Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Co-habitational Reading Challenge - 2013 Kickoff

Ah, is there anything more romantic than two lovebirds reading the same book at the same time? Probably, but RR and I have decided to do it again anyway. Yes indeed, we're rekindling our Co-habitational Reading Challenge, where we choose one book (two copies, natch), read it simultaneously, and write about it on our respective blogs.

As you may recall, our choice for the first time we did this, back in 2011, was John Iriving's A Prayer for Owen Meany, a book that we both read when we were younger and thus had an extra copy kicking around after we moved in together. This year we've picked a novel that we don't have two copies of, but RR has generously offered to acquire hers from our public library. We have both read this novel before, years ago, and are looking forward to tucking into it again to see if it's as good as we remember.

And so, without further ado, I'm pleased to announce that the novel we've chosen is The Information, by Martin Amis. This book was published in 1995 to much fanfare that, sadly, had little to do with the actual writing - something about dental surgery, a scorned literary agent, and an obscenely large advance for literary fiction, even for the nineties.

I remember exactly where I was when I first stumbled upon this tome. Picture it: Halifax, Nova Scotia, 1998 - a young recent journalism school graduate is trolling the shelves of the city's fabled Trident Booksellers and Cafe, the air pungent with freshly ground coffee beans and snobbery. There, he purchases a weighty hardcover and takes it back to his lonely one-bedroom apartment on the other side of the harbour. This book blows his little (but growing!) mind with its linguistic dexterity and impressive vocabulary, its humour and cutting-edge social satire. He becomes a Martin Amis fan overnight.

Actually, with the exception of its brilliant opening pages, there are very few specifics I remember about The Information. I know that it is a fantastic examination of avarice (is it just me, or does Amis explore at least one of the seven deadly sins in each novel?) and a wonderful send-up of our misconceptions about the literary life, but other than that I'll be coming back at this book with an open mind. Needless to say, I'm also anxious to read my wife's opinions upon rereading it.

And yes, we absolutely want all of you to play along if you can. Like last time, you and your life partner can either choose to read this book along with us or you and your life partner can choose to read another book together. Either way, make sure to come back here and share your thoughts with us - either with comments below or links pointing back to your own blog. Trust me, this is a lot of fun and a great way to learn even more about someone you already know pretty well.

Stay tuned for further updates as we work our way through this tome over the next couple of weeks.


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