Book Club (May 2006)
It's about that time again, no? :)
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
White Noise by Don DeLillo
No particular reason; I've seen both mentioned in one place or another recently and was reminded I've always wanted to read them. They fulfill our basic requirements quite handily--easily available in paperback and not altogether "new."
I foresee that I'll have more time in May for book club reading. I look forward to it. I hope you will, too. :)
Great initiative, phat! :up Both suggestions are excellent, but my vote goes to The God of Small Things. It's been years since I read it, but I have very fond memories from the reading experience. I read it on a beach in Italy, and the sun, the waves, and the heat added to the atmosphere in a wonderful way. Having said that, there is no doubt in my mind that The God of Small Things will be just as thrilling a read in, say, an airplane, or indeed Birmingham, Alabama. :lol It is a remarkable, beautifully written story. The language is pure poetry; you'll find yourself lingering on to specific sentences for their sheer beauty. If you do pick The God of Small Things, I highly doubt that anybody will be disappointed. I keep waiting for a new effort by Arundhati Roy, but she appears to focus 100% on politics and journalism at the moment.
So yeah, I'm definitely leaning towards the first nomination. Of course, you can't go wrong with Don DeLillo, either; after all, he's one of the most renowned contemporary American authors for a reason. Just a friendly reminder, though: at 827 pages (yep, I went to the bookshelf to check), White Noise is a bit daunting. It's not 800+ easy, breezy pages either. If I may, I'd suggest we hang on to White Noise as a summer reading project, like Oprah's "Summer of Faulkner". I'm not saying it's impossible to finish within the course of a month, but it would take an enormous amount of time and effort, things that tend to be hard to come by this time of the year. If we pick The God of Small Things for the May book club, we could read White Noise throughout June and July and start discussing it towards August. That way, we'd have time to come up for air every once in a while and truly digest the novel. Confession time: While White Noise has been on my bookshelf since I bought it back in my late teens, I have yet to read it. Between the sheer weight of the thing and all the dissertations that have been written about DeLillo, I suppose part of me is afraid of reading it. I have read the first page, though, and it's very promising. But I'd probably need a project like our book club to read it. *hint*
Another reason to go for The God of Small Things: so far, we've primarily focused on American writers. Adding Arundathi Roy, who is East-Indian, to the mix would make our book club more ethnically and geographically diverse. It would also be a wonderful opportunity for us to explore a part of the English-speaking world that most of us don't know very much about.
What do the rest of you bookworms say? :)
The God of Small Things sounds fantastic. I've just put in my request at the library and should be able to get a copy soon.
Of course, if another book is chosen, I'm sure it will be great too. I have yet to be disappointed with a selection here at the FORT book club! The best part is that all of the books so far are ones that I would never have come across on my own (and isn't that the point of a book club?). Thanks to all you avid readers for expanding my horizons!
I agree with The God Of Small Things. I have not read that one in a long time. Unforunately, a friend borrowed and its been with her for a year now... Time to pay someone a visit...
When I started reading The God of Small Things, it didn't take long before I realized that Roy's writing style would contribute as much--if not more--than her characters or her plot. The writing, for example, is filled with simile and metaphor. One that grabbed me was: "Strange insects appeared like ideas in the evenings..." (11).
I think that style for the sake of style detracts from a good story, and detracting from a good story, to me, would be the commission of a cardinal sin by the author. However, I think that a simile is most effective when the pairing of the two things being compared/contrasted (e.g. "insects" and "ideas") is unique and original and yet instantly recognizable to the reader.
Do you think Roy's style detracts or contributes to your reading of The God of Small Things?
To me, it only contributes to the greatness of the book. It's like you said: it's the language, rather than the characters or the plot, that takes centre place in her story. Personally, I not only like novels that are beautifully written and filled with stylistic devices - I tend to prefer them altogether. I do agree that style for the sake of style makes the story suffer, though. A truly great writer, however, always makes sure that the metaphors, similes, and "stylistic jewelry" (for lack of a better word) ameliorate the story, contributing to the overall feel of the novel. In my opinion, Arundhati Roy is a truly great writer. And you're right, phat: a simile should consist of two contrasting and unique images in order to be successful. I love unusual imagery.
Originally Posted by phat32
This is just my opinion, though, and as I said, I'm a sucker for language-based novels (also known as mind porn :lol). Does anyone beg to differ?
Sometimes, I think of reading a book as akin to watching a play, with the quality of acting equivalent to the author's storytelling ability and the sets, costumes and quality of the theatre equivalent to the novelist's ability with language. The latter make for an enjoyable experience; the former are the reason a book or play is memorable, exciting.
Originally Posted by geek the girl
I agree with you, geek the girl, that I prefer finding books with both.
Does Roy have "it"? I don't know. It's too soon to tell, but so far, Roy's descriptions and use of language is impressive, to say the least.
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