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View Full Version : AbsoluteWrite Book Club - Round III



Birol
08-31-2006, 10:05 AM
Welcome to the preparatory poll for the third AbsoluteWrite Book Club, started originally by Perks. Please vote for the book you'd most like to read as a group. The book with the most votes will be selected for group discussion. The book with the least votes will drop from the poll to vanish forever into the midsts of time.

Voting will close on Friday, September 8th.

This round's selections include:


The Sparrow (http://www.amazon.com/Sparrow-Mary-Doria/dp/0449912558/sr=1-1/qid=1157003815/ref=pd_bbs_1/002-9635239-0023262?ie=UTF8&s=books) by Mary Doria Russell
Jitterbug Perfume (http://www.amazon.com/Jitterbug-Perfume-Tom/dp/0553348981/sr=1-1/qid=1157003899/ref=pd_bbs_1/002-9635239-0023262?ie=UTF8&s=books) by Tom Robbins
Possession: A Romance (http://www.amazon.com/Possession-A-Romance/dp/0679735909/sr=1-1/qid=1157003969/ref=pd_bbs_1/002-9635239-0023262?ie=UTF8&s=books) by A. S. Byatt
The Stolen Child: A Novel (http://www.amazon.com/Stolen-Child-A-Novel/dp/0385516169/sr=1-1/qid=1157004036/ref=pd_bbs_1/002-9635239-0023262?ie=UTF8&s=books) by Keith Donohue
Praisesong for the Widow (http://www.amazon.com/Praisesong-Widow/dp/B000F5FQZ4/sr=1-1/qid=1157004104/ref=pd_bbs_1/002-9635239-0023262?ie=UTF8&s=books) by Paule Marshall
To keep things interesting, I'll set the poll so you can vote for multiple titles, too.

Unique
08-31-2006, 11:16 PM
Ew.

Birol
09-01-2006, 12:04 AM
Ew? Why ew?

Unique
09-01-2006, 01:10 AM
Okay. Not ew.
:e2yawn:

Birol
09-01-2006, 01:35 AM
I take it nothing on the list is appealing to you? ;)

Birol
09-02-2006, 04:10 AM
No one's voted in awhile. Does that mean you guys are done? :)

robeiae
09-02-2006, 06:08 AM
My vote is for this (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0375424059?v=glance). I'm halfway through; it's excellent.

CaroGirl
09-02-2006, 11:42 PM
I'll give Jitterbug Perfume a go. I just like the name, really. When are we starting this shindig anyway?

Birol
09-03-2006, 12:17 AM
The poll closes on the 8th. I figure two weeks for everyone to obtain and read the selection, then we'll open a new thread for discussion. I'll put up a new poll for the Round IV selection around October 1st, unless a new forum mod has been chosen by then. Suggestions (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=40027) aren't only welcomed, they're pretty much a necessity.

Soccer Mom
09-05-2006, 09:00 PM
Just bumping this up so others will notice it.

P.H.Delarran
09-08-2006, 08:28 AM
I picked Jitterbug Perfume. Looks like a nice change from the stuff I've read recently, and it's old enough to find at the used store.

Birol
09-09-2006, 09:48 AM
The poll has officially closed.

Jitterbug Perfume it is.

Can you have it read by September 23rd?

TrainofThought
09-10-2006, 05:44 AM
How about a month, Oct. 7?

P.H.Delarran
09-12-2006, 02:25 AM
I just picked up my copy today. I'm sure I can read it by the 23rd.

Birol
09-12-2006, 02:54 AM
I think we're going to give everyone until October 7th as Train requested. Amy will be by around then to start the discussion thread.

Soccer Mom
09-12-2006, 03:19 AM
Cool. That leaves me plenty of time for procrastination and then frantically reading late at night. It'll be like college again.

AmyBA
09-12-2006, 03:37 AM
Hi all-- sorry I'm late to the thread-- Yes, Oct. 7 sounds like a good date to start the discussion on Jitterbug Perfume. Happy reading!

Birol
09-12-2006, 04:25 AM
Cool. That leaves me plenty of time for procrastination and then frantically reading late at night. It'll be like college again.

