Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Hello, all. This is also my very first blog post ever -- I'm making it short and sweet. Here are my picks:

Imperium, by Ryszard Kapuscinksi

I am not picking this only because the author is Polish. It comes highly recommended by a (Polish) friend of mine.

Disgrace, by J.M. Coetzee

I've been wanting to read this one for a while.

Under the Jaguar Sun, Italo Calvino

Very short and fantastically trippy stories.
Okay, so this took A LOT of deliberation, my friends, and after much careful thought, during which I actually eliminated my all-time favorite, To Kill a Mockingbird (it was like killing a little part of myself, I tell you!), I came up with the following list:

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Moby Dick by Herman Melville

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

And, by the way, the idea for each of these books came from the fact that they were referenced in three of my favorite '80s/'90s teen movies. A big gold star to anyone who identifies which ones.

Oh, and I'm about four hours late getting my list together, but I assure you, this was a grueling process for me.

Monday, January 28, 2008

You're going to take away my membership now, aren't you ...
Oh wait, NO loincloth! Hey, when did that become a nudy picture? Was it always like that?
Oh my goodness, this membership invitation is so unexpected!

I'd like to thank the Academy, my manager and hairstylist, my amazing production team, my Pilates instructor, Mom and Dad for always being there for me, and LeVar Burton for instilling in me a love of reading. And, of course, my lord and savior Jesus Christ, pictured above. Oh no wait, that's Adam. Same loincloth, though.

In all seriousness, folks, I haven't even picked my books yet, but I thought a post was necessary just to communicate to you all how excited I am to be in this club.

God, I'm such a joiner.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Books! That I picked!

Hello FTC!
These may be a bit random.

Wuthering Heights, 1847, Emily Bronte
I almost hate to choose this because I bet everyone has terrible memories of their respective 11th grade English classes. (If too many of you have read it in class, let me know in the comments so I can pick something else.) I didn't read this in high school; I read it later, for fun. I didn't find it fun, though, because I was unprepared for how savage and pathologically vengeful it is.

Kafka on the shore, 2002, Haruki Murakami
This author has been on my to-read list for awhile.

Miss Lonelyhearts, 1933, Nathanael West
I have to admit that I discovered this book on one of those lists, the sort that are titled "342.7 of the very best books ever written in this universe or any other that you must read before you die." I have a good feeling about it.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

@headline:Book picks <$>

Tried to keep everything pretty short. Hope I didn't mess the formatting up.

Exit Ghost by Philip Roth
If I remember correctly, I think you might have strong feelings about this, Stephanie.

Decline and Fall by Evelyn Waugh
It wasn't until I saw Lost in Translation a couple years ago that I knew Evelyn was man. Feel like I should atone for that.

No Country For Old Men by Cormac McCarthy
Because -- when you really think about it -- apostrophes are a huge waste of time.

Greetings, all.

This is my first Blog entry, on any blog, ever. If I may be permitted an Unrelated Comment, I'd like to pat myself on the back for taking the Plunge. It is a bit Daunting. However, I'm thrilled to be part of this lovely community.

I'm not sure how you got your books to have those snazzy photos of the book jacket and all... if anyone would like to teach me, I'm all ears. Er, eyes. You know. In lieu of snazzy photos, I'm including a List:

The Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie
The Famished Road, by Ben Okri
Jitterbug Perfume, by Tom Robbins

I regret that none of the authors are women, so I can't wait to see all of your propositions!

Submission: by Calvin Klein

The Curious incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

10 Sorry Tales by Mick Jackson

Book Picks and Pics

Theme: "Hey, there are movies about these books!"

I humbly submit the following (in no particular order):

1) In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

2) Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

3) Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Finest Things Club: On book selection

Now that you have pledged your undying fealty to the FTC and are set to post on the site, the time has come to contribute in a very personal manner with duly considered book selections. To that end, we present some very bare guidelines to inform your deliberation process:

1. You select three different books, not all from the same author.

2. You may have read one of your books previously (and of course you'll be rereading it), but you may not have studied any of them in any class at any time.

