Welcome to The Word On the Street Book Club!

The Word On The Street has selected four great Canadian reads by authors appearing at the 2014 festival as part of our first summer book club.

We’ll be discussing the books each week throughout the summer, and on September 21st, everyone will have the chance to meet the authors in person at Queen’s Park Circle. ‘Tis the season for beach and park reading, so let’s get the conversation started!

If you aren’t an ‘official’ member of the book club, that shouldn’t stop you from joining in with your thoughts in the comments of the blog.

Click on the tabs above to check out the discussion questions our intrepid Book Club Leaders have come up with!


9781459710368The Indifference League
Richard Scarsbrook

Book Club Leader: Dave Nadalin

Dave Nadalin is a Toronto-based publishing professional who likes dogs more than cats. He is the winner of many one man pizza-eating competitions, and boasts the least updated account in twitter history.

Take it away, Dave!


 

Section 1: Chapters 1-8

Section 2: Chapters 9-11

Section 3: Chapters 12-20

Section 4: Chapters 21-26

 

Part 1:

 

1.       After the first 8 Chapters which character(s) did you identify with most and why? Did your opinion of any of the characters change after the first chapter?

 

2.       What do you think the stat cards at the beginning of each chapter bring to the story? 

 

3.       Why do you think the characters keep making time to visit Mr. Nice Guy’s cottage every year?

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6 thoughts on “Welcome to The Word On the Street Book Club!

  1. Commenting without dropping spoilers is more difficult than I thought. I’ll take a stab at answering the three questions without giving anything away.

    1. As the “fish” of my social group and a child who woke early up to watch Aquaman on the Saturday morning cartoons, I immediately identified with The Drifter. I think his transformation went from the mild TV version to the far more robust superhero in the comic books.

    2. I thought the cards were tongue-in-cheek funny, almost the opposite of what you’d expect on real superhero trading cards. To me they revealed the truth behind the superhero persona of the characters.

    3. Not all the League members return to the cottage every year. When they do come, is it out of nostalgia, to benchmark their progress in life compared to other members or possibly out of guilt about Psycho Superstar? Not sure.

  2. 1. So far, I’m partial to the Hippie Avenger and the Drifter. I initially thought Mr. Nice Guy was a bit pathetic, but harmless overall; however, as the book goes on, I am starting to get massive creeper vibes from the guy.

    2. I really liked the stat cards. Like Janet mentioned, they’re an interesting addition because they are both a nice little nod to the superhero genre and a subversion of the typical “superhuman” trope, given that the characters’ stats and abilities aren’t particularly heroic or remarkable.

    3. My first thought was that the group comes together simply out of habit or as a way to reminisce about the past and recapture their youth.

  3. 1) I think I’m with both of you on the drifter. Being a comic book nerd myself, I definitely identify with him the most. That said, I wish that I could be cool that effortlessly. I agree with Cindy when it comes to Mr. Nice guy; the more I read the creepier he seems to get. I get the impression that the only reason he’s “Mr. Nice Guy” is because that what he wants people to think.

    2) I enjoyed the trading cards at the beginning of each chapter. I think that they add some missing info about each character. So I guess I agree with Janet.

    3) I wonder if some of the characters keep coming back to the cottage because they feel sorry for Mr. Nice Guy. Maybe they see how much effort he puts in and feel obligated? I think at least part of it comes down to nostalgia though.

  4. 1. This is a tough question because I feel I saw parts of myself in most characters, and I personally think it was intentionally written that way. Take yourself, and break it into 8-10 competing personalities, styles, interests, etc… and you get the characters of The Indifference League. However, I did identify closer with some more than others. Mr Nice Guy was a stand out at points, as well as the Drifter, and the Statistician. Perhaps the least identifiable for me would be Super Barbie/Ken.

    2. I loved the stat cards at the front of the book. I can agree with everyone above. The juxtaposition of completely non-super human people with their own superhero trading cards is awesome! More importantly, it adds dimension. We get a glimpse of the characters early on, as if we’re being let in on some inside jokes that we slowly learn more about throughout the book. I loved these.

    3. I like everyone’s answers above on this too. It’s a point of nostalgia, it’s a way to support Mr. Nice Guy, it’s a way to remember their lost friend. If I can add a little more, perhaps it’s a solid rock for them all. Most of them seem to have a very turbulent lives (as I suppose we all do), but they can count on this weekend. It’s almost like a yearly ‘reset’ button.

  5. 1. I must admit I’ve had a hard time identifying with the characters in The Indifference League. I agree with the creepy factor surrounding Mr. Nice Guy. Especially in light of the Elliot Smith stuff in the news recently, it seems that there’s an expectation of “nice guys” to be entitled to women in a way that makes me very uneasy. All of the characters seem to be sex-obsessed in a way that makes me nervous. The Statistician was especially unnerving to me. Obviously sex is a huge part of life, but he seemed compulsive about justifying his marital dissatisfaction. I sympathized most with the Drifter, who seemed concerned with exploring the world and defining himself as more than a caricature.
    2. The stats cards at the beginning of each chapter helped to highlight the differences between characters. It’s a large cast, and the cards helped to keep everyone defined and memorable, especially as I got into the story.
    3. I want to agree with all of the above comments about the group’s motives for returning to the cottage every year: that it’s a matter of support and collective grieving. However, I can’t shake the feeling that they go simply because it’s a free long weekend away, and that can be hard to turn down. Mr. Nice Guy is quite the martyr about providing the lodging, all the food, all the booze, and doing all of the work around the cottage. That none of the other characters ever offer to help out, or bring anything to contribute to the festivities, reveals a lot about their characters. If I owned a cottage, I’m not sure that I would ever invite any of these people!

  6. 1) I have to agree with Sara here – I’m not entirely sure I identify with any of the characters, though if I had to select one, I’d go with the Drifter. He seems to be the most interesting character at this point, not to mention the most likable. Plus, someone has to stick up for Aquaman.

    I agree with all of you regarding Mr. Nice Guy. He’s somewhat unsettling as a character and his nickname is really just what he wants to be perceived as.

    2) I thought the stat cards were a cool and funny way to help create a real “superhero” feel throughout the story. They definitely add another dimension to the book by keeping in the “superhero” theme.

    3) I wish I could say it’s the sense of nostalgia that keeps them coming back to the cottage, but I’m willing to bet their reasons are a bit more selfish than that. I think Sara is right on the money – it’s a free trip. Mr. Nice Guy seems a little desperate to please his friends, so it would not surprise me if he orchestrates these getaways just to keep them around.

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