That's the thing, I'm currently in grad school and I'm like "What? Everyone can't read two books plus 'extra reading' in one week? And what's it matter if you don't like the book?*"



*Okay. Must admit. Flaubert's Parrot, which I must discuss tomorrow night and again next Tuesday, I've only read about 1/3d of it. Just couldn't do it. It was... gah blech. I'll skim it tonight and tomorrow and maybe look some stuff up on it so I can get through the discussion.

Soccer Mom
09-12-2006, 07:17 AM
Pleasure reading was the thing I missed the most in law school. I would doing well if I could get in most of the reading I was supposed to do. I got married in law school and I took almost thirty novels (paperback) with me on my honeymoon. The only person who didn't think I was nuts is my husband. Which is why I married him :D.

Grad school and writing and reading? My hats off to you.

Unique
09-16-2006, 02:03 AM
I checked out JP from the library. Has anyone else started?

I don't want to be one of two people who reads the darn thing. It's staying on the counter until someone else tells me they're reading it.

Perks
09-16-2006, 02:08 AM
I've read it. I'll read it again, so it'll be fresh. That's a good endorsement!

Unique
09-16-2006, 02:11 AM
Does your copy have that ... interesting ... author photo inside the back cover?

(what's up with that?)

Perks
09-16-2006, 02:13 AM
I'll have to peek. Tom Robbins is a fruitcake for sure. It'll be interesting, people's response to this one. It's nothing you've read before, I can guarantee. Free night in the guestroom and a trip to the Biltmore if you hate it. ;)

pdr
09-16-2006, 03:55 AM
Can't get a cheap copy sent out to me in time. Still trying.

AmyBA
09-16-2006, 07:40 AM
I checked out JP from the library. Has anyone else started?

I don't want to be one of two people who reads the darn thing. It's staying on the counter until someone else tells me they're reading it.

I'll read it. I promise. :)

P.H.Delarran
09-16-2006, 08:38 PM
Can't get a cheap copy sent out to me in time. Still trying.
pdr, don't know where you are, but if you have a used bookstore nearby, they should have a copy. there were several copies at mine.

I've started it. I'm on part II. wow what a wild ride this is. you're right Perks, like nothing I've ever read. but I'm enjoying it greatly.
and yes Unique, I saw that picture..umm....yeah.

Birol
09-16-2006, 10:55 PM
P.H, PDR has indicated she doesn't have any bookstores nearby. I know this is presumptuous to post on the open board, but maybe you or someone else who knows where to obtain a copy could lend her a hand?

The largest potential problem is shipping. I don't believe she's in North America.

Birol
09-16-2006, 11:02 PM
I've found two (http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=775239581&searchurl=y%3D10%26bsi%3D90%26tn%3DJitterbug%2BPer fume%26x%3D50) copies (http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=734215418&searchurl=y%3D10%26bsi%3D120%26tn%3DJitterbug%2BPe rfume%26x%3D50) in Australia, but they seem a little pricey to me.

P.H.Delarran
09-17-2006, 01:37 AM
oops, I missed that, but I have offered that in a comment. I'll pm her. I think I paid something like $2 for mine. I trade books, which makes everything I buy there half price, and now have over $100 in credit lol.

pdr
09-17-2006, 04:06 PM
Being in Japan means it's hard to find books in English and it does seem to take a while for the 2nd hand online people to get a cheap copy to me.

The other problem is cost. If it doesn't cost less than $4 the postage puts it way over the price of a new book!

I really appreciate your kind offers; I'd like to see the book club flourish.

AmyBA
09-18-2006, 05:50 AM
I don't know if this helps much, but if you don't mind a lot of online reading, Random House does have an ebook version for sale-- $8.95:

http://www.contentlinkinc.com/83E0585D-9754-4AEC-87EE-312451596F5C/10/16/en/ContentDetails.htm?ID=0553897926&type=ISBN

Soccer Mom
09-19-2006, 06:44 AM
I got it today and already I'm 50 pages in. It's a quick read, but merciful heavens this is a weird book.

Soccer Mom
09-24-2006, 04:00 AM
Is everyone reading? I'm about halfway through. Who all is reading this one?

Perks
09-24-2006, 04:15 AM
I've read it before, so I'm really looking forward to hearing what you all have to say.

