Book Club

The After Party – Books and Bagels – April 2017

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Books and Bagels Book Discussion on The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt

Rating: The Sisters Brothers received ratings between 1.0 and 5.0 with an average rating of 3.58.

Review: The reviews were mixed; members either really enjoyed the novel or really detested the novel.

Discussion Highlights:

  • Many members found the novel highly entertaining.  Members found the novel a unique, clever episodic Western.
  • Members discussed whether or not the story was successful as a loosely based picaresque novel.
  • Members appreciated deWitt’s dark humor and members were mystified by how they found themselves laughing at very grisly elements. There was much discussion about the techniques used by deWitt to pull off this feat.  It shows his true talent as an author and members agreed that the novel was worthy of The Man Booker Prize.
  • Members adored the witty banter between the two brothers and the well-developed brother relationship.
  • Members liked watching Eli, the younger brother, develop as an independent person over the course of the novel.
  • Members found the use of first person to be refreshing and felt the structure utilized served the novel well.
  • Members enjoyed the inconspicuous social commentary exhibited throughout the book.
  • Several members appreciated the bare-bones acknowledgements at the end of the book and they wish more authors would employ this technique.
  • Members really appreciated the facilitator presentation about the author and felt they better understood Patrick deWitt and his style.
  • Members learned that Patrick deWitt is a huge fan of Roald Dahl.  One member enjoys reading Dahl and thought deWitt and Dahl have a similar style as both are highly imaginative, dark yarn spinners.
  • Members enjoyed the use of Intermissions, but were perplexed over the Weeping Man, the Old Witch, and the Poisonous Little Girl.  The facilitator provided author insight into these characters.  Overall, the members enjoyed these seemingly unrelated vignettes.
  • One member enjoyed The Sisters Brothers (deWitt’s second novel) so much, that she decided to read deWitt’s Undermajordomo Minor (deWitt’s third novel).  She recommends this unusual novel, but thought The Sisters Brothers was overall a better novel.

Resources:


Patrick deWitt discusses his novel with Jared Bland at the Toronto Public Library.  deWitt discusses improving his craft, what writers should read, research, narrative voice choice, symbolism, and ending choice.

Read-a-Likes:

The Sisters Brothers

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Make Mine

Make Mine…a Western

make-mine-a-western

Though some may say its heyday has past, the Western genre is still alive and well, spinning tales of cowboys and gunfighters, Native Americans and marshals, and the other rough and tumble characters that populated the old West.

If you’re hankering for some historical adventure where the good guys win, the following authors tend to write in this genre:

Johnny D. Boggs
Frank Bonham
Terrell L. Bowers
Max Brand
Willa Cather
Don Coldsmith
Loren D. Estleman
Zane Grey
Tony Hillerman
Steve Hockensmith
Elmer Kelton
Louis L’Amour
Al and Joanna Lacy
Elmore Leonard
Larry McMurtry
Nelson Nye
Wayne D. Overholser
Lewis B. Patten
Robert B. Parker
Charles Portis
Dana Fuller Ross
Jack Schaefer
Glendon Fred Swarthout
Dale L. Walker
Richard S. Wheeler
Displays

Summer Reading Displays

For the Summer Reading Program, Reader’s Advisory puts out different displays in our area that tie into the overarching summer theme.  For this summer’s theme, “Read to the Rhythm,” our book, music, and movie displays are all about music!  Anything that is on the cubes can be checked out, just like anything else in the library!

Right now, there are five different displays going.

The first book cube is a split between “Battle Cry of Freedom,” Civil War fiction inspired by the music of that period, specifically the soundtrack of Ken Burns’ The Civil War, and “The Rake’s Song,” Regency romances with rakes and rogues inspired by the album The Hazards of Love by The Decemberists.

The second book cube is a split between “Yesterday,” selections of historical fiction inspired by the classic Beatles tune, and “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys,” western novels whose choice were inspired by Willie Nelson and Waylon Jenning’s cover of a seminal country song by Ed Bruce.

The music display is “Stayin’ Alive”, a rip roaring collection of 70s albums that will keep you dancing disco, inspired, of course, by the Bee Gees.

The movie display is “I Will Survive,” a selection of disaster movies inspired by Gloria Gaynor’s hit song.

The teen display is “To Infinity, and Beyond!” inspired by the movie Toy Story and its soundtrack, featuring science fiction.

Come in and check out these displays for yourself; you can always take something home!

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