Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Book Club at Coopersmith's

I've been sporadic lately in posting about my book club meetings, but since this was a book I chose, I decided I'd better put one up this time, at least. Five of us braved the cold to meet up last night.

Place: Coopersmith's Pub

Beer of choice: I went with a new one, their Dunkel Doppel Weizen Bock, which apparently translates as Dark Double Wheat Bock (strong lager).

Book: If on a Winter's Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino. OK, I hate ranking things as favorite, second favorite, third favorite, etc. So much depends on what I want from a book at a given time. But...if I'm forced to pick a favorite, this is probably the one that ends up being chosen. This was my third time reading it, and it's no less entertaining today than it was when I first read it in college. I won't give a full review or anything, but the basic idea is that you begin reading a story about a traveler waiting in the train station, and just as it reaches a point of high tension, there's a defect in the book. You bring it back and receive what you're told is a correct copy only to find it's a completely different book. Which also gets interrupted at a point of high tension. And so it goes.

The book is obsessed with doubles and fakes and surface similarities as it tells the stories of the Reader, the Other (Ideal) Reader, the Nonreader, etc. in between these repeated starts of different books, each engaging, each in a different style. So we had a good discussion about it. Not everyone enjoyed it as much as I did. But overall most of us found it entertaining at one level or another.

Our next book will be a whiplash change: The Man Who Knew Too Much by David Leavitt (not the G. K. Chesterton collection nor anything to do with the Alfred Hitchcock movies, but rather a biography of Alan Turing).

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