TrainofThought
09-24-2006, 05:18 AM
Is everyone reading? I'm about halfway through. Who all is reading this one? I just started it. To me it is odd, but I'm curious where he is taking me.

pdr
09-26-2006, 04:22 AM
It's come and I'm galloping through. Feels very 60s to me so far.

Unique
09-27-2006, 01:41 PM
I'll have to peek. Tom Robbins is a fruitcake for sure. It'll be interesting, people's response to this one. It's nothing you've read before, I can guarantee. Free night in the guestroom and a trip to the Biltmore if you hate it. ;)

I hear the Biltmore is stunning at Christmas.

Perks
09-27-2006, 03:01 PM
Really? Boo. I loved it. But then again...

Anyway, pack your bags, but do it now. The grounds are what make the Biltmore special - the hemlocks. The house? It's a big ostentatious house. Come on over.

Soccer Mom
09-27-2006, 05:17 PM
I'm getting a little bogged down. I guess my problem is that while it is interesting, I don't care much about the characters. I'll keep slogging.

Birol
09-27-2006, 05:52 PM
I'm not reading it -- as I mentioned, I have too many other books I have to read every week -- but from the comments I'm hearing, it sounds like it's a post-modern fiction? Which is interesting, only in that I'm currently enrolled in a post-modern fiction class and I've come to realize that I really don't like a lot of what qualifies as post-modern fiction.

Just based on everyone's comments, if you're enjoying Jitterbug Perfume, you might want to check out Flaubert's Parrot and Lost In The Funhouse. Be warned, I didn't actually finish reading either of them. Flaubert's Parrot, I just couldn't. Lost In The Funhouse was more of a time thing. My schedule has been up in the air this past week.

Soccer Mom
09-27-2006, 05:59 PM
Definitely post-modern fiction. This is a good exercize for me, because I probably wouldn't read this on my own.

Ow. I think that was my horizon expanding.

Unique
09-27-2006, 06:22 PM
I think it was your head exploding.

I had to stick cottonballs in my ears to keep my brains from leaking out.

Of course if I had some of the drugs he must have had while writing this, I could probably get real happy real quick.

Soccer Mom
09-27-2006, 09:01 PM
I was sick and running a fever when I started this and I think I enjoyed it a lot more. I probably could use some of his happy pills.

I'll try the cottonballs to keep the brain intact. LOL.

pdr
09-28-2006, 08:01 AM
What a terrible book.
It's tedious!!!

It's nothing you've read before,
But Perks it is. And it's trying to be.

Apparantly Robbins fancies himself as America's Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw and P.G. Wodehouse rolled into one. He has neither the brains, wit, nor funny bone to do it. Nor does he have their writing ability.

He also seems to fancy himself as a modern Shakespeare with that wondrous facility to use words. Hah! He's ghastly! All those overdone and overblown metaphors and similes that are often so obscure the reader is pulled up to go: 'Huh?' and try to work them out. If you want to write clever and witty asides read Terry Prachett not Tom Robbins.

NO, it's NOT post-modern. Post-M is bleak, purposeless and suicide inducing, and often nasty with it, usually in a very tight, sparse and constipated style of writing based on Hemingway et al. Few metaphors and similes and no joyous use of words.

This is spawn of the 80s, the worst of New Age. Inhibitions are wrong, sex is all, plus a passing conscious mention of ecology with the forced symbolism. Tom Robbins is obviously like some of my trendy professors in the 80s who used to lean on the pretty young students with the same line about inhibitions and sex.

He's like a little boy writing rude words on street walls and yelling 'pe*nis'. He's so busy trying to shock the reader and prove what a great uninhibited writer he is that the story goes to pot. ( Yes, that is an intentional double entendre!)

Why didn't his editor tell him to cut out the sideshows and tell the story?

I've skim-read to the end now after carefully reading half of it, couldn't bear to read the rest properly!
I can see why it sold at the time. Can't see it becoming a classic, the writing's too lousy.

Birol
09-28-2006, 08:09 AM
Seems like the discussion is already starting. ;)

pdr
09-30-2006, 05:06 AM
What's great about this book? I'm a Kiwi so I've used the blunt antipodean way of saying 'it stinks!' Doesn't mean to say I can't appreciate another's opposite views.

AmyBA
10-07-2006, 04:59 PM
Morning all! I started a new thread for talking about Jitterbug Perfume here: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=43144. (Everyone read the book, right? ;) )