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Author Topic: Our Book Club: Book Selection & Organizational Issues  (Read 175534 times)

Offline peteinportland

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Our Book Club: Book Selection & Organizational Issues
« on: May 10, 2006, 03:34:30 AM »
This will be the eleventh selection for the book club. We will announce the book for members to read and then invite discussion about it, much as we did with our first four selections.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2007, 06:24:36 AM by michaelflanagansf »

Offline whiplash

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Re: Our Book Club
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2006, 08:16:56 AM »
I think a book club is a great idea!  I gravitate towards the slash thread because I enjoy discussing fiction and hearing other views. A book group would allow us to delve deeper into the meaning of works and authors motives.  I have read a few of the books suggested in the "Books Related to Brokeback Mountain" thread and think it would be great to have discussion groups about these books or some of those suggested in other threads. 
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Offline south_wind

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Re: Our Book Club
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2006, 04:50:53 AM »
I would certainly participate in a book club.
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Offline Dave Cullen

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Re: Our Book Club
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2006, 10:08:49 AM »
Great. I know there are a lot of people in the books thread that have discussed this.

Some key questions:

1. Let's talk about what book to start with.

2. Timing: when should we start and how long for each book.

3. Organizing. I guess we need some people with more book club experience here. I don't even know the basics on how we approach it: like to we discuss a new chapter each week, or . . .

Do we have some people who have been in books clubs, especially web-based?
ColumbineParkland coming Feb 2019, then gay soldiers book.

helen_uk

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Re: Our Book Club
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2006, 12:29:33 AM »
I used to be in a Book Club, and basically you'd read one book between monthly meetings, then sit round and discuss said book at the meet up.


What about if we, say, started a new book on a certain date each month and then talk about it until the following month's book was announced?

Offline Desecra

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Re: Our Book Club
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2006, 01:50:26 PM »
I intermittently participated in a web-based club once.  A book was chosen each month - if you participated in the discussion you were entitled to nominate a book for the next month.  The next month's book was chosen by poll from the nominees. 
Unless, I say otherwise, I'm probably talking about the short story, not the movie. :)

Offline michaelflanagansf

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Re: Our Book Club
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2006, 10:28:36 PM »
I haven't participated in a book club before (in person or online) but they currently have one running at the libary I work at and I'll talk with the folks involved with that for ideas.  I have a couple of suggestions for books too, and I'll post them shortly.
I do my thing, & you do your thing. I am not in this world to live up to your expectations, and you are not in this world to live up to mine. You are you and I am I, and if by chance we find each other - it is beautiful. If not it can't be helped.

Fritz Perls - A Gestalt Prayer

hifrommike65

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Re: Our Book Club
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2006, 07:32:46 PM »
How about another book by Annie Proulx (I mean, besides her Wyoming Stories collections)? 

Offline michaelflanagansf

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Re: Our Book Club
« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2006, 01:34:21 AM »
How about another book by Annie Proulx (I mean, besides her Wyoming Stories collections)? 

Well...actually I was going to suggest 'Bad Dirt'...have you read that already?  I have other suggestions (but not Annie) as well and will probably post them tomorrow.
I do my thing, & you do your thing. I am not in this world to live up to your expectations, and you are not in this world to live up to mine. You are you and I am I, and if by chance we find each other - it is beautiful. If not it can't be helped.

Fritz Perls - A Gestalt Prayer

Offline michaelflanagansf

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Re: Our Book Club
« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2006, 01:07:13 PM »
Here are some thoughts for books for the book club.  I looked for a variety of books: 1) books associated with sexuality or gender nonconformity in a rural context, 2) other books by A. Proulx, or 3) nonfiction books about people who's relationships might be of interest to readers of 'Brokeback Mountain'.  I used the database 'What Do I Read Next' (and that's where, with the exception of the Rachel Carson book, the descriptions come from).  The description of the Rachel Carson book comes from Publisher's weekly, by way of Amazon.

These should be readily available, with (perhaps) the exception of the Rachel Carson book.  I'd be glad to get any feedback you might have on this list:

O Pioneers! (1913)   
Willa Cather
When young Alexandra's father dies on their new Nebraska homestead, she must assume responsibility for the family's domestic and financial troubles. Time passes and both tragedies and victories ensue. Alexandra's resourcefulness eventually garners security and success for her brothers and herself.

The Beast God Forgot to Invent (2000)   
Jim Harrison
Harrison's three novellas explore the masculine psyche amidst the wilderness of Michigan. He tells the lives of three characters who drink to excess and try to conceal the emptiness and dissatisfaction they feel in their lives.

All the Pretty Horses (1992) 
Cormac McCarthy
When his beloved grandfather dies, young Texan John Grady Cole feels himself to be an orphan. His parents, though still alive, are divorced from each other and estranged from him. With friend Lacey Rawlings, Cole pulls up his shallow roots and heads for Mexico. He and Rawlings are joined along the way by Jimmy Blevins. Blevins is the youngest of the three, barely into his teens, but he has a good eye with a gun and a 19th century reluctance to talk about his past. Together, the three find hardship, danger, adventure, cruelty, and even love in a Mexico that challenges them to find their own paths to survival with honor.

