Fitzgerald thought he’d prescribed 22 essential books to his nurse. But your second opinions are encouragedIt was 1936, one of the most difficult periods in F Scott Fitzgerald’s life: he had just published his essay The Crack-Up in Esquire magazine, exploring the mental and physical decline that would lead to his death four years later. As he convalesced in a North Carolina hotel, his thoughts turned to choosing 22 books that might educate his nurse Dorothy Richardson, while perhaps distracting her from her attempts to keep him sober. There’s no record of whether she felt encouraged or patronised by this literary guidance.Three volumes of introspection from Marcel Proust’s À La Recherche du Temps Perdu were offset a single laugh-along volume of The Best American Humorous Short Stories. Should Richardson find Tolstoy’s War and Peace hard going, she could console herself with the wit of Oscar Wilde, or the piquant brevity of Katherine Mansfield’s short story “The Garden Party”.In his essay, Fitzgerald described the depths of the distress he’d suffered when, “10 years this side of 49, I suddenly realised I had prematurely cracked”.He wrote: “Now a man can crack in many ways – can crack in the head, in which …read more

Via: The Guardian | Books