Patrick E. McLean : Just what it says on the tin.

The Sons of Literacy

A good friend of mine, Brandon Scharr, designed this logo and t-shirts for a fictitious “Reading Club.” To support him, I posted his design to a few places with the message “Here is the t-shirt for my new book club.” It was kind of a joke, but I got a fairly whelming response. So, why not a book club?

What I’m Thinking.

We read a book. I put together a short talk about the book. And we have some kind of discussion forum.

My interest in all of this is to talk about books and their making. To understand works of fiction with an eye towards making them. This is not the idle prattling of a bloodless academic, but rather shoptalk, and tradecraft. And as far as I can see, there’s not much of that out there.

I’ve dabbled with this a little bit before. See also, StoryMaps.

Thoughts on a First Book.

With a name like the Sons of Literacy and the whole motorcycle gang vibe, this cries out for tough-guy books. But I try to read everything, so I’d like to sprinkle some other things in there. Also, I read at least one really substantial work of literature a year. Some years it is magical. Other years it is a source of agony. But it’s not the kind of thing I’ve ever regretted.

So, for the first book, I’m thinking of “The Score” by Richard Stark. It is as tough as they come. A heist novel featuring the ruthless and inimitable Parker. You kind of know this character if you’ve seen Payback or Parker, but not really. They didn’t do him justice. I love Richard Stark and have read every single one of the Parker novels. But there are three reasons I suggest this book.

  1. Stark’s prose style is remarkable.
  2. He uses very precise perspective shifts to create tension.
  3. Darwyn Cooke’s graphic novel version is awesome.

Wait, Graphic Novel?

Yes! Darwyn Cooke is my favorite comic book artist/writer. And as it happens, he adapted four of the Parker novels. Cooke is an amazing storyteller and graphic designer in his own right, so, if you read both, you get to see what two masters do with the same story. The mediums are different, so the telling changes a bit, but the essence of the story remains. Comparing the two, and thinking about the choices that you might have made adapting the same material, is a really great way to understand the story.

So, You In?

So if you’re in… If you want to live a life of reading hard and well, reading hard some more and saying funny things about all of it, then join us on goodreads and we’re off to the races. T-shirt to be printed soon.

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