The Cherokee Trail (1982)   
Louis L'Amour
Widowed with a small child, Mary Breydon thinks she can do anything a man can and proves it by being the only female operator on the Cherokee Trail.

Domino (2004)   
J. Lea Koretsky
To avoid a scandal that would embarrass the U.S. Marshal's Service, Deputy U.S. Marshal Isaiah DuBois is transferred out of the San Bernardino, California, office to patrol southwestern Arizona. DuBois is black and gay and was indiscreet and unwise in his personal relationships. U.S. Marshal Dalton Keys is a friend of DuBois, and hopes the reassignment will offer the other officer opportunities to repair his reputation. Dalton intends to look out for DuBois, but he is unable to save his friend from becoming a murder victim. Angry and grieving, as well as determined that the Marshal's Service will look as long as it takes to track down the killer, Dalton searches through DuBois' recent case notes. The dead man had been investigating truck-hijacking and drug-smuggling rings, both of which were very dangerous targets, both of which are becoming common occurrences along the borders between California, Arizona, and New Mexico. It is an ugly fact of life in the modern West. Dalton reconstructs DuBois' investigation, questions the dead man's informants, and finally witnesses a truck-hijacking himself. At this point, he discovers just how dangerous hijackers and drug smugglers are.

Land That Moves, Land That Stands Still (2003)   
Kent Nelson
When Mattie Remmel's sculptor husband, Haney, dies, Mattie must hire help quickly for her 4,000 acre ranch planted in corn and alfalfa. She hires Dawn, a New Age flake who can fix a machine with a hair pin and baling wire, and also hires Elton, a runaway Indian boy, as sort of a handy man. Mattie's daughter, Shelley, comes home from college to help out, so the four of them become a family as they work together on the land. Then Mattie, reading through some of Haney's old letters, discovers that he had male lovers. Mattie feels betrayed, and an enraged Shelley throws her father's sculptures into a gulley, then dumps her boyfriend. Dawn's old boyfriend then shows up to find the car Dawn stole when they broke up. The boyfriend breaks Mattie's jaw, and is a few seconds away from killing Dawn, when Elton shoots him and runs away. Mattie, feeling like a mother to all her employees, begins the search for her lost boy. A well-written story about three very different women, told against the bleak background of South Dakota.

Getting Mother's Body (2003)   
Suzan-Lori Parks
When 16-year-old Billy Beede becomes pregnant and is jilted by Laz, a coffin salesman for his undertaker father, she needs money for an abortion. The only source of money Billy can think of is her deceased mother, who was buried in Arizona wearing a diamond ring and a pearl necklace. That's according to Dill, her mother's lover, who is not known for her veracity. When Billy finds out her mother's grave is going to be bulldozed to make room for a supermarket anyway, she steals Dill's truck. With her minister uncle (currently without a church) and her one-legged aunt, she takes off for Arizona to dig up her mother and confiscate the ring and necklace. The three are chased by Dill, who is being driven by Laz, Billy's jerk of a boyfriend. Along the way they visit friends and relatives, carefully avoiding foes. The deceased Willa Mae makes periodic appearances, mostly singing songs. A tale of a humorous road trip by an author who won a Pulitzer Price in 2002 for playwriting.

Heart Songs (1988)   
E. Annie Proulx
This collection of early works by Pulitzer Prize winning author E. Annie Proulx includes two stories that were previously unpublished. Most are set in a working class section of New England, and feature characters and families struggling to get past the hardships of everyday life set against the backdrop of a rural town.

Postcards (1992) 
E. Annie Proulx
Loyal Blood has spent a lifetime running from a crime. His travels take him across America and even into Canada and he is constantly inventing new persons for himself. Eventually this drives him mad and he is forced to deal with a family disaster as well as the loss of pride and values.

That Old Ace in the Hole (2002)   
Annie Proulx
Bob Dollar lacks direction when he graduates from college, and takes one of the first jobs he can find in Denver, Colorado, with the Global Pork Rind Corporation. His boss, Ribeye Cluke, sends him to Texas and Oklahoma, and Bob soon finds himself in Woolybucket, Texas, trying to convince cattle ranchers to sell him land so that his company can place massive enclosed hog farms in the area. Despite Bob's ambitions, it's a hard plan to sell, considering the stench, the cruelty to animals, and the pollution associated with hog farms, a situation with which even Bob is increasingly disillusioned. Bob eventually befriends his landlady, LaVon Fronk, and other town inhabitants like Ace and Tater Crouch, hard-working brothers who have struggled for years to make a living off their land. Ace's work repairing windmills has helped him raise a daughter and a grandson (an ingrate who eventually leaves to start a nude housekeeping service), but neither brother has much cash. Bob hopes to persuade them that the money can be more important than land, while trying to convince himself that the dream of hog farms is worth peddling.

