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April & May 2008 Fiction Book Suggestions 
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Getting Comfortable


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The Road - Cormac McCarthy

or

No Country for Old Men - Cormac McCarthy, also discussion of the film could help.



Mon Jan 14, 2008 2:55 pm
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The Pope of Literature


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Unfortunately, Bananafish, we've already done "The Road" as a fiction selection. I say "unfortunately" not because the book wasn't worth reading, but because it would have been nice to have had another voice or two in the mix. The book has been getting a lot more attention since when we read it -- the Pulitzer announcement came during our discussion period, too late to draw many more people in. If you're already reading the book, or have already read it, you might want to sift through the archives and try to resurrect the discussion. There are at least three regular contributors whom I am sure would respond to comments about the book.



Mon Jan 14, 2008 4:49 pm
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Oddly Attracted to Books

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I'd like to suggest Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess,

which was mentioned during the chat.


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Mon Jan 14, 2008 7:17 pm
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Banned

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Ophelia, I had read somewhere that Barry Lyndon was an idea that Thackeray more fully realized in Vanity Fair. Ah well, just thought I would throw it out there.

Actually, with some of the discussion on humor in this thread, I'm thinking that No Country for Old Men might be a good book choice. It is definitely violent, but it's also very funny and touching at times. In fact, it's one of only a few books that have made me laugh aloud. I mean, put the book down, full on laughing. And it's quite a fluid read, but with many different thematic elements that would be good for discussion. It might be nice to have some lighter prose, but still with a solid story for exploration, following Heart of Darkness.

I know it seems weird to seriously consider reading another McCarthy book so closely after reading The Road, but The Road wasn't an official discussion, and we only had a few participants in that thread. And I keep recommending No Country for Old Men to an array of readers that I know, because I think it can have wide appeal.

The other thing that might be good to consider is that No Country for Old Men is a current film, and it's just won some Golden Globes and will probably be winning some Oscars. It must be attracting some readers, and maybe we could attract them our way. Anyway, I'd back a reading of No Country for Old Men.

And yes Bananafish, as Mad said, I too will definitely try to reply to anything you want to discuss in The Road. That's a discussion that died out before we had exhausted it.



Tue Jan 15, 2008 12:24 am
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No Country for Old Men sounds like a really good choice.


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Wed Jan 23, 2008 3:15 am
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Post 
Chris OConnor wrote:
No Country for Old Men sounds like a really good choice.


For what it's worth, I also would be interested in a discussion of No Country for Old Men.

George :up:


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Wed Jan 23, 2008 2:08 pm
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I just made a post in my "Concerning Chris O'Connor" thread in the "Introduce Yourself!" forum that I'd appreciate you guys reading. It is a "sticky topic" in the "Introduce Yourself" forum right now.

Once you read that post please use this thread for discussing and selecting the next book. Thanks guys.



Sun Feb 10, 2008 1:22 pm
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I'd like my vote to go either for Wicked (as I'm already planning to start reading that one in March) or for Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. Here are some of the book's editorial reviews:

Amazon.com
Jacob Jankowski says: "I am ninety. Or ninety-three. One or the other." At the beginning of Water for Elephants, he is living out his days in a nursing home, hating every second of it. His life wasn't always like this, however, because Jacob ran away and joined the circus when he was twenty-one. It wasn't a romantic, carefree decision, to be sure. His parents were killed in an auto accident one week before he was to sit for his veterinary medicine exams at Cornell. He buried his parents, learned that they left him nothing because they had mortgaged everything to pay his tuition, returned to school, went to the exams, and didn't write a single word. He walked out without completing the test and wound up on a circus train. The circus he joins, in Depression-era America, is second-rate at best. With Ringling Brothers as the standard, Benzini Brothers is far down the scale and pale by comparison.
Water for Elephants is the story of Jacob's life with this circus. Sara Gruen spares no detail in chronicling the squalid, filthy, brutish circumstances in which he finds himself. The animals are mangy, underfed or fed rotten food, and abused. Jacob, once it becomes known that he has veterinary skills, is put in charge of the "menagerie" and all its ills. Uncle Al, the circus impresario, is a self-serving, venal creep who slaps people around because he can. August, the animal trainer, is a certified paranoid schizophrenic whose occasional flights into madness and brutality often have Jacob as their object. Jacob is the only person in the book who has a handle on a moral compass and as his reward he spends most of the novel beaten, broken, concussed, bleeding, swollen and hungover. He is the self-appointed Protector of the Downtrodden, and... he falls in love with Marlena, crazy August's wife. Not his best idea.

The most interesting aspect of the book is all the circus lore that Gruen has so carefully researched. She has all the right vocabulary: grifters, roustabouts, workers, cooch tent, rubes, First of May, what the band plays when there's trouble, Jamaican ginger paralysis, life on a circus train, set-up and take-down, being run out of town by the "revenooers" or the cops, and losing all your hooch. There is one glorious passage about Marlena and Rosie, the bull elephant, that truly evokes the magic a circus can create. It is easy to see Marlena's and Rosie's pink sequins under the Big Top and to imagine their perfect choreography as they perform unbelievable stunts. The crowd loves it--and so will the reader. The ending is absolutely ludicrous and really quite lovely. --Valerie Ryan

From Publishers Weekly
With its spotlight on elephants, Gruen's romantic page-turner hinges on the human-animal bonds that drove her debut and its sequel (Riding Lessons and Flying Changes)



Mon Feb 11, 2008 8:30 pm
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Post Iris Murdock anyone?
Does anyone have a thing for Iris Murdock novels or want to be introduced to them? To me, she has everything going for her as a writer: philosophical depth, subtle characterization, even exciting plots. I first read one called The Black Princelong ago, recently read a few others. Of course, my preference would be to read an unread one, but I'd be glad to reread any of them. Possibilites among some that appear to be available are Under the Net, The Severed Head, and The Sacred and Profane Love Machine. She provides the highest sort of entertainment. Thanks for considering.

Will



Tue Feb 12, 2008 10:14 pm
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