Group read opinions HERE!

KeskusteluWilliam Faulkner and his Literary Kin

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Group read opinions HERE!

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marraskuu 19, 2009, 1:00 am

If you're interested in this sort of thing, say so, and we'll get some projects going like Brent's Salon!

I'm personally going to continue reading his books by publication date (and quickly!), and his first book featuring the Yoknapatawpha County mythos he's known for. Sounds like a pretty good place to start to me. Eh? eh?

Also, would you like to expand this group to include other Southern Gothic writers like McCarthy and McCullers and Tennessee and whoever else?

marraskuu 19, 2009, 1:57 am

Anything! I am completely Faulkner-illiterate.

marraskuu 19, 2009, 7:35 am

Faulkner, yes, but if we branch out, don't forget Flannery!

marraskuu 19, 2009, 8:14 am

Perhaps we should take a poll as to the group's general familiarity with Faulkner's works? If everyone is just getting started, there are a couple logical books to begin with, and they aren't the masterpieces. On the other hand, if most people have already read a few of his novels, or a smattering of his short fiction, then the field is more wide open.

(Teresa, what are a couple of nice girls like us doing in this crowd??)

marraskuu 19, 2009, 8:51 am

We're slummin', no doubt. :)

I've read all of the short stories and As I Lay Dying, years ago.

marraskuu 19, 2009, 11:16 am

IMHO The Sound and the Fury is the greatest novel of the 20th century, and Light in August is one of my top five favorite books.

I have, too long ago, read pretty well all of Bill's works, and criticism, and letters, but will be happy to pipe up anywhere anytime on any of them, and just may be led to reread some.

I am thrilled this group now exists.

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 19, 2009, 11:57 am

Light in August is sublime in audiobook format (Scott Brick's reading). A handful of books were really meant to be read, and this is one of them. My review:

But for a group read, given what's going on in the Salon proper, I'd suggest some nice stories. Knight's Gambit is an extraordinary, easy to read collection that is fairly broadly available. It's been my suggestion to people looking for a "Faulkner 101" for a long time, and would be good as a way of pulling in the non-initiates. (I also recommend a viewing of To Have and Have Not, the Faulkner screenplay that fixed up the work of that cretin Hemingway.)

Other southern writers should include Eudora Welty.

marraskuu 19, 2009, 1:07 pm

I've been promising myself a re-read of Light in August for a while now. It's the novel I have read the least, and the longest ago (except for the ones I haven't read at all..The Fable and Mosquitoes). I'll try to get on board with that, if anyone else is interested, after the New Year.

#7 I hope we're not going to mince words around here. If you don't like Hemingway, I wish you'd just say so! ;>)

marraskuu 19, 2009, 1:17 pm

I'd certainly say start group reading with Light in August. It's a great gateway read for the rest of his oooovrah.

Perhaps, if this is to be a broader church than simply La Bill, one should consider re-naming the Salon du Gothiques Dixie-ennes?

ANYTHING Eudoran would cause me personal ecstasy, since when I go to Heaven (snort) I want to have a garden party with Miss Eudora every day.

marraskuu 19, 2009, 1:17 pm

I started up a separate thread to deal with the stories. Of course let's read them.

And I will try to find Light in August in audiobook format.

marraskuu 19, 2009, 1:21 pm

#9 Richard

I do not know about the destination for Miss Eudora, but I have always looked forward to a rip-roarin' party with all the greats in the other place.

marraskuu 19, 2009, 1:52 pm

>11 polutropos: But if it's hell, the party will have a) preachers b) off-brand fruit flavored soda pop and c) Cheez Whiz spray-can "cheese" on Saltine crackers. *shudder*

MY garden party, on the other hand, has gin and tonics, talented and chatty writers, and limitless oysters.

marraskuu 19, 2009, 1:56 pm


Well, I must admit, your party DOES sound like heaven.

