So, let's just go on what votes we already have (in addition to me knowing Dannii's taste in books).
This month we are reading American Gods.
I have no idea when we're meeting.
... Andrew's balls.
The three book suggestions for this month are:
American Gods - Neil Gaiman
The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
Spares - Michael Marshall Smith
Please make your votes soon!
I am not available on the Tuesday night (10 April). However, it is the Easter holiday break and we could hold it another night that week. How is Monday for everyone (public holiday, end of the long weekend)?
We are reading 'You Shall Know Our Velocity' by Dave Eggers this month.
The book is available at Marrickville Library, among other places.
We need to work out a meeting time and place. My suggestion is we make it every second particular day of the month all of us are free (e.g. every second Thursday night).
So, does anyone have any other ideas? What night of the week are you available? Please leave comments so we can organise this soon.
My only busy nights may be Tuesday, and Monday - if 'Monday Night Dinner' is happening on the same night still.
ANDREW is sitting at his computer desk, awaiting the results of the latest Jurisfiction vote. A dim, solitary light provides just enough visibility from CS. He wears the same clothes from the previous act.
ANDREW types a few words and occasionally clicks his mouse before staring at the screen for a period of five to ten seconds. Suddenly, ANDREW lets out a very audible cry of joy and faces the audience.
ANDREW. It has come to my attention that the latest book has been chosen!
Pause for effect, and hopeful applause.
(his eyes moving between the different members of the audience). And it is you who have caused this . . . this . . . this, monstrosity! (accusingly) What do you plan to do about it? Did you even consider the consequences of your actions, or did you just blindly click on whichever option felt right at the time.
Some part of this event has clearly affected ANDREW so he sits down, cross-legged, in the centre of the stage with his back to the audience. He cries.
His sobs increase. Fifteen minutes pass. He turns around, clears his throat, and addresses the remaining members of the audience.
(jumping to his feet). Aha! So, you've decided to stay! That's super! No, I mean it! You guys are great! Man, if you guys could see my words in text form, I doubt the presence of exclamation points at the end of every sentence in this paragraph would surprise you in the slightest! If I could just harness the love I feel for you all right now you would all be struck by such awe that . . .
(composing himself) Ah, so where were we? Yes, the decision! Well, um, it is my distinguished duty to inform you of the answer - the answer to the question that has boggled scientists for billions of years now, for those of you who came in late - I mean, really, didn't you hear the door chimes? Did you think your conversation in the hallway was more important than . . . ah, but please excuse me, the playwright seems to have made my character one of easy distract.
ANDREW looks upwards, scratches his chin, and paces around the stage.
. . . now we are on the topic of the playwright, I begin to wonder his intentions for me. This, of course, must be a common train of thought for characters written to a sudden awareness of their fictionality. And the questions of existence and self awareness that naturally follow: are these common natural progressions of writing, or am I , in fact, thinking of my own accord. Am I human because I believe I am? Are you, the members of the audience eager, or confused, enough to stick around after my fifteen minutes of allowed crying time, any more real then I?
His pace suddenly stops, conveniently, once he is facing forward and on centre stage.
And what, if my sole purpose here is to introduce the next Jurisfiction book, happens to me once that information has been announced? Do I cease to be? Do I disappear as instantaneously as the mystery surrounding the announcement, once spoken, will?
(more talking to himself now than the audience) But what if my announcement was mistrusted? If they were uncertain as to whether I spoke the truth, would my purpose as a character have been adequately fulfilled, enough to grant me my freedom, while simultaneously leaving enough mystery surrounding my words as to require my living for just a little longer in the mind of the playwright?
If I lie, or if I suggest the possibility of deception, I may just save my own life.
(addressing the audience now) May I have your attention please? It is my duty, nay, my privilege to announce that this month's Jurisfiction book is . . . (his eyes look around the room, as if in thought) um . . . how about . . . You Shall Know Our Velocity, by Dave Eggers. I'd say that works nicely.
ANDREW's attempt to deceive the audience is not received well. Following various cries of irritation from the old ladies in aisle C, he is viciously, and fatally, beaten by the unruly mob. As luck would have it, once their havoc has obliterated three major cities and four day care centres they happen upon an all-night ice-cream parlour with relaxed health regulation procedures and they drop dead from food poisoning.
The moral of this story is this: If Harold chooses the lime-cappuccino-mango-boysenberry-swirl-w
It then dawns on the playwright that some information regarding the announcement was not relayed before the untimely death of ANDREW. He decides against writing in a whole new character just to ask the other members of the group when they would actually like to meet, or to inform them that four copies of the chosen title - and the validity of the curious announcement - are available from the Marrickville library Service. Instead, he retires to his bed, holds Edgar tightly, and drifts off to sleep . . . unaware that by writing himself into the notes of his own play, he will almost certainly be tempted to kill himself off by scene four.
