April 2008 – As Simple As Snow

Thanks once again to everyone who came out for the discussion on Tuesday. Despite the general lukewarm response to the book, I think it was one of the more enjoyable genre X discussions. And I think we all agree that the Snug at Molly Malone’s  is the best venue we’ve seen so far. So we’ll stay there for a while and see how it goes.

April’s book is As Simple as Snow by Gregory Galloway. Here is a review from Publisher’s Weekly:

It turns out that snow is “actually very complicated,” and so is Galloway’s quirky, engrossing debut. In a small town near a river not far from a city, the narrator, an unnamed high school sophomore, encounters new Goth arrival, Anna Cayne. Holden Caulfield meets the Blair Witch, perhaps–but our narrator is more sympathetic and Anna more fascinating than their counterparts. The narrator is unsure why anyone would pursue him (“I’m bland. I’m milk. Worse, I’m water”), but pursue him Anna does, charming him with intriguing postcards, reading recommendations and long walks by the river. He’s soon completely, hopelessly in love. But halfway through the story Anna disappears, leaving the narrator and the reader feeling lost and betrayed. The book becomes a search for Anna, complete with ciphers, codes, sightings and buried maps. Does affable art teacher Mr. Devon have something to do with her disappearance? Who was really driving the night fellow student Bryce Druitt slammed his car into the side of the bridge? Galloway makes plain from the beginning that everything in the book might be a clue, and that it’s up to the narrator and the reader to solve the mystery for themselves. This can be great fun or lead to great frustration, depending on one’s tastes, but there’s no doubt that this rich, complex puzzle is the work of a talented author.

On Tuesday we spent a good chunk of time discussing the roles that music and musicians played in The Fortress of Solitude. Music is intregal to this month’s book as well. I won’t give too much away, but I highly recommend that you seek out the web site for the book, where readers can print out liner notes and track listings for the CDs that Anna makes for our narrator in As Simple as Snow. Just one of the many clues to unlocking the mystery in this incredibly captivating YA/adult crossover novel. Yeah if you can’t tell I’m pretty excited to discuss April’s title!

Hopefully Galloway will be able to generate some excitement in you as well! Please join us for our next discussion on Tuesday, April 22 at 8 pm at Molly Malone’s (the Snug) in Forest Park.

Brooklyn is for Writers

It seems if you wanna be somebody in the fiction profession, you need to move to Brooklyn. Pronto. Check out this humourous piece by Colson Whitehead on why Brooklyn writers need to get over themselves already and this Salon tour of Brooklyn writing world.

And then when you’re finished come out and join us at Molly Malone’s this evening at 8:00 pm to discuss The Fortress of Solitude, superheroes and all things Brooklyn!

Rock and Roll Writing

Although I love making lists, the whole “stranded on a desert island” question has always intimidated me. Choosing one book or album that I would want with me and never tire of? Thats practically impossible. But in 1978 Greil Marcus asked 20 famous music writers to offer up the one rock album they would choose if they were lost in the tropics. The end result, Stranded: Rock and Roll for a Desert Island, can be found online now. And if you’re craving more, check out Phil Freeman’s recent follow-up to this rock classic, Marooned: The Next Generation of Desert Island Discs . Or if you’re just looking for a good rockin’ read, check out this list of 45 books for the literate music fan.

And of course we would love to hear from those of you who can offer up your own answer to this ever popular question!

Read Jonathan Lethem’s Comic Effort Online

I hope all of you are enjoying our March Genre X selection, The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem.  Lethem uses comics and superheroes as a theme in Fortress, including mentions of the Marvel character Omega, a silent boy who discovers he has robotic parents in 1970s Hell’s Kitchen.

In a relatively unusual move by Marvel, Lethem was recently given the chance to re-imagine the obscure comic, Omega the Unknown.  The book, which is drawn by artist Farel Dalrymple and colored by Paul Hornschemeier is currently available for viewing online via this link from Publisher’s Weekly online.

Murakami Muses About the Cubs

In an odd intersection of surrealist writers and sports, baseball blog Yard Work reports that Haruki Murakami, author of genre X’s January selection The Wind Up Bird Chronicle recently attended a Cubs pre-season game in Arizona.

The author’s treatise on the experience is after the jump (beware- its long). In case you’re dismayed at the notion of Murakami writing a straightforward sports report, rest assured that notions of 4 a.m. pasta eating, girls with perfect ears, and fleeting mentions of Jeremy Piven abound.

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