Thursday, June 5, 2008

Smart Remarks... Let's get this party started, people

Here's our Smart Remarks Book Club logo:



It's the shelf behind me. I was too lazy to clean it off and arrange the books in any sort of order before I snapped the picture. But a logo is crucial to club authenticity. I might even have it made into a patch that you can sew onto a silky jacket. We'll see.

Anyway, in the comments, please nominate a book for June/July (we'll do 30-day periods rather than actual months since we're starting a week into June... don't you think?) and tell us a little about the book you're nominating. Nominate more than one if you can, since there are only a few of us. Take a few days if you need to... I need to do some thinking first. I don't want to scare any half-hearted members away by suggesting anything with too many big words.

Remember, no nonfiction, no self-help, no religious doctrine (sorry Tom, you're on your own with the Bible), etc, because that's not the point here. We don't want to be a source of torture or discomfort or sleepiness.

Once we have some books to choose from, we'll vote!

*BTW, I'm sure a few of you will be tempted to make a mockery of Smart Remarks Book Club by nominating a bunch of silly books. Don't be shy about it. We here at Smart Remarks will be laughing with you, or, if it's not funny, at you. So make it count. Maybe watch a few episodes of Last Comic Standing to get some ideas. Ahem. Tom.

24 comments:

sarastrasser said...

Uhhh, I already made my suggestion and I was serious. So Sweet Valley High #1 is my first nomination. Second nomination is Wicked because I already have it and I have never read it. And my third nomination is US Weekly (whatever the current issue is). One question though, most of the books I read are cookbooks. Can we nominate cookbooks or does that fall under nonfiction?? When do we vote? No one pick expensive books okay!!

Katie or Tom said...

You guys are on your own for picking books, but Sara, if you need someone to read the books to you so you don't have to go out and buy them, I am available

Amanda said...

The library is a good place to check out a book for free Sara.
I don't know what to nominate, but I will try to participate. I wouldn't mind doing the US Weekly idea Sara suggested. Seriously. That would be fun and easy and PLENTY to talk about in there. Even better would be National Inquirer.

sarastrasser said...

Unfortunately, Amanda, I don't think that the library will let me check books out anymore. So please stick to the orginal cheap plan.

sarastrasser said...

Original, I mean not orginal.

sarastrasser said...

Also, sorry Jenny if your were excited to see so many comments and it made you think they was several books to choose from. I'll stop commenting....for now.

Amy Thurston said...

I say no to cook books, I already get enough of cooking crap with Dwight TiVoing the cooking channel all day. I would like to read Wicked, or Sweet Valley High, or something good, whatever.

Cristin said...

Well I suck, I have know ideas here, all I know is that in August the book is already picked out no matter what!!! :)

ajesplin said...

OK, we need to decide on a book before Thursday, so we can read the book during our flight to New York. Oh, I mean, so I can read the book during MY flight to New York.

Anyways, here are some choices...

ajesplin said...

WICKED by Gregory Maguire

Sara Nominated this, but I have to say, I’ve read it, and, though it wasn’t bad, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend that we read it first (if ever). It’s high concept fantasy with lots of literary-type description—certainly not as enjoyable as the musical, with absolutely no singing. But here’s the blurb from the (biased) publisher if you want to know what it's about, and we can vote on it:

Following the traditions of Gabriel Garca Marquz, John Gardner and J.R.R. Tolkien, Wicked is a richly woven tale that takes us to the other, darker side of the rainbow as novelist Gregory Maguire chronicles the Wicked Witch of the West's odyssey through the complex world of Oz -- where people call you wicked if you tell the truth.

Years before Dorothy and her dog crash-land, another little girl makes her presence known in Oz. This girl, Elphaba, is born with emerald-green skin -- no easy burden in a land as mean and poor as Oz, where superstition and magic are not strong enough to explain or to overcome the natural disasters of flood and famine. But Elphaba is smart, and by the time she enters the university in Shiz, she becomes a member of a charmed circle of Oz' most promising young citizens.

Elphaba's Oz is no utopia. The Wizard's secret police are everywhere. Animals -- those creatures with voices, souls and minds -- are threatened with exile. Young Elphaba, green and wild and misunderstood, is determined to protect the Animals -- even if it means combating the mysterious Wizard, even if it means risking her single chance at romance. Even wiser in guilt and sorrow, she can find herself grateful when the world declares her a witch. And she can even make herself glad for that young girl from Kansas.

In Wicked, Gregory Maguire has taken the largely unknown world of Oz and populated it with the power of his own imagination. Fast-paced, fantastically real and supremely entertaining, this is a novel of vision and re-vision. Oz never will be the same again

ajesplin said...

SWEET VALLEY HIGH #1: DOUBLE LOVE by Francine Pascal

Again, Sara nominated this, and she has read it and recommends it. Here's the blurb:

WELCOME TO SWEET Valley High—a world of good girls and bad girls, hot boys with fast cars, perfect tans and natural highlights... all under the Southern California sun.
Twin girls, identical in every way—yet they couldn’t be more different. Jessica Wakefield is used to getting what she wants—at school, with her friends, and especially with boys—and she’ll stop at nothing to get it. Elizabeth Wakefield is used to letting her twin sister have her way. There’s not much that’s worth fighting her over—lost earrings can be replaced, petty problems can be resolved, and rampant rumors can be doused like a fire. But when it comes to Todd Wilkins, Liz isn’t so sure she should step aside and make way for Jessica. This time, Jessica Wakefield is going to have some competition—from her own sister.

ajesplin said...

