Night is considered to be his most heartbreaking piece of work ever.
Don't Read it For:
If too real and true emotions are not for your reading taste.
What makes this book stand out?:
Being Fitzgerald’s last ever published book during his lifetime.

The Great Gatsby

A young man, Jay Gatsby went from no one to a very rich one to win the love of the woman he loved, but she chose someone from her elite social strata. Jay died believing he was a self-made man of the New World – but was he?

Read it For:
The way it makes you question the greatness of a great nation and ask – is it all true, or is it an illusion? Other than that, it is the best F Scott Fitzgerald book according to many.
Don't Read it For:
If you do not like the world as you know it to be questioned.
What makes this book stand out?:
Being a spectacular portrayal of the Jazz Age – a self-coined term by Fitzgerald.

The Beautiful and Damned

After the raging success of This Side or Paradise, this was his second book. The marriage of aspiring aesthete Anthony and Gloria Patch falls apart under the burden of ambition, avarice, and alcohol. It was in many ways inspired by his estranged marriage to Zelda.

Read it For:
The classic brings to life the perfect picture of Nouveau Riche and the true-blue American culture of the Roaring Twenties.
Don't Read it For:
It can be depressing in places and make you question your own life choices.
What makes this book stand out?:
Telling the honest story of the elite society of America and how much of a façade Fitzgerald felt it was.

This Side of Paradise

The story is about a young American Amory Blaine and his raving youth with all his handsomeness, indulgence and principles. His first ever published novel – It is, once again, a shadow of Fitzgerald’s own life at the moment, as are most of his other books.

Read it For:
A glimpse into the great wordsmith’s youth and the emotions and ideals he held close when he was in his early twenties.
Don't Read it For:
If you are a modern reader. Published way back in 1920, it was a great success then, but it might appeal differently to the new-age readers.
What makes this book stand out?:
For analyzing post World War youth in the New World and also for being his first published book.
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The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

One of F Scott Fitzgerald bestseller, this book is an ahead-of-its-time witty satire about man’s primal wish of staying young. Only, instead of ‘staying’ young, Mr. Button keeps ‘growing’ young. Beginning as an age-worn man, his age slowly comes down as he goes to war, starts a business, finds love, goes to college and school and then ends up with his nurse.

Read it For:
The sharp and haunting storyline of the impossibly possible stings much after the read is over.
Don't Read it For:
If you do not like your stories diverging from the regular norm, this book is not for you.
What makes this book stand out?:
Fitzgerald’s out-of-the-box take on a social insight that apparently comes as a humorous read but had deep-embedded futilities of it.

Babylon Revisited

Once again a short story bordering very close to the writer’s personal experience in his self-named Jazz Age, this is about a man and his monetary ways, and how he copes with his squandering lifestyle against the backdrop of the Great Crash of 1929 and the Great Depression.

Read it For:
To get e-personal view of an American life during what was the biggest economic turmoil in the history of the country.
Don't Read it For:
It obviously resorts to many financial and stock market-related terms and scenarios – so if you find them drab, don’t pick this one up.
What makes this book stand out?:
Its exquisite prose and its human nature, and an unflinching narration of the dark side of sky-high ambition and success.

Flappers and Philosophers

Fitzgerald’s first published collection of short stories, way back in 1920, contains eight pieces of stories.

Read it For:
Getting to witness the diverse imagination of the greatest storyteller of American literary history.
Don't Read it For:
The stories are based on a time which has a very different social, cultural and political backdrop from the America you know now. So if you don’t want to delve deep into its not-always-vibrant past, skip this.
What makes this book stand out?:
Being first-hand accounts of the Lost Generation – the American youths of the Roaring Twenties and beyond whose entire lives were consumed up by the vanity of the Jazz Age and the pointless hunger for ambition, success, and money.

All The Sad Young Men

Yet another collection of short stories, this one is perhaps more personal in nature, as it came during a time when he was going through a critical phase of his life – financially as well as personally.

Read it For:
This came after the raging success of The Great Gatsby and reflects much of the emotional journey of the writer throughout that professional success, yet a personal failure regarding his marriage with Zelda Fitzgerald. The story Absolution was also an alternate start to The Great Gatsby, as admitted by him in a letter to a fan – but was later made into a short story to preserve its mysterious style.
Don't Read it For:
It might be a bit of a disappointment compared to his sharp-edged novels previously mentioned.
What makes this book stand out?:
Marking the end of the most creative time of Fitzgerald’s writing career before it took a hit from his rocky marriage and alcoholism.

The Diamond as Big as the Ritz

Much like most of his other stories, The Diamond as Big as the Ritz is a novella by Fitzgerald which puts a personal story against the backdrop of some of America’s rockiest pasts. Here we have John Unger who gets invited to the home of his roommate Percy Washington, a descendant of the first president and also belonging to a family who owns an untracked diamond mountain.

Read it For:
For yet another delicious read on what became the writer’s recurring theme in all his books – wealth, too much wealth and the nullifying effect of it all in the end.

I’d Die for You and Other Lost Stories

This is a very recently published collection of short stories of the writer, which were submitted by him to different places – magazine editors, publishers, movie producers – but went unpublished as they did not like the style or unabashed honesty of the words.

Read it For:
Unfiltered tales in the unedited words of the writer as he didn’t want to compromise with the truth and cover them up with frills.
Don't Read it For:
If the same reasons apply to you too – for which the stories were banned in the first place.
What makes this book stand out?:
Being much ahead of time; something that his contemporary editors or readers did not have the capacity to comprehend.

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