1. William Elliot – The Pilo Family Circus
This acclaimed novel won the inaugural ABC Fiction Award. It was also joint winner of the 2006 Aurealis Award for best horror novel, and was awarded the 2006 Golden Aurealis, Australia's highest accolade for speculative fiction.
The Pilo Family Circus is the darkly comic tale of a young man who is press-ganged into working for the Pilo Circus as a clown with supernatural powers, and who subsequently has to face up to the dark side of his own human nature.
2. Dave Eggars – You Shall Know Our Velocity
Eggers's first novel traces the adventures of two friends as they travel across the globe, struggling with dangerous cars, the International Date Line, and the difficulty of distributing $32,000 in cash. Part romp, part allegory, all-American.
"There's an echolet of James Joyce there and something of Saul Bellow's Chi-town bounce, but we're carried into the narrative by a fluidity of line that is Eggers's own." -Entertainment Weekly
3. Gordon Dahlquist – The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters
It begins with a simple note. Roger Bascombe wishes to inform Celeste Temple that their engagement is forthwith terminated. But, Celeste, for all her lack of worldly experience, is determined to find out why her fiancé should have thrown her over so cruelly. Adopting a disguise, she follows her erstwhile lover to the forbidding Harschmort manor, where she discovers a world —by turns dizzyingly seductive and utterly shocking–she could never have imagined, and a conspiracy so terrifying as to be almost beyond belief.
Seething with danger, terror and romance, The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters is a mammoth work of the imagination, a deliriously readable, heartstoppingly suspenseful, and darkly erotic masterpiece of storytelling.
Hurry up and vote, n00b-bitches!
Are we having this farewell reading? If so, we should set a date now. emotivating, when are you around?
Will this one be exclusively poetry or all manner of prose? I really don't mind.
Here are my suggestions for December.
Please, try and have your votes in by Sunday at the latest.
For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest-I-Have-a-Rugged-and-Manly-Beard-H
For Whom the Bell Tolls begins and ends in a pine-scented forest, somewhere in Spain. The year is 1937 and the Spanish Civil War is in full swing. Robert Jordan, a demolitions expert attached to the International Brigades, lies "flat on the brown, pine-needled floor of the forest, his chin on his folded arms, and high overhead the wind blew in the tops of the pine trees." The sylvan setting, however, is at sharp odds with the reason Jordan is there: he has come to blow up a bridge on behalf of the antifascist guerrilla forces. He hopes he'll be able to rely on their local leader, Pablo, to help carry out the mission, but upon meeting him, Jordan has his doubts: "I don't like that sadness, he thought. That sadness is bad. That's the sadness they get before they quit or before they betray. That is the sadness that comes before the sell-out." For Pablo, it seems, has had enough of the war. He has amassed for himself a small herd of horses and wants only to stay quietly in the hills and attract as little attention as possible. Jordan's arrival--and his mission--have seriously alarmed him.
"I am tired of being hunted. Here we are all right. Now if you blow a bridge here, we will be hunted. If they know we are here and hunt for us with planes, they will find us. If they send Moors to hunt us out, they will find us and we must go. I am tired of all this. You hear?" He turned to Robert Jordan. "What right have you, a foreigner, to come to me and tell me what I must do?"
In one short chapter Hemingway lays out the blueprint for what is to come: Jordan's sense of duty versus Pablo's dangerous self-interest and weariness with the war. Complicating matters even more are two members of the guerrilla leader's small band: his "woman" Pilar, and Maria, a young woman whom Pablo rescued from a Republican prison train. Unlike her man, Pilar is still fiercely devoted to the cause and as Pablo's loyalty wanes, she becomes the moral center of the group. Soon Jordan finds himself caught between the two, even as his own resolve is tested by his growing feelings for Maria.
For Whom the Bell Tolls combines two of the author's recurring obsessions: war and personal honor. The pivotal battle scene involving El Sordo's last stand is a showcase for Hemingway's narrative powers, but the quieter, ongoing conflict within Robert Jordan as he struggles to fulfill his mission perhaps at the cost of his own life is a testament to his creator's psychological acuity. By turns brutal and compassionate, it is arguably Hemingway's most mature work and one of the best war novels of the 20th century. --Alix Wilber
Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell
At once audacious, dazzling, pretentious and infuriating, Mitchell's third novel weaves history, science, suspense, humor and pathos through six separate but loosely related narratives. Like Mitchell's previous works, Ghostwritten and number9dream (which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize), this latest foray relies on a kaleidoscopic plot structure that showcases the author's stylistic virtuosity. Each of the narratives is set in a different time and place, each is written in a different prose style, each is broken off mid-action and brought to conclusion in the second half of the book. Among the volume's most engaging story lines is a witty 1930s-era chronicle, via letters, of a young musician's effort to become an amanuensis for a renowned, blind composer and a hilarious account of a modern-day vanity publisher who is institutionalized by a stroke and plans a madcap escape in order to return to his literary empire (such as it is). Mitchell's ability to throw his voice may remind some readers of David Foster Wallace, though the intermittent hollowness of his ventriloquism frustrates. Still, readers who enjoy the "novel as puzzle" will find much to savor in this original and occasionally very entertaining work.
