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View Full Version : Tell Us What To Read: Absolute Write Book Club - First Selection



Perks
05-18-2006, 07:17 PM
ETA - In true Survivor fashion, I think the book with the lowest number of votes will be eliminated and for our next round, I'll add two more. Please, PLEASE feel free to suggest titles or genres you'd like to see in the running for future planned reads.

Ladies and Gentlemen, do bear with me. A poll of my first selections for our book club reading is here somewhere. I'm sure we can find something in this lot that we can read and discuss and if you don't like the books I picked, tell me why and I'll try to do better next time.

We've got some science fiction, some literary, a bit of humorous epic and a thriller thrown in for good measure.

Peek at these synopses and vote in the poll. I'm thinking of giving it until Tuesday, unless someone has a better idea. Obviously, I'm winging it here. That's what I do.

The Sparrow (Paperback)
by Mary Doria Russell (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/search-handle-url/index=books&field-author-exact=Mary%20Doria%20Russell&rank=-relevance%2C%2Bavailability%2C-daterank/002-6546671-7196061) In 2019, humanity finally finds proof of extraterrestrial life when a listening post in Puerto Rico picks up exquisite singing from a planet which will come to be known as Rakhat. While United Nations diplomats endlessly debate a possible first contact mission, the Society of Jesus quietly organizes an eight-person scientific expedition of its own. What the Jesuits find is a world so beyond comprehension that it will lead them to question the meaning of being "human." When the lone survivor of the expedition, Emilio Sandoz, returns to Earth in 2059, he will try to explain what went wrong... Words like "provocative" and "compelling" will come to mind as you read this shocking novel about first contact with a race that creates music akin to both poetry and prayer.

Bel Canto: A Novel (Paperback)
by Ann Patchett (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/search-handle-url/index=books&field-author-exact=Ann%20Patchett&rank=-relevance%2C%2Bavailability%2C-daterank/102-3656948-3952100)

Opera and terrorism make strange bedfellows, yet in this novel they complement each other nicely. At a birthday party for Japanese industrialist Mr. Hosokawa somewhere in South America, famous American soprano Roxanne Coss is just finishing her recital in the Vice President's home when armed terrorists appear, intending to take the President hostage. However, he is not there, so instead they hold the international businesspeople and diplomats at the party, releasing all the women except Roxanne. Captors and their prisoners settle into a strange domesticity, with the opera diva captivating them all as she does her daily practicing. Soon romantic liaisons develop with the hopeless intensity found in many opera plots.

Poisonwood Bible : A Novel (Paperback)
by Barbara Kingsolver (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/search-handle-url/index=books&field-author-exact=Barbara%20Kingsolver&rank=-relevance%2C%2Bavailability%2C-daterank/103-7638641-8342216)
In 1959, Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist, takes his four young daughters, his wife, and his mission to the Belgian Congo -- a place, he is sure, where he can save needy souls. But the seeds they plant bloom in tragic ways within this complex culture. Set against one of the most dramatic political events of the twentieth century -- the Congo's fight for independence from Belgium and its devastating consequences -- here is New York Times-bestselling author Barbara Kingslover's beautiful, heartbreaking, and unforgettable epic that chronicles the disintegration of family and a nation.

Jitterbug Perfume (Paperback)
by Tom Robbins (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/search-handle-url/index=books&field-author-exact=Tom%20Robbins&rank=-relevance%2C%2Bavailability%2C-daterank/103-7638641-8342216)

Jitterbug Perfume is an epic. which is to say, it begins in the forests of ancient Bohemia and doesn't conclude until nine o'clock tonight [Paris time]. It is a saga, as well. A saga must have a hero, and the hero of this one is a janitor with a missing bottle. The bottle is blue, very, very old, and embossed with the image of a goat-horned god. If the liquid in the bottle is actually is the secret essence of the universe, as some folks seem to think, it had better be discovered soon becaused it is leaking and there is only a drop of two left.

