Thursday, November 02, 2006

William Styron, RIP (1925-2006)

Who wants to be in an online virtual book club with me and read Sophie's Choice this month. I have a big writing deadline on November 11th, so I don't think I should start the book until then, but the author of Sophie's Choice, William Styron, just passed away, and it's so sad, and now I want to read Sophie's Choice again. It's an amazing book, and the less you know about it, the better. When I read it, years and years ago, I knew nothing, nothing, NOTHING, and the book just floored me. Killed me. Even knowing EVERYTHING that's going to happen, I'm sure it would still floor you, though, because it's really well written.

So...Any takers? Anyone wanna read it with me? We can have little online talkbacks at the end of each chapter? Something like that? I've never been in a book club. (That's technically not true, Aimie started a book club years ago and we read Michael Cunningham's The Hours, but I think I only went to the first meeting.) (I did, however, finish the book.) (Which was gads better than the movie.) (Whereas the movie of Sophie's Choice, on the other hand, is terrific, and we could all get together and have a viewing of it after we've all finished reading the book.) (I just now realized that Meryl Streep was in both movie adaptations that I've been referencing. That's funny. Anyway, she's WAY better in Sophie's Choice.) (Not that she's bad in The Hours, but I could have done without her storyline in the movie version--that scene with Ed Harris at the end? Ug, I wanted to push him out the window.) (Talk about schmacting.)

Anyway, R.I.P. Mr. Styron. Thanks for the words.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

First.
I wanna read the book!
Lindsay

Erik said...

Yay, Lindsay! We'll start reading on Monday Nov. 13th! That gives you a week and a half to get the book. I guess you could start reading before the 13th, but if we want to read it together, that's when we'll officially start.

(Second.)

aimie said...

that is so funny. my other erik is OBSESSED with me seeing the movie and every time we look for it, it's checked out or not there.

i would like to join in the reading and possible screening afterward. angela and i were just talking about starting another book club. the power of saying things out loud, eh?

i love saying "eh" and people always think i'm canadian. but, then i say "dude" and they know i'm from redondo beach.

Erik said...

Awesome. Ask Angela if she wants to read Sophie's Choice with us too. It's an online bookclub, so there's very little committment.

Anonymous said...

"Ich kann nicht wahlen!" One of my all time favorite moments in film: Meryl saying that line and her silent scream at the end of the scene. It haunts me still. You're right: Styron's book is magnificent (as is the film), and I too knew nothing about it when I started it, and the thing had me shaking by the end.

Erik said...

Doug, it's crazy, isn't it? How powerful the book is. I don't know why I don't have it on my list of top five favorite books. Maybe I should re-evaluate the list. I think it's not on there right now because after I read the book I tried not to think about it too much because it's such a raw painful book.

(The top five list, as it stands now, is Crime and Punishment, Lolita, A Prayer For Owen Meaney, Geek Love, and Love Medicine, or White Teeth. That's six. I guess add Sophie's Choice and that's a top seven. Damn.)

Anonymous said...

You know I've been to the book store three times over the past few weeks and every time I almost buy Crime and Punishment but don't. I don't know why I pass it up, I spent the better part of this past year reading his Demons and Brothers Karamazov so it can't be I'm intimidated. For years I thought Dostoevsky was going to be dull, but it turns out he's actually a lot of fun. Somebody needs to put out some better press on the guy. And if you haven't read Brothers or even Demons, do (the Pevear/Volokhonsky translation if you can), especially Brothers, which is astounding.

Erik said...

Doug, you're so right, the guy needs a better press agent! I love that. It's totally true. He's got such a bad rap and I think it's mostly because all of his characters have really long funny names, but once you get into one of his books they fucking flow and you don't want to put them down.

You MUST go out and get a copy of Crime and Punishment. It's gripping, scary, compelling, crazy, funny, sad, uplifting. Oh man, it's so good.

I haven't ever read Demons, but I have read Brothers Karamazov, as well as The Idiot and Notes From the Underground.

Crime and Punishment is my favorite, followed by The Idiot (which is also really good, you should read that one too), followed by Brothers Karamazov (which I liked as well, but found more difficult to get into than C&P and The Idiot) (but that was so long ago, I should probably give Brothers another read).

Anonymous said...

I have two copies of The Idiot because I thought I lost it after I moved back home and then bought another and then found the one I thought I lost (and I may buy another copy so I can read the Pevear translation). I started reading it several times and never got past the first section, always got distracted by other things and never got back to it, but I WILL finish it and I WILL read C&P before the year is out. You're right about him sucking you in with that conversational style of his and those gorgeous waves of narration.

Anonymous said...

I wanna join, I wanna join!

Going on Amazing right now to buy.
yay! I've always wanted to join a book club!

-Michal

rabbit1970 said...

That's really sad news about Styron's death. Sophie's Choice is one of my all-time favorite movies (tore me up when I saw it at 12 years old) and then I read the book about 18 years ago and got all emotional again. I'd like to join in on the book club, too.

And I've never read Crime And Punishment, but based on your raves, I feel like I must.

Anonymous said...

Are moms allowed in this book club? If so, I'm in.
PAM

Erik said...

Of course moms are allowed in! Awesome. So the Sophie's Choice book club, as we currently stand, consists of Lindsay, Aimie, Michal, Rabbit, PAM, and me. Yay!

We start reading on Monday Nov 13th.

christy said...

I'm so in! Never read it, don't know what it's about at all...

communicatrix said...

Poor, sad William Styron. And what a loss for us.

I read Sophie's Choice while staying alone in a guest house on Mt. Tamalpais in Marin County over a rainy Christmas break during my senior year in college. How's that for something that left its mark on me?

I think I read it in 12 hours straight or something--I had no idea what I was getting into when I picked it up, and then I couldn't put it down. I mean, I know there's no way I read it in, like, 12 hours. But that's what it felt like. For however long it took me to read it, I did almost nothing else.

I have a big-ass deadline on Dec 1 so I"m not sure if I can join in. But maybe I'll get a copy anyway, just in case.

Mrs. Kickass said...

I'm a day late, but I want in on the reading and watching, I've never read or seen it. I know a bit about it - it comes up to often not to get the gist - but I've always wanted to read/see it. Is there a deadline for finishing?