Re: Bleagh, spirituality

1

Never heard of it, but the author's name suggests a strong "No" vote is in order.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 6:48 PM
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Really? How come?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 6:50 PM
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I was looking at someone's FB profile earlier today, someone who feels comfortable preaching to anarchists about how to be more strategic, who listed Richard Bach as one of their favorite authors. I thought to myself, "Richard Bach? Like Jonathan Livingston Seagull, no, I must be confused and that's actually Stephen King's old nom de plume. But no, she actually meant Richard Bach. Fuuuuuuuucked up.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 6:56 PM
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So I went to Amazon, clicked "search inside this book", then "Surprise me!", and found a page containing the following sentences:

"But the flipside of darkness is light."

"Plants do not flourish in the noonday sun, but rather in the privacy of the new moon."

"Maybe it is not the absence of the moon that frightens us, but the absence of what we expect to be there."

Make of that what you will.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 6:56 PM
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4: Nothing good can be made of that.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 6:57 PM
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This interview would seem to confirm your suspicions, heebie. She sounds harmless, but sort of awful.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 6:58 PM
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The quoted passages in 4 say what I wanted to say much better than I ever could have. Except, perhaps, in the shelter of the new moon, when I'm at my best.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 6:58 PM
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In fairness, she's better than harmless. She's actually a force for good in the world. But she's neither a very good writer nor a very sophisticated thinker.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 6:59 PM
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I haven't read T.T. Williams, but every time I mention to people how much I enjoy Edward Abbey's early essays (collected in Down the River), they recommend I try her. She's LDS, btw, at least in origin.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:00 PM
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Except, perhaps, in the shelter of the new moon, when I'm at my best.

Those PMS drugs are really working for you, eh?


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:00 PM
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7: I can offer you the shelter of my moon whenever you're in need, ari. Just say the word.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:00 PM
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every time I mention to people how much I enjoy Edward Abbey's early essays (collected in Down the River), they recommend I try her

No. Really, no. Nuh-uh. Just no.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:00 PM
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Okay, maybe Heebie should just pick Abbey then.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:01 PM
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One of my carpoolmates is even a right-minded Unitarian, and I asked her privately if the Theology professor was being too Lutheran for my tastes, and she said it was really very good.

But it still just felt off. Can't trust either one of those yahoos, I guess. I enjoy them both dearly but they've got a touch of the "NPR is genius!" bug, if that makes sense.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:07 PM
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You could just google-up some Harry Potter fanfic and discuss that. Just include '- "snape's penis"' and you'll be fine.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:08 PM
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The only other idea I have is The Spy Who Came In From The Cold. Which was great, and you all recommended for me, (LB in particular.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:09 PM
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Just include '- "snape's penis"' and you'll be fine.

But you've really got to punctuate it exactly like that. I mean, that's the secret code.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:10 PM
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18

Really? How come?

It's the "Tempest" that sets off the alarm bells, really.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:10 PM
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19

Just read Cold Comfort Farm instead.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:11 PM
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The only argument against The Spy is that it's mildly in the same vein as the last two books we've had - The Passage and The Shadow of The Wind - in that all of them are plot driven instead of charactery.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:11 PM
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It's the "Tempest" that sets off the alarm bells, really.

It's not as bad as you think. The author lives in a teapot.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:12 PM
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19: Ironically, that really was my pick the last time it was my turn. People generally liked it.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:12 PM
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19 is the correct answer. To any number of questions.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:12 PM
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Cold Comfort Farm is pretty much the best book ever. But if your book group includes anyone humorless, then maybe not.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:12 PM
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Cloud Atlas, which I think many people enjoyed, is terrific. Or you could have them read the whole Hunger Games trilogy and then contrast the lead character with what's-her-name from the shitty vampire books that...oh wait, Bella and Twilight. That falls squarely in the "NPR is genius" sweetspot, I'm guessing. Or you could go with Overton Window, because Glenn Beck needs the money.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:12 PM
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It's the "Tempest" that sets off the alarm bells, really.

