MoFo Book Club: August 2022

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A system of cells interlinked
Although I am still waiting for my book to arrive(!?!?!) I figured I would open the thread so we have a place to chat about this month's book, which is:



Not sure what is up with the shopping on my book, but it has been 10 days, and the book has still not arrived from a few states away. Good thing I only paid a few dollars for it...
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A system of cells interlinked
Not sure I will even end up getting the book at this point. I will email the shop I ordered it from. It allegedly shipped almost two weeks ago USPS, but they didn't provide tracking.



A system of cells interlinked
Feel free to discuss, everyone. I finally heard back from the vendor. They think they sent the book, but can't figure out if they actually did or not, so they issued me a refund yesterday. At this point, it's almost September, so I will just skip this month. Let me know how the book I chose was!



The Adventure Starts Here!
Feel free to discuss, everyone. I finally heard back from the vendor. They think they sent the book, but can't figure out if they actually did or not, so they issued me a refund yesterday. At this point, it's almost September, so I will just skip this month. Let me know how the book I chose was!
Kindle edition just this once? That's what I opted for. Of course, I still have to READ it, but...



Overall this book was fine, though it definitely had that "I want to be Pulp Fiction!" thing that a lot of crime stuff in the late 90s/early 2000s had.

A fundamental issue that I had with the book was the way that the humor kept me at a distance from the characters. I didn't really like any of them, because they felt so much like characters (and there was a lot of people saying stuff that was overly exposition to make sure the reader got the joke, like the prostitute saying "I can use this pepper mill to cut cocaine with baby laxatives!"). I was really uncomfortable with the way that the story centered Serge and his physical abuse of his girlfriend. I think that the book tried to show her as someone who gives as well as she gets, or that she sort of likes the abuse, but I didn't buy it. She gets zero character development, and it all felt off to me.

Jim was sympathetic to me off and on, but I was done with him after he (probably) assaulted his wife during sex. That kind of crossed a line for me and any sympathy I had for him as this nice guy who is unassertive kind of turned into contempt for the way that he was willing to put his family (wife and kids) in harms way.

I did think that the way that all of the threads were brought together was satisfying. There were surprising intersections between the different supporting characters. Probably the best was the long saga of John.

I think that liking this book would mostly come down to whether or not you gel with its humor. For me, it was a bit too heavy on cliched jokes like old ladies and hard candy, wacky homeless people, nonsensical bureaucracy, etc.

Fine to listen to in the car, but not something I think I'll remember in a year.




I kind of liked the time travel vibe in the beginning; the sounds and sights circa the 90s . . . a kind of nostalgia? In one scene, the greatest hits of Tom Jones (currently 82 and still touring) plays in the background. Then after a few more obscure allusions, I decided to peek when this was published . . . 20 years ago, so some of the allusions are definitely dated. The songs, was that product placement or borrowing the cinematic cheat by imposing a golden oldie on the audience to tell them exactly what emotion they are supposed to be feeling in a certain scene? Although the Top Gun song was fortuitous, since the latest installment is currently in theaters.

My nitpicking has to do with story construction. When the Davenports move to Tampa, the new next door neighbour Gladys only exists to set-up and introduce the assorted cast of home owners and renters on the street to the readers. I think it would have been stronger had stay-at-home-mom Martha learned about the neighborhood from direct observation and interaction, then filled Jim in a little more every night about the bizarre world around them.

All the characters seem to be placed on a lazy Susan, and when one vignette peters out, the writer simply spins the story to a different locale and situation, rather than story development. He was still introducing new characters a third of the way through the book. And half-way through, I think he simply forgot about Sharon and the 4E’s (each old lady has a name that starts with the letter E) I was wondering where they went.

I did like the cinema quotes although, if a character walks into a house and a certain movie (or TV show) is playing on television, isn’t that kind of gratuitous? You could work it out that each time the pizza man shows up, 2001: a space Odyssey is playing, and Thus Spoke Zarathustra blasts from the television the moment you crack open the box.

