RJ Book Club - Part II

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Sep 08, 2008 10:10 PM GMT
    Seems as those most decided on a variety of books and themes, so it appears we've left it wide open for anything.

    The next step is to decide on a book. What I'd like to do is for everyone interested to submit a book idea with a synopsis. After which, I'll narrow it down to a few selections and then we'll vote on which one to read. You can suggest books you've already read, you'd like to read, new bestsellers or any number of things. Keeping in mind to suggest a book you think might be interesting for the entire club. And remember, a book not chosen this time can always be scheduled for the next.

    Deadline for submitting ideas for a book will be: Friday, September 19. This will give me ample time to read through all the suggestions and narrow it down. We'll begin voting for the book the following week and start reading on Oct 1.
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    Sep 08, 2008 10:30 PM GMT
    I was just thinking of re-reading The Swimming Pool Library by Alan Hollinghurst, so I'll throw that in the hat for consideration. Below is a synopsis from Amazon.com


    On entering a London public lavatory in blithe pursuit of quick, anonymous sex, beautiful and roguish young aristocrat William Beckwith isconfronted instead with an ancient, doddering member of the British House of Lords who, after muttering an incoherent string of polite non sequiturs, promptly keels over at his feet in embarrassed but undeniable coronary arrest. After saving the old man's life, Will is invited to tea by the grateful and slightly senile Lord Nantwich, who, surprised by Will's impressive lineage and appalled at his state of idle unemployment, engages the young man to write the Nantwich life story. Thus begins the unusual relationship that forms the core of this funny, sad and beautifully written novel. The Swimming Pool Library weaves a rich and fascinating tapestry of Britain's gay subculture spanning pre-World War I through the sexually abandoned early '80s, stopping short at the doorstep of AIDS. Hollinghurst's prose is fresh, witty and wise, and his ever-surprising, sinuously unfurling story is told with insouciant grace and unabashed sexuality.

    This novel created quite a stir in Britain and will probably do so herefor it minces no words in providing a realistic glimpse of the gay lifestyle in pre-AIDS London. Yet the approach is much more "literary" than sensational, the author masterfully re-creating a sense of time and place and the social and cultural milieu in which gay men operated. The occasionally graphic descriptions of sex will likely upset some readers, but for most the aura of unselfconscious eroticism will provide a sense of authenticity that only adds to its impact. Still, this is not a nostalgia piece; the author clearly understands that the freedom to satisfy lust often interferes with the ability to find fulfillment and love. Perceptive and well written; belongs in most academic and public libraries. David W. Henderson, Eckered Coll. Lib., St. Petersburg, Fla.
    Copyright 1988

    Review
    "Easily one of [1988's] most important debuts...A buoyant, smart, irrepressibly sexy book...that has the heft and resonance of a classic modernist novel, the sprawl and surprise of an intimate memoir." -- Village Voice Literary Supplement

    "The swimming-pool library beautifully welds the standard conventions of fiction to a tale of modern transgressions. It tells of impurities with shimmering elegance, of complexities with a camp-fired wit and of truths with a fiction's solid grace." -- The New York Times Book Review

  • Koaa2

    Posts: 1556

    Sep 08, 2008 10:57 PM GMT
    The Swimming Pool Library by Alan Hollinghurst

    I heard the audio version of this, while driving long distance, was very good.

    This is a good idea
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    Sep 08, 2008 11:11 PM GMT
    Ever since I heard it was coming, I was excited about it - considering I loved Mystic River:

    The Given Day, by Dennis Lehane. Here is Amazon's synopsis:

    In a splendid flowering of the talent previously demonstrated in his crime fiction, Lehane combines 20th-century American history, a gripping story of a family torn by pride and the strictures of the Catholic Church, and the plot of a multifaceted thriller. Set in Boston during and after WWI, this engrossing epic brings alive a pivotal period in our cultural maturation through a pulsing narrative that exposes social turmoil, political chicanery and racial prejudice, and encompasses the Spanish flu pandemic, the Boston police strike of 1919 and red-baiting and anti-union violence.Danny Coughlin, son of police captain Thomas Coughlin, is a devoted young beat cop in Boston's teeming North End. Anxious to prove himself worthy of his legendary father, he agrees to go undercover to infiltrate the Bolsheviks and anarchists who are recruiting the city's poverty-stricken immigrants. He gradually finds himself sympathetic to those living in similar conditions to his fellow policemen, who earn wages well below the poverty line, work in filthy, rat-infested headquarters, are made to pay for their own uniforms and are not compensated for overtime. Danny also rebels by falling in love with the family's spunky Irish immigrant maid, a woman with a past. Danny's counterpart in alienation is Luther Laurence, a spirited black man first encountered in the prologue when Babe Ruth sees him playing softball in Ohio. After Luther kills a man in Tulsa, he flees to Boston, where he becomes intertwined with Danny's family. This story of fathers and sons, love and betrayal, idealism and injustice, prejudice and brotherly feeling is a dark vision of the brutality inherent in human nature and the dire fate of some who try to live by ethical standards. It's also a vision of redemption and a triumph of the human spirit. In short, this nail-biter carries serious moral gravity.
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    Sep 11, 2008 11:59 PM GMT
    Keep those book submissions coming. icon_biggrin.gif