Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Bar book club report for January

We met once again at Coopersmith's Pub last night to discuss John Irving's The Water-Method Man. Beer of choice: well, my son was with me because my wife was on call, and I wasn't sure when I arrived that he would necessarily let me stay for a long time or if he'd have a melt-down and force me to leave precipitously...so I decided I'd better stick with something non-alcoholic. Given the below-0 temperatures, hot chocolate seemed a good choice. Several others also chose non-beer items, which was strange. I only heard the explanation from one, that he was himself on call and might be called in anytime to deliver a baby. Others had the typical variety of beers--Albert Damm, Punjabi Pale, Horsetooth Stout, etc.

The book: not great. One person really liked it, though even he had some reservations. It wasn't awful, in my opinion, but certainly not great either. Irving can be funny, but it tended toward juvenile humor in this book. It also rests comfortably in the tradition of books about a male character who basically bucks all responsibility and makes a lot of stupid choices to throw his life away. I've read that before--it was called Tender is the Night by Fitzgerald or Rabbit Run by Updike or... Neither of those books was a great favorite of mine. The one thing that rescued it somewhat for me was that it was told non-linearly, as Irving tends to do, and I enjoyed seeing how he played all the parts together. This was only the second book Irving wrote, and it felt rather slight, perhaps because of that. Still, not a complete waste of time, and a relatively fast read.

I had to leave before the next book was chosen, so I'm not sure what will be next or when. Sounds like we won't get a chance to meet until mid March now. The books we were choosing between when I left were Catch-22, Ursula Under (which has been on my to-read list for long enough that I don't even remember exactly why I put it there), Forever, Lament for a Son, and...one other, ummm, Once Upon a Day maybe? Something like that. I voted for Ursula Under.

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