Why don’t we all take a moment to raise our glasses to our new Book of the Month club. I’m excited to start this, even if I don’t like calling it’s not exactly a “book club”, more of an ongoing suggested read list with a bit of structure and a theme. As this is new, I feel like I should begin by introducing it, and tomorrow (thurs.) we’ll begin with our first selection, ‘A Scanner Darkly’.
This book club will be semi structured in an arc beginning with some very good, yet very accessible books. In other words, they are well done, and will function as a foundation as we move on to more complex, unconventional, and rewarding books. We’ll probably spend much of our time reading older book, but I’m going to make sure we throw some contemporaries in the mix as well. So, as way of example rather than, I’m going to list authors we may read as we build up to the point where we can get into some of the real meat of literature, begining with authors such as Philip K. Dick (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, Minority Report, and this weeks pick, A Scanner Darkly) Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club, Survivor, Choke), and J.D. Salinger (Catcher in the Rye, Franny and Zooey, Nine Stories).
From there we will slowly move onward to some real masterworks, some which depart from reality to a certain extent, some with complex characters or those that focus on broader (and sometimes very dark) themes which might make you think a little harder, such as F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby, The Beautiful and the Damned), Kurt Vonnegut (Slaughter House Five, Breakfast of Champions, Cat’s Cradle), Cormac McCarthy (The Road, All the Pretty Horses, No Country for Old Men) and Aldous Huxley (Brave New World).
Once we move on from there, we will delve into some truly brilliant work. I warn you, if you are not well read, you probably don’t want to skip ahead, you will need a foundation to build upon if you really want to appreciate these books. However, if you want to give Dante a whirl, by all means go ahead and tell me what you think. Here, we will sink our teeth into authors such as Herman Hesse (Steppenwolf, Sidhartha, Narcissus and Goldmund), Kafka (The Penal Colony, Metamorphosis), Dante (The Divine Comedy, considered one of, if not the, greatest books of all time. I studied just this book for three months at the UW, and we barely scratched the surface, so this one will be interesting) and others.
Don’t be alarmed when I throw in a few fun books which may be much function as a bit of a break from the cerebral. I will definitely throw in some Jules Verne (Around the World in 80 Days, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Journey to the Center of the Earth), Robert Louis Stevenson (The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Treasure Island), and probably some of the Beats (authors like Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs)
Of course, this book club regiment is not set in stone. I am a firm believer that everyone should find somebody with a book taste vastly different from their own so they can read someone elses favorite book. If you only read what you like, you will always read the same thing, the same topic or genre, why not go for something entirely different? Who knows, you may just like it. On that note, if you have know of a book which you think would be a good fit for whatever reason, please comment and let me know. Finally, while most of the books we will be starting out with I will have already read, I may add a few with good reputations in an effort to expand my own reading along with yours, so the quality and themes may differ greatly from time to time, but I think that’s all right.