Well, I just finished The Handmaids Tale and it was delicious. Gary asked me what it was about and I knew if I told him I'd ruin the first third of the book, in which she drops the exposition like little crumbs. I loved it, screamed when it "ended" right before the epilogue, and thank you to all who recommended it.
Gary's first project in retirement is to watch every episode of Alias ever, but as a warm-up he watched all two seasons of Todd and the Book of Pure Evil. I enjoyed it as well. The high-school insults are remarkably creative. I'm waiting till the first moment Hot Mom slips up so I can call her a "dick mitten."
I would be interested in going to see The Great Gatsby, but how can anyone but Robert Redford be Gatsby? Of course, Carey Mulligan is more like the Daisy in my head than Mia Farrow. All I really care about seeing is the woman who has shaved off and repainted her eyebrows. That image has never left me.
I am ashamed to say the plot did not stay with me from high school or the seventies movie. If you asked me yesterday what I remembered about Gatsby it would be the images: pastel shirts, yellow convertible, shaved eyebrows, spectacle billboard, green light and boats beating toward the shore. There's a plot though. I totally forgot how Gatsby ended up. ([SPOILER!]Dead in the pool!) I probably don't remember the plot since there was no conflict between new money and old money in my middle class life.
I'm the same way about all the books I read in class in the high school. I remember the rat mask from 1984 but not the plot. (I think I've confused the plot of 1984 with Brazil.) We read The Old Man and the Sea, and I remember the Man vs Nature conflict but not a single bit of the man's story. He catches the fish and dies at the end? Right? I had no conflict with nature, myself, certainly not surviving on a boat with a big fish.
Of course, I can best remember the books about my two daily conflicts: Man vs Snotty People (The Scarlet Letter, any Austen book) and Man vs The Right Thing To Do (Raisin in the Sun, The Crucible).
I can't criticize my reading list too much, because my newly-integrated high school chose South Pacific for the musical, Raisin in the Sun and, strangely, Huckleberry Finn, which we had to read out loud to appreciate the dialect. If I recall the N-word discussion, the teacher wrote it on the board, said "I hate this word," told us the etymology and carefully selected only reading passages that didn't have that word in there, and otherwise we were to remember Huck's ignorance when we saw it.
Truth be told, watching Gary sleep and watch tv till the wee hours has put me off home-based amusements. I need a project. It might be time to divide the peonies. No, wait, i need to re-learn the guitar first.