All Nominees All American
Our book groups have no electoral college, indecisive delegates or perilous party conventions. I am happy to report no dangling chads have been detected in our voting procedures. Paper ballots collected and tabulated reveal our summer selection: Bettyville by George Hodgman.
It was close. All our titles were well received.
And, I am thinking our discussions are being monitored...Matthew Broderick and Shirley MacLaine!
Not-So-Brief Notes on A Brief History
The irony was not lost on me as prepared for my first discussion this week, Tuesday, the third of May.
All month, I felt for that doomed man in Goya's famous painting. The only thing missing was the book in his hand, A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James. Hands down, the most vile, disgusting, upsetting, gruesome book I have ever read. By far, the most challenging book I've ever facilitated. Not since Lolita back in 2007, did I get such push back.
And that's okay.
Our tables were mostly full, because you trust that our discussions will reveal literary gems. And they always do. So this little tome, here, this Brief History, is, yes, horrid and perhaps one chose to stay away for that reason. Yeah, I get that. Completely. However, for those that bravely walked into the room and took a seat at the table, whether you read zero pages or three or pushed through 700, you left knowing this: We were in the hands of a absolute master storyteller. Marlon James, with detailed dimensional strokes, grabbed us by the literary throat and pushed our faces into his lens of violent Kingston, poverty-poisoned Jamaica, his personal conflicted bildungsroman. We had nowhere to turn, except to shut the book and walk away, or carry on and ride the violent wave.
Landing around our table, we learned the "whys" of the abject poverty, the hopelessness, the redemption and the Rashamon. In retrospect, our discussions this week rank as some of most rich experiences we've shared yet. And another thing, we are 20 years early on this book. Two decades and beyond from now, the importance of this work, the impact of this beyond-jaw dropping writer will be obvious. Gone With the Wind. Uncle Tom's Cabin. The Things They Carried. A Tale of Two Cities. A Brief History. Trust me.
Our discussions prove that our book groups are incredible experiences, full of substance, that happen no where else. Period.
I am honored that you give your time and humbled that you keep coming back.
Thank you to Emily Connor for sharing her work experiences in the Caribbean to Sherrie Webb who brought to our attention the concept of "reading with intent." Truly enlightening. And biblio-nexu popped up mere hours later. Check out this article on Quartz.
I hope you found Redemption, in our time together this past season. Dates for our upcoming season, our 10th anniversary, will be posted soon.
“Living people wait and see because they fool themselves that they have time.”
― Marlon James, A Brief History of Seven Killings