Thursday, June 11, 2009

Confederacy of Dunces Recap

Confederacy of Dunces was met with mixed reviews last night. A couple of us absolutely loved it and thought it was the funniest book we had ever read, a couple of hated it and weren't sure it was worth finishing, and a couple of us thought it was weird but slogged through in order to participate in the conversation. That dynamic makes for animated discussion, and lively it was.

Jenny and Jeanette found the unappealing characters overwhelmed their ability to enjoy the writing; Maureen wouldn't have chosen it were it not for book group; Leslie, Cathy and Dawn loved it - Dawn thought Ignatius exhibited characteristics of Aspergers' Syndrome, an interesting perspective; Carolyn said she didn't like it until it was over. As for me, I was very surprised to enjoy this quirky book, so much so that I laughed out loud.

We did agree, however, that Toole had brilliantly crafted his characters and deftly wove them together to create a pace in a story that really had little plot, ending with the "hero" riding off into the sunset. While the story needed the New Orleans setting, Leslie felt that it didn't really represent New Orleans - at least as it was then.
We will be reading Geraldine Brook's People of the Book for our July 7th meeting, which I'm sure you remember will begin our daytime schedule of 11:00 on the second Tuesday of the month. Because another group is also reading the book, it may be another week or two before a copy gets checked in. I know that Caroline still needs a copy of the book and I don't know who else.

Your (nearly retired) book group facilitator,


  1. We have a public forum, no togas required!

  2. Sharon, your new blog page for our book club is much nicer than I imagined. Great idea. Great job. Thank you! Leslie

  3. Sharon, This looks great! I missed the book club meeting to discuss the book because my husband had surgery and is on the mend. But, to tell you the truth, I just couldn't get through the book. I guess I just didn't get it and found nothing amusing in the first 20-30 pages.

  4. Oops, I should have included my name on the above #3 Anonymous........Libby

  5. Sharon...your blog looks terrific. By the way, Confederacy of Dunces is one of my all-time favorites but I enjoy offbeat literature, as you know! I will explore adding a link to our new website maybe from the SS page and also from the recommended reading page. I know you will enjoy your impending retirement! Brenda

  6. I agree that this blog is a great idea and the format looks great! Are people ready to start adding their thoughts on People of the Book?

  7. I'll go ahead and start the forum on "People of the Book". I did not care very much for Hanna, the protagonist. I had some sympathy for her with her rocky relationship with her mother, but other than that, I couldn't empathize with the character. I much preferred the historical aspect with the various "people of the book". I liked Lola's and Ruti's stories the best, although going through history such as the Spanish Inquistion was interesting. After each reading of history, I didn't want to go back to reading of Hanna's plight. Aside from the Jewish/Muslim/Christian relationships, this book appears to be focused on each of the character's self-discovery of finding themselves through their beliefs and values of their religion and making their own marks through the Haggadah. I was interested to see that the author wrote a Pulitzer Prize novel named "March", which supposedly is related to the March family of "Little Women" by Louisa May Alcott? If I'm wrong about that, let me know, for the "Little Women" series is one of my all time favorites.

    Overall, a pretty decent book; but I would have liked more historical stories and less of Hanna... :)