Chris, I would recommend the Norton edition
I had linked in my last post. As I said, it's annotated and includes a host of critical essays, and is under $12. Actually, I suggest if one doesn't want to buy an annotated edition, then it might just be best to read it free off Project Guttenberg. I already own two editions of Heart of Darkness
, one granted is part of an anthology, and will probably buy the Norton just for the benefit of the collected essays, and the hope for different annotations. Anyway, that's my suggestion.
Yeah, I'm definitely interested in reading Persepolis
too. But the problem is the publisher lists it as biography/autobiography, which wouldn't make it a good candidate for a fiction forum. Perhaps it should get serious consideration for the next available non-fiction slot.
Actually, I'd argue that discussion is usually constrained because few people manage to talk about the books that they are reading. I think the vast majority of the books that booktalk has appointed as official quarterly reading are largely accessible to a wide audience. What seems more likely to me is that people are reading the books, at least the start, and aren't really engaged in conversation. So if they picked-up the book primarily to participate in conversation here, and that conversation is slow, they might not finish the book. Yes, I think we need to be certain to choose accessible books, but I think we also need to work at maintaining a thorough conversation about whatever book is chosen.
With regard to The Girls
, I'll be honest, after reading the short description, I was hesitant. It seemed possible that it would reek of sentimentality, if not descend into the macabre or carnivalesque. Which sure, could be interesting in its own right, but 350+ pages of that... But from most of the reviews that I'm reading, it isn't overly sentimental, with one of the twins always ready to offer pragmatic comments and sardonic wit to the story. I was also interested with the mention of absent characters, which is a literary element that always intrigues me.
In the end, I'd be willing to read The Girls
, but am hesitant about the length of the book. I think we've found before that longer books don't tend to succeed at booktalk. And I have personally have found it both difficult and unfulfilling to talk about a book in piecemeal, as its read. I think, perhaps, it leads one to draw conclusions that aren't necessarily warranted. Of course, that doesn't mean one couldn't discuss the eloquence of a passage here, the development of some character there...but to draw quality conclusions about the narrative requires completion of the narrative. So, if we can get people to commit to reading the book in its entirety in relatively short order, I'd get behind The Girls
. But if the intention is to read it piecemeal over two months, then I'd probably bow out.