Book Club


For In Between Days, which takes place December 6th-9th, as part of their curatorial duties we have asked Amos to recommend some books. They have chosen the following:

  • Atomised - Michel Houellebecq (Heinemann)
  • Blood Meridian - Cormac McCarthy (Picador)
  • Down With Skool! A Guide to School Life for Tiny Pupils and their
  • Parents - Geoffrey Willans (Penguin Books)
  • Oryx and Crake - Margret Atwood (Bloomsbury/Virago)
  • Rabbit Run (with reference to the other 3 in the series) - John Updike (Penguin Books)
  • The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks (Abacus)

At the Book Club for In Between Days we will be discussing Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian. To book for In Between Days click here. For more information on all of these books please see below...


Space will be limited for the Book Club so anyone who's interested in participating should email atpbookclub@gmail.com to register their interest for a Book Club at any of the three events.

 

Rabbit Run (with reference to the other 3 in the series) - John Updike (Penguin Books)

It's 1959 and Harry Rabbit' Angstrom, one time high school sports superstar, is going nowhere. At twenty-six, he is trapped in a second-rate existence - stuck with a fragile, alcoholic wife, a house full of overflowing ashtrays and discarded glasses, a young son and a futile job. With no way to fix things, he resolves to flee from his family and his home in Pennsylvania, beginning a thousand-mile journey that he hopes will free him from his mediocre life. Because, as he knows only too well, after you've been first-rate at something, no matter what, it kind of takes the kick out of being second-rate.
Down With Skool! A Guide to School Life for Tiny Pupils and their Parents - Geoffrey Willans (Penguin Books)

If headmasters were honest, a prospectus would be a book which sa how many kanes he hav, contane a warning about the skool dog and the amount of prunes and rice served during the term. Nigel Molesworth may not be the best student St Custard's will ever have, but he is certainly able to express his feelings about his beloved school - not to mention botany walks and foopball. With his handy guide to Masters at a Glance (Know the Enemy) and Lessons (chiz chiz) and How to Avoid Them, no noble brave fearless etc. boy will ever have to suffer at the hands of the 'swots, bulies, milksops greedy guts and oiks' ever again WIZZ.
Oryx and Crake - Margret Atwood (Bloomsbury/Virago)

Pigs might not fly but they are strangely altered. So, for that matter, are wolves and racoons. A man, once named Jimmy, lives in a tree, wrapped in old bedsheets, now calls himself Snowman. The voice of Oryx, the woman he loved, teasingly haunts him. And the green-eyed Children of Crake are, for some reason, his responsibility. 'In Jimmy, Atwood has created a great character: a tragic-comic artist of the future, part buffoon, part Orpheus. An adman who's a sad man; a jealous lover who's in perpetual mourning; a fantasist who can only remember the past' - Independent. 'Gripping and remarkably imagined' - London Review of Books.
Blood Meridian - Cormac McCarthy (Picador)

"Blood Meridian" is an epic novel of the violence and depravity that attended America's westward expansion, brilliantly subverting the conventions of the Western novel and the mythology of the Wild West. Based on historical events that took place on the Texas-Mexico border in the 1850s, it traces the fortunes of the Kid, a fourteen-year-old Tennessean who stumbles into a nightmarish world where Indians are being murdered and the market for their scalps is thriving. 'McCarthy's achievement is to establish a new mythology which is as potent and vivid as that of the movies, yet one which has absolutely the opposite effect ...He is a great writer' - "Independent". 'I have rarely encountered anything as powerful, as unsettling, or as memorable as Blood Meridian ...A nightmare odyssey' - Evening Standard. 'His masterpiece ...The book reads like a conflation of the "Inferno", "The Iliad" and "Moby Dick". I can only declare that "Blood Meridian" is unlike anything I have read in recent years, and seems to me an extraordinary, breathtaking achievement' - John Banville.
Atomised - Michel Houellebecq (Heinemann)

Half-brothers Michel and Bruno have a mother in common but little else. Michel is a molecular biologist, a thinker and idealist, a man with no erotic life to speak of and little in the way of human society. Bruno, by contrast, is a libertine, though more in theory than in practice, his endless lust is all too rarely reciprocated. Both are symptomatic members of our atomised society, where religion has given way to shallow 'new age' philosophies and love to meaningless sexual connections. Atomised (Les Particules elementaires) tells the stories of the two brothers, but the real subject of the novel is in its dismantling of contemporary society and its assumptions, in its political incorrectness, and its caustic and penetrating asides on everything from anthropology to the problem pages of girls' magazines. A dissection of modern lives and loves. By turns funny, acid, infuriating, didactic, touching and visceral.
The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks (Abacus)

Frank, no ordinary sixteen-year-old, lives with his father outsIde a remote Scottish village. Their life is, to say the least, unconventional. Frank's mother abandoned them years ago: his elder brother Eric is confined to a psychiatric hospital; and his father measures out his eccentricities on an imperial scale. Frank has turned to strange acts of violence to vent his frustrations. In the bizarre daily rituals there is some solace. But when news comes of Eric's escape from the hospital Frank has to prepare the ground for his brother's inevitable return - an event that explodes the mysteries of the past and changes Frank utterly. Iain Banks' celebrated first novel is a work of extraordinary originality, imagination and horrifying compulsion: horrifying, because it enters a mind whose realities are not our own, whose values of life and death are alien to our society; and compulsive, because the humour and compassion of that mind reach out to us all.