Monday, 16 July 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books For People Who Like 'The Great Gatsby'


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every week a different topic comes up and bloggers list their top ten books in that category. I love a good list...I've always said that. That's practically my catchphrase.

Top Ten Books For People Who Like 'The Great Gatsby'!

I know that my list is going to seem strange to some people. The books I have listed are, in many ways, not particularly similar to 'The Great Gatsby, and most of them explore very different themes. However, what I personally adored about 'The Great Gatsby' was the time period, the glorious Roaring 20's, and the extravagance of Gatsby. The socialising, the parties and the smeared lipstick of the creme de la creme. The despair of the rich as their facade is ripped away and their parties descend into vacuous chaos.

The books in my list all, in some way, portray the essence of Gatsby; rubbing shoulders with the upper crust that starts off classy and cocktails but ends up revealing the dark underbelly of high society.


Title: The Uninvited Guests
Author: Sadie Jones

Why I Chose it: I ADORE this book. It is fabulous. It is very 'An Inspector Calls' with its large dose of morality and mysterious guests who reveal the characters' secrets. What I love most about it, though, is the big mansion, the brandies after dinner and the man-servants. This is posh party gone wrong perfectly pitched.


Title: Goodbye to Berlin
Author: Christopher Isherwood

Why I Chose it: This is a collection of short, connected stories set in Weimar Germany. 'Sally Bowles' was the story that inspired the musical 'Cabaret'. Sally Bowles is the perfect character for me; gorgeous barefoot pauper who wears second-hand fur coats and dreams of falling in love with a rich man as she drinks Prairie Oysters in her freezing cold back- street flat. (FYI: Prairie Oyster is a drink consisting of a raw egg, Worcestershire saucehot sauce, salt and ground black pepper that apparently cures a hangover. Yeah.)


Title: Women in Love
Author: D.H Lawrence

Why I Chose it: This book was published in 1920, so it is a must-read if, like me, you enjoy reading books set in the 20's. This one is all about destructive relationships and sex and greed and vice which I think goes hand in hand with everything Gatsby stands for.


Title: Atonement
Author: Ian McEwan

Why I Chose it: Again, this book is all about the trials and tribulations of the upper crust. Although for most of the novel the characters have fallen from their social status and have less money, I love the tone and the way they ride bicycles around Cambridge and think dirty words whilst saying 'old chap' and 'Oh I am terribly sorry'.


Title: I Served the King of England
Author: Bohumil Hrabal

Why I Chose it: This novel is written by a Czechoslovakian writer and is a fantastic 'rags to riches and back down again' story set in Prague in the 1940's. The main character longs for wealth and status and wants to live the American Dream...brilliant book.


Title: Mrs Dalloway
Author: Virginia Woolf

Why I Chose it: This is one of my favourite books and is all about a fabulous party that Clarissa Dalloway is having that same evening. However, as her facade crumbles and people arrive from her past her party it is unsure whether she can hold it together. Just brilliant if, like me, you love books about the rich in the 1920's! (Published 1925)


Title: Lady Windermere's Fan
Author: Oscar Wilde

Why I Chose it: How can I make a list of books about upper class soiree's without including an Oscar Wilde play?! This is the one which the quote: “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars" comes from. Whenever I read that quote I think of Gatsby so I had to include it!

Title: Death on the Nile
Author: Agatha Christie

Why I Chose it: This is my favourite Christie book in no small part due to the snobbery and wealth of its main characters. They are said to be 'dripping in diamonds' which, of course, means motive for murder.


Title: The Custom of the Country
Author: Edith Wharton

Why Read it: The main character of this book, Undine, is utterly repulsive but also utterly ambitious and WILL have her American Dream. Never rich enough, never a high enough status, never satisfied. This book is shocking and fabulous all at the same time, and Undine is the absolute epitome of vulgarity.


Title: Wise Children
Author: Angela Carter

Why Read it: This book tops my Top Ten's far too often but it is just so damn GOOD! Nothing gets better than the glorious illegitimate twins of hugely wealthy Melchior Hazard, a great actor. The twins are ageing showgirls, 'Our fingernails match our toenails, match our lipstick match our rouge...The habit of applying warpaint outlasts the battle.' For me, they are just the epitome of the shabby chic, feathers and tiaras, smeared lipstick and dirty knickers underbelly of novels exploring the lives and loves of the upper classes. Dora and Nora are the secret the rich want to keep hidden, but their flamboyance and exuberance means they can never be kept down. Glorious, glorious characters.

That concludes my Top Ten books- I hope I didn't offend anybody by comparing Gatsby to quite a few English novelists :-P.


  1. I love The Great Gatsby! and I actually have a couple of those books on your list, and now look forward to reading them! Nice TTT :)
    As for the other titles i'll have to write those down!

  2. I love this list! I've not read ANY of them, but they all look good to me! I'm so into period books right now. I think Atonement will be first on my list. Thanks for the recs!

  3. I am adoring this list, as Gatsby is one of my favorite books ever. Are you excited about the movie coming out this winter? I'm reading some D.H. Lawrence now, but the Agatha Christie is looking pretty tempting. Did I mention that I'm adoring this list?

  4. I haven't even read The Great Gatsby, nevermind the rest! I've always been a little scared of it. I guess I'll have to try it soon - maybe I'll even like it.

  5. Great list! I really enjoyed The Great Gatsby, and I loved Atonement too. Death on the Nile is one of my absolute favourite Agatha Christie novels! I'll definitely have to look at some of the others on this list, I enjoy the 20s setting and I'm particularly intrigued by The Uninvited Guests now. :)

  6. Great list! I really want to read The Uninvited Guests.

  7. Oh yay! I love this list. What a great collection of great novels! I love Angela Carter especially.

  8. I love the cover for Uninvited Guests, its so pretty! Also, I'm a huge Agatha Christie fan. :)

  9. I love The Great Gatsby although I've only read Atonement and Death on the Nile from this list. I'll have to check the others out!(:

    Ivy Book Bindings

  10. I haven't read The Great Gatsby, but I really want too. :) I read Mrs Dalloway and I really loved it. :)

  11. Fantastic list. The Uninvited Guests is a book that I had anticipated for some time, but accidentally ordered The Unexpected Guest, which came out around the same time, and have not yet gotten my copy of the book that I had intended to order. Silly mistake.

  12. Awesome post! I loved Mrs. Dalloway as well :)

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