Books that take you to the Jazz Age
With the start of April comes Jazz Appreciation Month. Listening to jazz music, going to see performances and exploring the history of jazz, are all great ways to spend your month. But we’re here to recommend something bookish.
So without further ado, here are four great books that will submerge you in the roaring twenties so you can soak up all that hedonism, jazz and excitement.
Bernice Bobs Her Hair – Scott F. Fitzgerald
Bernice Bobs Her Hair is a short story written by Scott F. Fitzgerald in 1920 and is based on letters Fitzgerald sent to his younger sister. It was first published in the Saturday Evening Post. The story follows Bernice, whos friends and family regard her as socially hopeless, as she learns how to mingle, dance, and flirt. But jealousy and a hair cut change everything.
Also check out other Scott F. Fitzgerald titles such as The Great Gatsby, and short stories A Man in the Way, Fun in an Artist’s Studio, and The Home of the Stars.
Bernice Bobs Her Hair is available for Listening Books members to download and stream.
Anything Goes: A Biography of the Roaring Twenties – Lucy Moore
Want an introduction into this exciting decade in America? This is the book for you. It’s more of a potted history than in-depth contextualised history, but in many ways this makes it the perfect starting point into the themes of twenties America. The book looks at topics from crime to Hollywood, as well as some of the key events which punctuated the decade.
Anything Goes is available for Listening Books members on MP3 CD, and to download and stream.
Bright Young Things series – Anna Godbersen
The first book in the series (titled Bright Young Things) is set in the dizzying summer before the market crash, against the vast lawns of the glamorous Long Island mansions and on the blindingly lit stages of Broadway. Two girls find themselves in this world after they leave their Midwestern homes to chase their dreams. They meet many people who seem to have it all, but everyone has their own secrets.
The second book is called Beautiful Days and follows on from the first in the summer of 1929. It charts the girls’ potential progress into breaking Broadway. This book adds romance to the mystery and friendship of the first in the series.
Book number three is The Lucky Ones. It sees the main characters escape Manhattan’s heat for the sparkling bays of White Cove. Romance and dark surprises ensue.
The Paris Wife – Paula Mclain
The Paris Wife captures a remarkable period of time and a love affair between two unforgettable people: Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley. From Chicago in 1920 to being quite unprepared for the Jazz Age in Paris, the couple find their once-so-strong relationship becomes challenging. They have an extraordinary bond and try to hold onto themselves and each other, but the deception goes too far.
This work of historical fiction not only plunges you into the 1920s but is also ideal for anyone with an interest in Hemingway.
The Paris Wife is available for Listening Books members to borrow on MP3 CD.
We hope you find something here that’ll help you dip a toe or two into the Jazz Age!
Of course jazz didn’t just stop at the end of the 1920s. It developed and changed as the decades went by. So we’d like to know, are there any books that feature jazz that you’d recommend?
This post was written by Holly Newson