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Hieronymous Alloy
Jan 30, 2009


Why! Why!! Why must you refuse to accept that Dr. Hieronymous Alloy's Genetically Enhanced Cream Corn Is Superior to the Leading Brand on the Market!?!



Morbid Hound

Welcome goonlings to the Awful Book of the Month!
In this thread, we choose one work of literature absolute crap and read/discuss it over a month. If you have any suggestions of books, choose something that will be appreciated by many people, and has many avenues of discussion. We'd also appreciate if it were a work of literature complete drivel that is easily located from a local library or book shop, as opposed to ordering something second hand off the internet and missing out on a week's worth of reading. Better yet, books available on e-readers.

Resources:

Project Gutenberg - http://www.gutenberg.org

- A database of over 17000 books available online. If you can suggest books from here, that'd be the best.

SparkNotes - http://www.sparknotes.com/

- A very helpful Cliffnotes-esque site, but much better, in my opinion. If you happen to come in late and need to catch-up, you can get great character/chapter/plot summaries here.

For recommendations on future material, suggestions on how to improve the club, or just a general rant, feel free to PM me.

Past Books of the Month

[for BOTM before 2015, refer to archives]

2015:
January: Italo Calvino -- Invisible Cities
February: Karl Ove Knausgaard -- My Struggle: Book 1.
March: Knut Hamsun -- Hunger
April: Liu Cixin -- 三体 ( The Three-Body Problem)
May: John Steinbeck -- Cannery Row
June: Truman Capote -- In Cold Blood
(Hiatus)
August: Ta-Nehisi Coates -- Between the World and Me
September: Wilkie Collins -- The Moonstone
October:Seth Dickinson -- The Traitor Baru Cormorant
November:Svetlana Alexievich -- Voices from Chernobyl
December: Michael Chabon -- Gentlemen of the Road

2016:
January: Three Men in a Boat (To say nothing of the Dog!) by Jerome K. Jerome
February:The March Up Country (The Anabasis) of Xenophon
March: The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
April: Plain Tales from the Hills by Rudyard Kipling
May: Temple of the Golden Pavilion by Yukio Mishima
June:The Vegetarian by Han Kang
July:Lud-in-the-Mist by Hope Mirrlees
August: Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov
September:Siddhartha by Herman Hesse
October:Right Ho, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse
November:Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
December: It Can't Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis

2017:
January: Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut
February: The Plague by Albert Camus
March: The Dispossessed by Ursula K. LeGuin
April: The Conference of the Birds (مقامات الطیور) by Farid ud-Din Attar
May: I, Claudius by Robert Graves
June: Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky
July: Ficcionies by Jorge Luis Borges
August: My Life and Hard Times by James Thurber
September: The Peregrine by J.A. Baker
October: Blackwater Vol. I: The Flood by Michael McDowell
November: Aquarium by David Vann
December: Sir Gawaine and the Green Knight [Author Unknown]

2018
January: Njal's Saga [Author Unknown]
February: The Sign of the Four by Arthur Conan Doyle
March: Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
April: Twenty Days of Turin by Giorgio de Maria
May: Lectures on Literature by Vladimir Nabokov
June: The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe

Current:

Warlock by Oakley Hall

Book available here:

https://www.amazon.com/Warlock-York...eywords=warlock

audiobook: https://play.google.com/store/audio...CFU5uwQod5JoJJQ





About the book:


quote:

Warlock is a western novel by American author Oakley Hall, first published in 1958. The story is set in the early 1880s, in a fictional southwestern mining town called Warlock and its vicinity. The novel's characters and many elements of its plot are loosely based on actual people and events from Tombstone, Arizona during the same time period, including Wyatt Earp and the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.[1]

Hall's most famous novel, Warlock was a finalist for the 1958 Pulitzer Prize, and has since been hailed as a classic of American West literature.[2][3][4] Writers Thomas Pynchon and Richard Fariña were especially fond of the novel, even dedicating what Pynchon called a "micro-cult" to it while students at Cornell University.[2] Pynchon praised it for restoring "to the myth of Tombstone its full, mortal, blooded humanity", and for showing "that what is called society, with its law and order, is as frail, as precarious, as flesh and can be snuffed out and assimilated into the desert as easily as a corpse can. It is the deep sensitivity to abysses that makes Warlock one of our best American novels."[5]

Hall's subsequent novels The Bad Lands (1978) and Apaches (1986) are sequels to Warlock, though they do not portray the same principal characters or setting. The three novels together form the Legends West trilogy.