But if that's her maiden name, there are a lot of good reasons to use it that override the tempestness of it, no?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:13 PM
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27

23, 24: 22.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:13 PM
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28

25: Are you mocking my book club?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:14 PM
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22, 23, 24: Taste. I has it. Laydeez.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:14 PM
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Or you could have them read the whole Hunger Games trilogy

The first one genuinely spooked me a bit, at least near the beginning. Before I had a feel for exactly how horrific a situation the author was willing to design.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:15 PM
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28: I'm not! Cloud Atlas really is a wonderful book (though perhaps not the easiest of reads). And Hunger Games was terrific fun. And and, I think there's something to the dystopic heroine comparison that's very NPR but also maybe worth a discussion.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:16 PM
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32

29: Are you claiming that you haz a flavor?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:17 PM
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33

I didn't like The Passage very much. I got pretty bored.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:18 PM
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Further to 31, there's a lot to like about the first two books in the Hunger Games trilogy: great indictment of the national security state, fantastic sense of timing, well-drawn characters, pretty good feminist politics, an author who's game for just about anything. That's good book club fodder, I'm guessing.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:19 PM
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32: I haz that, too, but refrained from mentioning it. See 29.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:19 PM
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36

I'm always the grumpy one at book club who bitches about the book, which is really not how I see myself at all when it comes to books.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:19 PM
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37

Although I liked Shadow of the Wind a lot.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:20 PM
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38

Is 33 a non sequitur? Or is it just me?


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:20 PM
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39

Earlier today, I recommended Karen Joy Fowler's The Jane Austen Book Club and Jennifer Egan's The Keep as books for a friend's book club. I think Egan has a new one out, fwiw.

(Cloud Atlas is fantastic. As are CCF and Came in from the Cold.)


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:20 PM
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38: Broccoli Rabe.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:21 PM
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Also, I'm suspicious that you all will recommend books that are too hard. Which is why I originally turned to my carpool. I'm apparently the Goldilocks of books.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:22 PM
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42

Maybe if not The Spy Who Came In From The Cold a different Le Carre? There are others that are a lot more character driven.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:24 PM
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43

How about What a Carve Up! by Jonathan Coe? (I think it may have been published under a different title in the U.S.)


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:24 PM
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44

I like The Keep. Ooh -- are we doing that sort of book now? For the anti-Twilight vampire book, go The Historian. Archivists!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:24 PM
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45

If you like spy books, Robert Ludlum's older novels are great. He was the best "secret Nazis are everywhere" writer around.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:26 PM
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46

With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa, which I read recently, would actually make an excellent book club book, although given that US book groups are roughly 98.5% women, I doubt it's ever been selected.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:27 PM
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47

Allow me to be the first to recommend Being and Time.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:33 PM
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48

Allow me to be the first to recommend Fresh Salt.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:34 PM
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Heebie, what manner of bookclub is it? If they're in the market for something thought-provoking but not too heavy in the way of contemporary fiction, I can vouch for Louise Erdrich's [i]The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse[/i]? (Features talkative spirits, cross-dressing, sex, violence, complicated conflict between faiths and families and cultures and generations, and Chopin's music as sensual enchantment. It's extravagant.)


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:36 PM
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50

I have jumped way ahead to say that Heebie should pick Abbey!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:38 PM
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I, like Jackmormon, have been recommended Williams after enjoying Abbey. But I think the real suggestion should be Mary Austin, The Land of Little Rain.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:38 PM
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It's posts like these that make me happy that I'm just a drunken, semi-nihilistic, aesthete. And as such, I think you should read either À rebours or A Fans Notes.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:39 PM
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46: That is indeed an excellent book. It answered all the questions I ever had about Pacific warfare, including, how do you shit in a foxhole?


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:40 PM
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54

Cloud Atlas is indeed fantastic. As, for anyone who's considering it, is The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet. It sounds like your book club would find Mitchell's Black Swan Green most congenial, though.

