Friday, September 29, 2006


Amazon is now running online book clubs. The first is associated with Penguin Classics. Thanks to Max at The Millions, I see that the moderator was chosen because of her review of the 1,000 book Penguin library. He also tips his hat to Amazon for picking Robertson Davies as opposed to some more well known author. I love Davies, so it must have slipped my mind that he remains somewhat (and unfairly) obscure. So allow me to also give Amazon a hearty "Huzzah!" The discussion group is starting with Fifth Business. That one is great, but so are the entire Salterton, Deptford or Cornish trilogies. I myself am thinking of reading his book of ghost stories for a good Halloween read.

The discussion groups are in blog format which allows the moderator to post thoughts and questions. I like what she says here about Davies' books:

With some authors I feel a very emotional connection to their characters. I don’t find this to be the case with Davies. Instead, I feel an intellectual connection. I can apply some of their insights about themselves to myself, and learn something about myself that way. To put it simply, it makes me think about where my own identity derives from…what goes into its making.

Michael Dirda (I think) on his Washington Post discussion board, compared Davies to John Irving, which surprised me. I thought his early works were good, but his later stuff left me cold. Both tend to the didactic and to long term character development. But they feel different to me.

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