By now you should all be familiar with the Nonbelieving Literati, that book club (without the clubhouse) of sorts originally originated by the ever original Exterminator. If not, back up five words and click. Once there, check out his side column which should help explain a lot. You could also click on some of the discussions I posted of previous books we discussed, which I have conveniently linked to in my right hand column.
The current book under discussion is Albert Camus‘ The Plague, a novel about…well, I’m getting ahead of myself. One of the prime directives of the Nonbelieving Literati is to read a book picked by one of the participating blog members within the alloted time, and write an essay about it. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a straight forward review of the book, but can be on anything that uses the book as a starting point of discussion. Due to time constraints and a backlog of other reading material, I failed to read or participate this time around. Having read the essays submitted so far, I thought it would be a good idea to make my contribution a mini-Carnival where all of the essays could be accessed from a central location. Actually, it wasn’t my original good idea, it was the Exterminator’s, which I freely swiped (I did say he was the original original, didn’t I?). So, without further build-up or adieu, The Carnival, in no significant order:
- The blogger who chose this book was John Evo at Evolutionary Middleman, who wrote an essay that compares the Plague of the book to the intellectually bankrupt adage we’ve come to know and loath: “There are no atheists in foxholes”.
- As The Chaplain read the book, she noticed something that seems to have eluded most of the male readers: A dearth of female characters worthy of their gender.
- The essay I felt came closest to a true critical analysis is that of Ridger, FCD who found the book to be a slow starter, but ultimately rewarding.
- Ordinary Girl thought the book dull at first, but realized with hindsight and reflection that it would grow on her.
- C.L. Hanson at Letters From A Broad discovered La Peste (as it’s known in France and Quebec) to be a fascinating study of human nature, even though it seemed to lack entertainment value, but who needs entertainment when you have insight?
- Mr. Tyrannosaurus Ex himself took a subplot of the book and ran with it, finding an apt comparison between writers of blogs and the obsessive and obsessed writer in the book, who spent 275 pages composing the first sentence of his anticipated masterpiece.
- Having not read the book, but instead all of the essays, I feel like I have read the book. Lynet at Elliptica has written a thought provoking essay that analyzes the themes of the book in the context of the author’s experiences as a member of the French Resistance during WWII.
- For Enonomi, The Plague was not her cup of tea. Not enough zombies, apparently. I couldn’t help but envision Micheal Jackson’s Thriller music video, with the addition of rats. How’s that for an incongruous reference?
- Last but not least, The Lifeguard emerged from his cabana with a well thought out philosophical musing on the harsh realities of life, existence and suffering with one of my favorite lines: “Life, it appears, has a funny way of reminding us just how irrelevant our everyday lives are.” He was last seen doing laps in the Pool of Life.
I hope you’ll find the submissions to this Nonbelieving Literati Carnival as informative and thought provoking as I did. I also trust that if you are interested in participating in the next or future discussions, just let The Exterminator know, or for that matter, simply read the next book, (Christopher Brookmyre’s Not the End Of The World, ($4.79 at Amazon, (which seems to have gone down in price (from $5.04) since I ordered it this afternoon))) and post an essay on or after March 15. If you don’t have a blog of your own, contact any one of the previous participants, and, I’m sure, any one of them would be happy to guest host your essay.
The more the merrier.
[EDIT: Lynet over at Eliptica has rendered a nice post-mortem (pun intended) of The Plague, musing on the place of art in our world. "Art is not just for those who might earn a living from it. Art is for those who might gain a little life from it."]