Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Join the February STIR

Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat is the February STIR selection. Salsis and I have both finished it and are earnestly discussing it off-blog, however there is still plenty of time to read it this month and join in (or at least better) appreciate our discussion.
Salsis, more usually a reader of escapist sci-fi and true adventure novels, does ecological work in Haiti when she can. She selected this book because it is a contemporary novel by a woman from Haiti and represents whole categories of books (Haitian novels, Oprah selections, women's issues novels) she hasn't explored.
The book is short, compelling, and full of star references*. It is a very fast read, particularly in the early section before things become uncomfortable. Of course (it is an Oprah selection, after all) things do become uncomfortable, sometimes squirmingly so, and there is plenty of dysfunction to go around.
I read Breath, Eyes, Memory one windy day here; Salsis read most of it on her snow day last week. Take a short while to read something different and join our discussion.
Because Salsis has been such a good sport, I'm going to suggest a classic sci-fi work, The Day of the Triffids, as a bonus February book, and English-village-life Lark Rise to Candleford is on for March.

*To the stars in the sky, not celebrities, and I just noticed the stars because that's what I do this year.


Prairie Quilter said...

I have finished the book and waiting to see what others have to say about it.

Beth said...

I finished it too - I was able to check it out from my school's library. As some of the others know this took great restraint on my part not to buy the book I was reading. But honestly I'm not sure I'd want to read it again. I'm glad I read it though. It reminded me of Little Bee which I read recently.

Sparkling Squirrel said...

Great! Now I need to figure out how to host an in-blog discussion. My in-person book club used to frustrate me terribly when the limits of our discussion were "I liked it" or "I didn't" and I read enough of Wuthering Expectations to know that genuine discourse about the writing of books is possible-- yet still I do want to know if you liked it or not.
We'll see.
Readers of B,E,M: Salsis and I have been discussing characters, the role Haiti and NY play in the book and in our reaction to it (would we be nearly as interested it if there were no "exotic" connection?), when nasty plot events are a relief to a reader, and for whom we'd recommend it.
Be thinking your thoughts along these lines, and feel free to e-mail me your responses if you go so far as to write them.
Also, if you have questions, either of the conversation stimulating type or just the general information type, add them to the comments.

salsis said...

Would you recommend it to someone? Who?
Favorite character.
Least favorite.
Favorite part of the book.

My thoughts:
Would I be nearly as interested it if there were no "exotic" connection - No
Would you recommend it to someone? Who?: Only to people interested in Haiti – after they’ve been there (the words and descriptions would make more sense). Or if I knew they liked relationshipy-type of books, or worked in the field of abuse.
Favorite character. The little kid at the grandma’s house. Reminds me of the kids in Haiti.
Least favorite. The psychiatrist – her questions seemed shallow. Tonton Macoutes – political thugs. The other main characters (while it’s no excuse) are products of their up bringing.
Favorite part of the book. Descriptions of Haiti, the Creole words and phrases.

salsis said...

What did Beth & PQ think? I want to read a happy book about Haiti to get the traumatic images out of my mind. Anyone know a happy book? All Danticat's books seem traumatic (which perhaps most of the notable things in Haiti are).

Beth said...

SalSis - I too hated the psychologist -I thought she was useless. The new-agey let's talk about these issues also didn't seem to help much.

I wasn't a big fan of the characters but they appeared to legitimately come by their issues.