Land of Echoes: A Cree Black Novel
by Daniel Hecht (http://www.powells.com/s?author=Daniel%20Hecht)
Tommy Keeday is a talented student at a boarding school for gifted Navajo teens, located in the vast high desert of western New Mexico. When he is suddenly seized by an illness with bizarre and frightening symptoms, his family believes he is possessed by a chindi, the hostile spirit of a dead ancestor. But Julieta McCarty, the principal of Oak Springs School, is unwilling to accept either a traditional Navajo explanation or a conventional medical diagnosis. In desperation, she calls on Seattle-based parapsychologist Cree Black.
Nothing in Cree's training as a clinical psychologist or her experience as a paranormal investigator has prepared her for the dangerous task of helping this brilliant boy in whom two spirits seem to battle. Is Tommy Keeday just a sensitive but troubled teenager, or is he suffering from an exotic brain disorder? Or is there truth in the terrifying Navajo legends of witches, skinwalkers, and malevolent ghosts? As Cree and her associates struggle to find the answer, it becomes apparent that there are secrets in the pasts of Tommy and the people around him, and that his fate can only be decided by exposing these unresolved longings and regrets.
Drawing on in-depth research and personal experience, Daniel Hecht's latest novel, the second in the Cree Black series, is a thrillingly plausible supernatural mystery, a passionate love story, and a thoughtful exploration of Navajo culture and identity in modern America.

CaroGirl
05-18-2006, 07:27 PM
Thanks, Perks. Great list. I've read The Poisonwood Bible and Bel Canto, so I'd be able to chime in on a discussion of those (although I might have to brush up on Bible; it was a while ago).

I haven't heard of the last one about the Cree, but that sounds very interesting, so that gets my vote. I'm curious to see which way it goes. I hope you get a lot of interest.

Perks
05-18-2006, 07:31 PM
Me too! Let's bug all our AW friends to weigh in.

AprilBoo
05-18-2006, 07:55 PM
I think this is a great idea - I voted for Poisonwood Bible, because it is currently sitting in my TBR pile. Easy access won the vote.

Perks
05-18-2006, 07:56 PM
That's a good enough reason! :)

jst5150
05-18-2006, 08:13 PM
I voted for Bel Canto. The thought of Opera divas, terrorists and special forces troops warms my cockles. Plus, my last read was "Heavy Metal: The Music and its Culture" by Deena Weinstein. So, I'm open to ideas. :-)

Shadow_Ferret
05-18-2006, 09:27 PM
Guess I'll be passing this time out. None of those sound interesting to me.

Perks
05-18-2006, 09:42 PM
Yeah, this will probably happen at first (and maybe continually for some, if I turn out not to be any good at this.)

A note to all - please feel free to tell me what sort, or even specific books, you'd like to see included for consideration.

Paint
05-18-2006, 09:56 PM
Good selection, they all sound good. Its a win-win I'm thinkin. I'm that lonely vote for Tom Robbins, I haven't read this one and I'm a fan. Sounds like fun!

Perks
05-18-2006, 10:00 PM
I haven't voted yet. I can't decide. I also love Tom Robbins. :)

Yeshanu
05-18-2006, 10:09 PM
Hmm.

I voted for The Poisonwood Bible (easy access thing again) before I read the descriptions. I'm sort of glad--can the ones that don't make it go on the next list?

I mean, the list after the next one, which will include LotR... :D

Perks
05-18-2006, 10:11 PM
Lol! LotR is a massive commitment, but I'll talk about it any old day. Read it a bunch of times.

I was thinking that if there were close races, that the other selections would make the next list.

Stew21
05-18-2006, 10:18 PM
I also voted for Tom Robbins. I'm a big fan, its a great book, read it so long ago that it would be fun to read again and discuss.

jenngreenleaf
05-18-2006, 10:23 PM
I voted for Poisonwood Bible because I started reading it when it first came out -- set it down, packed it away and forgot it was part of my collection. Now, this will give me a good kick the rear to dust it off and finish it up. :)

rtilryarms
05-18-2006, 10:51 PM
Guess I'll be passing this time out. None of those sound interesting to me.