There was a slight problem with the tonal shifts, the transitions from comedic romp to the grisly murder and back again, I don’t think he quite pulled those offand some of the raunchier situations. Serge is also an altruistic psychopath, he never kills to satisfy his own murderous lusts but always defends Honest Jim’s interests.

In the finale to his first crime comedy novel, the writer killed off Serge and Sharon, so in order to re-use these characters (in his fourth novel) timewise, this is a prequel.

I’ve also spotted Dorsey’s latest novel Naked came the Florida Man in the new book section in the library so, at some time in the future, I may pick it up just to compare his writing chops and the learning curve in the two decades that separate those two books. This was silly stuff, I admit I laughed a few times.


Triggerfish Twist★★½



Serge is also an altruistic psychopath, he never kills to satisfy his own murderous lusts but always defends Honest Jim’s interests.
This is a trope that always stretches credibility for me. It's a character dynamic that exists so that we can get wish fulfillment (hurting the bullying neighbor, attacking the sleazy boyfriend) without besmirching Jim's character.

It seemed like his character was smart or stupid depending on what the author wanted him to do. Like, why would Serge ever think that Sharon would make it through a fancy dinner with Jim and Martha?

This was silly stuff, I admit I laughed a few times.
I wish I'd found it just a bit funnier. I'd say about one out of every four jokes landed for me, while the rest were kind of tiresome.



A system of cells interlinked
Although I was the captain of the fail boat when it came to actually obtaining and reading this book, I have read a couple of other Serge Storms books, so I understand some of the gripes here. Either you get on board with the over-the-top absurdist humor and violence, or it becomes annoying quickly. I do recall at one point finishing a Storms book, wanting to read another, and then putting that one down halfway through because it had just all gotten to be old all of a sudden.

@Austruck - I don't own a Kindle!



The Adventure Starts Here!
@Austruck - I don't own a Kindle!
You can use the Kindle app on just about any type of device, even a desktop computer. Just sayin'! In a pinch, that might be helpful information elsewhere.



Señora DelMonte, she go BOOM!
I do recall at one point finishing a Storms book, wanting to read another, and then putting that one down halfway through because it had just all gotten to be old all of a sudden.
I believe in literary circles the technical term for this is a 'Serge of sudden interest'.

Yeah, yeah, I know, another thread I shouldn't ever show my face in again....
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terrible, 0/5, not enough puppies.



A system of cells interlinked
You can use the Kindle app on just about any type of device, even a desktop computer. Just sayin'! In a pinch, that might be helpful information elsewhere.
I have another friend who will see me reading a book and say "Dude! Check out my Kindle...why are you still reading paper books?"

To which I retort "I read to get away from looking at screens all the time."

Hence, me not wanting to read on my PC etc.

That said, I think eventually, my worsening vision will force me into the Kindle program.



The Adventure Starts Here!
I have another friend who will see me reading a book and say "Dude! Check out my Kindle...why are you still reading paper books?"

To which I retort "I read to get away from looking at screens all the time."

Hence, me not wanting to read on my PC etc.

That said, I think eventually, my worsening vision will force me into the Kindle program.
An actual Kindle has never felt like a "screen" in that way. At least, not to me. (I've owned Kindles since the first ones in 2007.) I do like the font choices, the font SIZE choices, and the portability for traveling. And there are free book options, and cheap books, all the time. And I can download/borrow library books and return them without having to go to the actual library.

Having said that, I still buy paper/print books at an alarming rate. I make a choice with each book I buy, whether I think it makes more sense for me to own/store it in print or in digital form. I bought this book for Kindle, thinking I wouldn't need to have a print copy on my bookshelf.



Is it too soon to start the book nominations for September?
Considering September is tomorrow, I'd say not!

If someone who hasn't picked yet wants to go, by all means just throw something out there.




The past is a foreign country:they do things differently there.
The reviews and ratings on Storygraph definitely make me interested in this one!

Anyone else have something they want to put up for consideration?



The Adventure Starts Here!
I'm finally reading this..In actual Tampa, which makes it even funnier. About halfway through and really enjoying the humor. I've had laugh-out-loud moments in every chapter.