Official Call for Book Club Selection Suggestions(for September'04)
Okay we have a few nominated already, and we will vote next weekend thats the twenty eighth. Remember: any OBCB member can nominate but only those who have participated in the previous discussion can vote.
[b]"Wild Sheep Chase"[/b] - Haruki Murakami
[indent]From Publishers Weekly
Immensely popular in Japan, the author's first novel to be published here is a comic combination of disparate styles: a mock-hardboiled mystery, a metaphysical speculation and an ironic first-person account of an impossible quest. The narrator is a modern Japanese yuppie: divorced, in a mildly exciting relationship and a much less exciting job as an ad copywriter, he lives unexceptionally until a photograph throws his life into chaos. The snapshot, which he uses to illustrate a newsletter, shows a field of sheep with one unique crossbreed, and the picture is special enough to have attracted the attention of both the nomadic friend who sent it to him and a right-wing Mr. Big who, moribund, wants the source found before he dies. The Boss's henchman, a sleek, scary majordomo, gives the narrator one month to track it down, and the story that ensues is a postmodern detective novel in which dreams, hallucinations and a wild imagination are more important than actual clues.[/indent]
[b]"The Painted Bird",[/b] - Jerzy Kosinski
Many writers have portrayed the cruelty people inflict upon each other in the name of war or ideology or garden-variety hate, but few books will surpass Kosinski's first novel, The Painted Bird, for the sheer creepiness in its savagery. The story follows an abandoned young boy who wanders alone through the frozen bogs and broken towns of Eastern Europe during and after World War II, trying to survive. His experiences and actions occur at and beyond the limits of what might be called humanity, but Kosinski never averts his eyes, nor allows us to.
[b]The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature[/b]
Semiautobiographical novel by Jerzy Kosinski, published in 1965 and revised in 1976. The ordeals of the central character parallel Kosinski's own experiences during World War II. A dark-haired Polish child who is taken for either a Gypsy or a Jew loses his parents in the mayhem of war and wanders through the countryside at the mercy of the brutal, thickheaded peasants he meets in the villages. He learns how to stay alive at any cost, turning survival into a moral imperative. Full of graphic... [/indent]
And I'm going to nominate:
[b]Checkpoint[/b] - Nicholas Baker
[b]From the Publisher
A Note from the Publisher[/b]
Checkpoint is a work of fiction by acclaimed author Nicholson Baker, a novella that explores the peculiar angst many Americans are feeling right now about their country and their president. The book is set up as a conversation between two old high school buddies. One of them, in despair about the direction the country is going, is convinced he must kill the president; the other tries to talk him out of it.
Baker wrote Checkpoint in response to the powerless seething fury many Americans felt when President Bush decided to take the nation to war. "How do you react to something that you think is so hideously wrong?" asks Baker. "How do you keep it from driving you nuts? What do you do with your life while this wrong is being carried out? What are the thoughts—the secret thoughts, the unpublishable thoughts, so to speak—that go through your head?"
Some people have rational responses. Others do not. Baker’s book does not suggest violence is ever an appropriate response. But in order to understand the reasons why a violent act is always a mistake, one must first look at the contemplation of such an act.
The dialogue in Checkpoint is angry, funny, pointed and absurd. All of it has relevance to our world. And it is through the conversation in this novel that Baker hopes to raise important questions about how we react to violence—both individually and as a nation.
Checkpoint will go on sale in bookstores nationwide August 10.
[b]From the Inside Flap[/b]
[i]From Nicholson Baker, best-selling author of Vox and the most original writer of his generation, his most audacious novel yet.
Jay has summoned his old friend Ben to a hotel room not far from the nation’s capitol. During the course of an afternoon, they will share a delicious lunch and will crack open a bottle of wine from the hotel minibar. They will chat about everything from Ben’s new camera to Iraq to the unfortunate fate of a particular free-range chicken.... [/i]