But what are the chances of getting there? Even for the talented and chatty writers? Dylan Thomas is going to be there? And Eugene O'Neill?

marraskuu 19, 2009, 2:06 pm

Well, in MY heaven, they will all drop in upon demand to chat with me. Perhaps that would constitute hell for THEM.

marraskuu 19, 2009, 2:11 pm

I've read them all. The Reivers is a good place to start, because it is very funny.

marraskuu 19, 2009, 3:58 pm

I will second Richard's request for Eudora if we broaden our scope. I share his Welty love (Richard, didn't we have a similar conversation some time ago?) I can recite "Why I Live at the P.O." almost by heart (Request? Anybody? Anybody?)

When it comes to his novels, I'm Fauklner-light, so any of them would be a good start for me.

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 19, 2009, 4:16 pm

My favorite Welty short: No Place for You, My Love. Still the best trip to the bayous of all time.

Spotlight for Thea, please!

marraskuu 19, 2009, 4:10 pm

#16 I would LOVE to hear you recite "Why I Live at the P.O." But can you do it with a Delta drawl?? I can hear Miss Eudora in my head when I read it, because I've listened to interviews with her, and her voice was quite distinctive. And, btw, she was a fine photographer as well, which I don't have to tell you, as I see you also own a copy of Eudora Welty's Photographs.

marraskuu 19, 2009, 5:30 pm

I adore Eudora also. Why I live at the PO is a masterpiece - love it, though I can't claim to be able to recite it :)
Another good Faulkner to start with is Intruder in the Dust.

marraskuu 19, 2009, 7:38 pm

Wooo, I'm here!

#8: I just finished Mosquitoes last night. I was totally surprised. After Soldiers' Pay I expected the worst, but it wasn't too bad. Not saying it was necessarily good, neithuh. There was a pretty noticeable, IMO, transition from his really shitty bad poetry style of SP used in the first 50 pages to the Faulkner we all know and love at the end (or at least closer to it).

SO GROUP READS, huh? You guys should ultimately decide on something. And would you like to do one a month, or two books a month? start at the beginning of Dec.? I know ye're all pretty busy w/ other groups, too. If two is good, maybe one Faulkner (still think we should largely focus on him, but that's me) and one other SG book each month? (Are there enough SG writers that we wouldn't run out any time soon? Oh man, we totally have to do Blood Meridian soon. I'm so excited to read that. I've been saving it for years and reading everything else from McCarthy in anticipation.)

Light in August isn't a bad choice. I should be able to reach that myself by the time you all start, after I read Flags in the Dust (start tomorrow! woo! excited!) and the Sound and the Fury and Sanctuary. I'm sure not many are interested in a chronological reading list like I am, where Flags would be the first group read. And I also presume everyone wants to ignore Soldiers' Pay and Mosquitoes. Yeugh.

marraskuu 19, 2009, 9:08 pm

I absolutely agree with kokipy that Intruder in the Dust is an excellent novel to start with, if you are new to Faulkner. Maybe we should have two group reads going--one for people who want to dip their toes in the Mississippi mud for the first time (or almost), and one for those of us who already love the Count and want to dig in a little deeper?

marraskuu 19, 2009, 9:17 pm

That's fine with me. Whatever it is, we'll start December 1st! CALL A VOTE!

I've only read two of Faulkner's REAL books (ignoring SP & Mosq.), As I Lay Dying and Absalom, Absalom!. As I Lay Dying seemed like an excellent way to be introduced to Faulkner's style. Sounds like an number of his books serve as good intros.

marraskuu 19, 2009, 9:37 pm

Did you just say call a vote?! Huh? What kind of sissified democracy you runnin' here Todd?!

That's not how I brought you up into this world!

You tell 'em to start with Soldier's Pay, that'll show 'em who's boss!

marraskuu 19, 2009, 10:00 pm

Vive Le Dictateur! Down with Sissified Democracy! Time to overthrow sissies!

"We read ....."

That is what Dictateur-in-training must Say!

Yoknapatawpha here we come!

marraskuu 19, 2009, 10:11 pm

I'm just lurking about, doubtful I'll have the time to finish all my books and jump into a group read. I've read Light in August, The sound and the Fury and As I Lay Dying.

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 19, 2009, 10:13 pm


I'm no good at dictatin'.