If you're willing to mess with people a bit, I'll recommend Remainder, by Tom McCarthy. It's not difficult, but it's definitely disturbing.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:40 PM
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something thought-provoking but not too heavy in the way of contemporary fiction,

This is a pretty good description. Many of them are the type of person who is totally fun and delightful in person, but writes terrible facebook statuses/online presences. I always have a blast, but it uses a different part of my brain than Unfogged.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:40 PM
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56

52: Or The Universal Baseball Association.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:41 PM
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57

how do you shit in a foxhole?

Try to avoid getting any on the fox. They have sharp teeth.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:42 PM
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Many of them are the type of person who is totally fun and delightful in person, but writes terrible facebook statuses/online presences.

Have you checked them for bruise marks?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:42 PM
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55 cont'd: one of them linked sincerely, in her personal blog, to that terrible travel blogger who had the angelic daughter who was trilingual at 6 months and could play violin with the sound off while Pachabel's Canon was dubbed in over, for homeless starving kids who had probably never even heard of a violin before this angel descended.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:42 PM
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For the anti-Twilight vampire book, go The Historian.

I am looking forward to reading A Discovery of Witches as another such book. (For more personal reasons, too.)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:43 PM
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59: You should really find an anonymous way to get your book club to read that thread. That was a brilliant, and only slightly cruel, thread.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:45 PM
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60: Oooh.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:45 PM
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63

It really was, wasn't it.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:46 PM
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The Louise Erdrich DS recommends might be right. I haven't read her recently myself, but she's solid and worthy of great respect, yet accessible.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:48 PM
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55: Yeah, I think the Erdrich would definitely work.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:53 PM
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(Certainly would be a step up from what's described in 59 -- which I'm ashamed to say I know exactly what that is -- but an accessible and fun step.)


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:54 PM
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67

Seriously, if you ever want a depiction of a truly second rate department, The Looking Glass War is brill.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 7:57 PM
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68

Does it have to be fiction? I feel like I should be able to come up with any number of recommendations for entertaining, not-too-difficult non-fiction.

How about Number: The Language Of Science (tobias danzig)? The title is a bit intimidating but I found the book itself very entertaining and not dry. Or what about Woman: An Intimate Geography (natalie angier) which I haven't read yet (shame on me) but in one of the all-time favorite books of a friend of mine with very good taste.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 8:08 PM
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69

William Gibson has a new book out, fyi. It's about fashion.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 8:11 PM
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70

Just read Cold Comfort Farm instead.

Yes! "No shawls in the evening." Words to live by.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 8:11 PM
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71

Are the members of heebie's book club all ladies?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 8:16 PM
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I liked Remainder a lot. What's disturbing about it?

If you want to read some good essays, I recommend those collected in Wilde's The Decay of Lying.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 8:24 PM
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71: If the mean in Texas are gentlemen, who's to say they aren't ladies?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 8:29 PM
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Eeeeh. "mean" s/b "men".


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 8:30 PM
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71: They are indeed.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 8:36 PM
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76

Oh, maybe Randall Jarrell's Pictures from an Institution? It's a great, devastatingly witty academic satire.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 8:38 PM
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77

Devastatingly is one of those qualifiers that always makes me second-guess the person's judgement. Not you, Mr. Blandings. But others.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 8:42 PM
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#56. I'm not all that fond of The Universal Baseball Association, but that could be a personal thing between me and Coover. I did give A Fan's Notes to a female friend and she became completely obsessed with it.

Other suggestions: Every Eye by Isobel English; The Dud Avocado, by Elaine Dundy; or just about anything by Penelope Fitzgerald, The Blue Flower, in particular, if you're looking for something "spiritual."


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 8:42 PM
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79

if you're looking for something "spiritual."

