Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Vegetarian

I am not sure if I read the same book that others read. I say this based on the comments I heard.  I didn't find anything that shocking or horrifying in this work. There was no big reveal. Overall I thought it was okay. A nice collection of stories that examines society as a whole. I won't be at the meeting, but feel free to tweet me your opinions.


Friday, February 26, 2016

PBR Book Club Announces Our Full Spring Slate!

We may not (ever) have a Wiki page, but nonetheless we remain a REAL book club which sometimes appears halfway professional and plans things in advance. 

Here's what is on tap for spring.  (Apparently we have an oral fixation).

March:  Zadie Smith's White Teeth.  It seems that not a single person in PBR Book Club has read this practically canonical post-colonial tome?  Well, hop to it.  Hopefully it doesn't feel TOO much like course work.

April:  James Hannaham's Delicious Foods.  This novel is partly narrated by crack cocaine.  Will this be the most unusual narrator we've encountered in any selection so far?

 May:  Han Kang's The Vegetarian, a "mesmerizing mix of sex and violence" that may well permanently scar us all.


All that AND the possible return of a two-month summer "big book" read?  It's a good time to join PBR Book Club.

PBR Book Club Goes Normcore; or, Organization is So Hip!

PBR Book Club has gotten so organized, what is evening happening?!

This February we tried something new and crazy — Nog and I brainstormed some future picks in advance, and then we all discussed them calmly and collectively at the Tap as a group, arriving at a consensus for April and May picks. I know.

PBR Book Clubbers: this living list lives here for you to check out at any time. Hit me up with ideas for anything you wanna add, and if it's a good fit to be a contender for us, I'll add it. Then, every month, we can choose from the pool of options after we're all drunk on PBR.

We're also making an effort to be more inclusive with our picks this year, so that's exciting too.

high five,
your fearless co-captain, Smalls

Sunday, January 31, 2016

February Selection: H is for Hawk

What??  A memoir?  Does this mark the first time PBR Book Club has tackled this venerable genre?  Well, that depends on how you define our pal McClanahan's Crapalachia, which ended with a meta-admission that the author had manufactured much of its memoir-ness.

At any rate, February's read is Helen Macdonald's much-praised "H is for Hawk."   The New Yorker review says the book is "one part grief memoir, one part guide to raptors, and one part biography of T. H. White, who chronicled his maiden effort at falconry in “The Goshawk,” written just before he began work on 'The Once and Future King.'"

Perhaps we can get one of Kansas' 50 licensed falconers to come and chat with us?  Or at least get the film club back together for a screening of Ladyhawke.

See you at the Tap for H is for Hawk (and remember that PBR, as always, is for Pabst Blue Ribbon).

Monday, January 4, 2016

2016 PBR Book Club Update and January Selection: Panic in a Suitcase

Readers, we're in our fourth year of PBR Book Club and we remain more-or-less functional.  We still meet on the last Tuesday of each month at the Taproom.  We still Skype with authors sometimes.  We still have no clear rules on how to choose the monthly selections and usually just yell until others give in.  But we DO have swanky new press photos (see below) that will almost certainly NOT help us in our never-ending quest to get a Wiki page (why do they hate us??).

The January selection is Yelena Akhtiorskaya's Panic in a Suitcase.  What's the plot?  Let's turn to the Guardian review:

"In fact, there barely is a plot in Panic in a Suitcase. That's not a criticism: what we get instead of a sweeping story are a multitude of exuberant set pieces about modern émigré life, animated by Akhtiorskaya's insider knowledge and her offbeat way with words."

Good enough!  See you at the Tap.

[Your humble admin also dares you to join him in reading Garth Risk Hallberg's 900 page "Proustian epic" City on Fire, which is about 1977 New York and intertwines its sprawling plot with handwritten letters and excerpts of zines written by characters....this may take most of the year to finish].

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

November Selection: John Darnielle's Wolf in White Van

Oh, I'm hyped about October's selection (Abby's pick): the debut novel by "America's best non-hip-hop lyricist:" John Darnielle, of Mountain Goats fame.

Wolf in White Van was nominated for a National Book Award last year and the NY-Times book review calls it a "strange and involving novel...about alienation and despair and the search for meaning, which Sean finds in a postapocalyptic role-playing game he invents, turns into a business and administers in analog fashion, by exchanging letters with its players."

Perhaps we can partner up with Wonder Fair's Letter Writing Club in some fashion as we read this one?

And make sure to listen to A LOT of Mountain Goats' this month as you read.  Here's my favorite: "New Chevrolet in Flames."

 "...your mouth is sweeter
Than wine and has
A more complicated history
Than the American South."


Thursday, October 1, 2015

October Selection: Octavia Butler's The Parable of the Sower

"Butler's prose, always pared back to the bone, delineates the painful paradoxes of metamorphosis with compelling precision. In 1993, she published Parable of the Sower, a chronicle of low-rise dystopia set in the southern California suburbs of 2024."  (from The Guardian)

Remember when these posts were written by the people who chose the books? That probably made more sense.  Anyway, October's selection is Octavia Butler's 1993 The Parable of the Sower, so prepare to get your dystopia on once again!  It's the first in a two-part series by the legendary sci-fi writer, so perhaps we'll all get hooked and read both (although most members are currently engrossed in Elena Ferrante's four-book Neapolitan series).  Read those too.  And maybe that new Atwood novel about the sex-robots.

Unfamiliar with Butler's career?  Her New York Times obituary offers a good assessment of her life-and-work, including a list of "dystopian" jobs she once held, such as "potato chips inspector."

Photo via