which book should kick off our book club readingdom?
villa incognito by tom robbins
jesus' son by denis johnson
the edible woman by margaret atwood
how often should we read a new book?
once a month
once every two months
other (see below)
if you said "other", how often do you think we should read a new book?
anything else you want to say?
villa incognito:Imagine that there are American MIAs who chose to remain missing after the Vietnam War. Imagine that there is a family in which four generations of strong, alluring women have shared a mysterious connection to an outlandish figure from Japanese folklore. Imagine just those things (don’t even try to imagine the love story) and you’ll have a foretaste of Tom Robbins’s eighth and perhaps most beautifully crafted novel--a work as timeless as myth yet as topical as the latest international threat. On one level, this is a book about identity, masquerade and disguise--about “the false mustache of the world”--but neither the mists of Laos nor the smog of Bangkok, neither the overcast of Seattle nor the fog of San Francisco, neither the murk of the intelligence community nor the mummery of the circus can obscure the linguistic phosphor that illuminates the pages of Villa Incognito. A female fan once wrote to Tom Robbins: “Your books make me think, they make me laugh, they make me horny and they make me aware of the wonder of everything in life.” Villa Incognito will surely arouse a similar response in many readers, for in its lusty, amusing way it both celebrates existence and challenges our ideas about it. To say much more about a novel as fresh and surprising as Villa Incognito would run the risk of diluting the sheer fun of reading it. As his dedicated readers worldwide know full well, it’s best to climb aboard the Tom Robbins tilt-a-whirl, kiss preconceptions and sacred cows goodbye and simply enjoy the ride. + from audiofile:"Once upon a time, a satyr-like Japanese badger-spirit seduced and impregnated a mortal. Many generations later (two or so years into the present century), an infant descendent arrives in the U.S., promising a more joyful, mystical, nature-loving future for all Americans. This is the story of how the child/creature got here with the unwitting help of three Vietnam-era Army deserters living in the title Laotian villa, where they traffic illegally in medicinal heroin."
jesus' son: /+review because the description was one line long:An intense collection of interconnected stories that portray life through the eyes of a young man in a small Iowa town, by the author of Already Dead: A California Gothic, Angels and Resuscitation of a Hanged Man. "The unnamed narrator in Jesus' Son lives through a car wreck and a heroin overdose. Is he blessed? He cheats, lies, steals--but possesses a child's (or a mystic's) uncanny way of expressing the bare essence of things around him. In its own strange and luminous way, this linked collection of short fiction does the same. The stories follow characters who are seemingly marginalized beyond hope, drifting through a narcotic haze of ennui, failed relationships, and petty crime. In "Dundun" the narrator decides to take a shooting victim to the hospital, though not for the usual reasons: "I wanted to be the one who saw it through and got McInnes to the doctor without a wreck. People would talk about it, and I hoped I would be liked." Later he takes his own pathetic stab at violence in "The Other Man," attempting to avenge a drug rip-off but succeeding only at terrorizing an innocent family. Each meandering story--some utterly lacking in the usual elements of plot, including a beginning and an end--nonetheless demands compulsive reading, with Denis Johnson's first calling as a poet apparent in the off-kilter beauty of his prose. Open to any page and gems spill forth: "I knew every raindrop by its name. I sensed everything before it happened. I knew a certain Oldsmobile would stop for me even before it slowed, and by the sweet voices of the family inside that we'd have an accident in the storm."
The most successful stories in the collection offer moments of startling clarity. In "Car Crash While Hitchhiking," for instance, the narrator feels most alive while in the presence of another's loss: "Down the hall came the wife. She was glorious, burning. She didn't know yet that her husband was dead.... What a pair of lungs! She shrieked as I imagined an eagle would shriek. It felt wonderful to be alive to hear it! I've gone looking for that feeling everywhere." In "Work," while "salvaging" copper wire from a flooded house to fund their habits, the narrator and an acquaintance stop to watch the nearly unfathomable sight of a beautiful, naked woman paragliding up the river. Later the narrator learns that the house once belonged to his down-and-out accomplice and that the woman is his estranged wife. "As nearly as I could tell, I'd wandered into some sort of dream that Wayne was having about his wife, and his house," he reasons. Such is the experience for the reader. More Genet than Bukowski, Denis Johnson lures us into a misfit soul's dream from which he can't awake."
the edible woman: Ever since her engagement, the strangest thing has been happening to Marian McAlpin: she can't eat. First meat. Then eggs, vegetables, cake, pumpkin seeds--everything! Worse yet, she has the crazy feeling that she's being eaten. Marian ought to feel consumed with passion, but she really just feels...consumed. A brilliant and powerful work rich in irony and metaphor, The Edible Woman is an unforgettable masterpiece by a true master of contemporary literary fiction. +review: "it's an examination of a woman's role in both society and marriage and that gives the story more weight, balancing the often silly and humorous situations Marian finds herself in. It's definitely the lightest book I've read by Atwood, it's hard to believe this is the same woman who did the ultra-depressing Life Before Man. But the main focus isn't even on Marian's quasi-eating disorder but on her interactions with her fiancee, her roommate (the subplot with her wanting a baby is absolutely hilarious in a darkly absurd way) and an odd graduate student she meets while out doing a survey for her job. That graduate student and his monologues was my favorite part of the chapter and probably represents Atwood's poke at the academic world, but definitely shows off her gift for words. But be on the look out for metaphors, just about everything means something else it seems, even the switch from first to third person struck me as odd until I realized even that represented something. In the end the metaphors get stretched a bit too far and the only truly silly moment is right at the end. But it's immensely enjoyable for an Atwood novel and one of the few that you'll find yourself laughing more than feeling glad you aren't the characters."
also i apologize for not making it to your comedy night last night, jdsers, everything was a mess around here. i wanted to come and i hope to see you soon.