Babble Book Club: Discussion TODAY with Farzana Doctor 6:00pm EST/3:00pm PST

78 posts / 0 new
Last post
Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture
Babble Book Club: Discussion TODAY with Farzana Doctor 6:00pm EST/3:00pm PST

Hello Babble Book Club!

It is time again to choose our next selection, and I have so greedily narrowed it down to an author already, but am unsure of the book! I would like to again try to have the author come on board for a discussion and if this were possible, allow the author some weight in choosing the title.

The author selection is Farzana Doctor and her two books are:

Stealing Nasreen (2007) and Six Metres of Pavement (2011)

I think both would be interesting and diverse reads and provide great conversation -- what does everyone think? I am leaning towards Stealing Nasreen; however, it is the older of the two.
Also, we will aim for a faster completion date, as many of you are quick, quick readers, but i warn you now: it will take some time to communication with the author and potentially establish a discussion date that would work for her.
On a lighter note, thanks to all who participated in the discussion with Lynn Coady! I know Lynn was overwhelmed and really pleased by all the questions and responses. Also thanks to those who tuned in and read all the discussion, it has been a wonderful response!
Hopefully we can invite another author on as the discussion with Lynn was so wonderful!
Also, please feel free to leave any feedback on the Babble Book Club (BBC) on this thread as well. How is the strucutre working? What could be better? Any constructive feedback for us?
Thanks again to you all, this has been a very exciting experiment!

Issues Pages: 
Regions: 
Caissa

I like the 2007 one more based on the blurbs but am happy to read either. I'm making a bookstore run on Saturday and it would be great if the book was decided on by then.

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

Thanks for your response Caissa!

Farzana Doctor has tweeted us back, as well as emailed, and two exciting notes:

1. Farzana would like to discuss Six Acres of Pavement, which is her newer publiciation.

2. Farzana has agreed to join us for our discussion! Yay! We are still currently working out dates -- March is very busy for her -- but we may settle on either Monday April 2 or Sunday April 8; however, I will let you know. Either way it gives everyone about a month (give or take a day) to read.

Not a light-speed read, but still a quicker one nonetheless. I will let everyone know the concrete details as soon as I figure them out, but this is very exciting to invite another author to our book club!

Farzana also suggests trying those lovely independent bookstores first, as they stock her titles, and encourages everyone to suggest getting independents to order in first before hitting the chains (as do we!).

stayed tuned for more info!

 

Also Caissa: does this deadline work a bit better? I think a month is probably the sweet spot for everyone involved, how do you feel?

Caissa

Sure. Book is not available locally so I need to order it.

Elizabeth1970

I'll check my local independent over March Break. So it's Six Metres of Pavement for sure?

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

Yes Six Metres of Pavement (for some reason I keep wanting to say acres) is our newest selection. Also, Farzana Doctor has agreed to a conversation on Sunday April 8 12:00 EST and I will make a formal announcement tomorrow for everyone. So we all have a month, which should allow people ot find the book and get it read!

Thanks again everyone for being so enthusiastic! 

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Quote:
Yes Six Metres of Pavement (for some reason I keep wanting to say acres)

That wouldn't be because of your affection (I am only speculating) for a certain local watering hole?

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

Catchfire wrote:

Quote:
Yes Six Metres of Pavement (for some reason I keep wanting to say acres)

That wouldn't be because of your affection (I am only speculating) for a certain local watering hole?

haha, caught. well I only go there when I am far too lazy to walk to Alibi Room and not lazy enough to go to St. Augustines. It's weird they only serve bottled beer and call themselves a pub.

 

On a more related note, since Sunday April 8 is on the easter holiday weekend, would it work better for everyone involved to attempt to have the converation on a weekday -- potentially the weekdays before (April 2) or after that sunday 8/ monday 9?

alex alex's picture

Just bought the book! Very exciting...and, yes, a Monday would work better for me. Looking forward to it!

alex alex's picture

Farzana Doctor's been included on CBC's  list of 10 Canadian women to read right now...nice!

MegB

Maysie gave me a copy of Six Metres of Pavement about a year ago.  It was a joy to read.  I'm really looking forward to the discussion.

jrose

I just put the book on hold at the library. I'm looking forward to this one!

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

alex wrote:

Just bought the book! Very exciting...and, yes, a Monday would work better for me. Looking forward to it!

where did you get your copy Alex I have yet to pick one up!

infracaninophile infracaninophile's picture

So far, the timelines have been too short (between selection of book and the reading period) for me. By the time I get the book from the library, the discussion is overFrown; however, third time lucky -- I just put a hold on it and there is no one ahead of me in the queue so maybe I can get in on this one!

Caissa

My copy is in the mail and should arrive Tuesday or Wednesday.

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

@infracaninophile -- I'm sorry to hear that, but thank you for that input -- we will definitely take it into consideration. Figuring out timelines has been the most difficult part of the book club, I myself find I am having a last minute scramble to finish (I am a procrastinator at heart). Hopefully the timeline for this discussion will work out better for you.

