LEAVE them here WITH A LITTLE summary/reasoning FOR wanting us to READ THEM. Will post TOMORROW with more details on how WE CAN get this THING rolling!

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104 Responses to Suggestions

  1. Mans says:

    Roberto Bolano, 2666 or Savage Detectives

    • dr. girlfriend says:

      feel very strongly about either one.

    • Slothdrop says:

      I would like either one of these seeing as I have them sitting on my bookshelf and this would give me a much needed push to finally read them, one of them, not both, well I’ll read both but not at once…

      • Check out the website in my name for a previous discussion group on 2666 in the vein of the Infinite Summer project from last year. I’m not associated with that site btw, and I had already read the book before the club got underway, but there’s some good discussions there.

    • lilbobbytables says:

      I am all for 2666, as I have it checked out from the library. Huzzah.

      • Johnny Gentle, Famous Crooner says:

        I am definitely in favor of 2666, since I am about a quarter of the way through it but have been slacking lately. This would be great motivation to get back on track….not that much motivation is needed, because it is great so far.

  2. jawbone says:

    Homage To Catalonia – George Orwell

    Would be an interesting one. Not a typical Orwell book and is a very interesting insight into the criminally under-discussed Spanish Civil War.


    • rb pir8munky says:

      My local chapter of Young Democrats just had a bookclub meeting on this and I was pissed, because I couldn’t make it! Would love to talk about this book, it’s so good and I’ve only read parts. Nights in Rodanthe, obvs, not Homage to Catalonia. (J/K I second jawbone’s Homage to Catalonia nom)

    • thequeenofdoorbells says:

      Would really love to read this again, seconded. Thirded, I guess.

  3. Burgy says:

    A Staggering Work of Heartbreaking Genius by Dave Eggers

    • Burgy says:

      This is supposed to read: A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers

      • Michelle Obama says:

        Please! I’d love to see our collective worth panning this terrible book

      • brrrrrian says:

        Someone far brighter than I said something like: “If there was one book I could unread it would be AHWOSG.” I agree.
        Sadly, it’s my wife’s favorite book, so I have no one to make fun of it with. THIS COULD BE MY OPPORTUNITY!

      • dr. girlfriend says:

        i can only reply to burgy’s comment, but what i really wanted to do was upvote brrrrian’s comment.

  4. Hil says:

    If everyone hasn’t already read it, “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay” by Michael Chabon.

    I second “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius”, only because I’ve been meaning to read it and haven’t gotten around to it.

    • dr. girlfriend says:

      no offense! but i have read both of these novels and although they are serviceable, i am not overly enthused about them. i could also be biased because of my deep-seated hatred for dave eggers with his mcsweeney’s clique and his commercial success and his talented and gorgeous wife.

      • meaverly says:

        If we’re picking anyone we’re picking Vendela Vida over Dave Eggers, dang it. Her first two novels were pretty great and her new one just came out. She’s all, It was inspired by this house we rented in Turkey for vacation, the owners left up all these nude photos and some of them were kind of pornographic! I don’t think the actual book is about naked strangers though.

    • Mark says:

      I wholeheartedly second “Kavalier and Clay.” Or, frankly, anything else by Chabon (if you enjoy super-descriptive prose, Chabon is the simile-fuckin’-masta). But K&C is a good choice — it won the Pulitzer, so it carries more weight, no?

  5. jimjbollocks says:

    Bukowski- Ham on Rye
    It was his birthday last week! You don’t want to let him down on his birthday, do you? Well?

  6. Jwormyk says:

    Twilight: Breaking Dawn because Stephanie Meyer is the best riter eva!!!

    PSYCHE!!!! I vote for Lost City of Z. It’s a great book about Obsession to find a lost civilization in the worlds anti-paradise the Amazon.

  7. Mans says:

    Maybe we should wait a few days to make the poll so we get a little more attention, notice, traction, etc? Maybe someone post to the regular website for those non-twitter folks, so they can have some input? THe more the merrier and the more likely this is to actually get going and stay going.

  8. dr. girlfriend says:

    the passage by justin cronin.
    it has vampires, sort of, something all monsters love.
    it’s addictive. it’s epic. i want to read it.
    a movie is already being made which will not be as good as the book.
    Janet Maslin of The New York Times calls The Passage a “genuinely jolting horror story” with its “share of original twists” that lend it the “air of an old-time western.”
    there is an apocalypse and jenna bush is the governor of texas at the time.

    • rb pir8munky says:

      I’m number 72 on the waitlist at my library for this one. I really want to read it, though! Can we do it as…oh, the 3rd or 4th book?