Bruce Chatwin (2000) 
Nicholas Shakespeare
Acclaimed novelist Nicholas Shakespeare examines the brief, multifaceted life of modern day pilgrim-adventurer, writer and cult icon Bruce Chatwin. He explores Chatwin's early, distinguished career at Sotheby's auction house, his exploration of archaeology and journalism, and his discovery of travel and writing as the twin expressions of his inner quest for identity. Shakespeare analzes his unusual marriage to Elizabeth Chanler, loyal to him despite his numerous bisexual dalliances, restless intercontinental wanderings, and insatiable appetite for new, bizarre experiences. He characterizes Chatwin's writings as compelling and ambiguous mixtures of fact and fiction, and attempts to understand the charismatic, manipulative, deeply divided traveler himself, whose contradictions and self destructive behavior ultimately cost him his life. Chatwin died of AIDS at age 47.

Always, Rachel: The Letters of Rachel Carson and Dorothy Freeman, 1952-1964 - The Story of a Remarkable Friendship (1996)
Rachel Carson (1907-1964), author of The Silent Spring, has been celebrated as the pioneer of the modern environmental movement. Although she wrote no autobiography, she did leave letters, and those she exchanged, sometimes daily, with Dorothy Freeman, some 750 of which are collected here, are perhaps more satisfying than an account of her own life. In 1953, Carson became Freeman's summer neighbor on Southport Island, Me. The two discovered a shared love for the natural world, their descriptions of the arrival of spring or the song of a hermit thrush are lyrical, but their friendship quickly blossomed, as each realized she had found in the other a kindred spirit. To read this collection is like eavesdropping on an extended conversation that mixes the mundane events of the two women's family lives with details of Carson's research and writing and, later, her breast cancer. Readers will inevitably wonder about the nature of the women's relationship; editor Martha Freeman, Dorothy's granddaughter, believes that the correspondents' initial caution regarding the frankly romantic tone of their letters led them to destroy some. Whether the relationship was sexual, theirs was a deeply loving friendship, and reading their letters leaves a sense of wonder that they felt so free to give themselves this gift. "Never forget, dear one, how deeply I have loved you all these years," Carson wrote less than a year before her death. And if, as Carson believed, "immortality through memory is real," few who read these letters will forget these remarkable women and their even more remarkable bond.
I do my thing, & you do your thing. I am not in this world to live up to your expectations, and you are not in this world to live up to mine. You are you and I am I, and if by chance we find each other - it is beautiful. If not it can't be helped.

Fritz Perls - A Gestalt Prayer

Offline Junior

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Re: Our Book Club
« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2006, 05:22:11 PM »
Wow - what great suggestions! I can see me reading any of them, with Bruce Chatwin probably being the one that I personally would be least interested in.

Daphne and Chloe

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Re: Our Book Club
« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2006, 06:51:33 PM »
These two were of the most interest to me:

Domino

Land That Moves, Land That Stands Still

I'm interested in the book club. I do not however read very fast.

Offline michaelflanagansf

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Re: Our Book Club
« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2006, 08:22:01 PM »
Thanks for your responses and kind words Daphne and Chloe and Junior - I'll see if I can find other reviews for 'Domino' and 'Land That Moves, Land That Stands Still' (they both sound interesting to me too).  And I can look for more info on the Annie books too if you're interested hifrommike65.

I'm going to post the list I posted earlier today on a couple of the other boards (and perhaps ask Cactus Girl if she'd like to point out the post in the Daily Sheet) to see if we can stimulate forum wide interest.

We haven't talked about the amount of time we want to take to read the first selection - what would people interested in this like to do?  Would a month be long enough for you?  I was just looking at the book clubs for local libraries and that seems to be what they do - what do you think about this?



I do my thing, & you do your thing. I am not in this world to live up to your expectations, and you are not in this world to live up to mine. You are you and I am I, and if by chance we find each other - it is beautiful. If not it can't be helped.

Fritz Perls - A Gestalt Prayer

Offline mary

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Re: Our Book Club
« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2006, 11:05:38 PM »
Well, I tried to narrow down the list to the ones that were of most interest to me and found it pretty hard - all sound interesting, some are new to me, others I've heard of and have been meaning to read

If I had to pick a couple that I am most interest in:

O Pioneers! (1913)   
Willa Cather

The Beast God Forgot to Invent (2000)   
Jim Harrison

All the Pretty Horses (1992) 
Cormac McCarthy

any of the Annie Proulx selections

In RL book clubs I have been in we selected a book and had a month to read it.  If we selected something that was REALLY long, sometimes we went 6 or 7 weeks before discussing.
never enough time, never enough....

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Offline peteinportland

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Re: Our Book Club
« Reply #14 on: May 18, 2006, 02:45:02 AM »
As Mary knows, I love All The Pretty Horses and think it an excellent companion for BBM. McCarthy does have one of the most unique prose styles in modern literature, so he could never be considered beach reading. However, it is a great book.

Pete