3. You may not "second" anyone else's selection(s). Three distinct works from you unique, literate folks will make for a more diverse booklist.

4. Finally, actually consider whether your books will inspire discussion and debate. We all enjoy irony, but FTC isn't just an opportunity to observe culture foppishly (that's only like 60 percent of its purpose). So, as much as I want to dissect the no doubt profound motifs in Nicole Richie's (almost certainly) ghostwritten first novel, "The Truth About Diamonds" (HarperEntertainment, 2005), (You don't believe me, you click right here:, I think we all know that the novelty of that sort of selection would wear off fast.

Post your choices here as soon as you make them. This round, we'll pull the titles out of a hat on Jan. 30. Then we'll post the six tentative winners and give everyone a chance to veto; we turn the first page Feb. 1.

Finest Things Club: A Manifesto

Utterly flummoxed at the prospect of joining your local Finest Things Club Magick Potion Apothecary and Candle Shoppe? Nonplussed by all the rules? Please consult the Finest Things Club Manifesto for a simple breakdown of the workings of the Club:

Step 1. Sign up for Blogger. You’ll get an invitation. Pick a display name. Literary-themed names (such as author or character names) are encouraged.
Step 2. Post a list of three books you’d like the club to read. These books will go into the hat, to be picked if fate smiles upon them.
Step 3. Books are picked! We will pick until we have a lineup of six books.
Step 3a. Veto Lightning Round. If you wholeheartedly object to a book that’s been picked, you have one veto that will take that book out. You only have one veto per six book cycle, so choose wisely. We’ll keep picking until we have six books that no one vetoes.
Step 4. Read the damn book. You’ll have a month to finish it.
Step 5. Post about the book. It’s just like Blackboard, only that annoying girl from your film class who overpronounces all the French words like “macabre” won’t be there!
Step 5a. We'd like this club to be multi-media. If you are aware of any visual aids that will advance the club members' enjoyment of a work, please post them. These may be reproductions of paintings having to do with the work's subject, photographs of locations from the work, artworks dealing with the theme or mood of the work, photographs of yourself in appropriate period costume, etc. Costumes are STRONGLY encouraged.

Finest Things Club: the FAQ

Q: Who’s picking these books? You guys? You’re always going to pick Jane Austen, aren’t you? I hate this club.
A: Wrong! Everyone will suggest books and we’ll choose them randomly, probably by picking them out of a hat. Whether that hat will be actual or virtual is yet to be determined. Stephanie is also developing a complex system of voting and vetoing, checks and balances, algorithms and antibodies, so that no one has to read a book that he or she REALLY doesn’t want to.

Q: I can just skip the books I don't like, right?
A: No! Part of being a grown-up is expanding your horizons. Please read every book so that everyone will be able to take part in the gripping tête-à-têtes to follow.

Q: How do I share my insights?
A: On this very site! You’ll have to create a Blogger account, but I swear it’s easy if you already have a Gmail account (which everyone does). Then you can just post your brilliant thoughts (or questions) right here.

Q: You guys are kidding about all this, right?
A: No. We really want this to be a great forum to talk about books with people whose opinions we respect. So please take this seriously! No Jim Halperts!

Finest Things Club: The invitation

Dear readers, aesthetes, purveyors of good taste:
Like our estimable Scranton peers, Pam, Toby and Oscar, we appreciate the finer (dare we say FINEST) things: art, literature, culture, costume, and a debilitating work-related ennui. Thus, like those heroically refined pioneers, we resolve to come together each month, eschewing plastic, paper, and work talk, to ponder fine works of art via the pinnacle of genteel modern discourse: the Internet.
You've traversed your first step with us here at the and we will commence posthaste, with our inaugural work set for the month of February. (If you haven't already, do inform a blog administrator of your wholehearted enthusiasm to participate.) Until then, take a moment to witness the revolutionary work of our founders in our antecedent entry, "The Finer Things Club: Brave founders at work," and be ever vigilant for posts delineating further rules of order to come.
Stephanie and Blair