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For months Book Club has been confined to the dusty corner of the Literature section, begging for proper attention and desperate to host more uninformative, moronic questions. Well, Book Club, today is your day: watch yourself sprawl mightily across the page in a lavish and carefree manner! Watch as I ask several students several questions about various novels they’re reading! Watch as I bring the news to the people! Watch as I shamelessly plug my correlating tumblr account which regularly updates you with further interrogations!:

Bill Knowles

What are you reading, who’s it by and what’s it about?

‘The Sun Also Rises’ by Ernest Hemingway.

If you left this book on the bus, how much would you care?

Quite a lot. It’s pretty good, you know. It’s got everything I look for in a novel: drunkenness, Spanish bullfighting & a girl called Brett.

What is the ratio between feeling like you should read this book and actually wanting to?

Before I’d opened it – 10:90. In the first few chapters – 65:35. While our protagonist was on a train, sobre – 72:28. But right now… Well, all the characters are either out of their minds, fighting, having sex or being killed by bulls, and I’ve got dissertation stuff that I should be doing, so I’ll say – 0:100.

Are you one of those douches who, when handing someone your book, tells that person ‘not to bend the spine’? Someone did that to me once, with a copy of the Iliad. Like I’d ever bend the spine of the Iliad. It made me think she was a twat.

No. I hope the Literature Editor isn’t, though. I borrowed this book off him at the start of term, and know for a fact he’s forgotten I have it – but wants it back – because he mused about its whereabouts in my presence. I hadn’t even started it then, though, so there was no way I was going to admit to having it. A little later I felt kinda bad, so I asked myself “What would Hemingway do in this situation?”
Turns out he’d go to Revolver.

Isabelle Dann

What are you reading, who’s it by and what’s it about?

I’m re-reading Paradise Lost by John Milton. It’s about how very, very naughty mankind is.

Does the blurb end in ellipsis? Does this make you want to find out all the shit that happens?

No ellipsis – how rude, I was expecting a titillating piece of mystique! Still, I am left wanting to find out about all the shit involving “the clash between God and his fallen angel, Satan”, coupled with promises of “profound meditation on fate, free will, and divinity” – who could resist such faecal temptation?

Does the structure more closely resemble Homer’s or Dante’s? You have to pick one, and give several reasons why.

Definitely Dante – y’know, because of all the punishment in hell, allegorical or otherwise. However, I genuinely believe most of the punition in Paradise Lost revolves around psychological incarceration within an enormous and suitably horrific vagina (“dark depths”, anyone?), whereas Dante’s punishment is mostly physical / meted out / actually real, i.e. not a pretend vagina. That’s the difference.

Does it have any sweet plot twists? Does someone turn out to be someone’s father, or that Bruce Willis is actually dead or something?

I was surprised when Satan didn’t win the world and humanity was forgiven for its filthy “amorous play”. Otherwise, however, no; I was most saddened to find no official confirmation of Bruce Willis’ death.

Ruth Wildman

What are you reading, who’s it by and what’s it about?

I’m reading Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates. It’s about the Wheelers, an almost middle aged couple living in 1950s suburbia bored of their lives and of each other.

What are you using as a bookmark? Is it pretty?

I have two bookmarks in this book, one is a used envelope and the other is the receipt from when I bought the book. This is my second attempt at reading it. The receipt is a marker of my first failure; I’m a masochist like that.

Is there a black and white picture of the author on the inside cover, resting his chin in one hand with his signature scrawled diagonally across the photo? Knew it.

Well no, there isn’t a picture on the inside of the book. I bet you feel stupid. There is a dedication to a lady named Sheila though. Come to think of it it’s not much of a dedication is it? It’s like: “Here’s a book I wrote about a boring couple and guess what Sheila? You were the inspiration. Congratulations.” Yes, well done Sheila. Poor boring Sheila.

Is it scary? Books generally aren’t scary are they. I don’t think I’ve ever been scared by a book. Apart from Stephen King’s… no wait, his books are just scarily BAD! Can you think of any scary books you’ve read if this one isn’t scary?

Au contraire, this book is terrifying. This book is about a couple living an indistinguishable and non-extraordinary life in suburbia; it’s every modern hipster’s nightmare! It doesn’t even mention hazelnut lattes once. Not kidding. I was also terrified of Roald Dahl’s The Minpins for about fifteen years, mini people living in trees in a monster and smoke infested forest?? No thanks.

Philip Copley

What are you reading, who’s it by and what’s it about?

‘The Corrections’ by Jonathan Franzen. It’s about a dysfunctional failing to come together for one last Christmas before they all drift apart. I’ve been meaning to read it for years but never got around to it.

You must always judge a book by its cover. Does it have a pretty cover?

S’alright. It’s got a boat or something, and it has smoke coming out of it which forms part of the title. I didn’t understand the boat at first but I’ve just read the part of the book that features the boat. I won’t ruin it for you but the same part also involves a talking turd.

Concisely liken three of the characters to those from either Star Wars or Lord of the Rings.

The family’s daughter Denise is Princess Leia, cos they’re both sexy. There’s an anarchist called Billy who’s like Boba Fett i.e. such a bad-ass. Finally the patriarch Alfred is like Ecthelion, cos he’s senile and is a bastard to his sons.

Do the characters ‘come of age’? I hear that’s trendy at the moment.

No, they don’t, they’re all either too old or too young to come of age. But that’s good though, cos I’m 23 and still haven’t come of age.

Rupert Rhodes

What are you reading, who’s it by and what’s it about?

I’m reading Please Kill Me, a self-proclaimed “uncensored oral history of punk” compiled by Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain. It’s basically a 500 page definition of hedonism.

Is it un-putdownable or un-pickupable?


Who does the author share his name with? Anyone funny?

No humorous namesakes spring to mind but Legs himself is quite a character – his other works include an uncensored oral history of the porn industry and a Joey Ramone memoir entitled ‘I slept with Joey Ramone’.

How did you happen upon this book? Sighted across a crowded room? Recommended in a letter? Discussed on a street corner?

I’d love to say it was given to be by a beautiful heathen on a New York subway train but, alas, I found it on the internet just like every other chump.

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Stephen Jones

Former Film editor (2010-2011), Literature editor (2011-2012), Big Cheese at the Cracker Factory (2009-present) One must always judge a book by its cover.

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