In 1959, Warlock was adapted into a film of the same name starring Henry Fonda, Richard Widmark, and Anthony Quinn.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warlock_(Hall_novel)

About the Author


Oakley Maxwell Hall (July 1, 1920 – May 12, 2008[1][2]) was an American novelist. He was born in San Diego, California, graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, and served in the Marines during World War II.[3] Some of his mysteries were published under the pen names "O.M. Hall" and "Jason Manor."[3] Hall received his Master of Fine Arts in English from the Iowa Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa.[4]


Themes

quote:

“Tombstone, Arizona, during the 1880’s is, in ways, our national Camelot: a never-never land where American virtues are embodied in the Earps, and the opposite evils in the Clanton gang; where the confrontation at the OK Corral takes on some of the dry purity of the Arthurian joust. Oakley Hall, in his very fine novel Warlock has restored to the myth of Tombstone its full, mortal, blooded humanity. Wyatt Earp is transmogrified into a gunfighter named Blaisdell who … is summoned to the embattled town of Warlock by a committee of nervous citizens expressly to be a hero, but finds that he cannot, at last, live up to his image; that there is a flaw not only in him, but also, we feel, in the entire set of assumptions that have allowed the image to exist… . Before the agonized epic of Warlock is over with—the rebellion of the proto-Wobblies working in the mines, the struggling for political control of the area, the gunfighting, mob violence, the personal crises of those in power—the collective awareness that is Warlock must face its own inescapable Horror: that what is called society, with its law and order, is as frail, as precarious, as flesh and can be snuffed out and assimilated back into the desert as easily as a corpse can. It is the deep sensitivity to abysses that makes Warlock one of our best American novels. For we are a nation that can, many of us, toss with all aplomb our candy wrapper into the Grand Canyon itself, snap a color shot and drive away; and we need voices like Oakley Hall’s to remind us how far that piece of paper, still fluttering brightly behind us, has to fall.” —Thomas Pynchon

quote:

This long western novel is like all the seasons of Deadwood and Gunsmoke rolled into one. With a vast cast of characters, the narrative covers all of nine or ten months in the life of a frontier town. And it rolls on and on like it could keep going indefinitely. As one of the characters observes, “Nothing ever ended anyway.”

Which is pretty much the argument of the novel. We’re used to a sense of finality with the conclusions of western novels. The villains are eliminated by a heroic wielder of justice, while the hero wins the heart of a pretty girl, and law and order are once and for all restored. Life as we know it is not like that. It is more like a TV series with its crises and cliffhangers, characters coming and going, the solving of one problem invariably causing more problems, and so on.
http://buddiesinthesaddle.blogspot....rlock-1958.html


Pacing

Read as thou wilt is the whole of the law.

Please bookmark the thread to encourage discussion.

References and Further Reading

The entire 1959 film is on Youtube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NcHV_iH_LHA

Final Note:

Thanks, and I hope everyone enjoys the book!

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Hieronymous Alloy
Jan 30, 2009


Why! Why!! Why must you refuse to accept that Dr. Hieronymous Alloy's Genetically Enhanced Cream Corn Is Superior to the Leading Brand on the Market!?!



Morbid Hound

Ok I know there were at least like two of you who wanted this book please talk about it

Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

I AM A STUPIDLY SEXY WOLFMAN

Grimey Drawer

I'm going to start reading it on Friday after my book club meeting, and will post initial thoughts.

BravestOfTheLamps
Oct 12, 2012

by FactsAreUseless


Lipstick Apathy

Oh, so it's not about a warlock from a place called Oakley Hall.

mdemone
Mar 14, 2001

There is no route out of the maze. The maze shifts as you move through it, because it is alive.




Okay you twisted my arm. I had started this one last year but lost track of it after a few chapters. I'm in for a BOTM reading though.

Cloks
Jan 31, 2013

Guaranteed to be right twice a day.




Read the intro and half of the first chapter. It's dense as heck (no wonder Pynchon and Farina liked it) but it seems like it will be really good.

Chamberk
Jan 11, 2004

when there is nothing left to burn you have to set yourself on fire


I read it a year or two ago, and really loved it - the way it approaches the theme of order being imposed on chaos/lawlessness was brilliant, but all of the characters felt like real people, despite falling into some classic Western stereotypes (the strong silent lawman, the young schoolmarm in love with him, the unscrupulous saloon owner, etc.) I'm no aficionado of the Western genre, but this was a real winner for me.

Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

I AM A STUPIDLY SEXY WOLFMAN

Grimey Drawer

I'm really digging the prose. I haven't read many westerns, and this one is great so far.

anilEhilated
Feb 17, 2014

But I say fuck the rain.



Grimey Drawer

I'll be jumping into it sometime this week. It's been praised along this forum for a long time and this seems like the perfect excuse to stop putting it off.

Guy A. Person
May 23, 2003



Hieronymous Alloy posted:

Ok I know there were at least like two of you who wanted this book please talk about it

I just started this morning!

Like Franchescanado I haven't read many westerns* but this seems really interesting and dense so far. I am guessing I'll need to know all the various cowboys and Committee members and their relationships so I am glad they outline all of those really early in lists I can come back to (I hope it doesn't just get increasingly convoluted, cause my head's already spinning a bit). Really looking forward to some gunfights.

