View Poll Results: Please vote for the book you would like to read in May by March 31st.

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  • American Born Chinese

    2 9.09%
  • The Recognition

    4 18.18%
  • Birdsong

    3 13.64%
  • Nine Stories

    1 4.55%
  • Elective Affinities

    0 0%
  • Olive Kitteridge

    1 4.55%
  • The Spire

    2 9.09%
  • Someplace to be Flying

    2 9.09%
  • Lorna Doone

    1 4.55%
  • And Then There Were None

    6 27.27%
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Thread: April '10 Reading Poll

  1. #1
    Pièce de Résistance Scheherazade's Avatar
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    April '10 Reading Poll

    In 2010, we are going back to "random" book nominations for our readings.

    Please nominate the novel you would like to read in April in this thread by February 28th.

    Please remember that:

    - Only those members with 50+ posts can nominate.

    - One nomination per member.

    - Only the first 10 nominations will be included in the poll.


    The Book Club readings are for those who would like to read and discuss books together with other members.

    If you are not able to take part or unwilling to (re)read your own nominations, please refrain from taking part in the process.


    ~
    "It is not that I am mad; it is only that my head is different from yours.”
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  2. #2
    Skol'er of Thinkery The Comedian's Avatar
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    I'll nominate American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang.
    “Oh crap”
    -- Hellboy

  3. #3
    What the Dickens?!
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    I, Satan, hereby nominate The Recognitions by William Gaddis.
    This sentence contradicts itself - no actually it doesn't.

  4. #4
    The Poetic Warrior Dark Muse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Comedian View Post
    I'll nominate American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang.
    I had to read that for my Children's Lit. Class, it was acutally pretty good, I rather enjoyed it.

    I nominate:

    Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks

    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. ~ Edgar Allan Poe

  5. #5
    biting writer
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    Quote Originally Posted by Satan View Post
    I, Satan, hereby nominate The Recognitions by William Gaddis.
    Groan... As I have mentioned elsewhere, I started rereading this novel post-relocation, and I am still only in the opening 20 pages, but they remain distinct.

    If it actually wins, maybe I will join in, but I'd lay money on the read becoming one of the most protracted readings the book club has ever done.

    I will keep an eye on things here.

  6. #6
    Vincit Qui Se Vincit Virgil's Avatar
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    Can I nominate J.D. Salinger's Nine Stories collection or will we have a memorial book forum read for the deceased author?
    LET THERE BE LIGHT

    "Love follows knowledge." – St. Catherine of Siena

    My literature blog: http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/

  7. #7
    Skol'er of Thinkery The Comedian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dark Muse View Post
    I had to read that for my Children's Lit. Class, it was acutally pretty good, I rather enjoyed it.
    Glad to hear it. I've been wanting to read it for a while now and thought that this might be a good forum to motivate me.
    “Oh crap”
    -- Hellboy

  8. #8
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    Cool I nominate Elective Affinities by ....

    Wolfgang Goethe.

  9. #9
    What the Dickens?!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jozanny View Post
    Groan... As I have mentioned elsewhere, I started rereading this novel post-relocation, and I am still only in the opening 20 pages, but they remain distinct.

    If it actually wins, maybe I will join in, but I'd lay money on the read becoming one of the most protracted readings the book club has ever done.

    I will keep an eye on things here.
    It is a long novel indeed, and one of the few neglected postmodern masterpieces that deserve to be read. Allow me to play the Devil's advocate (!) and present the case for Gaddis' behemoth.

    This was Gaddis’s first novel published when he was 32 and more than 40 years on it is at the very heart of his enviable literary reputation. It has now come to be seen as a Janus-faced text that looks back in its complexity to the great Modernists of the inter-war years such as Joyce and Faulkner and forward to the post-war American writers such as Barth, Coover, Pynchon, De Lillo and Gass in its taste for black humor, literary play and absurdity. It has established itself as a unique and influential novel, a pivotal work that makes connections between Modernism and what has come to be called Postmodernism, both as a literary style and as a philosophical position.

    Gaddis’s first novel takes the form of a quest. In a carefully wrought and densely-woven series of plots involving upwards of fifty characters across three continents, we follow the adventures of Wyatt Gwyon, son of a clergyman who rejects the ministry in favor of the call of the artist. His quest is to make sense of contemporary reality, to find significance and some form of order in the world. Through the pursuit of art he hopes to find truth. His initial “failure” as an artist leads him not to copy but to paint in the style of the past masters, those who had found in their own time and in their own style the kind of order and beauty for which Wyatt is looking. His talent for forgery is exploited by a group of unscrupulous art critics and businessmen who hope to profit by passing his works off as original old masters. As the novel develops, these art forgeries become a profound metaphor for all kinds of other frauds, counterfeits and fakery: the aesthetic, scientific, religious, sexual and personal. Towards the end, Wyatt wrenches something authentic from what Eliot called “the immense panorama of futility and anarchy which is contemporary history.” The nature of his revelation, however is highly ambiguous and is hedged about by images of madness and hallucination, which disturbs simple distinctions between real and authentic, between faiths and fakes.