I'm giving this impression?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 8:45 PM
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80

Well, you do seem a little...lost.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 8:47 PM
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81

Maybe it's not the absence of being found that scares you, ari, but the privacy of the new moon and losing stuff.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 8:49 PM
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82

Not all who wander are lost, ari.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 8:50 PM
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79: See the title of the post. That along with your description of some of the members of the group as fascinated by the travel blogger with the trilingual 6-month-old made it sound as though something spiritual is sought.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 8:51 PM
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84

I lost my wonderwall.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 8:51 PM
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85

Spiritual is explicitly not sought. That was the turn-off with the book in question. "Bleagh" as in "pukey".

Also, one of them likes to travel a lot. So she linked to the pretentious pukey travel blogger. It's not a group obsession.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 8:54 PM
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I think you should read either À rebours or A Fans Notes.

Enthusiastically seconded. Also, Moscow to the End of the Line and Wonderful, Wonderful Times.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 8:56 PM
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Oooh, a book thread.

I dunno, Kindred? It's probably not charitable, but I like pushing people to read genre fiction.

The Price of a Child was very solid, but relentlessly downbeat, and probably of more local interest to Philadelphians.

I adore Elinor Lipman and have recommended her repeatedly in these threads. I do think hers are well worth considering, unless you think your book club is going to take the comedy of manners purely at face value.

I really like Richard Price, but his books are getting longer (and frankly the last one did need an editor).

I like what I've seen of Italo Calvino, but it's hard to see it as book club material, exactly. I'll keep thinking.

(Just please please please please whatever you do, do NOT pick The Help. Thank you.)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 8:56 PM
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88

A copy of The Seed Principle recently showed up in our mailbox, mailed to a previous resident. It's got funny pictures at least.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 8:57 PM
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89

If I wrote a book called Why NPR Sucks Ass in a Bus Station Bathroom for a Dollar, would you share it with your book club?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 8:58 PM
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77: Fair enough, and thanks for already having a low enough opinion of my judgment that you didn't need to revisit it.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 8:59 PM
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Just please please please please whatever you do, do NOT pick The Help. Thank you.

Heh. Someone picked this about six months ago. It's unbelievably terrible. It's a fucking fantasy of how broadminded and socially responsible the author would have been if she'd lived in Mississippi in 1961. "I'd have had so much foresight! Black people should be treated nicely! Let me put this down on paper!"


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 9:00 PM
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89: Would your book explain why so many of the women have the exact same voice?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 9:00 PM
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93

Can't go far wrong with Springer's Progress.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 9:00 PM
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85: Okay. I misunderstood.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 9:01 PM
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Spiritual is explicitly not sought.

So, no Faith and Practice, then. It's OK; I'm not offended.

I used to give Madeleine L'Engle's Two-Part Invention: The Story of a Marriage as a wedding gift, although people find it a bit odd.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 9:01 PM
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#79. At this time of the night, I'm drunk and I'm flailing. Don't hit me. I just thought that, you know, a novel about Novalis' genius and his true, spiritual, love, might be a nice book club book, especially if your carpoolmates are in your club.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 9:02 PM
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92: Because they're the same person. I think I can expand that into a chapter.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 9:02 PM
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Would your book explain why so many of the women have the exact same voice?

Garrison Keillor made a joke last night in this vein about Ann Taylor and Scott Simon. I was thinking at the time, that's a pretty fucking niche joke you got there, GK, and this is just the audience for it.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 9:03 PM
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91.last is the best laugh I've had today, and given that I ended a 12-hour stint in the office by leaving my train/building pass on my desk, thus locking myself out and needing to ask building security to let me in, which resulting in missing my train and having to wait an extra 45 minutes, it was sorely needed. Thanks, heebie.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 9:04 PM
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The Blue Flower is good, as is The Bookshop. I believe I read another of Fitzgerald's novels too, having gone on a brief kick in high school.

The Dud Avocado has come up here before. Nice. In fact you probably can't go too far wrong just picking some random thing published by NYRB.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 9:05 PM
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101

Anyway, I don't mind NPR as long as I don't need to listen to it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 9:06 PM
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102

That's what people said about Hitler, Moby.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 9:07 PM
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98: Hey! Scott Simon wrote a book recently about his adopted daughters, and in an interview about it, he almost cried, got choked up, and, well, that was a distinguishing mark.