(It worked Perks. I told you it would)

Perks
05-18-2006, 10:53 PM
No, no , no! I wanted him to pass out this time, not pass this time out. It's all gone horribly wrong.

rtilryarms
05-18-2006, 10:54 PM
I loved the name "Poisonwood Bible". I don't know why so I almost voted for it. But Bel Canto has most of the elements I seek when perusing my next read.

rtilryarms
05-18-2006, 10:55 PM
No, no , no! I wanted him to pass out this time, not pass this time out. It's all gone horribly wrong.


Women!

Just when you think...

Scribhneoir
05-18-2006, 11:27 PM
Jitterbug Perfume and Land of Echoes both appeal to me ... flipping coin ... Jitterbug Perfume gets my vote.

P.H.Delarran
05-18-2006, 11:30 PM
I voted for the Cree Black novel because the supernatural theme sounds intriguing, something different from my more recent reads.., but I'll read anything. The Poisonwood Bible is beautiful and would make for an interesting discussion, I've been wanting to read it again. And I've read another Ann Patchett book (I think) that i enjoyed, so that one looks good as well.
Thank you Perks for putting this together, should be fun.

Sarah Skilton
05-19-2006, 02:31 AM
Put me down for Poisonwood Bible. It's on my shelf, but I haven't had the chance to crack it open yet, and would love to read it with others.

poetinahat
05-19-2006, 02:52 AM
Jeez. This just illustrates how out of touch I am.

I'll go for just about any of them, but have none of them. It'll depend on what the bookstores actually carry here on this island outpost.

Perks
05-19-2006, 03:02 AM
I'll bet you can find most of those - even in Oz, poet-in-a-hut.

poetinahat
05-19-2006, 03:10 AM
Ooga booga.

http://www.conspiracyinc.com/Shag/S4434-sm.gif

Perks
05-19-2006, 03:15 AM
That was great. I snorted. So lady-like.

poetinahat
05-19-2006, 03:20 AM
Hee hee! I love a lady who can snort with aplomb.

(that guy is my talisman -- he's on my motorbike helmet)

jst5150
05-19-2006, 03:21 AM
Looking at the poll is like watching one of those watergun horse races at a cheap carnival. You're rooting for "Yellow" or "Red." C'Mon Blue!

Perks
05-19-2006, 03:25 AM
So while we're all waiting for Tuesday, why don't you tell me what you think I should do with the ones that don't make the cut? I was thinking of dropping the one with the lowest number of votes (been watching a little too much reality tv) and then supplementing two more for the next go around.

What say you all?

Perks
05-19-2006, 03:26 AM
Hee hee! I love a lady who can snort with aplomb.

(that guy is my talisman -- he's on my motorbike helmet)I cannot snort a plum. I have a delicate little honker.

P.H.Delarran
05-19-2006, 04:20 AM
I was thinking of dropping the one with the lowest number of votes ... and then supplementing two more for the next go around.

What say you all?
i like this idea.

Unique
05-19-2006, 05:11 AM
Land of Echos sounds good to me. But I'm not sure if I can get it.
Posionwood would be my second choice.

Perks
05-19-2006, 06:21 AM
For all you people who need a book, don't forget about Half.com (http://product.half.ebay.com/Land-Of-Echoes_W0QQprZ6020850QQtgZinfo). It's owned by ebay, but it's not an auction site. I've bought dozens of books from this site and have never had a problem.

The link I posted shows Land of Echoes in hardback, great condition for .75. For those kinds of bargains, AWers stateside might consider helping out some of our poor, uncouth, ooga-booga members in the void that is not THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

Perks
05-19-2006, 06:27 AM
Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins. Absolutely genius. You can google more info on it if you feel unsure, but it's unlike anything else. For certain.

Medievalist
05-19-2006, 07:14 AM
For next time, I'm up with LOTR.

And umm . . . Chaucer's Canterbury Tales.

