Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Thousand Autums

I love to read.

You all know that.

It's been a while since I've read a book that has both had a character with a disability (or difference) that has challenged me to really think deeply about disability, about culture, about society, about sexuality, about history. Well, I'm reading one now. I'm only about a third the way and I knew, just knew, that I wanted to talk about this book with others who 'get' disability. I love the way that author's of fiction can cast light on reality in ways that sometimes non-fiction cannot. The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet is one such book.

David Mitchell I will admit is a favourite of mine. His Cloud Atlas has been on the top of my 'best books I have ever read' list for years. Black Swan Green, a triumphant novel about growing up - with a difference - is compassionate and compelling two words seldom used together in book reviews. But, 'Thousand Autumns' is dragging me places that I need to go, asking me to think about things I need to think about. It makes the social bruise of disability twinge as if gently touched.

So, dear readers, it's Book Club time.

We haven't done this for awhile and the last one didn't come off. But I promise this time we will go ahead. I'm annoucing the book now and the book club will be held on the first week of June.

I love doing these book clubs for several reasons:

1) Fiction gives us the opportuntity to discuss the real through the fictional and somehow that's safer.

2) Novelists aren't beholding to anyone and as such aren't emburdened by expectations of others.

3) The disability community needs to support artists that bring us stories that reflect our lives, buying their books, talking about their ideas do just that.

4) Who doesn't like talking about books.

5) Books like Thousand Autumns, in my opinion, deserve a readership.

So, who's in?


Patient C said...

Great idea, I will order it tomorrow (glad it was priced in my range!). I am looking forward to reading it and seeing what comes of your Book Club idea, I like it!

theknapper said...

count me in!!!!!

Colleen said...

Dear Dave:

I'm in! Thousand Autumns is in my summer reading pile already.


Maggie said...

me too

LoriJ said...

I love a good book club! I have never heard of this book or author but I am always up for a good read. I will try and track down a copy! Thanks for the recommendation!

Arielle said...

I'm in too! Just ordered the book from Amazon.

Dave, I don't know if you ever listen to audiobooks, but I wonder if you might be interested in a book I recorded for Librivox called Olive, by Dinah Craik.


It was written in 1850, so of course reflects the attitudes of that time towards disability, but it also features a strong, independent disabled central character.

Amy said...

This is a little freaky...just last night I was looking for a new book, and came across a review of this one and decided I need to read it. Unfortunately, my library doesn't have it - I'm going to request that they order it and join in!

RachelS said...

I'm in! I can't download it until Friday though. This looks really good.

(There appears to be another Rachel posting here, so I will throw on my last initial. I'm the somewhat argumentative one. *g*)

Anonymous said...

If I can find the book then please count me in!! What a fun and great idea Dave. Happy reading everyone

Anonymous said...

It's on my Kindle and next in line. Count me in. Gina

Linda said...


I got excited cos this guy lives on the same island as me and I've never read any of his work!
I just requested this title from my local library!
love Linda ( LinMac)

Jane Meyerding said...

Dave, I've enjoyed reading your blog so much, I'd like to send you a copy of my book "Mapping Charlie" as a small "thank you." It's a mystery novel (nothing "deep") featuring a woman with a disability. To my surprise, some readers attracted to the book by their interest in her (the character) have told me it's the first time they ever read a book depicting a loving gay male relationship. Anyway...if you'd like a copy of the book, just give me an address where I can send it. Thanks. Jane: mjane@earthlink.net

Suelle said...

I'm in Dave! I've been needing a new book suggestion--thanks!

Belinda said...

I'm in. I loved Deafening and my treasured copy has passed through at least three readers since me!

Dave Hingsburger said...

Jane, I tried sending you an email but it failed to go through. Is that email address working? thanks for the offer of the book. Dave

cynicalbeauty said...

Count me in too. I love book clubs and I have never read anything by this author before. How exciting!

Anonymous said...

So long as book club is not dependent on being in Ontario, I'm in!

Jane Meyerding said...

ACK! Dave, if you're reading this (not sure how long you follow each comment thread), my apologies. I somehow glued together my two email addresses (work and "home"). Please do try again to send me an address where I can mail the book to you.