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Showing posts with label book club. Show all posts
Showing posts with label book club. Show all posts

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Book Club: The Picture of Dorian Gray


*picture by Hanna & Hedvig
I really enjoyed The Picture of Dorian Gray. I found the descriptive language lively and the novel is an interesting portrait of Victorian life; it's always fascinating to read about different periods in time and improve our understanding of the past. The premise is simple, almost classic: a young man sells his soul for eternal youth and beauty. It definitely provokes thoughts on morality, art, and human desire.
Here are a few discussion questions if you're interested in contributing your thoughts to book club. Feel free to offer your own insights, pose your own questions, or share why you liked/disliked the novel.
-Wilde writes that "there is no such thing as a moral or immoral book." In other words, art has no effect, other than aesthetic, on individuals or society. Do you agree with Wilde's premise?
-What does Dorian's portrait represent? Why does he hide it in the attic?
-Dorian's scandalous behavior shocks his peers, yet he remains welcome in social circles? Why? What is Wilde suggesting about "polite" London society?
-What is the importance of sin and redemption in the novel? Is there any redemption for Dorian?
*The next book for book club is This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Book Club: The Story of the Stars

I'm re-working the book club concept a bit; instead of posting updates and leading with discussion questions I'm just going to keep you all updated on what I'm reading (after the initial interest in book club there was very little discussion). People can read along and voice their thoughts as they wish, but it's less structured, less compulsion on anyone to participate. I do hope people will still be reading with me and voicing their thoughts on the books.
Anyway, this week I've been skimming through The Story of the Stars, an early Christmas present from a friend. It was published in 1903 and covers both the anecdotal "first experience of starlight at night," "stars in poetry," and scientific descriptions of stars and nebula. It's truly wonderful. I think I first became fascinated with the night sky by senior year in Hawaii--one notable reason being the stars were brighter there than I had ever experienced before and the more practical explanation of my chosen science class that year being Astronomy (also the first time I ever really was engaged during science class). We even had an evening field trip out to an old airfield where a group of amateur astronomers gathered with their (ridiculously expensive) telescopes. We were allowed to wander from telescope to telescope asking people what they were looking at and peeping through the lenses. The beauty of the Swan constellation (Cygnus) with the North America Nebula weaving through it is ingrained in my memory.
The next novel I'll be working my way through is The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Book Club: Anna Karenina

I finished Anna Karenina just in time for this discussion and managed to snag a viewing of the new movie yesterday. Despite some of the heavy material within Anna Karenina, I thought it would be nice to keep our first book club discussion rather light. Did you like the novel? How'd you manage with the Russian names?
If you'd like to engage in a deeper discussion:
-We read that it is unpleasant for Anna to read about other people's lives because she "wanted too much to live herself." Why are reading and living placed in opposition to one another?
-What effect does society have on limiting and fulfilling individual desires/satisfaction within the novel?
-What effect would removing Levin/Kitty's story from the novel have?
-Tolstoy originally meant the story as a cuat
Feel free to share your thoughts here or on my Facebook (if people find that an easier mode of conversation).

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Book Club: Anna Karenina

Since a few readers of Anna Karenina voiced concerns about finishing the book in two weeks we'll postpone our discussion until next week. This post will just be a check-in to see how everyone's finding Tolstoy. Hopefully we're all on track to finish this coming week and discuss next Saturday. Here are a few discussion points we can go into next week if you're interested:
-We read that it is unpleasant for Anna to read about other people's lives because she "wanted too much to live herself." Why are reading and living placed in opposition to one another?
-What effect does society have on limiting and fulfilling individual desires/satisfaction within the novel?
-Do you think Anna feels true guilt? Why or why not?

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Book Club: Anna Karenina

Due to the positive response to my initial post on book club I'm happy to announce that book club is officially a thing. Maybe we should come up with a more snazzy name than "book club" (suggestions welcome) but for now: it's time to start reading. Based on comments our first book will be Anna Karenina. If you aren't interested in this novel, you can join in the discussion for the next one--there's no pressure to read each book as we go--just only join the discussion when you are reading the book! Anyway, I'm excited to get to the library for my own copy to begin. Next week we'll have a check-in to see how everyone's managing Tolstoy.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Book Club

 photographs by Jon
So, I'm thinking about starting a little book club via this blog. The cold winter days seems an appropriate time to do so and I would like some motivation to push myself to read new books. The premise is simple: one book a month, the book will be announced at the beginning of the month, there will be a progress post partway through the month where everyone can check in to help keep us accountable and on track to finish, then the last Saturday of the month we'll discuss everything. If that pace is too slow it could be a book every other week...
I'm mostly interested in classics (Anna Karenina, anyone?), but as I'd love to have this be interactive I thought I'd accept votes/suggestions on this post and announce the first book next week. I'll host the first few book clubs and we can have most of the discussion here or on Facebook, but if it grows in the future we can look into forums and I'll welcome other participants to lead the discussion.
The point is merely to read more and engage in a fun, casual dialogue about novels we're all interested in.
So, please let me know if you're interested in participating and what novel(s) you think would be fun to tackle this winter.
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