I hear it's dirty!

aruna
05-19-2006, 12:12 PM
I voted Poisonwood Bible, which I read about a year ago, and was even going to suggest it as a likely contender. But Bel Canto would have intrested me as well - I haven't read it.
Bible is of the nature I sugeested - it divides people, you either love it or hate it, or love and hate it at the same time; I'm in the middle. A frined of mine, one of the best read and fussiest people in the world loathes this book with a vengeance, and another friend adores it. I'm gla dto see it in the lead!

Other books I had in mind: Captain Corelli's Mandolin, A Fine Balance, Catch 22

Unique
05-19-2006, 03:20 PM
For next time, I'm up with LOTR.

And umm . . . Chaucer's Canterbury Tales.

I hear it's dirty!


Canterbury Tales would work for me.
(Sorry, Ruth. I read The Hobbit, but the rest of LOTR...zzzzzzz)

jenngreenleaf
05-19-2006, 03:43 PM
I was thinking of dropping the one with the lowest number of votes ... and then supplementing two more for the next go around.

What say you all?I like this idea, too. :)

Perks
05-19-2006, 05:59 PM
Other books I had in mind: Captain Corelli's Mandolin, A Fine Balance, Catch 22Catch 22 would be wonderful! I love that book.

Sarita
05-19-2006, 06:02 PM
I'm voting for The Poisonwood Bible because I know I can steal it from my sister when I see her tomorrow. Jitterbug Perfume is a close second for me. My dad's been telling me to read that book for ages, it's about time. Will we use the second choice for the next round or will we revote?

Thanks so much for organizing this, Perks!

Perks
05-19-2006, 06:03 PM
And as far as Lord of the Rings goes, we certainly don't have to wait for this sort of thing to start a discussion on it here in book club. So many people have read it that it would probably be a lively thread from the get go.

The only hesitancy I have about adding as a planned read is the length of it. Myself? I've read it eleven times, so I could talk about it any old day, but it's quite a commitment. I will certainly add it to the list if there are enough recommendations!

aruna
05-19-2006, 06:04 PM
Catch 22 would be wonderful! I love that book.

Would you believe, I haven't read it yet but always meant to. This would be a good copportunity.

Sarita
05-19-2006, 06:08 PM
And as far as Lord of the Rings goes, we certainly don't have to wait for this sort of thing to start a discussion on it here in book club. So many people have read it that it would probably be a lively thread from the get go. The only hesitancy I have about adding as a planned read is the length of it. Myself? I've read it eleven times, so I could talk about it any old day, but it's quite a commitment. I will certainly add it to the list if there are enough recommendations!Yeah, I think Ruth should start up the discussion. A bunch of us have read it, we'd have plenty to talk about.

(You have me beat, Perks. Only 7 times, but I've read The Simarillion 4 times so :tongue there!)

Perks
05-19-2006, 06:10 PM
Lol! I did read The Silmarillon, but only once.

Yeshanu
05-19-2006, 06:15 PM
Yeah, I think Ruth should start up the discussion. A bunch of us have read it, we'd have plenty to talk about.

(You have me beat, Perks. Only 7 times, but I've read The Simarillion 4 times so :tongue there!)

All right, as the person who's read LotR the most times (30+ -- I've lost count), I'll start the thread. Later today. I've got to go out now, and then I'll come home and think up something intelligent as a discussion starter.

(Though you've beat me as far as The Simarillion goes, Sara. I'll have to catch up... :tongue )

As for "drop one and put two more on the list," I'm fine with that, though at this rate, it'll be my second choice that gets dropped. But thanks for the recommendation. I'll have to get the Cree Black novel and read it, too.

Sarita
05-19-2006, 06:16 PM
Lol! I did read The Silmarillon, but only once.It's the geek in me. I love reference books, I'm probably one of the only students who has read most of their text books cover to cover. I have an entire shelf of books about seaplanes, just because I find them really fascinating. Is it a boat? Is it a plane? (Who the hell decides to throw floats on a plane and say "Let's land this sucker in the drink!"?!?!?!)