*I think literally the only one is Blood Meridian? And actually part of Liminial States

anilEhilated
Feb 17, 2014

But I say fuck the rain.



Grimey Drawer

One thing that kind of throws me off is the switching between Goodpasture's diaries and omniscient third-person narration; I figure he's doing the former for time-skips but it seems a bit of a wasted opportunity - at some points, the third-person descriptions feel really sterile and clinical.

Guy A. Person
May 23, 2003



This book is about the biggest bunch of dumb, egotistical, selfish, reactionary, hypocritical idiots. So it might be one of the more realistic books I've ever read lol

I love how it portrays everyone (but especially Blaisdel and Gannon) as being stuck between two (or more) sides of shifting public opinion, which also happens to be mired in old west ideals of manhood. I get frustrated reading it but it's also super great as a result. It's definitely not what I expected, but a pleasant surprise.

A human heart
Oct 10, 2012



Guy A. Person posted:

This book is about the biggest bunch of dumb, egotistical, selfish, reactionary, hypocritical idiots.

oh, it's about the book barn?

Guy A. Person
May 23, 2003



A human heart posted:

oh, it's about the book barn?

It's about me.

Finished this yesterday. It was great but of course the library book was missing pages 453 to 462 Although I think I got the gist of the missing pages, and the ending was still really well done.

anilEhilated posted:

One thing that kind of throws me off is the switching between Goodpasture's diaries and omniscient third-person narration; I figure he's doing the former for time-skips but it seems a bit of a wasted opportunity - at some points, the third-person descriptions feel really sterile and clinical.

I actually liked that to both break up the tension as well as give the general perspective of the townfolk. There was also some good dramatic usage at a few points (end spoiler) finding out Gannon was murdered by Cade that way was a gut punch

anilEhilated
Feb 17, 2014

But I say fuck the rain.



Grimey Drawer

I like the unreliable narrators; it makes me wish he used them for the whole thing. For example I really liked the way the shootout at the O.K. Corral was handled - statements from people you know have ulterior motives for lying make all the townsfolk's various prejudices and explanations of the whole thing have much more weight since no one really knows what happened and who shot whom first.

It's the third-person stuff I'm kind of disappointed with, makes me feel the whole story would be much better if we were to doubt everyone's accounts; after all, events growing into story growing into legend and truth disappearing along the way appear to be a theme here.

Hieronymous Alloy
Jan 30, 2009


Why! Why!! Why must you refuse to accept that Dr. Hieronymous Alloy's Genetically Enhanced Cream Corn Is Superior to the Leading Brand on the Market!?!



Morbid Hound

Y'all keep chattin' -- this book got a late start -- but I need noms for next month.

Franchescanado
Feb 23, 2013

I AM A STUPIDLY SEXY WOLFMAN

Grimey Drawer

Can someone nominate some cool poetry collections? We never do poetry.

anilEhilated
Feb 17, 2014

But I say fuck the rain.



Grimey Drawer

Okay, I admit I did not expect to read a Western about capitalism shafting the working class.
Are Hall's other two cowboy books worth reading?

PlushCow
Oct 19, 2005

The cow eats the grass


Chamberk posted:

I read it a year or two ago, and really loved it - the way it approaches the theme of order being imposed on chaos/lawlessness was brilliant, but all of the characters felt like real people, despite falling into some classic Western stereotypes (the strong silent lawman, the young schoolmarm in love with him, the unscrupulous saloon owner, etc.) I'm no aficionado of the Western genre, but this was a real winner for me.

When I read it years ago I enjoy how it played with classic western stereotypes, the "strong silent lawman" who wants to be anything but, the "young schoolmarm" shallow as can be, the "unscrupulous saloon owner" who is moved by a deep love for his friend, willing to go great lengths to protect another.

Guy A. Person
May 23, 2003



PlushCow posted:

When I read it years ago I enjoy how it played with classic western stereotypes, the "strong silent lawman" who wants to be anything but, the "young schoolmarm" shallow as can be, the "unscrupulous saloon owner" who is moved by a deep love for his friend, willing to go great lengths to protect another.

This is actually a really drat good point, I guess I'm not familiar enough with the western genre to have been able to immediately pick up on those archetypes, but at the very least it was cool seeing Miss Jessie's naivety being a major point. As well as the whole deconstruction of what it means to be a man being a load of contradictions that are largely decided upon on the spot by whoever happens to be around.

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anilEhilated
Feb 17, 2014

But I say fuck the rain.



Grimey Drawer

It's also interesting to see the characters interact with their own legends; I particularly enjoyed Morgan's "Black Rattlesnake" bits. All in all I think Morgan was my favorite rear end in a top hat of the bunch.

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