Thursday, June 27, 2013

Biker Book Club

I participate regularly in two book clubs. In one we spend half of the meeting talking about the book before we break for food and laughter. 

In the other, we talk about the book, but the percentages are more like  10% discussion and 90% dinner. Throw in a glass of wine, too.

I chanced across a book recently that I won't read and would never recommend to either group.  The genre is "biker fiction" and the characters are intent on drinking, riding motorcyles, and swearing. 

So why am I mentioning it? Because the author is clearly imaginative. While neither his novel's style or his theme appeal to me, what caught my eye was the front page of "randomly selected, impartial reviews." 

I read them because they were so funny.  And then read them again before I caught on that he'd written them himself. Here are some samples:

"Being a book critic is a pretty easy job. I mean, you don't need a hard-hat or gloves or anything. But face it, you have to read a LOT of books; and most of them are BORING!”  (My middle schoolers would have agreed.) "This new Shovelhead Red story makes work so much fun; I feel guilty about cashing my paycheck!"   

You won't find that admission in the Wall Street Journal.

The next one is allegedly written by "Left Lane Lenny,” a road-dog (that’s motorcycle jargon for an enthusiast) and columnist. His fictitious magazine is MyTurn, a "magazine for fat white guys who own motorcycles." 

 Lenny actually sounds a bit like Dickens. "A peek back in time. A peek into the future."  He adds description that reminds me of Gulliver's Travels  "A rollicking tale of travel and adventure." 

He goes so far as to declare the book, "One of life's great mysteries revealed.” It reminds me of author Carlos Castenada,  promising enlightenment through shamanism and mind-altering drugs. 

 The style and tone changes when a reader describes the book. "Wonderfully scripted word-portraits, and unreal character development virtually put me there! What a delightfully wrought tale of unfettered, unimpeded freedom." 

Ironically, the imaginary fan is Inmate #123456, published in Later: a magazine for condemned guys.

The last commentator is Mangler, president of the Bikers Who Actually Read Books Club. He declares that his members had better agree or be thrown out because they are "too ignorant of quality biker fiction ta be clutterin' up the club an' drink' OUR beer!"

I studied literature in college and wrote many paper on notable works. I realize now my analyses were were immature and unoriginal. Professors, I apologize.

Roy Yelverton, the author of the novel and the endorsements, has done a far better job than I.  He created a diverse group of personalities in just a few words. (Authors call that characterization and I wish I could do it!) There is a variety of tone and style. 

These phony commentaries are witty and clever.

 I bet if the anonymous book critic, Lenny, the inmate, Mangler and I had a book club, we’d agree on that.  

How would you describe your book club? What kind of books do you read?

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