Bookwormed Again 

Sunday, April 09, 2006

After a bookwormy Sunday and listening to one of the greats of Canadian comedy, Stuart McLean, whose character Morley joined the world's most inane bookclub before forming her own, the time has come to create my own bookclub.

Matt was thinking the same thing. We plotted quickly. Him, I feel bad recommending a book I haven't read but I do want to read something new too. Me, Don't worry, as long as we've heard the books are good, no one can fault us.

So off my list go Slaughterhouse Five, Neuromancer and Catch-22. No crossing off the Dickens novels from my list either.

For years I've wanted to join a creative nonfiction bookclub, too. So two bookclubs it is.

Both will be encouraged to stick to the twentieth and twenty-first centuries and to try to be no more than 300 pages.

The first will be a fiction bookclub. I've flagged a few potential books:
  1. Nancy Mitford: The Pursuit of Love
  2. Jane Austen: Northanger Abbey
  3. Tom Robbins: Even Cowgirls Get the Blues
  4. Margaret Atwood: The Edible Woman
  5. Kobo Abe: Secret Rendezvous
  6. Peter Hoeg: Miss Smilla's Sense of Snow
The second bookclub has some of the nonfiction titles in my collection and others I've ogled:
  1. Jeremy Seal: Snakebite Survivor's Club
  2. Roderick Grierson: The Ark of the Covenant
  3. Evelyn Waugh: Remote People
  4. Ray Raphael: A People's History of the American Revolution: How Common People Shaped the Fight for Independence
  5. Miles Harvey: The Island of Lost Maps: a True Story of Cartographic Crime
  6. Nathaniel Philbrick: In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex
  7. Kenn Harper: Give Me My Father's Body : The Life of Minik, the New York Eskimo
  8. Lawrence Otis Graham: Our Kind of People: Inside America's Black Upper Class
Or, I could make my club strictly a biographical reading club, with such greats as:
  1. Tove Jansson: The Sculptor's Daughter
  2. Nien Cheng: Life and Death in Shanghai
  3. Geza Vermes: The Changing Faces of Jesus
  4. Enchantress: Marthe Bibesco and Her World
  5. God's Chinese Son: The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom of Hong Xiuquan
  6. Annie Dillard: An American Childhood
  7. Simone de Beauvoir: Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter
  8. Stella Tillyard: Aristocrats: Caroline, Emily, Louisa and Sarah Lennox 1740-1832
  9. Deirdre Bair: Anais Nin
  10. Evelyn Lever: Marie Antoinette
  11. Alison Weir: The Life of Elizabeth I
  12. Stacy Schiff: Vera (Mrs. Vladimir Nabokov)
  13. Richard Wright: Black Boy
  14. Liane de Pougy: My Blue Notebooks
  15. Viktoria Schweitzer: Tsvetaeva
  16. Barbara Sjoholm: Pirate Queen: In Search of Grace O'Malley and Other Legendary Women of the Sea
What's the next step? Putting up signs around the neighbourhood, in my favourite teashop and at bookstores. Does anyone have any experience with this sort of thing?

hmmm.... what about a subset of books made into movies - successful or impossible to recreate the literary experience? "Miss Smilla's Sense of Snow" was made into a movie (that's what made me think of it), and I believe so was "Even Cowgirls Get the Blues".
That's almost, really, all books. I am rereading Roald Dahl's The Witches and thinking of how they slaughtered the ending in the film.
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