    • THIS description REMINDS me, for some REASON, of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. ANYONE know if that book IS GOOD?

      • meaverly says:

        IT IS SO GOOD. It is really really long! It goes on for such a long time! But it’s SO GOOD.

      • dr. girlfriend says:

        i have read this as well. i enjoyed it! i think steve winwood would find it boring though.

      • a serious monster says:

        It would be pretty cool if Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell were a Bookgum selection. I have read about half and would like to be motivated to finish it.

        Then again, it is a pretty long book. Long enough that I need motivation to finish it.

      • brrrrrian says:

        Didn’t enjoy it myself, but then again I quit after the first third.

    • meaverly says:

      I got this from the internets a while back and have been meaning to read it, but I accidentally got caught up reading all of Agatha Christie instead. I vote The Passage.

  9. scrawler says:

    I think Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell is pretty accessible and would generate lots of discussion, though I also second The Passage suggestion for all of dr. girlfriend’s reasons above.

  10. pandamystery says:

    A Visit from The Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan. It has a powerpoint section!

  11. infinitebest says:

    I’d be down for Savage Detectives or Kavalier & Clay… also, The Quiet American is waiting patiently by my bedside.

    Maybe each month AnAmPatriot or whoever could pick some sort of category for the following month, (Classic, Foreign, Adventure, Graphic Novel, Bio/Memoir, Comedy, whatevs) and we nominate books (for the next month) throughout the current month, and then vote on the last day of the month? Thats horribly convoluted, but you see the idea… so psyched for this, obvi

  12. thelinsee says:

    I think all of these suggestions are great – most are on my “to read” list as well, I also think the idea of setting up categories for the months is a good idea.

    Tossing my own suggestion out there – The Book of Lost Things, by John Connolly – it’s whimsical and dark with a heavy nod to the beasts and legends of great fairy tales intertwined into an interesting take on bravery, loyalty and fathers and sons.

  13. I’D really LIKE to reread Blood Meridian again, so I THINK I’ll throw that out as MY SUGGESTION. It’s an AMAZING book that’s RIPE for all sorts of DISCUSSION and successful deconstructs THE Western genre while MAKING parallels TO CLASSIC American literature such AS Moby Dick.

  14. Luke Gibbs says:

    My suggestion is Infinite Jest. It’s long and I’ve already read it, but the reason I’m suggesting it is that it’s already such a part of the commenting culture. Things like “The Entertainment” from the book get mentioned in the comments all the time. I think it’d be a great inaugural read.


    • dr. girlfriend says:

      i would love to read this again (maybe later in the year?) with a group of intelligent people to riff of of.
      love, PGOAT

      • bill haverchuck says:

        Yes! I started reading Infinite Jest a few weeks ago when my laptop died and I would love to discuss it with people! I recognize it’s been done online before though, so I would gladly agree to anyone else’s suggestion.

        I’m very excited about this!

  15. what the what! says:

    I suggest Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart. I heard an interview with him on NPR the other day, and it sounded pretty excellent.

    • dr. girlfriend says:

      i haven’t read any of his stuff, but want to.

      • meaverly says:

        I read his previous two novels and if you are into rambling sentences about the influence of filthy lucre on modern Russia, specifically oligarchs, and also Russian Jewish people, then have at it. But I didn’t think he was any great shakes.

      • dip dobson says:

        i saw him read a snippet in brooklyn a few weeks ago and i have to agree with meaverly (to whom i apparently can’t respond). it seemed like a book about russian jewish people by russian jewish people for russian jewish people dressed up in a little social critique.

  16. rb pir8munky says:

    I’d like to throw in “The Big Machine” by Victor LaValle. It’s a fantastic book, and I think it just won an American Book Award.

  17. Bookface says:

    Overton Window?

    Or Freedom when it actually comes out because not everybody can buy advanced copies *AHEMMR.PRESIDENTAHEM*

  18. basshole says:

    Indigenous Beasts by Nathan Sellyn. The biggest little stories about head-smashing I’ve read.

    • ChillMurray says:

      Seconded. Haven’t read it, but my roommate has a copy and talks about it way more than someone who never reads books should.

  19. shellbomber says:

    I’ve never been a big fiction reader, but this book club might be just what I need to jump in.

  20. dexterbotwin says:

    I’m going to go ahead and vote for a book probably no one has ever heard of: “The Frog King” by Adam Davies. It’s really, really witty, heartbreaking, sad and uplifting all at once. And it’s being made into a movie starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt! So we could do a whole tie-in thing when it comes out in like 2 years or whenever.

