What We're Reading Now "This book is not only heartbreaking and genius but also hilarious and genuine. Eggers's unique voice and refreshing honesty about struggling with losing both his parents had raising his younger brother--while still in his early twenties--is touching without being overly sentimental." Liz Rodriguez - Books-A-Million, Niles, IL The literary bestseller that redefines both family and narrative for the 21st century, this moving memoir is the story of a college senior who, in the space of five weeks, loses both of his parents to cancer and inherits his eight-year-old brother. This is an exhilarating debut that manages to be simultaneously hilarious and wildly inventive as well as a deeply heartfelt story of the love that holds a family together. Reviews "Egger's book, which goes a surprisingly long way toward delivering on its self-satirizing, hyperbolic title, is a profoundly moving, occasionally angry and often hilarious account.A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius is, finally, a book of finite jest, which is why it succeeds so brilliantly."--Sara Mosle, New York Times Book Review "This isn't the hyper-intellectualized meta-narrative of David Foster Wallace, nor does Eggers write with the resigned awareness of a Don DeLillo character; surprisingly.Eggers is earnest. He knows that real life cannot be captured without humor.His experimental style is more Lorrie Moore and The Onion than Richard Brautigan. And in that context, he is a writer of dizzying talent. Death takes some 41 pages, and it is a brilliant, beautiful, deliriously vivid account, tender at times but never, ever maudlin."--Judith Lewis, The LA Weekly "The book arrives during a moment when the literary intellectual stage is rife with discord: In the pages of The New York Review of Books or on the web magazine Slate, A.O. Scott, David Foster Wallace, Jedediah Purdy, Michael Hirschorn and others have staked positions in the rival 'irony' and 'sincerity' rhetorical camps like so many Capulets and Montagues. Poor Eggers is a talented writer in the grip of deranged literary celebrity: He's a hook, a novelty item a personality.He is bringing some lofty literary ambitions to a wide audience and suffering the inevitable disjuncture..This book is very, very good. Eggers's voice is funny, slangy and nervous, intellectually alert."--Elise Harris, The Nation
- ISBN-13: 9780375725784
- ISBN-10: 0375725784
- Publisher: Vintage
- Publish Date: February 2001
- Dimensions: 8 x 5.1 x 1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.7 pounds
- Page Count: 496
Best bets for book clubs
With a quarter-million reading groups currently active, it seems that more people than ever before are thinking and talking about books. Because one of the biggest challenges faced by a book club is deciding what to read, BookPage is happy to launch a monthly column spotlighting new paperback titles we feel would make great reading group selections. This new column will also list resources for book club members, including web sites, links to publishers and guides to help you choose the right titles for your group.
If your club is just getting started, visit the Vintage Books Reading Group Center (www.vintagebooks.com). An excellent resource for book clubs, the site offers a newsletter and mailing list, as well as online reading group guides to more than 70 titles. Vintage also offers Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Reading Groups But Didn't Know Who to Ask, a brochure that lives up to its name, providing information on title selection and on finding a focus for your group. For a free copy of the brochure, call 1-800-793-BOOK.
The following is our list of this month's book club recommendations. From historical novel to contemporary memoir, these books are sure to generate spirited discussion among your circle of readers.
Girl With a Pearl Earring
by Tracy Chevalier
A novel that explores the mystery behind Vermeer's famous painting, blending fact and fiction into a radiant coming-of-age novel. Full of rich period detail, Chevalier's book is set in 17th century Delft, where a young girl named Griet goes to work as a maid in the home of the great painter. Griet soon attracts the attention of Vermeer himself, causing tension among the master's family which includes his fickle wife and her strong-willed mother. Scandal and deception quickly follow in this complex and sensuous look at an artist and his muse. A reading group guide is available online at www.penguinputnam.com. For a printed guide, ask your local bookseller.
by Louis De Bernires
This lush novel, set on the Greek island of Cephallonia during World War II, tells the story of a beautiful young woman named Pelagia and the two men competing for her affections: Mandras, a kind-hearted fisherman transformed into a cold-blooded guerilla by war, and the enchanting, mandolin-playing Captain Corelli, an officer in the Italian garrison on the island. With this ambitious book, De Bernires proves himself the heir of Dickens and Tolstoy. Grand in scope, full of passion and betrayal, this historical novel is the basis for a new movie from John Madden, director of Shakespeare in Love. A reading group guide is available online at www.vintagebooks.com and in print. Call 1-800-793-BOOK to request a guide or ask your local bookseller.
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
by Dave Eggers
At once touching and hilarious, this is the true account of the death of the author's parents and the life that ensues for him and his eight-year-old brother, whom he must care for on his own. A literary sensation, this innovative memoir pushes the boundaries of narrative as it poignantly recounts the college-age Eggers' adaptation to life without his family. For this paperback edition, the author has expanded his best-selling memoir, writing 15,000 more words, including a new appendix. A reading group guide is available online at www.vintagebooks.com and in print. Call 1-800-793-BOOK to request a guide or ask your local bookseller.
Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason
by Helen Fielding
"Don't be fooled into thinking you're too high-browed for this sort of fun," BookPage advised in a review of the hardcover edition. Picking up a month after the last diary left off, Fielding's new book is another wry, witty look at the life of Bridget. No longer a "Singleton," she is involved with wealthy attorney Mark Darcy and adapting to life with a live-in. Readers of Fielding's last book will love this sequel, which includes appearances by Bridget's pals Jude and Shaz, as well as her parents. Who cares if it doesn't have a reader's guide? Fielding's irresistible book will make lively reading for any group.