But I'll try. We'll start with two different group reads, one for loser noobs, who shall read As I Lay Dying, Light in August, or Intruder in the Dust, whatever folks are most interested in, and another for the pros dedicated to understand Bill Faulkner's Yoknapatawpha mythology and his evolution as a writer who shall start with Flags in the Dust and continue from thar! HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOGHHHHHHH!!!!

(How's that? Disagreements? Afterwards maybe the former group can switch to other SG writers, running alongside the latter. Yarrrr.)

(#23: I would never force folks to start with Soldiers' Pay!)

marraskuu 19, 2009, 10:21 pm

Hmmm, Todd, good job, I think.

So of course whatever you say goes, that is rule 1.

But I am truly confused about where I fit in. I will figure it out, though.

On the one hand I have read a ton of Faulkner, so I would like to consider myself one of the so-called pros in the above categories.

But I think if I find the audio of Light in August, that is where I will go, so I am one of the "loser noobs". And I must confess I have not even heard "noob" before. It does sound pretty bad, though.

marraskuu 19, 2009, 10:26 pm

#27: It's hip slang for the Internet generation; the standard insult for multiplayer vidayo games. Did I mention I'm lame?

marraskuu 19, 2009, 11:13 pm

>27 polutropos:, 28 also n00b, as in "STFU n00b". Outlamed!

Anyway, as one of the individuals in question, I approve, although I'll be disappointed if membership in thiss group doesn't eventually result in me getting through Bill's collected works, up to and including Soldiers' Pay. What do you say, fellow ignorami? (Like really basic origami).

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 20, 2009, 8:11 am

I am not likely to read a big book here during a month when the main salon is kicking off Les Mis and a few of us are immersing ourselves in Clarel. I think it would be better for this Salon to set up reads at a point when one of the Tomes is winding down and hit the stories otherwise. Monthly books are too much given what the Salon is already doing, and it would mean this group would running its course sometime early in 2011. I'd advocate something like a quarterly read at most.

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 20, 2009, 8:27 am

Well, I haven't been a "noob" with Faulkner since 1970, when I read The Hamlet for the first time, and at which time there was no such word (granting now, just for the sake of civility, that such a word exists in 2009). But I'll probably stick my nose into the discussion of Light in August, whoever else may be participating. Starting on December 1st could be a problem for me, though, and monthly reads will pretty much leave me out. I"m lucky to participate in a group read a couple times a year. So I'm on the bus with A_musing. Let's spread 'em out a little.

marraskuu 20, 2009, 9:46 am

I tend to be highly enthusiastic at the beginning about everything. I was going to participate in a major Dostoevsky read some time back. Various country reads. Master and Margarita.

I failed. (Booh-hooh, I must be a failure.)

So, what can I say about this one? I am working on finding a copy of Light in August in audio format. If I get one, I will listen to it. I would love to discuss it with interested people, but whether the discussion starts December 1, which seems unrealistic, or February 1, or some other time, is all fine with me.

marraskuu 20, 2009, 9:47 am

I've always had trouble with Light in August. Not my favorite. But many think very highly of it, and it certainly captures many of his themes.
How many here know what the title means?

marraskuu 20, 2009, 9:52 am

On the audiobook, Scott Brick is THE one to get, and emusic has it, but last I checked not audible.

marraskuu 20, 2009, 9:53 am


You want me to answer that, Kokipy, or let the others wonder for a bit?

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 20, 2009, 10:23 am

Viestin kirjoittaja on poistanut viestin.

marraskuu 20, 2009, 12:24 pm

If we are expanding beyond Great Bill, we HAVE to do Flannnery O'Connor. Her stories are among the best in American lit. This just out:

Voters Choose Flannery O’Connor in National Book Award Poll

National Book Foundation

Among the National Book Awards winners named on Wednesday night whose names may elude you, one honoree you’ve almost certainly heard of is Flannery O’Connor. In an online poll conducted by the National Book Foundation, her collection “The Complete Stories” was named the best work to have won the National Book Award for fiction in the contest’s 60-year history. The competition was steep: other finalists in the poll were “The Stories of John Cheever,” William Faulkner’s “Collected Stories,” “The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty,” Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man” and Thomas Pynchon’s “Gravity’s Rainbow.” (Then again, the O’Connor book bested some formidable contenders when it won the fiction prize in 1972, including John Updike’s “Rabbit Redux,” Walker Percy’s “Love in the Ruins” and E. L. Doctorow’s “Book of Daniel.”) This year’s National Book Award for fiction was won by Colum McCann’s “Let the Great World Spin.”

marraskuu 20, 2009, 1:05 pm

>35 polutropos:: Todd, let them wonder! Reading the book is not likely to enlighten. As it were.

>37 polutropos:: I don't, personally, share the enthusiasm for Flannery, mostly because having grown up in Georgia I don't believe she has, in any way, accurately depicted the society, and because "A Good Man Is Hard To Find" still gives me nightmares roughly 35 years after I first read it.
But, if you obtain the new O'Connor biography, you will see a picture of my mother among the rest of the GSCW newspaper staff.

marraskuu 20, 2009, 1:19 pm

I think one book a month is too much--one every other month is more reasonable. If someone reads faster he/she can start posting, and the rest of us can catch up.

I think starting December 1 is too soon. I'm betting most of us are committed to other group reads at the moment. I suggest January 1 as the earliest to start.

I think that we should all be reading the same book at the same time, with perhaps a separate ongoing thread for short stories That way, I would hope there would be a more focused discussion. If everyone is doing their own thing it is no longer a communal experience.

I don't have a preference for which book we start with. Light in August is very good, but I think As I Lay Dying is more accessible for Faulkner neophytes. However, I think most of the readers here are well able to handle any one we start with.

That's just my opinion (and what I would do if I were dictator) :)

marraskuu 20, 2009, 1:20 pm

#38, #35

(Todd is our leader, RSHabroptilus. I am polutropos, NOT Todd.)

And more importantly, while I understand the nightmares 35 years later, IMHO the line below is one of the great lines of all time:

"She would of been a good woman," The Misfit said, "if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life."

marraskuu 20, 2009, 1:32 pm

Well, that is a very fine line, I have to admit. I guess I also have to admit she's captured the cadence and the syntax. Moreover, let me make clear that my opinion is derived from personal taste. I am not denying she has merit! I just like Eudora and Wm. F. better.
My father recently read the complete works of Flannery O. and his reactions made me want to revisit some of them. This line, which I did not recall, supports that desire.

marraskuu 20, 2009, 1:39 pm

RE#40 Should we maybe introduce ourselves, with given names where willing? I will make so bold as to start a thread for that purpose.

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 20, 2009, 1:48 pm

That's the only Flannery story I've ever read so far, numerous times for numerous classes, and while I loved it, the last teacher I had teach her went nuts over it. She's huge on southern gothic/grotesque, but had it in for Flannery, saying her characters are all flat, unbelievable, that she doesn't ever have much of a message, nothing 'deep' under her stories, except for a hardcore Christian belief that she thought everyone should follow, and that her characters were simply tools to spread this Christian belief.

Or something like that.

EDT: #40--Do it! Definitely! (Should make folks state their familiarity w/ Faulkner, too.)

marraskuu 20, 2009, 2:29 pm

>43 tootstorm:: I think Flannery is a little deeper than that - as I understand it the underlying theme throughout her books is the lack of grace in the general (Southern) population, which is not, as you may know, by and large, Catholic. The way to understand what she's up to is to appreciate that she was a Catholic in a predominately Protestant community, and that she believed all the rest of us were going to hell because we weren't saved. I don't think she was proselytizing so much as she was wringing her hands over our state of sin. Even those characters who believe they are saved, in the Protestant scheme of things, are lost because they are not truly saved. She wasn't happy about this but it was the world she saw. Things are grotesque because there is no other way for them to be, given the lack of grace.

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 20, 2009, 11:18 pm

:( Disappointing for a very fast & impatient reader like myself.

