The weather is warm and it is time to celebrate!!
These pleasant days call for making a guest list and planning a party. What better way to get in the spirit of the season than with a library book featuring a fantastic celebration?
These books all feature wonderful parties, intriguing guests and a lot of drama. I suggest you park yourself under a tree, break out your favorite sparkling beverage and take note of what to do (and what not to do) during this celebratory season.
When talking about parties, the best place to start would be with F. Scott Fitzgerald's work. The Great Gatsby is a perfect example of the lavish celebrations that categorized the 1920s Jazz Age. These sparkling soirees were complete with cascading champagne mountains and ritzy musicians that would play all night long.
While I love The Great Gatsby, I am head over heels for The Beautiful and Damned. It has been said that Fitzgerald based his protagonists on his wife Zelda and himself. The book is full of drama in both tragic AND deliciously petty ways. It is a fascinating read. Like The Great Gatsby, The Beautiful and Damned also has glorious descriptions of the decadence of the era with a deep look into the self destruction that can happen with such a lifestyle.
Speaking of decadence, I knew very little about Truman Capote's Black and White Ball until I read Deborah Davis detailed retelling. Apparently, Truman Capote only had to write one novel (In Cold Blood) because he was really, really good at planning a party. A party that was so grand that people are STILL talking about it. Party of the Century is an intriguing little book but if you don't have time to read it I suggest you at least check out the photographs. So fun!
Anne of Green Gables is one of my favorite books and although it is not about a party, I am including it because it has a wonderful party scene. Have you read this? Seen the film? Well, for those of you who haven't Anne invites Diana over for a fancy tea party. Anne thinks she is serving raspberry cordial (a syrupy liquid that you could add to lemonade or seltzer) in fact, she is serving brandy. Well, Diana gets wasted... yikes! It is an awkward and silly scene that quaintly handles a child's struggle with proper etiquette and a responsibility way beyond her age.
Recently, this wonderful story was turned into a graphic novel. Mariah Mariden's adaptation has a lot less dialogue but it doesn't need it because Brenna Thummler's illustration are remarkable. The faces are strange, not pretty or angelic and her color choices are bold. Seriously, even if you are not a fan of graphic novels, this book is so GORGEOUS! I love that I could see a new perspective on a novel I was so familiar with.
The illustrations are strange and beautiful!!!
I couldn't complete this list without a nod to Bret Easton Ellis's gripping novel Less Than Zero. This book is about the CRAZY party culture in Los Angeles in the 1980s. While this novel is written in a minimalist style, the actions and grit of the characters are like a punch in the face. I read this book in high school and then again for this list. Still shocking, still emotional, still a classic example of the disillusionment that can happen when you grow up.
This is Where I Leave You deserves an honorable mention.
This book is both silly and emotional. The story follows the Foxman siblings as they "celebrate" the life and mourn the passing of their father. This is Where I Leave You is not full of streamers and glitter but it is about a family reluctantly staying in the same house (for seven days) to eulogize their father's life.
Also, I am mentioning this book because in the second chapter there is the most awkward scenario involving birthday cake that I have ever read! If you are looking for a quick read that will have you laughing and thinking about all those BIG questions. Check out this book!
This list was one of the more challenging ones I have had to put together. Often when there is a party in literature something tragic happens. I wanted a list that was diverse and leaned more towards lighthearted and less well, murder-y. What books would you put on this list???