I don't mind the well-modulated voices of the NPR crew for the most part, if the alternative is screechiness or anything high-pitched.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 9:08 PM
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104

103.2: Apparently, you're worse than Hitler.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 9:09 PM
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105

#100. Was it The Offshore? That was another favorite of mine.

you probably can't go too far wrong just picking some random thing published by NYRB.

You really can't. I've read a dozen or so of the NYRB books and every one of them has been absolutely absorbing.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 9:13 PM
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In fact you probably can't go too far wrong just picking some random thing published by NYRB.

Some of the self-published books advertised in the NYRB might lead to interesting discussions.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 9:14 PM
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Wait. What am I thinking? Read this book! It's apparently good. I haven't read it yet, but it's getting lots of good reviews from real places, such as The New Yorker blog. More importantly, you can be be all, "Yeah, I know someone who's friends with the author. Not a big deal."


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 9:17 PM
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108

Oh, wait! Girl in Translation. I've been wanting to read it; you can let me know if it's worth it.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 9:21 PM
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109

Oh, yeah. If we're plugging friends here, then don't miss War Is Boring. Plus, it's like, a graphic novel, so you can read it in an evening.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 9:25 PM
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105: that's the most familiar name, but I'm really not sure—maybe I just contemplated buying it.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 9:31 PM
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111

or just about anything by Penelope Fitzgerald

Fixed that for you.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 9:35 PM
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112

They say that Rick Bass' new novel Nashville Chrome is good. Not all of 'em say so, but your folk just might like it.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 9:50 PM
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113

More importantly, you can be be all, "Yeah, I know am super-secret pretend internet friends with someone who's friends with the author. Not a big deal unless my telling you this leads to blowing my cover."


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 9:50 PM
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114

I plan to read it; the alternative condescending reading of 112.3 is not the intended meaning. And, if 113, floats you boat, we did have Bass over for dinner last fall.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 9:57 PM
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115

Come to think of it, 112 would be a fine premise for a critically acclaimed, NYRB-reviewed novel sitcom that's dropped, to no one's dismay, after 3 episodes.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 9:57 PM
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116

Bass on Williams


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 9:59 PM
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117

Oops, 115 to 113, though I suppose we could work in a character who's an ex-D.C. lawyer who high-handedly dismisses a folksy Texas reading group.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 10:00 PM
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118

If you really want something unspiritual, you should be reading some Tao Lin.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 10:00 PM
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The comments to the link in 116 are not bad for the genre.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 10:07 PM
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Plugging for friends: Blue Streak. Yeah. It's a sports book. But the emphasis is on the storytelling. And I get a shout out in the acknowledgements. Also, the author is just the nicest guy.


Posted by: Duchess of Rothesay | Link to this comment | 09-13-10 10:40 PM
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I finally read Cloud Atlas and was mostly bored. Every now and again it would start to get interesting and then just fade away again. The dialect bit in the middle annoyed me too and was the most boring. Someone tell me what I missed.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 09-14-10 1:59 AM
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My favorite Onion joke about NPR voices


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09-14-10 6:21 AM
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I think Gain by Richard Powers would be fun to discuss, though it's (a) something of a downer & (2) over a decade old.


Posted by: Rah | Link to this comment | 09-14-10 12:04 PM
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Richard Price is so, so sharp/funny/good. Clockers, Freedomland, or his new one would all be good choices.

What's Hunger Games about?


Posted by: dz | Link to this comment | 09-14-10 12:06 PM
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It's young adult SF -- dystopian future where teenagers are chosen by lot to fight to the death in a Survivor-type reality show. If that sounds like the kind of thing you might possibly read, it was fast-moving and well-written.

