Back Seat Book Club Shows

Back Seat Book Club – Book Twenty-Seven: Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage

Author: Haruki Murakami, Philip Gabriel (Trans.)

Knopf Publishing Group

Plot Summary – Here he gives us the remarkable story of Tsukuru Tazaki, a young man haunted by a great loss; of dreams and nightmares that have unintended consequences for the world around us; and of a journey into the past that is necessary to mend the present. It is a story of love, friendship, and heartbreak for the ages.

Quick Thoughts:

  • Scott is a Fake Book Guy(TM)
  • Lightweight read
  • No magic realism. Which is weird.
  • What is the Pilgrimage. Where is it?
  • Crime?
  • Striving upward is evil, creativity is good.
  • Betrayals and letting go as recurring issues.
  • Awkward sex in lucid dreams (check your Murakami bingo cards).
  • Show tropes.
  • In relation to other works by the author.
  • Scott is not threatening you.

“One heart is not connected to another through harmony alone. They are, instead, linked deeply through their wounds. Pain linked to pain, fragility to fragility. There is no silence without a cry of grief, no forgiveness without bloodshed, no acceptance without a passage through acute loss. That is what lies at the root of true harmony.” 

Next Time: A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore

Back Seat Book Club Shows

Back Seat Book Club – Book Twenty-Six: Eyes of the Dragon

Author: Stephen King

Published: 1987


Plot Summary – Once upon a time – there was terror and dragons and princes… evil wizards and dark dungeons… and an enchanted castle and a terrible secret. With this enthralling masterpiece of magical evil and daring adventure, Stephen King takes you in his icy grip and leads you into the most shivery and irresistible kingdom of wickedness… The Eyes of the Dragon.

Quick Thoughts:

  • Not enough dragons.
  • Better than the Last Unicorn. SHUT IT!
  • We don’t care about this book’s sausagefest.
  • Morgenstern-y (totally a real word).
  • disbelief suspenders under strain.
  • Tower lore intensive.

Recorded: 10/25/14

“Oh, I suppose all men of intelligence know how fragile such things as Law and Justice and Civilization really are, but it’s not a thing they think of willingly, because it disturbs one’s rest and plays hob with one’s appetite.” 

Next Time: Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami

Back Seat Book Club Shows

Back Seat Book Club – Book Twenty-Five: Seconds

Author: Brian Lee O’Malley

Published: 2014

Ballantine Books

Plot Summary – Katie’s got it pretty good. She’s a talented young chef, she runs a successful restaurant, and she has big plans to open an even better one. Then, all at once, progress on the new location bogs down, her charming ex-boyfriend pops up, her fling with another chef goes sour, and her best waitress gets badly hurt. And just like that, Katie’s life goes from pretty good to not so much. What she needs is a second chance. Everybody deserves one, after all—but they don’t come easy. Luckily for Katie, a mysterious girl appears in the middle of the night with simple instructions for a do-it-yourself do-over:

1. Write your mistake
2. Ingest one mushroom
3. Go to sleep
4. Wake anew

And just like that, all the bad stuff never happened, and Katie is given another chance to get things right. She’s also got a dresser drawer full of magical mushrooms—and an irresistible urge to make her life not just good, but perfect. Too bad it’s against the rules. But Katie doesn’t care about the rules—and she’s about to discover the unintended consequences of the best intentions.

From the mind and pen behind the acclaimed Scott Pilgrim series comes a madcap new tale of existential angst, everyday obstacles, young love, and ancient spirits that’s sharp-witted and tenderhearted, whimsical and wise.

Quick Thoughts:

  • Extra Life
  • Sam stomps on a beautiful segue, ruins Christmas
  • Quasi-autobiographical
  • Groundhog Day stuff
  • Regret monsters
  • Recurring Themes
  • how unsympathetic is Katie?
  • Jungian stuff

Recorded: 09/7/14

“Adult life is terrible, Hazel. Never grow up. 

Everything’s complicated, and there are too many rules …” 

Next Time: Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King

Back Seat Book Club Shows

Back Seat Book Club – Book Twenty-Four: American Psycho

Author: Bret Easton Ellis

Published: 1991

Random House

Plot Summary – Patrick Bateman is handsome, well educated, intelligent. He works by day on Wall Street earning a fortune to complement the one he was born with. His nights he spends in ways we cannot begin to fathom. He is twenty-six years old and living his own American Dream.

Quick Thoughts:

  • White People Problems.
  • Everybody Got AIDS an’ Shit.
  • It’s all a metaphor for society.
  • Name Dropping.
  • No characters, barely.
  • Scott Writes a better sequel.
  • Dick Measuring by proxy stereos.
  • 80’s nostalgia that’s still relevant and applicable. for once.
  • not picky enough about the murdering and cannibalism.

