Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Book Club Reading (February)

I hope you all enjoyed the January book "Financial Peace University". I felt like after reading it, I really came away with more than I started with.

This Month, I want us to look into a book that I have heard over and over in the book communities that I am a part of... "The Tenth of December". 

Editorial Reviews:

The Washington Post - Jeff TurrentineIn one way or another, all the tales in Tenth of December, [Saunders's] amazing new collection of stories, are about the tragedy of separation. What distinguishes it from the three equally fine collections that have preceded it…is the added pinch of semi-sweet salvation, an ingredient most other satirists diligently avoid for fear of ruining their sour-by-design recipes.

The New York Times - Michiko KakutaniNo one writes more powerfully than George Saunders about the lost, the unlucky, the disenfranchised…If his earlier books reverberated with echoes of Nathanael West and Kurt Vonnegut, Mr. Saunders's latest offering…seems to have more in common with Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio. There are still touches of surreal weirdness here…but for the most part the humor is more muted and the stories tend to pivot around loneliness, disappointment, frustration and the difficulty of connecting with other human beings. Although sentiment has always lurked beneath the antic, corrugated surface of Mr. Saunders's work, there is a new sympathy for his characters in these pages, an emphasis on how bad luck, poor judgment, lack of resources and family misfortune can snowball into violence or catastrophe.

It is listed in the Barnes and Nobel "What we are talking about" listing as well. 

This collection of stories by George Saunders, sounds fascinating. A true human experience.

Tenth of December
By: George Saunders


One of the most important and blazingly original writers of his generation, George Saunders is an undisputed master of the short story, and Tenth of December is his most honest, accessible, and moving collection yet.
In the taut opener, “Victory Lap,” a boy witnesses the attempted abduction of the girl next door and is faced with a harrowing choice: Does he ignore what he sees, or override years of smothering advice from his parents and act? In “Home,” a combat-damaged soldier moves back in with his mother and struggles to reconcile the world he left with the one to which he has returned. And in the title story, a stunning meditation on imagination, memory, and loss, a middle-aged cancer patient walks into the woods to commit suicide, only to encounter a troubled young boy who, over the course of a fateful morning, gives the dying man a final chance to recall who he really is. A hapless, deluded owner of an antiques store; two mothers struggling to do the right thing; a teenage girl whose idealism is challenged by a brutal brush with reality; a man tormented by a series of pharmaceutical experiments that force him to lust, to love, to kill—the unforgettable characters that populate the pages of Tenth of December are vividly and lovingly infused with Saunders’s signature blend of exuberant prose, deep humanity, and stylistic innovation.
Writing brilliantly and profoundly about class, sex, love, loss, work, despair, and war, Saunders cuts to the core of the contemporary experience. These stories take on the big questions and explore the fault lines of our own morality, delving into the questions of what makes us good and what makes us human.
Unsettling, insightful, and hilarious, the stories in Tenth of December—through their manic energy, their focus on what is redeemable in human beings, and their generosity of spirit—not only entertain and delight; they fulfill Chekhov’s dictum that art should “prepare us for tenderness.”

Your Turn:

Let me know what you think about this collection of short stories. Was there one that was your favorite? Were you inspired? Disturbed? Let me know your thoughts/feelings after this month's reading. 

Happy Reading!

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