I have yet to confirm the official date, but it looks as though we are going with Monday April 2, 3:00pm PST/ 6:00pm EST. We took into consideration that Monday could be work days for some folks and pushed for the later timeline. Also, present company and other rabble.ca folks expressed concern for the previous conversation date because it fell on a holiday weekend, and I have to agree!

How does Monday April 2, 3:00pm PST/ 6:00pm EST sound for everyone -- it is one week earlier than originally proposed (sorry infracaninophile!), but still three or so weeks away!

When Farzana confirms I will let you all know with my usual social media spam, but please voice any concerns if possible!

bound but not gagged bound but not gagged's picture

Okay everything is finalized!

Farzana Doctor will join us Monday April 2 6:00pm EST/3:00pm PST for one hour to discuss Six Metres of Pavement!

For additional information check out the blog post or feel free to drop some questions in the forum.

I hope everyone can make it!

Now, to start reading...

Caissa

Read just over half of the novel on the weekend. Originally reluctant to read this book because the situation of the protagonist is every parent's worst nightmare. I cringe when we come to sections that deal with his mistake. My tendency is to want to skip them although I do read them quickly. Overall, I am enjoying the book and should have it finished by the weekend.

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

I always find it remarkable when writers can evoke those feelings in their readers, especially the feelings of a reluctance to read. Lynn Coady did that with her aggressive opening and use of 'you' and that whole skinning scene in The Wind Up Bird Chronicles wow.

It gets to that whole different level though when it is a personal fear or discomfort -- I feel like skinning would universally gross everyone out, but the incicdent with the child would resonate differently in each person.

I had that moment with Tea Obrecht's The Tiger's Wife. I had to set the book aside (cover it) and read David Sedaris.

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

I hope all those who are intently reading Six Metres of Pavement are enjoying every minute!

Just a quick reminder that I am going to send off a few questions to Farzana Doctor on Tuesday March 27 to help prepare for the conversation on Monday April 2. Please feel free to pose any initial questions, comments or discussion points you may have about Six metres of Pavement in this thread.

As always, this intial step is to allow for easier moderation and cover any questions for readers who might not be able to make it; however, we encourage all book-clubers to ask their own questions and post their own comments to Farzana Doctor on April 2 as well!

Thanks everyone, happy reading!Smile

Caissa

Finished it Wednesday night. A good read full of second chances.

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

Hello happy readers!

Our conversation with Farzana Doctor is drawing near (exciting) and I am still collecting some inital questions to send off to Farzana Doctor tomorrow. Please drop a line (leave a question) in this thread if there are questions that (1) you need to make sure are asked -- time tends to fly during our discussion and I want to make sure to get everything in and (2) you want to ask but are unable to make it Monday! Let me know what they are and you can check back on the thread later to see the answer!

Thanks again everyone, I am really looking forward to this conversation.Smile

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

A reminder to all you lovely readers that the BBC conversation with Farzana Doctor will take place this Monday April 2 6pm EST/3pm PST! Yay!

Hope everyone can make it, let me know if you can't but would like a questioned ask because I have the power to make that happen! Oh, how I have the power Wink

 

The discussion will take place on this babble thread; however, I will change the title to make it more obvious that this is where the conversation is happening (sometimes I am confusing, I suppose).

Alright, so everyone keep reading, keep forming those questions and opinions and will see everyone back here on Monday for what is sure to be an excellent conversation with Farzana Doctor!

Happy April Fools' weekend (just made that up with my 'power')

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

Discussion with Farzana Doctor taking place today at 6:00pm EST/3:00pm PST!

Stay tuned!

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Looking forward to the discussion!

Farzana

Thanks for inviting me to your book club today! I'm looking forward to the discussion.

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

Conversation with Farzana Doctor will take place in 10 minutes!

Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

Yay!

Welcome Babble Book Clubbers and Farzana Doctor! Thanks everyone for joining!

We recently read a novel where the protagonist was also coaxed into the idea of 'writing as therapy' and the idea of story-telling to heal and understand life events. How is the act of writing therapeutic for both Ismail (and Fatima and yourself)?

     

    Farzana

    Thanks again for having me! This is the first time I've participated in a book club online, rather than in person or over skype.

     

    Farzana

    So, to your question...I used the writing class as a kind of literary device to bring together two characters who might not otherwise easily meet. Having a character journal or write in a story is an easy way to show a reader their internal thoughts. For me (and maybe everyone?) writing is really therapeutic, allowing for self-reflection and understanding...

    Catchfire Catchfire's picture

    Hi Farzana, and welcome!

    Farzana

    thanks @catchfire!

    Farzana

    those scenes (the writing classes) were inspired by a class I took at the University of Toronto a dozen years ago, shortly after a terrible break-up! I wrote the first draft of the first chapter of my first novel in that class.

    kim elliott kim elliott's picture

    Welcome Farzana! It is terrific to have you here!