    • dr. girlfriend says:

      joseph gordon-levitt?! SOLD. wait, when i’m reading this book, is he not in it?

      • dexterbotwin says:

        He’s not in it, but if it helps you can imagine him as the main character (whom he’ll be playing). It didn’t occur to me when I was reading the book, but once JGL was announced it made perfect sense. Then again, JGL makes perfect sense for any part. Especially the part of my boyfriend.

  21. Principal Enchman says:

    Portnoy’s Complaint by Philip Roth seems like an appropriately humorous novel for an unofficial Videogum book club.

  22. pandabeth says:

    I just picked up Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. I really enjoyed two others by him and have been told this one is great. Another favorite author of mine is Ian McEwan, Endless Love was amazing.

    I’ve been a lurker-monster for 2 years and rarely comment. Really looking forward to being able to discuss books with all you fine people!

    • dr. girlfriend says:

      awesome for you! i know i’m seconding a lot of these, but i’ve been wanting to read never let me go before the movie comes out.

    • Hil says:

      Yes! I saw the trailer for “Never Let Me Go”, then read the book description. It looks really interesting, I would love to be able to discuss it with people.

      Ian McEwan is wonderful. I’d like to nominate “Saturday”.

      • pandabeth says:

        Saturday blew me away. He’s amazing at building a story so subtly, then wham! knocks it out of the park.

  23. longom says:

    I just started reading The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Diaz, think it might be good one to discuss, I don’t really know anyone else who has read it, but I guess it may sort of be a big deal, a Pulitzer prize winner, anyway so far I like it. The main character Oscar is basically a big nerd growing up in New Jersey who like can’t talk to girls but so far the book goes into a lot of his like family history coming from the Dominican Republic. I really like the writing, it sort of jumps into spanish at times, but it works and I don’t really know spanish.

    Sort of reminds me of an american version of Zadie Smith’s White Teeth which might also be a good one to do, though personally I preferred her book On Beauty so I guess I’d recommend that one too.

    Also, a recently read Netherland by Joseph O’Neill on the insistance of a friend, and it was really good novel that takes place in NYC post 9/11 and was just like interesting story of an outsider/immigrants life in the city.

    I guess I could write a bookgum just on suggesting books, but even if these never are official selections, they come highly recommended…

    • dr. girlfriend says:

      i’ve read oscar wao and think it will be universally enjoyed.
      i’d like to tackle netherland eventually.
      how am i going to VOTE?!!

    • pandabeth says:

      Seconded on both White Teeth and On Beauty. I haven’t tried her 2nd novel but would enjoy re-reading both of these.

    • Johnny Gentle, Famous Crooner says:

      Oscar Wao came very highly recommended to me, but I’m sorry to say that it was a big let down in my opinion. Something about his writing style just consistently annoyed me throughout the whole book, though I could never really put my finger on what it was.

  24. Grinth says:

    A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters~Julian Barnes

    Well written, witty, insightful and thought provoking, A History of the World is more 10 and a half short stories that are all thematically interconnected rather than a true novel. The stories cover everything from the “true” story of Noah and the Ark, deconstructing a famous piece of artwork, to his view of heaven.

    A favorite of mine and a lot of fun.

  25. longom says:

    I also might throw these lists into consideration, just because:

    The books they read on LOST:
    The books they read on MAD MEN:

    I’m not sure if these lists are comprehensive or not, but they seem fitting.

  26. dip dobson says:

    i’ve been meaning to read some bolano. so that would be good for me.

    i’ve been meaning to read some bolano. so that would be good for me.

    i am tempted to read:
    A Happy Man by Hansjörg Schertenleib
    The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet By Reif Larsen
    Tree of Smoke by Denis Johnson

    and i’m intrigued by the hype around Freedom by Jonathan Franzen

    i have just started The Literary Conference by Cesar Aira and it is really short, but i’d be happy to read more of his work, for instance: How I Became a Nun or The Hare

    also i have a recent translation of Amerika mocking me from my shelf and it’s important to read the new translation as J.M. Coetzee says that the older translations by the Muir’s are tinged with the translators’ own religious overtones.

    and finally.. to anyone looking for a book recommendation.. read every bit of Jean-Philippe Toussaint you can get your hands on..

    k that’s enough from me i suppose..

  27. kimmy g says:

    second Savage Detectives.

    Submit: anything by Zadie Smith. On Beauty particularly.
    and in place of Heartbreaking Work, I’d suggest What is the What. Eggers but better.

