Dictatorship, month 0, day 0

October 1, 2009

An Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New EnglandWelcome to October, Book Clubbers. The book of the month is Brock Clarke’s An Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes in New England, a book so book-clubby it has its own book club guide tucked into the back pages. It is also orange and fiery, which seems appropriate to the season.

The narrator, Sam, made himself infamous at 18 when he burned down the Emily Dickinson House, by accident he says, with two people in it. Ten years in prison were not enough to appease the poetry lovers of Amherst, (although amongst the scholarly diatribes are a number of requests from New Englanders for Sam to burn down their own historic writer’s houses) and the hate is heavy. His humiliated, literary parents wish he would go away and not come back. So Sam goes to college, where he studies packaging science and meets a nice girl, and somehow fails to inform her of the felony thing and the deaths and the prison term (apparently she is not a curious person). They marry and have a child, and Sam hides from his sordid past in a ticky-tacky suburb called Camelot. But his bland, prepackaged existence rips when the son of his victims makes a visit. And someone else is burning writers’ homes in New England.

So I’ll see you all back here on Halloween. By commenting below, you agree to read! In the meantime, someone appoint yourself as Dictator for the month of November.


4 Responses to “Dictatorship, month 0, day 0”

  1. bridgidgallagher Says:

    Sweet! I am very excited. Way to take charge, Liz.

    The Sno-Isle library system has an amazing digital media database. We found the book, but I’m not sure if we will be able to get through it in one month…We’ll definitely have it ‘read’ by late October/early November.

  2. bridgidgallagher Says:

    Hey CofU book clubbers,

    We couldn’t get the audio for the book. Any takers on moving the discussion time to end of November?


  3. revdrliz Says:

    (1) This is not a democracy.

    (2) But We do care for the happiness and cares of Our subjects, and will take your suggestion under advisement.

    (3) We (the royal We) have been reflecting on the genesis of this project- more of a book chain than a book club. Books were leant, or it happened that the same book was consumed by multiple friends, and discussion ensued. The lending model is difficult now that many have moved away from the Center, but perhaps the Book Chain is still the favored model? We have interest in avid discussion, but little interest in enforcing arbitrary deadlines (i.e. nagging). If any member wishes to ethuse over/ rant about a particular book or article We encourage them to do so. Use of hyperbole and rhetoric to persuade other members to read what you are reading is ideal!

    (4) We love the library and know that most authors would rather be read than be rich. We used to feel guilt at the pure consumerist joy of a new book purchase- but now We feel that every purchase is an author paid and a new book loosed upon the world! That said, We too are unemployed and respect your cheapness.

    (5) So We understand how you have a deadline problem what with waiting for the library copy. However! It’s only 300 pages. You could read it in two days. We probably will read it in two days, because that is how We do. If We were still in college, Our professor would expect it to be read by like, tomorrow. With discussion questions due at 9am.

    (6) There is no ebook option. Booo.

    (7) In conclusion, We will be making Our Report on Halloween, but will expect discussion (i.e. a dialog with B, as We are feeling no love from the rest of the club) around Thanksgiving.

  4. bridgidgallagher Says:

    I agree! If we were not cheap folk, then this would be easier. Sadly, the other B and I are very cheap folk, and the lovely used book stores of Nevada and Utah have not been very forthcoming.

    It was great fun asking for the book though. In one particular store, the owner led me through the ‘How-To’ section, before I gently pointed out that no, I did not actually want to know how to burn down the homes of authors in New England.

    I’ll keep you all (aka DrLiz, since everyone else is being lame) posted. The other B and I have been reading (gasp! yes, it is true!), and we will work on posting about our non-authorized book selections. Books on hand include White Fang, The Color Purple, and A Confederacy of Dunces.

    DrLiz, I look forward to your report!


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