July 21, 2002

Please list your suggestions for our first book in the comments. Once we've got a good selection, we'll have a vote. Then we'll have all August to read it, and we'll have our first discussion at the end of the month. Sound good? Some thoughts:
  • It might be a good idea to include a link to the book's page on Amazon. That way people can check it out to see if they'd like to select it.
  • Speaking of Amazon, commonly-available books are better than obscure ones. We're not all in the same country, so we're going to have to limit ourselves to stuff most people can find in libraries or bookshops.
  • Shorter is better than longer. :)
  • We're not in school; we're not trying to go through the "canon" of Great Books or anything. We can pick fun stuff.
  • Feel free to throw out as many suggestions as you like, and to comment on others' suggestions. After all, if everybody else has already read something, there's no point considering it, right?
If you have no clue what we're talking about but you think you might like to be involved, here's the original post that started everything. Everyone is welcome to join in!


I'll start us off: "Moon Palace" by Paul Auster. The description there makes it sound like an "Oprah" type book, but it's really not. It's relatively short and readable, but it's full of coincidences and symbols. I had to read for a class in college and it was the only book on the syllabus that I actually enjoyed. I recently picked it up again and, as I'm going to re-read it anyway, I thought you guys might enjoy it too.
» Kris on July 21, 2002

Oh, and another more vague suggestion: A few months ago Max mentioned some book that a student had recommended to him and that he liked so much he's going to teach it in his class next year. I can't remember what it was called, but if he can fill us in, it might be worth checking out.
» Kris on July 21, 2002

I know this is cheating because I just read it, but The Lovely Bones is a recent best-seller, an amazing first novel, and it's 40% off at Amazon. You can read the first two chapters at Amazon, if you wanna see what the fuss is about.
» Bill on July 21, 2002

Bill - No, I think that's cool. It'd probably be too difficult to find something that nobody's read before. How will we know it's good otherwise? So I say pre-read books are cool by me. Just be sure you flip through it to refresh your memory before the discussion! :)

And besides, that book sounds good, Bill. I'd definitely be up for it. (And glad you're joining in! We need more boys to play.)
» Kris on July 21, 2002

Okay, holy crap! I just finished those chapters and I'm hooked.
» Kris on July 21, 2002

See what I mean? Gael on PopCultureJunkMail linked to the Amazon chapters before the book was even published, and I had the same reaction.
» Bill on July 22, 2002

Hey Kris--the book I mentioned was The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien. It's great and would totally be my recommendation, though Bill's suggested book has a lot of good reviews and buzz. Since school is about to start back for me (I know!!!!), I don't know if I'll be able to jump in with the first selection, but I'm gonna try my darndest to participate!
» Max on July 22, 2002

Ooops--and here's a link to the O'Brien book. My bad. The Things They Carried
» Max on July 22, 2002

My roommates and I all read The Red Tent and loved it.
» Jenny on July 22, 2002

After reading those chapters of "The Lovely Bones" last night, I keep getting Susie's story all mixed up with the Samantha case in California. It's pretty timely, I think, although others might find the connection a bit much right now.
» Kris on July 22, 2002

Is this the book Jen? I think that might violate my promise not to read books about menstruation. :) Actually it does look interesting though. Definitely another one to consider.
» Kris on July 22, 2002

No books about menstruation? There goes my idea for a big retro Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret book club discussion. Damn! :-)

(Hmmm...wouldn't it be interesting to really go back and re-read a Judy Blume book or two and talk about them from our current perspectives and experiences? Or is that just the geeky teacher in me coming out?)

» Max on July 22, 2002

Dude, I'd totally be up for that. I was always more of a Beverly Cleary type myself, though. I found a copy of "Dear Mr. Henshaw" at a used bookstore recently and snapped it up. Still as good as I remembered!
» Kris on July 22, 2002

I can't remember if I've read Moon Palace or not but if you're going down the Paul Auster road I've definitely read New York Trilogy and would love to read it again, especially if it meant I'd have to think about it all over again. I seem to remember much peculiarity.
» Jann on July 22, 2002

Or An American Dream by Norman Mailer. Another one I've not read for beards but will definitely read again.
» Jann on July 22, 2002

I've got the New York Trilogy and I agree with you. I think it might be a bit dense for out little low-key group, though. I'm thinking specifically of the one that's about a writer named Paul Auster whose written the same stuff as the real author Paul Auster, yet isn't the same guy. Or was he? That one messed with my head. Moon Palace is "meta", but it isn't that "meta". :)
» Kris on July 22, 2002

Uh Oh.
» Jann on July 22, 2002

And by the way - are you officially FRONCH now?
» Kris on July 22, 2002

Nevermind. Just read the update! Good luck with everything.
» Kris on July 22, 2002

Okay, I'm reading this fantasy series right now that follows the adventures of a courtesan. The story takes place in an alternate reality of our world, which makes it pretty interesting. Anyway. I like the books. Since the protaganist is a courtesan, there's a bit o' sex in the books, but nothing too bad -- I don't think it's too bad, anyway. Diane Gabaldon's Outlander series has just as much sex, I think. Anyway. The name of the book is called Kushiel's Dart and it was one of the most interesting, entertaining, books I've read all year. I'm reading the sequel now, and it's kickass-awesome.

So... For a change of pace, a non-contemporary offering, I vote for Kushiel's Dart.
» Moire on July 25, 2002

That's it. And it's just a little menstration story ;)
» Jenny on July 26, 2002