I should warn people with timid children that (having heard it recommended) I gave a copy without reading it to a lovely but nervous friend of my daughter's for her eleventh birthday, and it scared her so badly that she gave it back because she didn't want to be in the same apartment with the book.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-14-10 12:10 PM
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Given that I first mentioned it above, I feel like I should second that warning: read Hunger Games yourself before giving it to a kid to read.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 09-14-10 12:12 PM
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LB, will you send me an e-mail when you have a moment: akelman AT jooceedavis DOT edu.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09-14-10 12:14 PM
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Hunger Games sounds awesome! I'm a bit alarmed to admit how much of my fiction reading the last few years has been YA, either by way of overcompensation for being child-free or (likelier) by way of mental regression. I blame the Internet.

Even so, I'm full of love for Terry Pratchett's Tiffany Aching books (new one out this month!), Scott Westerfeld's Uglies and its sequels, and Cory Doctorow's For the Win (which I've described as the SF novel I've been awaiting for 20 years).

I know there are haters here for most or all of the above, & they can bite me.


Posted by: Rah | Link to this comment | 09-14-10 12:20 PM
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Hunger Games is indeed awesome. I'm a bit sleep deprived today as a result of making the mistake of starting the second book late last night. I'm curious to know how popular the book is with boys, given the female protagonist and the extensive makeover scenes.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09-14-10 12:31 PM
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127: Assuming I've correctly deciphered the spamproofing, sent.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-14-10 12:34 PM
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I actually thought that was ToS trying to trick LB into sending ari an email, for some nefarious purpose.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09-14-10 12:38 PM
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juicydavis dot edu is ari's:

(a) collaboration with the ag school, showcasing a different fruit each week
(b) pornographic venture
(c) tabloid


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-14-10 12:42 PM
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91: I can't find it now but Michelle Norris on ATC had the most subtly nasty interview with the author of "The Help." She got her to talk about the similarities and differences between white southern and black southern speech. Then got her to read a selection from a character of each background. Of course, she read the white southern voice in exactly the same voice she had been using throughout the interview (not at all stereotypical southern of any type -- very faint accent). Her reading of the black southern voice was the most stereotyped, ridiculously broad, I've ever heard. Norris didn't comment -- listener left to imagine the twisting knife. I'm pretty sure the author never realized.


Posted by: jackie | Link to this comment | 09-14-10 4:28 PM
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It's young adult SF -- dystopian future where teenagers are chosen by lot to fight to the death in a Survivor-type reality show.

It's a young adult American version of Battle Royale?


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 09-14-10 4:42 PM
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It's a young adult American version of Battle Royale?

That would be Quarter-Pounder Battle.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 09-14-10 5:03 PM
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Check out the big brain on Josh!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-14-10 5:06 PM
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136: It only looks bigger because his parents trimmed back his foreheadskin when he was a baby.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-14-10 5:10 PM
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137: That's why he has so much pulp friction?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09-14-10 5:19 PM
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Good to see you, Rah! The first two Tiffany Aching books were the bomb. I will be delighted to bite you for the Cory Doctorow love, however. (You should read "The Boneshaker" and tell me if it's good.)


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 09-14-10 5:24 PM
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Boneshaker was pretty good. Not deep or anything, but entertaining enough and not actively annoying.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 09-14-10 7:46 PM
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I really liked Refuge when I was a freshman at BYU. I don't think I would enjoy it much now, and yeah, it's pretty spiritual in both the good and the cringe-inducing senses.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 09-14-10 8:31 PM
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Rah! I was also going to suggest Gain, but I was too devastated by the reaction to my previous suggestion. (It is a decade old, but compared to Pictures from an Institution, that's contemporary.)


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 09-14-10 8:57 PM
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I will 3d Gain, but maybe heebie doesn't want to read it?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-14-10 9:01 PM
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If she waits for your 3d version, she won't have to.


Posted by: Awl | Link to this comment | 09-15-10 2:31 AM
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||

David Garrett revealed in Parliament how he used the plot of the novel The Day of the Jackal to fake a passport. .

Yep. NZ, ladies & G=gents.

|>


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 09-15-10 3:56 AM
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Gain is good. It alternates a current sory with a history. But Oudemia is right. The current story ends up being about a family where someone has cancer.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 09-15-10 4:03 AM
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Blah!

