I asked for an assignment, and for my sins, Yr Editrix gave me one: "Dok, you should do WARBLOG on the Stranger's Book Club reading of The Plague. Just lead a whole bunch of wonkers over there and DO INVASION." Well, I am nothing if not a toady, and so I said yes of course I will do that, although I added that I hadn't read Albert Camus's examination of humanity trapped inside a world gone weird and deadly since college. I'm not even sure I had a very good translation, since I'm not entirely sure Charlie Brown and Linus were even in that book. Though Linus certainly fits.

So here's the deal: Seattle alternaweekly The Stranger (actually, its blog, the Slog), is doing a Quarantine Club book club where they're reading The Plague. It's The Plague at the Slog, which is part of The Stranger, which is not the other famous novel by Camus. And we are going to go over there and raid their book club in the politest possible way, possibly bringing some of our cakes we like. We're excellent guests.


Let us steal shamelessly from their post announcing the project:

[People] enjoy the social pressure to read. People need the social pressure to read. We all know we should be reading great books, classic books, the undefeated masterpieces of literature, the works of genius, the spoils of the intelligentsia, and yet... it's so much easier to read Twitter or Facebook or fire up Netflix and let digital media do the thinking for us. The internet is leading us to our doom, people. We need to be reading great books. COVID-19 may be wiping out our fellow human beings, but if we spend our self-quarantine time reading, we might be lucky enough to survive this thing as smarter, more well-rounded people.

Sounds good to us! That first post ran on March 10, so Slog readers are a little ahead of us. They've had two discussions so far, of Part One and Part Two of the novel; that second one just went up Tuesday, so we're not really that far behind. Which is OK, because Quarantine Club leader Christopher Frizzelle announced in that very post that he was happy to let procrastinators catch up, so instead of rushing to finish the book by next Tuesday, March 31, the group will only be reading up through Part Three. The last two parts of the novel will be discussed on subsequent Tuesdays, April 7 and 14.

That slightly relaxed schedule should allow more leisurely discussion and give folks time to find copies if they're looking for print editions, seeing as how lots of libraries are closed, and in some places like Seattle, the

bookstores are now closed under orders from the government (can you believe I just typed the sentence "bookstores are now closed under orders from the government"?).

So there are your marching (in place, at home, while washing your hands) orders: 1) Get a copy of The Plague (that Amazon linky gives Yr Wonkette a cut, but feel free to get a used or library copy, if you can). 2: Read through Part Three by next Tuesday. 3) For a sense of where the discussion has been, go take a look at Part One and Part Two at The Slog, and maybe even look at the comments, which weirdly, they allow. Then Tuesday, we'll all show up in The Slog's comments and type kkkkkkkkk like a bunch of hilariously drunk Brazilians! (We will NOT do that.) (Unless we just can't help ourselves.)

If you're a glutton for additional reading, you might consider looking also at other recent Plague discussions like "What We Can Learn (and Should Unlearn) From Albert Camus's The Plague" at LitHub, and/or "Reading The Plague in the Time of Coronavirus" at the LA Times.

Get to reading, and I'll post the occasional reminder here, too. Tuesday, we'll have a short reminder post, and then we'll all go visit The Slog for Plaguey book times! They will be assimilated. Or maybe we will, these are strange days.

[The Slog / The Plague / Quarantine Club part 1 / Quarantine Club part 2]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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