12 Angry Readers

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

2008 Half-year schedule: January-June

Jan 13th: Kockroach, by Tyler Knox - 368pp, with an optional reading of Kafka's Metamorphosis. Renee/Tina leads

Feb 10th: The Milagro Beanfield War, by John Nichols, 464pp - Paul leads

Mar 9th: Wine and War: The French, the Nazis, and the Battle for France's Greatest
, by Donald Kladstrup & Petie Kladstrup - 304pp - Carl leads

Apr 13th: Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, by Gregory Maguire - 560pp - Kacie leads

May 11th
: Charity Girl, by Michael Lowenthal - 336pp - Renee leads

June 8th: Wars of Blood and Faith: The Conflicts That Will Shape the 21st Century by Ralph Peters - 384pp - Jeff leads

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Saturday, September 15, 2007

Oct 07: Sherlock Holmes selections

For our October meeting, we'll be discussing the following stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle:

The Hound of the Baskervilles
The Empty House
Silver Blaze
Musgrave Ritual
Reigate Squires
The Greek Interpreter
Charles Augustus Milverton
The Abbey Grange
The Second Stain
The Bruce Partington Plans
The Devil’s Foot
The Dying Detective
His Last Bow
A Scandal in Bohemia
The Adventures of the Speckled Band
The Final Problem

Carl will be leading the discussion.

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Sunday, September 02, 2007

Rest of 2007 Schedule

Here is the proposed schedule for the rest of the year:

Sept 9th @ 4pm: The Children of Men, by PD James & movie
Oct 7th @ 5pm (normal time): Sherlock Holmes Selections
Nov 16th-18th: Wintergreen Weekend; book is Princess, by Jean Sasson
Dec: Skip Month

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Books to Share

This is a new thing we can try out: sometimes we read a book, but don't want to keep it in our collections. Here's the first of probably several that I wouldn't mind giving away or trading:

Not Enough Indians, by Harry Shearer.

Anyone who wants it may take it home at next meeting.


Apr 07: As Simple As Snow Questions

Some of you may not have an edition of the book with the questions, so here they are:

1. Why does the author leave the narrator of the story unnamed, but tells us that he was named after his mother's brother who had died at thirteen? What clue does Anna give the reader about what the narrator's name might be?

2. Anna mentions the legendary escape artist and illusionist Houdini on several occasions. What about Houdini fascinates her? How does she ultimately emulate him?

3. The first time the narrator visits Anna's house he finds a Bible on Anna's nightstand in which she has underlined the following passage: "And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly; I perceived that this also is vexation of the spirit. For in much wisdom is much grief; and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow." The narrator finds a card in his locker with the same inscription, after Anna's disappearance. Why was the passage so relevant to Anna? What might it say about her relationship with narrator?

4. Why is Anna so fascinated with obituaries? Do you think she was telling the truth when she tells the narrator that her obituaries have come true? Do the obituaries serve another purpose besides describing each person's life and death?

5. Who caused Anna's bruises? Why does she lie to the narrator about them?

6. What was Anna's relationship to Bryce Druitt? Why do you think she ran his car into the bridge? Why did Bryce also have a box full of things that Anna had sent him? Why did he know about the obituary that the narrator had received in the mail after Anna's disappearance?

7. Where did the condom wrapper that Anna's father found come from? Do you think she planted it, and if so, why? Did she have another lover? What evidence supports or refutes this possibility?

8. Why do you think the narrator's sister Joan abandoned the family, avoiding contact with anyone? Why would she not at least contact her brothers?

9. Why was Anna so adamant that the narrator write a ghost story? Was that the real reason Anna wanted to visit Mumler? Was it coincidence that she walks across the ice?

10. What did Anna know about Mr. Devon and why does she dislike him? The narrator finds a letter from Anna when he's helping Mr. Devon clear out his office for the summer. What does the letter reveal about Anna's possible connection to Mr. Devon? Do you think his explanation about the letter is the truth? Do you think he's told the truth about the fire that killed his girlfriend?

11. Why do the narrator's parents relate so poorly to each other and their chldren? Does it have someting to do with the loss of their daughter, Denise? How do they each try to reach out to the narrator after Anna's disappearance?

12. What do you think actually happened to Anna? Interpret the evidence she left behind - does it support the idea that she killed herself, was murdered, or the theory that she ran away? What senario does what she wrote in the narrator's obituary suggest?

13. Early in the book the narrator says, "I'm bland. I'm milk. Worse, I'm water." How has his opinion of himself changed by the end of the book? What has he come to realize about himself, and what does he credit for the change?

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Apr 07: As Simple As Snow poem revealed

Diane kindly translated the Baudelaire poem from the book:

You should always be drunk. Everything is there:
it's the only question. To not feel the terrible
burden of Time, which breaks your shoulders and bends
you toward the earth, you must always get drunk
without respite.

But from what? From wine, from poetry, or from
virtue; as you wish. But get drunk.

And if sometimes on the stairs of a palace, on the
green grass of a ditch, in the dreary solitude of your
bedroom, you wake up and the drunkenness has already
diminished or disappeared, as the wind, the wave, the
bird, the clock anyone that flees, anyone that groans,
anything that rolls, anything that sings, anyone who
speaks, ask what time it is, and if the wind, the
wave, the star, the bird, the clock responds: It
is time to get drunk! To not be slaves martyred by
Time, get drunk, get drunk without stopping! From
wine, from poetry, or from virtue, as you wish.

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Mar 07: The First Casualty - Questions

Marichka offers some food for thought and discussion for our March selection, The First Casualty, by Ben Elton:

1. The title presumably comes from the axiom "The first casualty of war is truth". In your view, could this be a play on the expression, or have a double entendre, and refer to something else as well/instead?

2. What would you call this book - a historical novel, thriller, murder mystery, social commentary, satire....?

3. Previously (and in his next book coming up this year), Elton has always written about contemporary or slightly futuristic times and issues (media, biotechnology, traffic,celebrity, etc.) Why do you imagine he chose this particular setting and time period?

4. Did reading this affect any previous knowledge or perception you had of World War I? - Did the setting affect how you felt about the story?

5. Does the novel support or undermine Kingsley's arguments for conscientious objection to the war? - Kingsley opposes the war because of its scale, but then muses about other, "smaller" injustices he's overlooked in everyday life. Thoughts about this position?

6. Should Kingsley feel morally compromised for his participation in battle?

7. Is Kingsley's relationship with Kitty a betrayal of Agnes? (Particularly considering that he knows how Agnes feels?)

8. How guilty or responsible should Kingsley feel for what happens to Hopkins?

9. What is the value or point (if any) for an investigation like Kingsley's amid such a difficult situation/environment?

10. What do you think of Shannon? - If you took out the scene with Shannon and the girl under the docks at Folkestone, would it change the story for you?


Sunday, February 11, 2007

Mar-May 07 Selections

March 4th: The First Casualty, by Ben Elton (389pp). Discussion leader: Marichka

April 1st: A Spot of Bother, by Mark Haddon (354pp). Discussion leader: (change from email) Diane

May 6th: Why Darwin Matters, by Michael Shermer (224pp). Discussion leader: Jeff

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