Oh, by the way: I'd also like to suggest Wicked followed by Son of a Witch (I'm reading that now). I think it's a great read with a lot of thought provoking content.

Perks
05-19-2006, 06:19 PM
I haven't read Wicked, but I've read Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister and it is terrific. The last paragraph of that book is so beautiful, it hurts.

sassandgroove
05-19-2006, 08:26 PM
I haven't read Wicked, but I've read Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister and it is terrific. The last paragraph of that book is so beautiful, it hurts.

I'd like to do Wicked in a book club, partly becuase we have it on our coffee table (with about 50 other books we haven't read yet.) ;)

I voted for Bel Conto, though Sparrow looked neat too. I've never been in a book club, this could be fun. :):)

sassandgroove
05-19-2006, 08:28 PM
When does it start?

Perks
05-19-2006, 08:31 PM
Well, the poll ends Tuesday, so I was thinking of opening a thread for discussion on June seventh to give everyone a chance to find and read the book.

I also thought that we might schedule a live chat on or about the seventh, if that sounded like fun.

September skies
05-21-2006, 02:44 AM
I was trying to decide between Poisonwood Bible and Land of Echoes -- hmmm.

I finally went with Poisonwood Bible.

Perks
05-21-2006, 07:00 PM
Bump for voting! Just a couple of days left. At this point it looks like many of you will be dusting off your shelved copies of The Poisonwood Bible.

Come one, come all!

Perks
05-22-2006, 10:21 PM
Bump!

Are we done? You guys gonna read this?

Do you want me to try to schedule a live chat or should we just have a thread?

Lauri B
05-23-2006, 08:24 PM
I voted Poisonwood Bible, which I read about a year ago, and was even going to suggest it as a likely contender. But Bel Canto would have intrested me as well - I haven't read it.
Bible is of the nature I sugeested - it divides people, you either love it or hate it, or love and hate it at the same time; I'm in the middle. A frined of mine, one of the best read and fussiest people in the world loathes this book with a vengeance, and another friend adores it. I'm gla dto see it in the lead!

Other books I had in mind: Captain Corelli's Mandolin, A Fine Balance, Catch 22
Aruna, I'm with your friend--I LOATHE the Poisonwood Bible. I thought it was terrible and predictable and not at all up to Kingsolver's usual terrific work. I'll have to joing the group for the next round since I refuse to read it again.

Oh, Perks--please please please can we read A.S. Byatt's Possession next? It's my favorite book of all time. Please?

Perks
05-23-2006, 08:28 PM
Aruna, I'm with your friend--I LOATHE the Poisonwood Bible. I thought it was terrible and predictable and not at all up to Kingsolver's usual terrific work. I'll have to joing the group for the next round since I refuse to read it again.

Oh, Perks--please please please can we read A.S. Byatt's Possession next? It's my favorite book of all time. Please?I'll put it in the vote, sure! I've heard of this, but I can't remember why and your recommendation is weighted by the fact that I am afraid of you. (She'll get me - I know she will.)

Lauri B
05-23-2006, 09:48 PM
heh.

Talia
07-15-2006, 10:11 AM
well i have a confession - i haven't read ANY of those books. you can pretty much guarantee that if a book has won a "literary" award it won't be on my list

but if it's won an edgar or silver dagger (mystery books) then i will have read it ;)

rpauls
07-20-2006, 10:12 PM
Sorry, I'm new to this site. I was just looking for any online discussion of the Poisonwood Bible and I found this one. Are you guys already done reading it? Is the discussion over? This is probably one of the best books I have *ever* read and I would love to dive into it deep with any kind of discussion.

Please feel free to email me if you know of any place at all where I could discuss this beautiful book.

Thanks
Rich
rjpjnk@earthlink.net

Perks
07-20-2006, 10:14 PM
rpauls, you can still comment on the Poisonwood Bible in this thread (I'll link to it as soon as I find it - I thought we had some spillover discussion.) Unfortunately, we lost most of our discussion when there was a data hiccup a few days back.

I agree with you, btw - an absolutely amazing book.

Welcome to AW!