Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Finally, The Podcast!

Here is what you've been waiting for. Listen here. Then add to the discussion by leaving a comment on our blookblub blog.


Emily said...

I adore the podcast! I didn't take notes, so I will likely be making multiple and random comments as they occur to me and as I relisten to the clever podcast. (You two are brilliant.)

***Bruno's fakeness: I liked it, although it made me sad for Leo's crazy and lonely state. What I didn't fully understand: was Bruno the friend who gave the manuscript to what's-his-plagiarist's-name in Poland, and then died? And so Leo didn't know he had been betrayed?

***Yes! The Leo/Alma story did remind me of Castaway! But it's different, because Tom Hanks survived holding onto the hope of seeing his love again, then when he finally came back, found out she had married someone else. Okay, it's kind of the same, I guess, because Leo did that, too, while he was surviving the war in Poland. But then he never let go. Oh, shoot! Is that what Tom's character does for the rest of his life? Never get over it?! Dang it! You're right: it's the same.

***If you're Mormon and you're Hispanic: okay to name a girl Alma. What about Lemuel if you're Mormon? You'd think not, but it happens.

I'll be back.

Thank you!

Kacy said...

I love how skinny Tom Hanks gets in Castaway. It's intriguing because he is so fat now. You know he can be skinny, so why isn't he? Also, I wouldn't do Lemuel either but apparently his dad named a river or some land after him and it didn't turn evil so I guess it's ok.

Meredith said...

-The ending of the book was beautiful and satisfying. They both found what they were looking for in something completely different than what they had imagined yet they were happy with what they found.
-Bird's eccentricities were not over the top in my opinion. They were sincere and I found a lot of love in his unusual character. They were entertaining at the very least.
-I think Leo was in love with Alma and not just holding on to an idea. I think love can sustain a person where as an idea fades. And his love never faded.

Carly said...

Interesting take on the love for a person/idea. I think love for a real person can sustain us. Although remember how he says Alma sort of "broke up" with him before she left for America? When I heard that, it made me re-think the power of their love. I think it was pretty one-sided, and she seems pretty mean and fickle. Although that doesn't necessarily mean Leo's love wasn't pure. It's an interesting thing to think about.

I like to think that Tom Hanks moves on with that wing-maker lady at the very end of Castaway. Although I find the wing-maker lady upsetting and cheap. But I have an affinity for Helen Hunt because we both have high foreheads. So I could be biased in wanting him to be with her.

Kacy said...

Frankly I was surprised at just how satisfying the ending was. As everyone that you wanted to "get together" slowly died off throughout the book I just kept thinking, "This can't end well." But the final conversation is actually so climactic It makes a lovely point about how these subtle connections sustain us.

Emily said...

My best friend's dad was a spot-on Catholic version of Bird when he was a child. I thought his character was very endearing and that his existence so to speak was justified in the end by bringing L and A together. I loved him.

lisa v. clark said...

I would like to be the first to say that the music on the podcast really added an entertaining element you don't find in most book clubs. I appreciate the extra effort it takes to turn a discussion into a real production like that. Well done!

I took notes, but I'll try and be brief:

I don't think it's ever appropriate to name someone Alma.

You're right: we all want to be writers, or we wouldn't have blogs and want to read good books. Good observation.

I think that men AND women can appreciate this book. I think the themes are universal, especially the themes of survival and love. I think it would be interesting to get a male perspective in on this discussion. . . It does NOT belong in the romance section. That's just silly. As silly as Tom Hanks talking to a volleyball.

I am finishing the book (yeah, I'm "that one" in the group), but I'm enjoying the connections in the novel, and I like what Carly says that even though Alma treats Leo the way she does, that "that doesn't mean that Leo's love wasn't pure." I'm thinking about that.

Emily said...

Note: I have no desire to be a writer, my comments hog status notwithstanding. I don't actually like writing.

A. Nonny Mouse said...

I knew a Mormon Latina living in Salt Lake who's name was Alma, but she told people, "My name is Soul." It was a little weird. Being named "Soul" I mean. It always made me think of South Korea. I would have just stuck with Alma, Mormon-gender- context-weirdness notwithstanding.

A. Nonny Mouse said...

Oh yeah, and I also think that the music in the podcast is awesome.

lisa v. clark said...

My husband and I discussed the book last night, and somehow I was under the impression that he liked it, because he told me that I would like it. SO, imagine my surprise when I brought it up last night and he said he didn't like it, and that he also hadn't finished it because he just couldn't get into it. He said it seemed like "a girl book." Then we talked about the novel The Road, which he loves and recommends all the time, but he doesn't think I would like it because it's "a book for boys." So, is there any truth to his assesment, or am I just married to a traditionalist/sexist?!?! Do books have genders? Does this one? Why am I blind to it? (I hope you answer because I'm "above it")

Womyn are from Venus,

Carly said...

The men in my snobby book club loved this book, but they focused a lot more on the "writing style" than on the romantic content, so who knows? Also, they are into Chinese.

Kacy said...

I don't think this is a chick book. I may be blind to it because I am a chick myself (and a super hot one at that) but the "romance" isn't really the main theme here (especially considering the ending) and romance is typically associated with chickness, no?

Some main themes in the book are the war and the persecution stuff (which is decidedly non-chickish--for every Ann Frank there's an Elie Wiesel), survival, family, family history, death, ambition, plagiarism, loneliness, aging, and success. None of these themes are typically chickish either. I just don't see it as a chick book.

The Road, on the other hand, may be more of a "male" book. Cormac McCarthy has that reputation and I didn't like The Road.

What about Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer? (See Emily's blog). I really want to read this--it might answer our question. He is Nicole Krauss's husband and this book is supposedly a lot like History of Love. Maybe it's "the male version"?

In summary, while I do think we can make generalizations about the gender appeal of some books (I'm thinking Jane Austen and Stephen Crane, for example)I don't think those generalizations are useful, really, in any kind of discussion, interpretation, or explication of the work.

christopher clark said...

Surprise! It's me (a boy.) I really liked "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close." It's a book for all sexes.