Thursday, February 1, 2007

Thinking about Books


One precocious group has already chosen their book, A.S. Byatt's Little Black Book of Stories. They plan to meet at the Duboce Park Cafe on February 28, 2007.

This is the post where I would love it if participants would comment on the books they would like to see us tackle in the upcoming months. Please take the time to explain your choices. And everyone should feel free to respond to each other.

This virtual conversation about books we admire might help us form into smaller groups at the next meeting, where I hope to talk to all the groups about some of the book club habits which tend to work and give reading groups the staying power they need to become a really meaningful part of people's lives.

16 comments:

Mis Adventures said...

So as I was skatboarding across campus yesterday, it ran through my head...
Actually, that's a lie. I was buying coffee and watching this kid skatboard, wishing I was that coordinated for coolness.
So it was while taking a drag off a nice Marlboro Blend 27, what exactly IS the point of a book club?

Being in college I could easily reccommend books I've already read (so as not to read anything except my school requirements) but then, that wouldn't be any fun for me. SO here are a few books I thought were completely enjoyable and then I'll list some that I've heard are good.

Softcore Maniacs: Maggie Estep
Came across this one back in high school over at a used book store. It turned out it was softporn and pretty hot, so why not, right?

ok ok ok . :)

The Pleasure of My Company: Steve Martin
About a guy who has to touch all the corners of the copy machines at Kinkos and cross the street only at driveways. Incredibly well written love story without too much gush. His humor is sweet.

Invisible Monsters: Chuck Palahniuk
I can't even begin. This is my favorite of all his books. They wish on postcards and throw them off a tall building. 'nuff said.

Esther Stories: Peter Orner
If you like short stories. These vignettes are beautiful. A phrase that sticks with me is about how this couple who lost their kis is at a pizze parlor and their knees are touching under the table. Or another story about how a girl carved her initials on a dinind room table.

FINALLY,

The Night In Question: Tobias Wolff
Short Stories. Look up, Bullet In the Brain for starters.

As for books I heard were great:

Running with Scissors:Augusten Burroughs
Why? It sounds crazy. Look it up on Amazon.com, because I'm already tired of litening to myself type.

In America: Susan Sontag
I have it and need a reason to read it. My own incentives are weak and somewhat procrastinative.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close :Jonathan Safran Foer
The cover is cool.

All right folks, it was nice meeting you the other night.
Happy weekend and good vibrations!
-Melissa :)

Cynthia K said...

M:
You have real knack for describing books...I want to read all of these. The Sontag and Palahniuk would be strong choices for one of the groups.
Cynthia K

Mis Adventures said...

I thought of two more:

The Red Tent: Anita Diamant

and

All Fall Down: James Leo Herlihy

Mis Adventures said...

Sense no one wants to talk about books, anyone want to hook up? Maybe talk about books afterwards?

Cynthia K said...

M:
I can understand your frustration. I hope some of the readers we had at Duboce Park Cafe speak up pretty soon! I'd love to hear their responses to your book recommendations.
Cynthia K

mrabin said...

A little more info about the 2/28 group:

Our 1st meeting will be on Wednesday February 28th at the Duboce Park Cafe (same location) from 6:30 pm until 8:00 pm. We are reading "Little Black Book of Stories" by A.S. Byatt. Below are links to this book on Amazon and the San Francisco Public Library:
http://www.amazon.com/Little-Black-Book-Stories-Byatt/dp/1400075602/sr=1-1/qid=1170380145/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/105-5882551-5736445?ie=UTF8&s=books

http://sflib1.sfpl.org/search?/tlittle+black+book+of+stories/tlittle+black+book+of+stories/1%2C1%2C2%2CB/frameset&FF=tlittle+black+book+of+stories&1%2C%2C2

I'm open to any and all book recommendations. I think part of the allure of a book club is having others "turn you on" to books that you might not have found on your own. So, please keep the recommendations coming!

Cynthia K said...

Mrabin:
Welcome. Thanks so much for joining the conversation. I hope you will encourage the others from the 28th group to do so as well.

Right now, I'm reading books with my students for my Censorship, Obscenity and Lit. course: Lolita, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, American Psycho, Lady Chatterly's Lover, Slaughterhouse Five and To Kill a Mockingbird.

My favorite courses are always built around a theme (Banned books for this one), and I find that book groups that find some topic they are interested in and explore it more deeply are often very happy with that approach.
G'day
Cynthia K

Cynthia K said...

Here's some information from Marla for the group meeting on the 28th:

I found some interesting links on A S Byatt (listed below) that I wanted to share with you. The first link includes an interviews section which has some interviews with the author about the Little Black Book of Stories. I plan to listen to it after I've completed the book. The second link is her official site.

I was able to confirm our meeting with Rachel from the Duboce Park Cafe. The cafe is now staying open until 8:00 pm so we are all set!

Happy Reading,
--Marla

http://myhome.naver.com/ingemund/asbyatt/

http://www.asbyatt.com/

Clare said...

I'm reading the 'Little Black Book of Stories' right now and thoroughly enjoying the writing. I'm planning to look at/listen to the AS Byatt info when I get a bit further into the book

Other books I'd recommend for the bookclub are:
'If on a winter's night a traveller' by Italo Calvino
and
'Close Range - Wyoming Stories' by Annie Proulx, which contains the now infamous 'Brokeback Mountain'.

Neither of them are easy narratives, but I thought the Calvino book was interesting for ideas and the Proulx book for the writing.

Mis Adventures said...

wow, cool! I just picked up a book by Italo Calvino called: "Mr. Palomar"
How cool. A book club full of geniuseswith great taste! lol

Cynthia K said...

Clare:
Calvino is certainly a challenging read, but well worth the effort! I've only read "Brokeback," so am interested to hear that the rest of her book of short stories is good. Proulx is such an admirable stylist.
Cynthia K.

Mechelle said...

This is my first blog - ever. It would be interesting to know how many bloggers there are in the group. Maybe that's why people are not joining in? I'm with the black book of short stories team. We chose a second book "Geek Love" but I'm worried that it might be to grose for some. I love it b/c it's gripping enough to keep my attention. Many of the books discussed above sound great.

Lauren Artress said...

Two of my most all time favorite novels is Ahab's Wife by Sena Jeter Naslund. It is a wonderfully written women's story.

The second is Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. This is a touching story, but also a thorough education about hermaphroditism, something we don't talk about much.

I hope I can join you in the future.

Mis Adventures said...

Party Monster by James St. James
Little Children by Tom Perrotta
Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

I'm up for reading Geek Love a second time! Then talkin' about it!

Cynthia K said...

Mechelle:
This is my first blog too, so we’re all learning about this together. At the next meeting, perhaps those of you who have used the blog can help others to find their way to it? The title Geek Love has come up often, so I’ll be interested to hear how it works for your group. Once we all get up and running, I can imagine a lot of cross fertilization in the selection of books.
Cynthia K.

Cynthia K said...

Lauren:
Middlesex is certainly a challenging, but interesting, book. I’ve just added Ahab’s Wife to my reading list. Thanks.
Cynthia K.