Mitchell's virtuosic novel presents six narratives that evoke an array of genres, from Melvillean high-seas drama to California noir and dystopian fantasy. There is a naïve clerk on a nineteenth-century Polynesian voyage; an aspiring composer who insinuates himself into the home of a syphilitic genius; a journalist investigating a nuclear plant; a publisher with a dangerous best-seller on his hands; and a cloned human being created for slave labor. These five stories are bisected and arranged around a sixth, the oral history of a post-apocalyptic island, which forms the heart of the novel. Only after this do the second halves of the stories fall into place, pulling the novel's themes into focus: the ease with which one group enslaves another, and the constant rewriting of the past by those who control the present. Against such forces, Mitchell's characters reveal a quiet tenacity. When the clerk is told that his life amounts to "no more than one drop in a limitless ocean," he asks, "Yet what is any ocean but a multitude of drops?"
Mao II, Don DeLillo
Don DeLillo's follow-up to Libra, his brilliant fictionalization of the Kennedy assassination, Mao II is a series of elusive set-pieces built around the themes of mass psychology, individualism vs. the mob, the power of imagery and the search for meaning in a blasted, post-modern world. Bill Gray, the world's most famous reclusive novelist, has been working for many years on a stalled masterpiece when he gets the chance to aid a hostage trapped in a basement in war-torn Beirut. Gray sets out on a doomed, quixotic journey, and his disappearance disrupts the cloistered lives of his obsessed assistant and the assistant's companion, a former Moonie who has also become Bill's lover. This haunting, masterful novel won the PEN/Faulkner Award in 1992.
TAKE THAT! Friends pages.
Here are the suggestions for this month. Four weeks from yesterday just happens to be the first Thursday of the month. Is this long enough for all of us? Unless there any objections later on, the 7TH of December will be the night of the next meeting.
I have provided links to Amazon.com, prices for Kinokuniya and Dymocks (according to their respective websites) and Marrickville Library availability as of this morning. Also, check out the author and title links for additional information.
Helen Garner - Joe Cinque's Consolation
Helen Garner followed the trials in the ACT Supreme Court. Compassionate but unflinching, this is a book about how and why Joe Cinque died. It probes the gap between ethics and the law; examines the helplessness of the courts in the face of what we think of as "evil".
Marrickville Council Library: 4 copies (Marrickville, Dulwich Hill, St Peters/Sydenham, Stanmore)
David Malouf - An Imaginary life
The Roman poet Ovid, exiled to a remote village on the edge of the Black Sea, tells the story of his meeting with a feral boy, brought up among wild animals in the snow. It is a luminous encounter between civilization and nature.
Marrickville Council Library: 4 copies (Marrickville, Dulwich Hill, St Peters/Sydenham, Stanmore)
Alex Miller - Journey to the Stone Country
Betrayed by her husband, Annabelle retreats in confusion to the supposed sanctuary of her old family home in tropical Townsville. There she meets and begins to work with ex-stockman and Jangga, Bo. Intrigued by his assertion that he holds the key to her future, she begins on a path into her past.
Marrickville Council Library: 3 copies (Marrickville (Due 29/11/2006), Dulwich Hill, Stanmore)
Tuesday the 31ST of October is Halloween!
MiniJames will be holding a special poetry and reading night for anyone interested. Feel free to invite friends along - especially if they bring food and drinks! The spooky night will kick off at about 7.00PM.
'Strangelove! The Musical' is playing at the Cellar Theatre until the 28TH. This week is already busy for me, but I was hoping to go some time next week. Does anyone else have the desire to join me?
Now, for a subject slightly more relevant to the community: I finished reading Slaughterhouse-Five earlier this week. I would like to put more time into it closer to the meeting, but if anyone would like to borrow my copy at some point between now and, lets say, the 5TH of November, we could easily arrange something. Alternatively, I got my copy for $15 from that book store in Glebe which always gives you 'ten percent off all books today'. The full price was $20. Their sale reduced the usual discount to 'twenty-five percent off all books today'. I think this sale is still current.
And finally, it is with great importance that I present the following:
It's relevant. I swear*. Eggie-weggs are like jack-o-lanterns; when you see them you just want to, "Smash 'em, and stick..." Err, well, you get the idea.
* Besides, Mark instructed me to include it.
We have a new book!
This month the delightful story entitled Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut will be read, processed, and discussed by the dedicated members of Jurisfiction. There were no alternate suggestions or objections to the next meeting being held at MiniJames on the 9th of November so, unless plans change from now until then, I will see you all there.
Slaughterhouse-Five, a wide and popular release, should be easily accessible from most book stores. Libraries and second hand stores have a good chance of stocking it also if you wish to save some money.