Question: Would anyone be able to join a monthly read besides Martin, so that perhaps we could have a monthly go of FaulknerFaulknerFaulkner (or every other month, at the very least), and a quarterly group as well?

EDIT: Or would people enjoy two group reads that run quarterly side by side? Is that too much? E.g., Jan. 1st to March 31st to read and discuss Faulkner's Flags in the Dust and O'Connor's Wise Blood, April to June to read Sound and the Fury and As I Lay Dying--that sort of schedule.

marraskuu 21, 2009, 9:19 am

I am not sure I've got the time to reread two Faulkners each month, and i would want to because they all merit rereading. Even Mosquitoes is interesting, but I think it is more interesting to read at the end of everything else, because you can then see the themes that he continued to use, although to much better advantage, more nuanced and so on. We also ought to put his Nobel Prize acceptance speech on the list of must reads, perhaps early in the cycle.
But whatever the group decides will be fine with me - I am new to all of you and would not want to speak out of turn.

marraskuu 21, 2009, 11:04 am

I'm just inviting myself into the conversation here, but I support Ms. A'woman in post 39. I can't (and don't actually see any need to) force myself to read something in a set time-frame. It rebels me. So if we were to start Light in August or As I Lay Dying (my choices for the noobies/newbies), for example, in January, that would give me time to pick it up and put it down in concert with everything else that I'm reading. (In case anybody is interested, I also resist short stories although I'm usually happy when I've read one by a WF or John Cheever. And I resist FO'C so much that I really shouldn't have an opinion. Love EW though!)

marraskuu 21, 2009, 12:56 pm

I am of the opinion that one a month is the very most we should attempt. One every other month would be more ideal for me. I have so many reading commitments and books that I want to read and I don't wish to be forced to choose to give up something.
I understand that you are very excited and want all of us to be in the same "place" you are. But to go from one to another to another; I would just have to give up too much and perhaps wait for another Faulkner group to come along. And I just don't see that happening. I have waited for this one for over two years.
So I would ask that you please be kind to the rest of us and allow us the time we need to fulfill our other reading commitments as well. Thank you.

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 21, 2009, 1:29 pm

Consider too, Todd, if it makes sense to you, keeping your own Faulkner reading thread - a la like people do over on Club Read - so that you can keep reading as you want to keep reading (reading Faulkner in order) and commenting and analyzing what you're reading, linking your reviews and such (and other people are bound to join you in your Faulkner commentary even if there isn't a group read happening right at the moment) and then when you happen upon one of his titles that might correspond to a time when everybody else is available for a group read, plan a group read then. I think if you can give people about a one month's heads up, they'll generally be able to shift stuff around to join you in your read.

I wouldn't necessarily, I guess is what I'm trying to communicate, alter your personal approach to reading Faulkner (one right after the other, which is a good, interesting approach) at the expense of figuring out how what you're doing can fit everybody else's schedule.

People will join you as they're able. You could even schedule a group read and not join in that particular read. I've passed on two group reads in the salon so far, but there's enough others reading whatever book it is that it doesn't really matter if everyone is simultaneously reading. As long as some are participating, and there's conversation going, that's really all that matters.

And I guarantee you, even if a lot of people aren't reading a particular Faulkner at the time, someone who is will comment on something that sparks the interest of the non-readers that even they will join in the conversation. So you really don't have to worry about figuring out everybody's schedule. Just be as attentive and sensitive to your members needs as is practically possible, but understand too that you're not going to be able to meet everybody's expectations or desires all the time. You make the call, after input, and those who can read along, will, while those who can't, will undoubtedly participate in the conversation anyway, even if they're not reading the book. That's my two, er, 222 cents :)

And understand too, Todd, that your group will eventually create a life all it's own beyond anything you've decided (or not decided) and that you need to just go with the flow, always being flexible and giving the members freedom to express and enjoy their creativity and insights and humor and academia and whatnot that they automatically bring to the table (even if under a dictatorship!) - and it's a fun feast of a table! - so that they will make it their group and it's no longer just your group. When it's their group they'll stick around. Know what I mean?

marraskuu 21, 2009, 1:36 pm

Mhm mhm mhm, I'm nodding, I'm starting to get it, mhm. Yep.