There!


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 09-15-10 4:04 AM
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25, 28, feminist perspective on 'Hunger Games' v 'Twilight':

Not sure if this is why it was mentioned, but there's a post on just this question at Salon, here. It's probably a reliable guide to how most discussion on this topic will go: Bella's goals and relationship are awfully retrograde, but she chooses her choice, and is very much an purposive agent; Katniss is badass, but always merely responds to events, never seems to fully accept her agency.


Posted by: x. trapnel | Link to this comment | 09-15-10 6:38 AM
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Boy, I don't agree with that analysis at all. I only read the first one. But it seemed pretty clear that Katniss knew what she wanted, and it was to be back in her normal life, except with plenty of food for her family, and not have gov't be oppressive. Sure she doesn't have any agency. Because it's a dystopia. Not because she's a weakling.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-15-10 7:34 AM
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Having read all three of them (if you're not dying to learn how it comes out, the first was, IMO, way the best), I can buy seeing Katniss as reactive: she's in way over her head throughout the whole thing, and doesn't have enough information to really be "choosing" her preferred outcome. She's got motivations: survive, protect family and friends, hurt the people who are screwing with her, much more than long-term goals.

I'm not following the argument that this makes the Twilight series more feminist, or really that this difference between the books (Bella pursuing a goal, Katniss struggling through uncontrolled events) makes sense to read as a more/less feminist difference.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-15-10 7:41 AM
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146: I've said this here before, but CA gave his brother a copy of Galatea 2.2 while his brother was basically enacting the heartbreaky bits, complete with North American raised Dutch girlfriend moving back, etc.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-15-10 7:42 AM
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147: Best paragraph from the linked article about the NZ MP:

Today's revelation comes after Garrett confirmed he had an assault conviction relating to a brawl outside a bar in Tonga in 2002. He was fined $10 for that incident, in which he had his jaw broken in two places after being hit from behind by a top psychiatrist.

Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-15-10 7:43 AM
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She doesn't have a lot of control over her circumstances and her choices are nearly limited to tactics, but in the second book she is essentially dealing with the consequences of her climactic decision in the first, and at one point she makes a very important choice, only to have it be completely overtaken by events.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09-15-10 7:49 AM
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150: I should have been clearer; I saw it as more of a "on the one hand ... ; on the other hand ..." A framework for comparison/discussion, not a conclusive judgment. With the issue being the somewhat narrower question of "is Bella/Katniss a Good Role Model for Girls These Days?", as opposed to all of the other ways one could evaluate the two books on feminist grounds.


Posted by: x. trapnel | Link to this comment | 09-15-10 8:25 AM
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News you can use:

"Gary Ross, director of Pleasantville and Seabiscuit, has reportedly emerged as the main contender to helm the adaptation of Suzanne Collins's young adult trilogy."

I've never read the books, but I like both of those movies.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-15-10 9:12 AM
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Huh. They might film well -- what usually gets lost between book and movie is big chunks of the plot and any hope of making sense, and neither the exact plot nor sense-making was terribly important.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-15-10 9:15 AM
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and neither the exact plot nor sense-making was terribly important.

That's what I keep telling people.


Posted by: Opinionated Michael Bay | Link to this comment | 09-15-10 9:23 AM
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I only read the Salon piece until I ran into some book three spoilers, but here is the contrarian tell:

Her behavior is understandable, but never freely chosen. "I'm not just a piece in their game," is her habitual refrain, but except for a few climactic and highly circumscribed moments, she's often just that.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09-15-10 9:26 AM
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152: ...hit from behind by a top psychiatrist.

A bottom psychiatrist wants you to hit him from behind.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 09-15-10 9:44 AM
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Oh, I make no claim for Doctorow as a prose stylist (he's written two novels that bored me silly)--and his style tends to be airily utopian, which can grate. But For the Win moves well and handles both character & action with grace (including the only time a fight scene has ever made me cry).


Posted by: Rah | Link to this comment | 09-15-10 1:42 PM
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