Wednesday, January 26, 2011
February's title is The Creamsickle! And according to our recent survey (have you taken our survey??), we love discussion questions. So here they are for you to ponder before next Tuesday.
1. This review (here) says: "Bois, boards, baby butches and bed hopping - Argo's angsty fiction debut, centred on the shenanigans of a crew of gender-fluid young women, should perhaps come with an age-appropriate label. Old folks - anyone over 40, more or less - ought to be adolescent at heart, or at least nostalgic for their own adventurous youth, to fully engage with its feisty plot..." Do you agree that The Creamsickle is mostly suited to one age group? Why? Why not?
2. How realistic was the characterization? Would you want to meet any of the characters? Did you like them? Hate them?
3 What about the plot? Did it pull you in; or did you feel you had to force yourself to read the book?
4. Some of the characters made choices that might be seen as having moral implications - such as becoming a stripper, would you have made the same decisions? Why? Why not?
5. The house, the Creamsickle, is the setting of the book, along with San Francisco. Is the setting a character? Does it come to life? Did you feel you were experiencing the time and place in which the book was set?
6. How would the book have been different if it had taken place in a different time or place?
7. Did the book end the way you expected?
8. Would you recommend this book to other readers? To your close friend?
9. Was there a particularly striking scene in the novel? Share it with the group, and then discuss why and how it impacted each person.
10. Was the novel plot-driven or character-driven? Explain.
11. How do characters change or evolve throughout the course of the story? What events trigger such changes? Do the changes/evolutions seem believable?
12. Did certain parts of the book make you uncomfortable? If so, why did you feel that way? Did this lead to a new understanding or awareness of some aspect of your life you might not have thought about before?
13. How did you experience the book? Were you engaged immediately, or did it take you a while to "get into it"? How did you feel reading it-amused, sad, disturbed, confused, bored...?
Sunday, January 23, 2011
Okay, well, obviously Sappho wasn't the first lesbian. But she seems to be the first one in recorded history... And it's her home, the island of Lesbos, in Greece, that brought the word lesbian into usage.
In January, we read and discussed Sappho's poems in a collection called "If Not, Winter" by Anne Carson. It was interesting to see how the historians and translators worked to bring such a body of poetry to life. The poems are found on old papyrus scraps. Shards. Like in the photo I'm attaching here. So in some cases the poems are nearly intact. In others, there is much left to the imagination. In some cases, it's hard to understand why the editor bothered to include one word on a page, although sometimes that one word did seem be evocative.
Some members felt that using the broken fragments of poetry would be wonderful in an English class. Ask students to fill in the blanks. What a wonderful idea!
February's title is The Creamsickle by Rhiannon Argo. A very wild change of pace from Sappho's violet passions, but I loved it and can't wait to hear what you all thought.