So first group read? LIGHT IN AUGUST! January through the end of February.

If we find more time is needed, we can always extend it a month. I understand Light is one of his longer efforts.

marraskuu 21, 2009, 1:43 pm

Vive le Nouveau Dictateur! What a glorious and judicious decision! All Hail! Vive! Vive! Vive!

marraskuu 21, 2009, 2:08 pm

But I really like the suggestion that Todd should have his own thread to track his reading that we can all chime in on. I may not embark on a reread of all of them, but it would be so interesting to experience others' first reads second hand.

marraskuu 21, 2009, 2:25 pm

I put up a rough outline of the 2010 schedule, but don't take it as what we're doing 100%.

I'm sure some (many) will want to take breaks from Faulkner and discuss some Flannery or Eudora. Maybe.

As it is, you may have noticed I skipped Pylon. If we do stick entirely to Faulkner this year, I think we should finish it off with a guaranteed bang, which Pylon simply is not.

Anyone want to include the Collected Stories as something we read slowly slowly in the background throughout the year?

marraskuu 21, 2009, 2:56 pm

I would say YES to the short stories in the background, and I have already set up a thread for it.

That perhaps does not need a rigid structure. If someone reads one of the stories they can just post some thoughts on it, and others will perhaps read that one, too, and chime in. Make sense?

marraskuu 21, 2009, 3:35 pm


marraskuu 21, 2009, 4:37 pm

Bravo, Todd! An excellent schedule! Vive le Dictateur! (Did I get that right polutropos?)

Off to catalogue the rest of my Faulkner.

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 21, 2009, 5:25 pm

I'll let you guys know that I'm downloading a copy of Light in August as read by Scott Brick. I'll upload it to Mediafire later and share it with anyone who wants a copy.

I think I read it's 14 files, each one about an hour and a half long.

(It might take a while. Hardly a soul is seeding it.)

marraskuu 21, 2009, 6:44 pm

This is good. I should be on board for at least one or two of these, and will chip in on Light in August since it's a relatively recent read for me.

I'm glad some folks are sold on the Brick reading. Hopefully all will enjoy it as much as I did.

Muokkaaja: marraskuu 21, 2009, 6:50 pm

I like the idea of one every other month. My personal monthly reading plan is modeled on the classical seven course meal:
First Course: appetizer
Second Course: soup
Third Course: salad
Fourth Course: sorbet to cleanse the palate
Fifth course: meat, such as poultry
Sixth Course: meat, red meat or fish
Seventh Course: dessert

So Light in August will be the fifth course in January. It's substantial enough for sixth course, but that's always reserved for philosophy or science and I have What Is Life?: and "Mind and Matter" already on the menu.

I think As I Lay Dying will be the soup course in March, although, as it's my favorite Faulkner to date, it might be dessert.

marraskuu 22, 2009, 11:29 am

Things are shaping up...looking good. A lot of excellent suggestions in No. 49, Brent. And I really hope you will keep your own reading journal in a thread somewhere, Todd. Since I've established that habit, I find I read "better" than I used to. And I would continue to do it even if no one else was reading or commenting on it.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 1, 2010, 6:15 pm

I think that doing William Faulkner's works as group reads was a brilliant idea to whoever thought of it. I don't think that it was Linda, but whenever I think of Faulkner, I always think of you Linda. Anyway, I never would have read him otherwise.
I had never before read any of his works. I was just always intimidated simply by the name alone. But I must admit that I found Light in August to be brilliant. I love Faulkner's flow of words, I love his phrasing, I loved everything about the novel. And yet I know that I need to go back and re-read the last 1/4 or so of the book because from the time the big house burned, I did have trouble understanding this work. But I am not afraid of Faulkner like I once was. I think I just really need to pay close attention and focus when I read him.
Thank you for this wonderful opportunity of reading in a group read setting. It was wonderful. I can see how people are fascinated with his work. I just hope he doesn't come to replace John Steinbeck as number 1 in my heart.
(I don't think touchstones are working properly right now.)