Recorded: 07/28/14

“All it comes down to is this: I feel like shit but look great.” 

Next Time: Seconds by Brian Lee O’Malley

Back Seat Book Club Shows

Back Seat Book Club – Book Twenty-Three: Black Dog

Author: Rachel Neumeier

Published 2014

Strange Chemistry

Plot Summary – Natividad is Pure, one of the rare girls born able to wield magic. Pure magic can protect humans against the supernatural evils they only half-acknowledge–the blood kin or the black dogs. In rare cases–like for Natividad’s father and older brother–Pure magic can help black dogs find the strength to control their dark powers. 

But before Natividad’s mother can finish teaching her magic their enemies find them. Their entire village in the remote hills of Mexico is slaughtered by black dogs. Their parents die protecting them. Natividad and her brothers must flee across a strange country to the only possible shelter: the infamous black dogs of Dimilioc, who have sworn to protect the Pure. 

In the snowy forests of Vermont they are discovered by Ezekiel Korte, despite his youth the strongest black dog at Dimilioc and the appointed pack executioner. Intrigued by Natividad he takes them to Dimilioc instead of killing them.

Now they must pass the tests of the Dimilioc Master. Alejandro must prove he can learn loyalty and control even without his sister’s Pure magic. Natividad’s twin Miguel must prove that an ordinary human can be more than a burden to be protected. And even at Dimilioc a Pure girl like Natividad cannot remain unclaimed to cause fighting and distraction. If she is to stay she must choose a black dog mate. 

But, first, they must all survive the looming battle

Quick Thoughts:

  • No plot.
  • Structure; do it better.
  • World building; do it.
  • Gratuitous Spanish mixed with made up fantasy setting terminology. No context cues for either.
  • 105 pages and then no…
  • for no one.

Recorded: 06/27/14

Next time: American Psycho by Brett Easton Ellis

Back Seat Book Club Shows

Back Seat Book Club – Book Twenty-Two: Rainbows End

Author: Vernor Vinge

Published: 2006


Plot Summary – A science-fiction thriller set in a place and time as exciting and strange as any far-future world: San Diego, California, 2025.

Robert Gu is a recovering Alzheimer’s patient. The world that he remembers was much as we know it today. Now, as he regains his faculties through a cure developed during the years of his near-fatal decline, he discovers that the world has changed and so has his place in it. He was a world-renowned poet. Now he is seventy-five years old, though by a medical miracle he looks much younger, and he’s starting over, for the first time unsure of his poetic gifts . Living with his son’s family, he has no choice but to learn how to cope with a new information age in which the virtual and the real are a seamless continuum, layers of reality built on digital views seen by a single person or millions, depending on your choice. But the consensus reality of the digital world is available only if, like his thirteen-year-old granddaughter Miri, you know how to wear your wireless access–through nodes designed into smart clothes–and to see the digital context–through smart contact lenses. 

With knowledge comes risk. When Robert begins to re-train at Fairmont High, learning with other older people what is second nature to Miri and other teens at school, he unwittingly becomes part of a wide-ranging conspiracy to use technology as a tool for world domination. 

In a world where every computer chip has Homeland Security built-in, this conspiracy is something that baffles even the most sophisticated security analysts, including Robert’s son and daughter-in law, two top people in the U.S. military. And even Miri, in her attempts to protect her grandfather, may be entangled in the plot. 

As Robert becomes more deeply involved in conspiracy, he is shocked to learn of a radical change planned for the UCSD Geisel Library; all the books there, and worldwide, would cease to physically exist. He and his fellow re-trainees feel compelled to join protests against the change. With forces around the world converging on San Diego, both the conspiracy and the protest climax in a spectacular moment as unique and satisfying as it is unexpected.

Quick Thoughts:

  • Two novels here, one is really good.
  • Dangling shit
  • What is Rabbit?
  • Robert Gu, least sympathetic protagonist ever?
  • Good futurism and interesting setting.
  • Where are the animals?
  • Where are the poor people?
  • other characters are also there, and maybe interesting

Recorded: 05/26/14

“So much technology, so little talent.” 

Next Time: Black Dog by Rachel Neumier

Back Seat Book Club Shows

Back Seat Book Club – Book Twenty-One: The Master & Margarita

Author: Mikhail Bulgakov, Translators: Katherine Tiernan O’Connor & Diana Burgin

Published: 1966


Plot Summary – .Combining two distinct yet interwoven parts-one set in ancient Jerusalem, one in contemporary Moscow-the novel veers from moods of wild theatricality with violent storms, vampire attacks & a Satanic ball; to such somber scenes as the meeting of Pilate & Yeshua, & the murder of Judas in the moonlit garden of Gethsemane; to the substanceless, circus-like reality of Moscow. Its central characters, Woland (Satan) & his retinue-including the vodka-drinking, black cat, Behemoth; the poet, Ivan Homeless; Pontius Pilate; & a writer known only as The Master, & his passionate companion, Margarita-exist in a world that blends fantasy & chilling realism, an artful collage of grostesqueries, dark comedy & timeless ethical questions. Though completed in 1940, The Master & Margarita wasn’t published in Moscow until 1966, when the 1st part appeared in the magazine Moskva. It was an immediate & enduring success: Audiences responded with great enthusiasm to its expression of artistic & spiritual freedom.

