And the Winner is . . . .

Thanks to everybody who weighed the pros & the cons between choosing William H. Gass’ Middle C and John Williams’ Stoner as the subject of our late-summer reading group. If you’ve not checked, I am excited to inform you that the winner is . . . . John Williams’ Stoner! Sorry, Billy — maybe when you’re in paperback next year.

Anyway, I’m really excited to get your input on this. If you’ve not yet read Stoner, you should be able to do so in the matter of a couple of days. It’s not particularly long, and I found it reads quickly. With that in mind, would August 5th be a good time to begin? I (or anybody who volunteers) can post something — some introductory thoughts or reflections — about the book, and we can begin banging things about in the comments. From there, we can fluidly work out who wants to write a formal post and who wants to keep their participation to the comments. Sound good?

I should add, though I’d hope it’s obvious: everybody, whether you voted or not, is invited to participate in this. The novel is pretty fantastic, and I’m more than convinced it will resonate (for good and ill) with a good many of you plodding & peddling through the life academic. It’s a pessimistic novel, but not cynical; and even in the end, the whole is not nearly as pessimistic as the constituent parts. Ah, but I’ll save further comment for later.

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7 Responses to “And the Winner is . . . .”

  1. Robert Minto Says:

    Good. I was getting more interested in Stoner all the time, watching the poll with anxiety, kicking myself for suggesting Middle C. Two Gass book discussions in a row was too many.

    Looking forward to this!

  2. ben Says:

    ISTR Williams saying that he thought the book was not pessimistic at all, for reasons that may (or may not!) become apparent in the reading of it.

  3. Brad Says:

    I recall reading something to that effect in the NYRB preface, and I think I more or less agree. I suppose I should say instead that that the tonal bleakness can easily be misconstrued as overall pessimism. There’s something tricky, if not ironic, going on.

  4. Jason LaRiviere Says:

    For a hilarious take on the novel by Jeffrey Sconce see here: http://ludicdespair.blogspot.com/2011/08/stoner-1965.html
    “as professors are so much smarter and more sensitive than everyone else, the general humiliations of their existence are felt that much more acutely”

  5. dan Says:

    Picked up my copy the other day. Plan to read it next week.


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