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Novel Ideas Message Board › Books for the group March 2013 and on

Books for the group March 2013 and on

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A former member
Post #: 537
If you are interested in having a book voted on for the next set of meetups, please add a post to this thread. These books will be for meetups starting in March 2013.
A former member
Post #: 628
From Linda Morrison:

Bones are Forever by Kathy Reichs
You Dont Want to Know by Lisa Jackson
user 15891141
Arlington, TX
Post #: 32
A few of us were discussing the book election process after A Farewell to Arms, and though we couldn't come up with any substantial changes to Damon's system I think we did agree that it would be helpful if the nominators came up with a short pitch for each of their books, and that the pitch could be included in the "ballot" email Damon sends out, provided that it wouldn't be too much more of a burden on Damon.

It's difficult to give a blurb about books which I haven't read without spoiling them for myself, but here goes:

  • Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk by Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain. I realize this is probably wishful thinking, but since we've done mostly novels and war histories, I thought it'd be interesting to do an historical piece that's both from a more modern period and music-based. Admit it, at the very least it'll take the vast majority of us out of our comfort zones.

  • Lucifer's Hammer by Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven. Larry Niven, author of the Ringworld series, is usually ranked among the greatest sci-fi authors of his generation (circa 1970 to present). This book's about an apocalyptic asteroid hurtling to earth, and the effects of the impending apocalypse upon a specific set of characters. Hard science fiction is something we never, ever hit on, but I think Niven's a good enough author and the subject matter's interesting enough that most of the group would stick with it.

  • Rabbit, Run by John Updike. This is the first book of Updike's famous Rabbit series, about a man who, to put it mildly, isn't happy with his life. It's a book about a man who hasn't grown up but needs to, it's really freakin' famous, and I think it'd lead to a great discussion, even if the character himself isn't likable.

  • The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende. This group's never, throughout its six year history, done a book by a Latin American author set in Latin America. The House of Spirits is by most accounts a beautiful and magical book that follows a Chilean political family through the generations. It's been compared to the magical realism of Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

  • Stardust by Neil Gaiman. I put this book up last time and it didn't make the cut, but I'd really like the group to give it a shot. It's a fantasy novel best described as an adult faerie tale (with actual faeries), set in 19th century England and is about a young man on an impossible and magical quest. Neil Gaiman's an outstanding and hilarious author, and I think this book would be entertaining.

I'd like to point out that to the best of my limited knowledge about each book, none of them are centered around any one war. :) I know none of these are really our usual fare, but I think each of them would be a good change of pace for the club.

1/22 edit

I guess I'll tack on a few more books while the nomination period's still open.

  • The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. This book almost needs no introduction. It's about a very successful, talented woman who goes down a very dark road.

  • Portnoy's Complaint by Philip Roth. This is a comedic book about the American Jewish experience, through the eyes of a psychoanalyst. Philip Roth is considered one of the top modern American authors out there, though this book was first written in 1969.

  • All The King's Men by Robert Penn Warren. A book about depression era Southern politics and the corruptive, corrosive nature of power.

  • The Neverending Story by Michael Ende. A young boy is drawn by a book through a dangerous, fantastic, magical quest.

  • The Winter Helen Dropped By by W.P. Kinsella. This is a novel through the eyes of a young boy about love, loss, and the cold, cold North. It's supposed to be hilarious.

By the way, I should note that I haven't actually read any of these. If you'd like me to spit out some recs that I have actually read I can do that.

user 8426704
Euless, TX
Post #: 142
I've read some good books lately, and a few that would be great for discussion. Here's one.

Lost Memory of Skin by Russell Banks. This sounds like a very dark and depressing book, since it centers on a main character (The Kid) who is a convicted sex offender living under a bridge. However, I really didn't think it was depressing at all. It gives you a very different perspective on what happens to these people (it's not entirely sympathetic, though) once they are convicted. It also shows how your past always catches up to you and focuses on the connections that people sometimes randomly make (also with animals). There might be a tiny bit too much sex talk in it for some people, but I didn't think it was very graphic, really. Nothing shocking, I promise! Banks is a fantastic writer, and I recommend any of his books.
Susan L
user 7183573
Group Organizer
Fort Worth, TX
Post #: 214
Kendra and I would like to suggest Colson Whitehead's novel Zone One. It is a post-apocalyptic tale of a Manhattan crippled by a plague and overrun with zombies. A pandemic has devastated the planet, sorting humanity into two types: the uninfected and the infected, the living and the living dead. After the worst of the plague is over, armed forces stationed in Chinatown’s Fort Wonton have successfully reclaimed the island south of Canal Street—aka Zone One. Mark Spitz is a member of one of the three-person civilian sweeper units tasked with clearing lower Manhattan of the remaining feral zombies. Zone One unfolds over three surreal days in which Spitz is occupied with the mundane mission of straggler removal, the rigors of Post-Apocalyptic Stress Disorder (PASD), and the impossible task of coming to terms with a fallen world. And then things start to go terribly wrong…Whitehead explains that he created the novel, in part, to pay homage to the grimy 1970s New York of his childhood.
user 66501162
Fort Worth, TX
Post #: 1
I'd like to suggest reading Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. I'm about a quarter through with it and am in love with it so far. I've been looking everywhere for someone to talk to about it.

It's a pretty tough book to read. At over a 1000 pages and with about a hundred pages in footnotes alone, it really takes an effort to get through. However, once you get into it, not only does it become much easier to read, but also so hard to put down.

I noticed House of Leaves as an upcoming event, and anyone who enjoyed that would love Infinite Jest. I can't find any real source admitting it, but after reading both, I really think Danielewski had to have been influenced by this book.

A couple of other suggestions already on my queue:
Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell - Soon to be released as a movie
Sellevision, by Augusten Burroughs
On a Pale Horse, by Piers Anthony - the first in the Incarnations of Immortality series
American Gods, by Neil Gaiman
The Happiness Project, by Gretchin Rubin
user 9120589
Milton, MA
Post #: 4
Wow, I'd love to read Rabbit Run by John Updike! That's one of those books I've always meant to read but never got around to.

Another one of my favorite authors is John Irving. So far my favorite book is A Prayer for Owen Meaney, but that one is pretty long. (and totally impossible to adapt to a movie). The Ciderhouse Rules is infinitely richer and more complex than the movie and would definitely take us into some ethical quagmires! The Fourth Hand is nice and short and typically bizarre Irving. I've NEVER READ The World According to Garp, nor seen the movie, so I'd be up for that too.

user 22547911
Keller, TX
Post #: 2
Where the Broken Heart Still Beats by Carolyn Meyer is the true story of a girl who was kidnapped by a Comanche tribe at age 9. She was returned to her original family-- somewhat against her will--25 years later. It has a different perspective on two very different cultures that existed in Texas about 150 years ago.

The Collector by John Fowles (described some places as the first psychological thriller) sounds like an interesting read.

user 66501162
Fort Worth, TX
Post #: 11
Add another to my list of suggestions with God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater by Kurt Vonnegut. I noticed he's shown up on past events and Breakfast of Champions is coming up soon. I love his work and have already read a few of his books. GBYMR was the next one I had planned to read, so it would be great to read it with all of you.
A former member
Post #: 767
From Linda Morrison:

"The Neon Bible" by John Kennedy Toole

Narrator David lives with his mother, who is never fully herself after his father dies in World War II, and his gaudy Aunt Mae, a bleached-blonde roadhouse singer in her 60s. The story is familiar and believable, a tantalizing reminder of the talent that has been lost. It deserves a wide audience.
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