WATER FOR ELEPHANTS by Sara Gruen

I'm nominating this; although I've never read it, I'm curious about it. It's a literary-type novel, so it won't be light-hearted read, if that's what you were in the mood for. Here's the blurb:

Life is good for Jacob Jankowski. He's about to graduate from veterinary school and about to bed the girl of his dreams. Then his parents are killed in a car crash, leaving him in the middle of the Great Depression with no home, no family, and no career. Almost by accident, Jacob joins the circus. There he falls in love with the beautiful performer Marlena, who is married to the circus' psychotic animal trainer. He also meets the other love of his life, Rosie the elephant. This lushly romantic novel travels back in forth in time between Jacob's present day in a nursing home and his adventures in the surprisingly harsh world of 1930s circuses. The ending of both stories is a little too cheerful to be believed, but just like a circus, the magic of the story and the writing convince you to suspend your disbelief. The book is partially based on real circus stories and illustrated with historical circus photographs.

ajesplin said...

THE LADIES OF MISSALONGHI by Colleen McCullough

I'm nominating this. It's one of my all-time favorite books, and if we don't pick it this time, we should choose it eventually. It's very satisfying. McCullough's voice might be a little harder to read, but it's only 192 pages. (Sara, there are used copies on Amazon starting at $0.01)

Blurb from Publisher's weekly:

Like a box of chocolates, this short novel by McCullough is seductive and satisfying; readers will want to devour it in one sitting. Set in the early 1900s in the tiny town of Byron, nestled in the Australia's Blue Mountains, it tells of the blossoming of Missy Wright, 33-year-old spinster and poor relation of the town's ruling family, the Hurlingfords. Missy, her widowed mother and crippled aunt live in genteel poverty, victims of the Hurlingford inheritance policy that gives riches and power to the male members of the family, who heartlessly abuse the women they dominate. Plain, painfully thin and doomed to dress always in serviceable brown, shockingly dark-haired in a clan of luminous blondes, Missy seems fated for da dreary future until a distant cousin, a divorcee, arrives from Sydney. Under her tutelage, Missy acquires spunk, hope and the means to a happy ending. This is an endearing tale, exuding an old-fashioned sentimentality, yet wittily told. McCullough indulges in gentle social satire, even as she uses the stock character of a mysterious stranger to introduce suspense and romance.

ajesplin said...

ANNE OF GREEN GABLES by LM Montgomery

Amy nominated this one to me over the phone and said she would be in the depths of despair if we don't pick it. I haven't read it, neither has Amy, I think we all know what it's about so I'll skip the blurb.

ajesplin said...

THE BLUE CASTLE by LM Montgomery

I've never read this, just stumbled on it by accident. This is the only novel by LM Montgomery (the author of Anne of Green Gables) that was written to an adult audience.

Here's the blurb:

At twenty-nine Valancy had never been in love, and it seemed romance had passed her by. Living with her overbearing mother and meddlesome aunt, she found her only consolations in the "forbidden" books of John Foster and her daydreams of the Blue Castle. Then a letter arrived from Dr. Trent, and Valancy decided to throw caution to the winds. For the first time in her life Valancy did and said exactly what she wanted. Soon she discovered a surprising new world, full of love and adventures far beyond her most secret dreams.

Ooh la la...

ajesplin said...

WICKED LOVELY by Melissa Marr

To be honest, this is a "if you liked Twilight, you'll like this" book according to Amazon. Instead of vampires, there are wicked fairies (spelled faeries) in human form. Interesting, yes? no?

ajesplin said...

OK, that's all I got. I really would like to read something I haven't read, so I was hoping someone would recommend a good book. If anyone comes up with something else, post it quick! Otherwise, choose from these seven:

WICKED by Gregory Maguire

SWEET VALLEY HIGH #1: DOUBLE LOVE by Francine Pascal

WATER FOR ELEPHANTS by Sara Gruen

THE LADIES OF MISSALONGHI by Colleen McCullough

ANNE OF GREEN GABLES by LM Montgomery

THE BLUE CASTLE by LM Montgomery

WICKED LOVELY by Melissa Marr

Vote ASAP peps!

Mary said...

I choose "The Blue Castle".

Amanda said...

I really don't care a whole lot. I've already got to somehow find time to read Mansfield Park by Jane Austen in the next two weeks before my other book club meets. So if I had to choose, it would be either Anne of Green Gables, because I just read that (But it was exactly like the movie. Nothing special.) Or THE LADIES OF MISSALONGHI.
Actually, I can also nominate Mansfield Park! Two birds, one stone for me.

Cristin said...

The Blue Castle. I LOVE Anne of Green Gables, so I'd like to read what else she has written.

sarastrasser said...

I vote for Wicked Lovely because it sounds wickedly lovely.

michelle said...

My vote is for WATER FOR ELEPHANTS.
A couple of my favorite books that I have read in the last year were "The Kite Runner" and "A Thousand Splendid Suns" by Khaled Hosseini. I would highly recommend reading them if you have not had a chance to. They were amazing...haven't been that emotionally involved with book characters in a long time.

michelle said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JENNY!!! Forgot to add that in my comments - was going to send it yesterday and got busy at work and didn't do it. Hope my brother did something nice for you!!!!

Amanda said...

Happy Birthday Jenny!!!!