Book choice for July 2013

The Life & Times of the Thunderbolt Kid [suggested by Helen Close]

The Life & Times of the Thunderbolt Kid

Bill Bryson was born in the middle of the American century - 1951 - in the middle of the United States - Des Moines, Iowa - in the middle of the largest generation in American history - the baby boomers. As one of the best and funniest writers alive, he is perfectly positioned to mine his memories of a totally all-American childhood for 24-carat memoir gold. Like millions of his generational peers, Bill Bryson grew up with a rich fantasy life as a superhero. In his case, he ran around his house and neighborhood with an old football jersey with a thunderbolt on it and a towel about his neck that served as his cape, leaping tall buildings in a single bound and vanquishing awful evildoers (and morons) - in his head - as "The Thunderbolt Kid."

Using this persona as a springboard, Bill Bryson re-creates the life of his family and his native city in the 1950s in all its transcendent normality - a life at once completely familiar to us all and as far away and unreachable as another galaxy. [(excerpted from) Product description on Amazon]

Wikipedia entry for the book.

About the Author

Wikipedia entry.
Author's website.

 

Shortlisted for this month

This month we re-ran our experiment from March where everyone at the meeting (well, those that remembered) brought one book, and from those available the ones considered for next month had to NOT have been read by anyone present. This time round we ended up with three books to choose from and although in the end the choice was made unanimously, we also voted on:

Under the Volcano [suggested by Rowena James]

Under the Volcano

Geoffrey Firmin, a former British consul, has come to Quauhnahuac, Mexico. His debilitating malaise is drinking, an activity that has overshadowed his life. On the most fateful day of the consul's life—the Day of the Dead, 1938—his wife, Yvonne, arrives in Quauhnahuac, inspired by a vision of life together away from Mexico and the circumstances that have driven their relationship to the brink of collapse. She is determined to rescue Firmin and their failing marriage, but her mission is further complicated by the presence of Hugh, the consul's half brother, and Jacques, a childhood friend. The events of this one significant day unfold against an unforgettable backdrop of a Mexico at once magical and diabolical. [Product description from Amazon]

The book has a Wikipedia entry and has also been made into a film.

About the Author

Wikipedia entry.

The Etymologicon: A Circular Stroll through the Hidden Connections of the English Language [suggested by Clare Freeman]

The Etymologicon

The Etymologicon springs from Mark Forsyth's Inky Fool blog on the strange connections between words. It's an occasionally ribald, frequently witty and unerringly erudite guided tour of the secret labyrinth that lurks beneath the English language, taking in monks and monkeys, film buffs and buffaloes, and explaining precisely what the Rolling Stones have to do with gardening. [Product description from Amazon]

About the Author

Mark Forsyth doesn't have a website as such, but he does have a blog.

 

Previous Months' Book Choices

2013

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2012

January February March April May June July August September October November

2011

January February March April May June July August September October November

2010

January February March April May June July August September October November

2009

January February March April May June July August September October November

2008

January February March April May June July August September October November

2007

January February March April May June July August September October November

2006

January February March April May June July August September October November