Quick Thoughts:

  • Scott is not a hipster, just cooler than popular fiction. There’s a difference
  • The Devil went down to Moscow…to screw with people… for some reason.
  • ‘Pretty Goshdarned Russian’ literature.
  • Bad intentions and good results.
  • Jesus; really nice crazy guy
  • Black Mass(?) Dead dude party. Being a witch is fun.
  • Talking Cats and psychopaths
  • I give up on Russian names
  • Shout-outs to Faust
  • Satire hasn’t aged well/osmosed into popculture well.
  • Sympathy for the Devil. Not literally, just the Stones tune.
  • ‘Manuscripts don’t burn’

Recorded: 05/28/14

“But would you kindly ponder this question: What would your good do if 
evil didn’t exist, and what would the earth look like if all the shadows 
disappeared? After all, shadows are cast by things and people. Here is the 
shadow of my sword. But shadows also come from trees and living beings. 
Do you want to strip the earth of all trees and living things just because 
of your fantasy of enjoying naked light? You’re stupid.” 

Next Time: Rainbows End by Vernor Vinge

Back Seat Book Club Shows

Back Seat Book Club – Book Twenty: The Eyes of Overworld/Cugel the Clever

Author: Jack Vance

Published 1966

Ace Books

Plot Summary – Scoundrel Cugel is sent far away, by a magician he has wronged, to retrieve magical lenses that reveal the Overworld. Goaded by a homesick monster magically attached to his liver, he journeys across wastelands home to Almery. With a cult group on a pilgrimage, he crosses the Silver Desert, and meets more danger and betrayal as he betrays others.

Quick Thoughts:

  • The End (of the reading list) is nigh, suggest something
  • Bastards
  • Evil wizard stuff
  • Demon stick, no demon carrot
  • Achievements
  • Botched somatic components
  • ambiguous rape
  • antique language
  • Inevitable Tolkien comparison

“Excellent; all is well. The ‘everlasting tedium’ exactly countervenes the ‘immediate onset of death’ and I am left only with the ‘canker’ which, in the person of Firx, already afflicts me. One must use his wits in dealing with maledictions.”

Your Hosts:

  • Jim
  • Scott

Recorded 03/31/14

Next Time: the master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

Back Seat Book Club Shows

Back Seat Book Club – Book Nineteen: Vicious

Author: VE Schwab

Published: 2013


Plot Summary – Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong. Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the arch-nemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?

Quick Thoughts:

  • [wanted: show note guy. apply within.]

“Plenty of humans were monstrous, and plenty of monsters knew how to play at being human.” 

Your Hosts:

  • Krissy
  • Sam
  • Scott

Recorded 02/26/14

Next time: Cugel the Clever by Jack Vance

Back Seat Book Club Shows

Back Seat Book Club – Book Eighteen: Apocalypse Cow

Author: Michael Logan

Published: 2012


Plot Summary – When scientists with warped imaginations accidentally unleash an experimental bioweapon that transforms Britain’s animals into sneezing, bloodthirsty zombies with a penchant for pre-dinner sex with their victims, three misfits become the unlikely hope for salvation.

Abattoir worker Terry Borders’ love life is crippled by the stench of death that clings to his skin from his days spent slaughtering cows; teenage vegan Geldof ‘Scabby’ Peters alternates between scratching furiously at his rash and baiting his overbearing New Age mother; and inept journalist Lesley McBrien struggles forlornly in the shadow of her famous war correspondent father and the star journalist at the Glasgow Tribune.

When Britain begins a rapid descent into chaos and ministers cynically attempt to blame al-Qaeda, Lesley stumbles upon proof that the government is behind the outbreak. During her bumbling quest to unveil the truth, she crosses paths with Terry and Geldof, and together they set out to escape a quarantined Britain with the evidence and vital data that could unlock a cure for the virus.

Standing in the way are rampaging hordes of animals, a ruthless security agent and an army ready to shoot anybody with a case of the sniffles on the off-chance the virus has mutated.
Three losers. Overwhelming odds. A single outcome: the world is screwed.

Quick Thoughts:

  • [this space for lease]

“Somewhere out there, the cows were waiting.  And they were hungry.”

Your Hosts:

  • Krissy
  • Lena
  • Sam
  • Scott

Recorded: 01/27/14

Next Time: Vicious by V. E. Schwab