    A strikingly original novel, it gains a number of its effects from the dense web of literary allusions it employs, drawing upon the religious texts of American Calvinism and European Catholicism and to a wide range of literary and philosophical writings in the western tradition from Aristotle to Goethe and TS Eliot. Ostensibly, the novel charts Wyatt’s career as he negotiates the snares of the fallen modern world, but on a further level we see how he is identified with a whole series of literary figures, from Orpheus to Faust. While the novel is an immensely rewarding read at the level of realism, it gains in depth and resonance when the reader can see the allusions at work and the parallels being drawn.
    Courtesy: http://www.williamgaddis.org/recognitions/index.shtml (a reader's guide)

    Why in the world should anyone trouble to read so difficult a novel? A novel, for pete's sake, not even a work of non-fiction with useful information. Don't we read novels for entertaining? But it turns out that hard work has its rewards. If you are one of the lucky ones, the book is enthralling. For the unlucky majority it will be just boring.

    Gaddis's obscurity does not come from an inability to write clearly: "it is the bliss of childhood that we are being warped most when we know it least" (p. 26);
    "She's still sick of trench mouth. She got it kissing the pope's ring" (p. 192); "90 percent of the advertisements he read had no possible application in his life" (p. 283); "Busy as those monks in the Middle Ages were keeping a-kindle the light of knowledge which they had helped to extinguish everywhere else" (p. 495); and so forth. So if Gaddis can be witty, entertaining, and clear at the same time, why is The Recognitions, and all of Gaddis's work for that matter, so hard to follow?

    A central theme in all the works of Gaddis is about the gap between what we know (through recognition) and what we are told. A priest-confessor sums up the problem: "We live in a world where first-hand experience is daily more difficult to reach, and if yo reach it through your work, perhaps, you are not fortunate in the way most people would be fortunate. But these are things I shall not try to tell you. You will learn these things for yourself if you go on, and I may help you there" (p. 952). For a writer, this problem of learning by first-hand experience is doubly challenging for story-telling is a second-hand way of knowing. So how can a story teller honestly urge first-hand experience through a second-hand medium? Gaddis's method is to turn novel reading into a first hand experience. He tames the famous recommendation to young writers--show; don't tell--three steps further. He provides shadows which the readers, if they can, transform into shapes. ("Scarcely more steady than the shadows themselves, a figure took form and emerged," p. 920.)

    A businessman who specializes in selling art forgeries says of most people, "They don't want to know. They want to be told" (p. 313), and he holds those people in contempt. The solution in art isto turn passive lookers into knowing creators: "Everybody has that feeling when they look at a work of art and it's right, that sudden familiarity, a sort of ... recognition, as though they were creating it themselves while they look at it or listen to it" (p. 535)

    Three hundred plus pages later we see the idea spelled out again: "He studied with Titian... Titian's paintings in the Escorial, he saw then when he went to paint for the king, and who whole style changed. He learned from Titian. That's the way we learn, you understand" (p. 870). And the reader learns by reading Gaddis.

    The result of this kind of creative participation in the work is a kind of enchantment that moves readers more deeply, when it moves them at all. An old woman is described as the "nightmare of the girly she had been two generations ago" (p. 561). To understand that image the reader has to see the old woman's body and the young girl's thoughts simultaneously. They have to work, not just read. And in this book they have to such work, line by line, page by page, for a thousand pages.

    Gaddis does not think this kind of active engagement is easy: "They were enjoying the discussion very much, each finding the other intelligent, witty, in all a good companion, for neither was listening to what the other was saying" (p. 696), but Gaddis does believe intent participation in the other is essential. The price of not being able to listen and know is death--metaphorically in the death of the sou, literally, in the story, I count two people in the last 15 pages killed by ignoring messages in languages they didn't understand.

    Every reader will find a different book. The more they bring, the more they can get. The harder they are willing to work, the easier their story will be to follow.
    Source: Amazon

    Book Club Rules do not explicitly forbid lobbying for nominations. Thank you, ladies and gentlemen!
    This sentence contradicts itself - no actually it doesn't.

  10. #10
    Pièce de Résistance Scheherazade's Avatar
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    Nominations so far:

    1. American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

    2. The Recognitions by William Gaddis

    3. Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks

    4. Nine Stories by Salinger

    5. Elective Affinities by Wolfgang Goethe


    I would like to nominate Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout, the 2009 Pulitzer winner.
    ~
    "It is not that I am mad; it is only that my head is different from yours.”
    ~


  11. #11
    Registered User neilgee's Avatar
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    I'll nominate The Spire by William Golding
    What are regrets? Just lessons we haven't learned yet - Beth Orton

  12. #12
    Have a nice day! Nikhar's Avatar
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    And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie.
    People laugh at me 'coz they think I'm a fool...I smile because I made someone laugh
    Nikhar Agrawal

  13. #13
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    It's been years, but I wouldn't mind reading Someplace to be Flying by Charles De Lint.

  14. #14
    Registered User Veho's Avatar
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    I nominate Lorna Doone by R.D. Blackmore.
    "...You are not wrong, who deem
    That my days have been a dream;
    Yet if hope has flown away
    In a night, or in a day,
    In a vision, or in none,
    Is it therefore the less gone?..." E. A. Poe

  15. #15
    Rather selfishly I'd like to nominate Wilde's second collection of short stories: The House of Pomegranates which features the stories:

    1 The Young King
    2 The Birthday of the Infanta
    3 The Fisherman and his Soul
    4 The Star-Child

    (Available to read on-line for free)

    It's been awhile since I've read these, and as I've got to go through Wilde's published works this month anyway, I'd thought I'd nominate these and hope that they get included for selfish reasons - because I would love to hear other peoples' thoughts on them. Wilde said that these were for children 8-80 so I think that includes most people here! As with all dear Oscar's works they are of course delightfully beautiful and simplistically demanding - what more could one ask for?

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