Wednesday, February 08, 2006

CAUTION: Duplicate Title Alert!

Alycia has brought it to my attention that there are TWO books with the title of Save Me, Joe Louis - one by Madison Smartt Bell (the right one) and one by a M.T. Kelly (the wrong one).

Go here to Amazon to purchase the one we are reading for our February 28th meeting. Bookstores can't order it as it is out of print.

More great news... thanks to Sandy, the EBC has an opportunity to conference in Madison Smartt Bell to our next book discussion - hooray! I'm in the process of figuring out the logistics to do that. If we need to relocate to another venue more condusive to conference calls I will be sure to let you know ahead of time.

MSB's homepage.

Editorial Reviews of Save Me, Joe Louis
From Publishers Weekly

Bell's compelling sixth novel follows two small-time crooks from Manhattan's Hell's Kitchen to rural Tennessee. Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal
In his seventh novel (following Doctor Sleep , LJ 11/1/90), Bell continues his exploration of the sociological factors that drive aberrant behavior. At its outset, Macrae, a Tennessee hillbilly with an artistic bent, goes AWOL from the army and is wandering the streets of Manhattan, broke and alone. A chance encounter with a streetwise, small-time mugger propels him into a life of crime and ever-increasing violence. Unlike his companion, however, Macrae retains a sense of guilt that ultimately enables him to secure a kind of redemption--with the help of a woman he has known since childhood and a final, necessary act of personal violence. Bell does a marvelous job of depicting life on the seamier side of the tracks and in drawing his characters. Their essential humanness comes through in spite of themselves. Evidence of Bell's growing maturity as a writer, this novel belongs in most public and academic collections and is ripe for translation to the silver screen.

January Review of "The Bluest Eye" by Toni Morrison

THE ECB met January 31st to review Toni Morrison's first novel, The Bluest Eye. The book was anticipated with trepidation for some, exhilaration for others, and proved to be a worthy discussion for all.

I sent this to the club before we met... it's from don't be afraid!

"Why Everyone Should Read The Bluest Eye"

While The Bluest Eye is about an African American family struggling with issues of identity and race, Toni Morrison explains why her book, in fact, has a message for everyone.

"I think a lot has changed since the '60s in terms of self-image. But there's still a lot of pain young girls feel because the bar is always being raised. The stakes are always higher."

When Oprah asked whether the word "beautiful" should be eliminated, this was Toni's response:

"That's what I thought. Of the virtues, it is not one. The virtues are not the accidents of birth. The virtues are things you work for. To be forthright. To be educated. To be in control. To be diplomatic. To be healthy. To be graceful. These are the things you can work for. You can get them. They are available to you."

"We don't have the vocabulary to tell children what to value. We do say, "Oh, you're so beautiful. Oh, you're so pretty. Oh—that's not really what we really ought to be saying. What do you tell a child when you want to say, "You are good, and I like that. You are honest and I like that. [Y]ou are courageous. I really like that. I really like the way you behave. I like the way you do yourself. Now. The way you are.' That's the vocabulary we need."

Here's how the ECB rated it:
1-5 Point Scale
(1 being the worst book you ever read, 5 being a glorious oasis of literature)
Val - 2.5
Amy P - 4.25
Amy W - 4
Alycia - 3
Sean - 3
Kevin - 3
Barbara - 3
Stephenie - 4.25
Will - 4
Total of 3.4 Points

Some day I hope Sean will post his formula for book ratings. It's highly scientific and just as entertaining. A great model for critics and bibliophiles alike!