Saturday, April 26, 2008

Book Club

Book club met today. We went to a cafe for breakfast and to discuss The Road by Cormac McCarthy. I was the only one who had read it, but that's okay, I didn't read the book for our last meeting, or the one before that, and maybe even the one before that.

We still managed to talk about the general themes. I might have dominated the conversation. Someone else had seen the Coen brothers' adaptation of No Country for Old Men, so we discussed that too.

I watched Oprah's interview with McCarthy on YouTube when I had not long finished reading The Road.

I was impressed by his quiet presence. I liked the way he held himself: laconic, refusing to be 'passionate', content to just like doing what he does.

There's not much that I can add to the plethora of reviews out there. Yes, it's harrowing.

Next, I planned to read something a bit less so. Shop Girl, maybe. I picked it up at a 2nd hand book store. And I watched the film on TV last night. But I've found myself picking up William Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom! I got that in the same haul at the 2nd hand bookshop.

I laughed when I read the first sentence. If McCarthy's prose is taciturn, then Faulkner's is not.

In the middle of reading The Road I stumbled into an arcade in the Valley and came across a photography exhibition by Simon Obarzanek, 80 Faces. I learned that he's a Melbourne-based photographer, but, still mired in the damaged vision of America, I imagined that these might be the faces that haunted McCarthy's wasted landscape.

The next book for this book club is Georges Perec's Life: A User's Manual. It's a book I've started before and not finished.

I'm meeting up with some other friends and we're going to have a Gothic-themed book club. The Monk by Mathew Lewis will be our first read. I've started that too.

80 Faces reminded me that I've wanted to write something about the art of portraiture for some time now. It was an impulse first prompted by seeing Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait.

And I was reminded of it when Brisbane was treated to the recent Andy Warhol exhibition.

But I'm yet to get over my own navel-gazing inertia.


Ampersand Duck said...

I hope that book club gives you longer than a month to read Georges Perec! Yikes...

And I found Shopgirl (both book and movie) such a male midlife crisis story, and such a waste of time and energy. I hope you like it more than I did!

Kirsty said...

We have six weeks to read Perec, mostly because there are jet setters who will be away at the usual time--not me, unfortunately.

I was fairly underwhelmed by the film version of Shop Girl, even with Clare Danes, so I haven't started the book. I think it's Steve Martin I can't quite get past.

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