     

    Farzana

    thanks Kim!

    alex alex's picture

    Hi Farzana!

    As a reader, I found in addition to the act of writing but also Ismail reaches out and connects with various communities within the novel. This also seemed like an act of therapy. How did you go choosing and about researching these communities/neighbourhoods?

    Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

    Holy! (I should take class more seriously!)

    It fits into the idea of self-awareness/self-help. Ismail seems to be more repsonsive to self-discovery and evaluation through reading and writing than therapy -- why did you paint him in this light? Is it a relfection of your own processes?

    Farzana

    I live in Brockton Village, one of Toronto's Little Portugals (there are 3, i think). My neighbourhood inspired the novel's primary setting and my neighbours, most of whom are Portuguese Canadians, inspired the decision to have ismail connect with Celia.

    My neighbourhood has changed a little over time, but when I first moved in, it was dubbed, "Widow Row". I wondered about the lives of the widows, and this wondering seeped into the book.

    The research involved speaking with "cultural insiders" (Portuguese friends or friends-of-friends) and reading as much as I could about the community.

     

     

    Farzana

    I'm not sure why I painted Ismail as someone not receptive to therapy...it just seemed to fit. He is mostly stagnant for 20 years and so it made sense to me that his employer-mandated therapy shouldn't work for him at all.

     

    I also think that I relied on my knowledge of South Asian communities and their relationship to therapy. I grew up in a home where the concept of therapy is very alien.

     

    That said, I am a psychotherapist in private practice, and I like to write about therapy in my writing.

    Farzana

    (I especially like to poke fun at therapists in my writing).Laughing

    jrose

    Sorry, I'm a bit late to the party! Just catching up now. Welcome, Farzana. I must admit I'm only halfway through the book so far, but I'm really enjoying it!

    Farzana

    thanks jrose!

    kim elliott kim elliott's picture

    I hadn't really thought about it it before, but of course this is theraputic book. You take the readers through a cathartic experience right alongside the characters. It is incredibly moving, the way these three characters find each other, and heal.  The characters are so rich, and the detail of the communities so thorough: as someone who loves Toronto and the many characters that make the city, I found that I could not put the book down.  But I'm curious to know how you came to write - and research - the story of someone who lost a child in this way.   Wouldn't some say that as a writer, this is almost a taboo subject - exploring the character of someone who has experienced such tragedy? By taboo I mean isn't this the kind of subject matter that publishers would say "won't sell books": it is such a painful subject, and painful exploration.

    MegB

    While reading Six Metres, I could so clearly picture the neighbourhoods that I lived in when in Toronto.  It felt like home, which allowed me, while reading, to simply immerse myself in the story of these two individuals, their struggles and their coming together.

    A lovely story, so very full of warmth, humanity, and of moving beyond adversity.

    Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

    @kim elliott: I 'liked' your comment (in my mind)

    alex alex's picture

    Yes! Echoing Rebecca's thoughts here...

    Having also lived downtown Toronto, the imagery in the book made me really nostalgic. As a student however, I rarely got to interact with my neighbours many of whom were immigrants. Was it difficult to fictionalize interactions that were so close in proximity? Is that why you chose an older, male protagonist? That seems like a challenging to develop for a first novel!

    Farzana

    Kim, thanks for your comments.

    I first heard about a story like Ismail's in the media many years ago. While I was disturbed by the death of the child, I was most obsessed by the question of how someone manages to go on living after making the biggest/worst mistake of his life. My research involved reading more of these media stories and imagining redemption. I didn't want to speak to a parent in this situation because it is such a painful topic.

    I did worry a lot about the "sellability" of a book with such a serious/difficult premise. I still do. My biggest allies are booksellers and readers who let people know that this is really a book about redemption, creating family, as well as a love story. But, yeah, it can be a hard sell. Many parents have told me that they hesitated (at first) to pick up the book.

    Kaitlin McNabb Kaitlin McNabb's picture

    Farzana wrote:

    I live in Brockton Village, one of Toronto's Little Portugals (there are 3, i think). My neighbourhood inspired the novel's primary setting and my neighbours, most of whom are Portuguese Canadians, inspired the decision to have ismail connect with Celia.

    My neighbourhood has changed a little over time, but when I first moved in, it was dubbed, "Widow Row". I wondered about the lives of the widows, and this wondering seeped into the book.

    The research involved speaking with "cultural insiders" (Portuguese friends or friends-of-friends) and reading as much as I could about the community.

     

    Is this where the idea of Agonias stems from?

    Farzana

    Thanks Rebecca and Alex!

    Farzana

    and Kaitlin!

    Farzana

    I didn't feel it was difficult to write these characters...they didn't feel so close to me, in terms of age or experience. I had more trouble with my first novel's protagonist, who is a South Asian lesbian psychologist!

    Pages