  28. Ginger Ball Z says:

    I am very excited about this club! Thanks for taking the helm, An American Patriot. If this is just a ploy to get everyone to read “The Patriots,” I’m all for it. Assuming it ever gets past Chapter 1, that is.

    I am going to throw out Seven Types of Ambiguity by Elliot Perlman. I read it a couple years ago, and, despite Perlman’s somewhat erratic and rambling narrative style, really enjoyed it. I think it would make for some great discussion.

    Here is a link to a NY Times review:

    The reviewer has some very valid criticism of the book, but she also likens it to Rashomon, which, to me, is high praise.

  29. Shannon says:

    If anyone is interested in reading some hilarious and thought-provoking YA, I suggest Paper Towns by John Green.

    • rb pir8munky says:

      I love hilarious and thought-provoking YA! I will check that out. Recently, I enjoyed “King Dork” by Frank Portman, but this year’s Newberry Award winner “When You Reach Me” by Rebecca Stead really blew me away.

    • Gangy says:

      How did I miss a John Green suggestion?! I think he’s great & actually met him on his last book tour.

  30. Gabe says:

    If I might make a few suggestions:

    -East of Eden by John Steinbeck
    -The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
    -Desperate Characters by Paula Fox
    -Deadwood by Pete Dexter
    -Ask The Dust by John Fante

    I really think you guys would enjoy these books, or at least have something to say about them.

  31. Michelle Obama says:

    This year marks the 100th anniversary of Tolstoy’s death…. just sayin’!

  32. Mans says:

    I think we have good suggestions here. One thing I think we should keep in mind, but which can be freely discarded, is this: since Infinite Summer, there have been a number of group internet book reads (well, since before that, but I think that was the influence for many of the ones that I see now). Perhaps for our first book, we should stay away from one that has already been done, so we can break some new ground.

    So far, the only ones that have been suggested I think have been done else where are 2666 and Infinite Jest. Again, I love both and think both would be great, but if you are looking to read them, there are resources and disucssions elsewhere already. But we haven’t discussed them together, so I am also sure it would be fine.

    Just a thought.

  33. shoogyboom says:

    Anything by Nabokov — “Lolita” is one of my favorite books, but I never got around to reading another novel by him. “Despair” is about a guy who strikes up a friendship with his doppelganger who eventually murders him. “Pale Fire” takes the structure of an annotated poem and tells the story of the poet’s life through the foreword, commentary and index written by the book’s editor, who inserts details about his own life into the notes. I also want to read “Ada or Ardor,” but it’s nearly 700 pages, so I don’t think it would be good for a book club.

  34. QuelRat says:

    i feel that david foster wallace’s “E UNIBUS PLURAM” short story is a fitting and easy read to get y’all started!

  35. Sarcmis says:

    Ok, leaving it here again: Life of PI by Yann Martel. Because I’ve been wanting to read it and it sounds like a fun book! Which is probably terrible reasoning.

    I’ve also been meaning to read Kavalier & Clay, so another vote for that. (If that’s how this works.

    • shoogyboom says:

      I started Kavalier & Clay last year, then stopped for some reason, so I wouldn’t mind taking another crack at it…

      • dr. girlfriend says:

        so many seemed to have stopped reading kavalier & clay, including myself. are we all just forcing ourselves to read a pulitzer prize winner that can’t hold our interest?
        pleasepleaseplease let that not be the selection!

      • meave says:

        I read it ages ago and liked it fine, but I’m not much for re-reading unless it’s something really dense that needs discussion for unpacking. I feel like K&K was pretty upfront with all its stuff, I’m in no rush to read it again.

  36. a serious monster says:

    How about The Scar by China Mieville? It has pirates and I’ve heard it’s really good.

  37. ninacamille says:

    Geek Love by Katherine Dunn. I haven’t read it before but it sounds really interesting and it’s up next on my reading list after 2 non fictions.

    Amazon site:


  38. thelinsee says:

    I haven’t read Geek Love, but I second it as I’ve hear nothing but wonderful things about it – it’s yet another one on the list of books to be tackled that I haven’t gotten around to.

  39. meave says:

    I do not do well with RAPING RAPING VIOLENCE RAPING, which I understand makes up a significant portion of 2666, but if you all want to read that, it’s cool. I’d rather read pretty much anything than any more DFW; if you’re looking for experimental narrative/exploration of temporal experiences, let’s read some Borges.

    Otherwise, Geek Love? Because it’s not about computers, it’s about circus freaks.

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