I read mainly for enjoyment. My favorite books are the ones that managed to move me emotionally, suck me into the story, or change my perception, not necessarily the best literature. That said,The Great Gatsby is widely recognized as the best work of F. Scott Fitzgerald's, but The Beautiful and the Damned left a deeper impact on me.
Upon finishing The Great Gatsby, I thought, Poor Gatsby! It's hopeless, his love for Daisy, it's always been hopeless. So what if he's rich; in the end, it's impossible to compete with status and old money.
The Beautiful and the Damned was something else. Throughout the first half of the book, I often found myself bored with it. I had to force myself to read, page after page. But when I got to the part where Anthony Patch had his downward spiral, the story became infinitely more interesting. As he partied and drank into oblivion, seemingly incapable of stopping himself, I felt my heart contracted with pain, visceral pain. Anthony was spineless, and his misery was the result of his own recklessness, but I actually felt his despair. In contrast, The Great Gatsby was enjoyable from start to finish, but never once did I feel such intense emotion like what I felt when I read The Beautiful and the Damned.
Enough blabbing. For now, I'm adding Tender is the Night to my to-read list.