Weather may have deterred most of the group but our discussion of Persepolis became a full-scale lesson in graphic novels and comics. The table was covered with books about graphic novels (and snacks) and different examples of the format, from old school Swamp Thingto Scott Pilgrim. For someone who had never read a graphic novel before, was Persepolis the best one to start with? We agreed that the format may have made getting into the story difficult. For those readers who are “words people”, reading separate panels with little to no dialogue is a challenge. Marjane Satrapi’s style is heavily influenced by Art Spiegelman’s Maus and by the group of graphic novel artists she was part of in Paris: L’Association. These graphic novels tend to be in black and white, with stark lines and separated panels. We compared these to novels like Scott Pilgrim, which is in full colour and the panels are odd shapes and sizes, sometimes running into other panels. Easier to read? Harder? Depends on what appeals to you. We discussed the content of Persepolis and how this aspect of the history and life in Iran before and after the Shah and the Revolution was something that was really unfamiliar to us. It brought up the question of would you even have children in such a situation. For myself, I could go on and on, as I’m a huge fan of graphic novels. Instead I will leave you with a few resources and a poll question.
First, a great welcome to Viola and Casey, our newest subVERSEive members!
I suspected that the discussion for Jack Kerouac’s On the Road would be wild and contentious. Well, maybe we weren’t wild, but there were strong feelings about the book, especially Jack Kerouac’s writing style and the characters of Dean Moriarty and Sal Paradise. We started the evening with an old video of Jack Kerouac reading part of his book on the Steve Allen Plymouth show. Geoff, our Teen Services Library Assistant, joined us as an aficionado of the Beat Generation, and filled in the gaps on Jack Kerouac’s short life, his beliefs and the reaction from 1950′s society to those who considered themselves “Beat”. The only thing we all agreed on is that this relevantly short book took a very long time to read…and also the the character of Dean Moriarty was, as in Sal’s words, “a rat”. After a brief break for hot apple pie and ice cream (“nutritious and delicious”), we came to the conclusion that this book was un-rateable, and for me, unforgettable.
On a more organizational note, we decided to revert back to the original set-up of subVERSEive, where one group member was assigned the task of leading the discussion at the following meeting. Viola has volunteered to start the group off for Timothy Taylor’s The Blue Light Project. Next meeting: Monday Feb 11th at 7pm in the library.
We were a small group that met to discuss Julian Barnes’ The Sense of an Ending this month, but we had a good discussion anyway.
We agreed that none of us liked Veronica or her family, but some felt more strongly about her than others. We also agreed that it wasn’t Tony’s fault that he didn’t ‘get it’, as there was no possible way he could have. (I’m trying not to give things away for those who haven’t read the book yet). We agreed that once he had the pieces, he came to a logical conclusion, even if it was not correct.
There was also the feeling that there was no real ending to the book, it just sort of ended without tying up loose ends. Some members didn’t like that, while others thought that the author was constrained by the characters he had created, meaning that there could be no true ending.
Overall, we enjoyed the book, giving it a rating of 3.5/5.
Reminder that next month is our Christmas party. We will be meeting on December 10 at 7:00. There is no set book this month, so come prepared to tell us about a book you have read outside of bookclub.
A big welcome to Ailís and a welcome back to Allen!
Many thanks for an enjoyable discussion of Richard Wagamese’s Ragged Company! I was intrigued by the emotional responses–some of us hated the book to start, then loved it; some of us had a hard time finishing it because reading it was emotional exhausting; those of us who read it as a e-book had absolutely no idea what the book was about. We all agreed that the premise of the book: a group of homeless people finding a winning lottery ticket, was highly improbable but served as a framework for a tale about story, connections and facing the past. We discussed the author, Richard Wagamese, as understanding where he came from (foster system, battles with alcohol) helped to understand the book. We also watched a brief video of Richard doing a story performance (check out Richard’s videos on YouTube). And, of course, the talk moved to movies, reading in general, language, story… The only thing we forgot to do was rate the book, so please post in the comments section (I give it a 4.75 out of 5).
Next book is Ann Patchett’s State of Wonder (ready for pick-up anytime), and we meet on Monday Oct. 15th.
As the end of summer approached, thoughts turn to reading! subVERSEive bookclub meets again on Monday September 17th at 7pm. Usual place: 2nd floor of the St. Albert Library in the Training Room. September’s book is Ragged Company by Richard Wagamese. Come into the library anytime to pick up your copy. We also have one copy available as an eBook.