A Drinking Club with a Book Problem

Let the Great Drunks Argue
May 5, 2010, 7:07 pm
Filed under: Trevor | Tags:

For our last Drinking Club with a Book Problem meeting, we read Colum McCann’s Let the Great World Spin. For the most part, everyone really enjoyed the book, and there was an agreement that this was one of the best books we have read thus far. Not a surprise though, Let the Great World Spin did win a National Book Award and we, like many, are swayed by such accolades—especially after a few libations.

Due to the fact that everyone was on the same page, and the fact that our resident “devil’s advocate” was absent for this session, the discussion turned into just nods of approval. Queue Trevor making ridiculous claims that have little or no merit, yet are fascinating points nonetheless:

Yes! Kool-aid man! Damn right, Trevor making ridiculous arguments is fun. Oh, YEAAAH! Without spoiling any of the book for our large, loyal and devoted readership, Corrigan = Pimp! And Scene! Since this whole club was founded on the predication of Preeti and myself arguing, drunkenly, over minute literary details, we thought it was great fun. However, some of the other citizenry of the club might have thought otherwise. To them, I say: Let the Great Drunks Argue!

(EDIT: Corrigan was not a pimp!)


Lunch in the Cafeteria on a Rainy Day; The Mezzanine
March 12, 2010, 7:09 pm
Filed under: Preeti | Tags: , ,

To begin, our meeting about The Mezzanine, or, NO DRINKS FOR YOU:

Unfortunately, the world was against us with this book. The two members who genuinely enjoyed the book couldn’t make the much-rescheduled meeting, and the rest of us just couldn’t quite make it through. For some it was the denseness of the text, others it was the lack of a storyline, but overall – the observations, the footnotes, it just felt like the they didn’t add up to anything. (Maybe it did in the end, who knows? Trevor and Celia know.)

The Mezzanine follows the observations and ramblings of a “modern office worker” and so when we consistently rescheduled and eventually had to end up having the meeting at work during lunch (and for the first time without our booze), it seemed pretty apropos of our material. And as with many work related incidents, the inability of us to finish also seemed weirdly appropriate. It’s a book that I hope one day to finish… but I can’t make any promises about. However, I will absolutely put it on my Outlook calendar with tentative acceptance and hope for the best.

Now, for this month’s reading material, the nominees! (Which will hopefully go over better, and with more drinking).

1. Doghead, Morten Ramsland

In Doghead, Ramsland treats U.S. readers to a highly imaginative, exuberant saga that follows three generations of a wildly dysfunctional Norwegian family. The tale begins as Asger, the narrator, visits his dying grandma, who has a few corrections to make to certain family stories. Asger learns that contrary to popular belief, Grandpa was not a war hero. Instead, his nickname was “Crackpot,” and both before and after he escaped from a Nazi concentration camp, he was to put it bluntly, a cheat and a liar.

2. Let the Great World Spin, Colum McCann

It’s August of 1974, a summer “hot and serious and full of death and betrayal,” and Watergate and the Vietnam War make the world feel precarious. A stunned hush pauses the cacophonous universe of New York City as a man on a cable walks (repeatedly) between World Trade Center towers. This extraordinary, real-life feat by French funambulist Philippe Petit becomes the touchstone for stories that briefly submerge you in ten varied and intense lives–a street priest, heroin-addicted hookers, mothers mourning sons lost in war, young artists, a Park Avenue judge. All their lives are ordinary and unforgettable, overlapping at the edges, occasionally converging.

3. Stuck Rubber Baby, Howard Cruse

Art and story combine powerfully in this lyrical tale of a young man caught in the maelstrom of the civil rights movement and the systematic homophobia of small-town America. Told in flashback, this is the story of Toland Polk, the son of an uneducated white carpenter who has grown up in the Southern town of Clayfield. It is the 1960s, a time of passionate beliefs and violent emotions, and Clayfield’s citizens are divided in the fight over segregation. As Toland fights on the side of the civil rights activists, he slowly begins to realize and try to deny that he is gay. With a subtle yet intricate plot, and distinctively evocative illustrations, Stuck Rubber Baby is an unflinchingly honest look at one man’s world of fears, dreams and prejudice.

4. The Little Girl Who was too Fond of Matches: A Novel, Gaétan Soucy

The story concerns two young siblings who have been raised in isolation by their father. They speak a language gleaned from the Bible, tales of chivalry, and Spinoza’s Ethics, and live in their own odd world of superstition and (inescapably naive and incorrect) supposition. When they wake one day to find their father dead, the recorder of the tale or, as she calls herself, the “secretarious,” ventures for the first time into the nearby village to purchase a coffin. Contact with the villagers speedily unravels the bizarre truth of her and her brother’s existence, and they must choose between adapting to the horror of the real world or shutting out knowledge that contradicts every foundation on which they have built their lives.

As you can see, we’re in a tough spot with decision making this time around… we might even get our first graphic novel! (… Squee.)

Votes are supposed to be in by Tuesday, and so we will see how this goes then. Until Tuesday, I remain … at my desk. Thinking about the shoes that I don’t have to tie.

Reading: The Mezzanine
March 1, 2010, 8:27 pm
Filed under: Preeti | Tags: ,

This month (last month-ish), we’re attempting to meet about The Mezzanine. I say “attempting” because weirdly coinciding with the nature of the book, our professional (and nonprofessional lives) do not lend themselves to making a successful Outlook Meeting Request. Art and life together!

So, in the meanwhile, here is Trevor’s take on a little piece of The Mezzanine.

I am currently reading The Mezzanine by Nicholas Baker—a great read which I would highly recommend to anyone who is a consumer, has worked in an office, or has, when alone in an elevator, pretended to walk like a windup toy into a wall. The Mezzanine is a short, dense read with multiple footnotes.

Check out the full post over at his happyhour home, Happy Hour Lit. More news once we’ve all, you know, finished the book. (I say nonchalantly despite my still having only read one chapter).

An Introduction
January 19, 2010, 7:04 pm
Filed under: NonBook | Tags: ,

As WordPress begs me to say, “Hello World!” … and to add a few of my own words, “We are alcoholics… who read.”