Book Bites

My Recipe for: Dashing Con-artists

 I’ve had a thing for The Great Gatsby for a long time now. I don’t know if it’s the 1920s, the glamour or the heartache, but I love love love this story. That being said, when I picked up White Cat it struck me as having enough in common that I decided to pair the two for this week’s post. So even if you’re not a big fan of Gatsby or don’t really enjoy fantasy, these are two picks and some compelling reasons to give these dashing con-artists a second chance. 


White Cat by Holly Black

This is the first in a series of novels about curse workers, those who cast death curses, manipulating memories and cast emotion charms through the power of touch. Since these curse workers make life a bit complicated, the world is now a place in which hand to skin touch is taboo. Curse workers and regular folks alike walk around in gloves and shy away contact. The curse workers are relegated to second class citizens and cast as the seedy dangerous mob-like element of the world. And, since curse working of any kind is illegal, those that discover they are curse workers have already committed a crime, simply by discovering their own identity. In White Cat we meet 17-year-old Cassel, who is the only exception in a family of curse workers. There’s a little bit of mystery, a likable hero and some fast-paced action towards the end. Also, there are now three books in the series, so once you get all caught up in it, you can continue the story.

I definitely liked this book, but I know fantasy isn’t for everyone. So, before that completely puts you off, there’s enough real world stuff thrown in to make it appealing to those who aren’t so into that “fantasy stuff.”(I promise there are no dragons, magic wands, vampires, or werewolves in sight). And, who doesn’t love a hot con man?

Quote: “It takes a lot of effort to pretend to be something you’re not. I don’t think about what music I like; I think about what music I should like. When I had a girlfriend, I tried to convince her I was the guy she wanted me to be. When I’m in a crowd, I hang back until I can figure out how to make them laugh. Luckily, if there’s one think I’m good at, it’s faking and lying.”

You will like this if: you’re a fan of Holly Black (she co-wrote The Spiderwick Chronicles), you’re a fan of USA’s White Collar, and/or you want to try fantasy but you’re not exactly a Twilight-type of girl


The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Okay, you’ve heard of this book, but let me pitch it to you. Boy meets girl. The two fall head over heels in love. They have a whirlwind romance. Girls’ parents don’t approve of her choice. Boy goes off to war, and girl stays at home. Boy spends his life desperately attempting to be good enough for the girl. Girl marries another boy. Time passes, the two meet again. Despite the fact that their lives are completely different now, will the love they once had be enough for a future together? Can you resurrect the past? How much can you change yourself before you are no longer what you used to be?

I know you probably read (or “read”) this book back in high school. But I think you need to pick it up again and look at it from a whole new perspective. What would happen if someone you once loved came back a whole new person for you? What if that whole new image wasn’t what it seemed?

Quote: “For awhile these reveries provided an outlet for his imagination; they were a satisfactory hint of the unreality of reality, a promise that the rock of the world was founded securely on a fairy’s wing.”

You’ll like this if: you’re a fan of the “Lost Generation” (Hemingway, Stein, Eliot), you like HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, or you want to read something smart that falls in between popular fiction and intense academic literature.

Images via Collider and

  • Rachel Lam

    GATSBY!! I pity all who haven’t had the opportunity to or just can’t appreciate this classic. I studied in literature in school. Such an amazing book, and what a vision from Fitzgerald. A truly tragic and epic story! And the language is so beautiful, beyond any cheap literature we are sold nowadays.

    • Rebecca Kuitems

      Oh, definitely! There’s nothing like a well-written classic.

  • Ruby Karp

    im reading gatsby now its really good

    • Rebecca Kuitems

      It’s one of my favorite classics! I’ve re-read it 3 or 4 times.

  • Amber Barnes

    I love The Great Gatsby. Have you heard about the movie coming out with Leonardo Dicaprio?

    • Rebecca Kuitems

      I’m so excited! I know Baz Luhrmann is directing it, and he did Moulin Rouge, so it’s gotta be good :)

  • Natalie Jaeger

    I’m currently reading this side of paradise but I love Gatsby..I don’t think its far fetched to say stories like The Notebook and love stories every girl gushes over didn’t start with gatsby influence.

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