Next Year in Guantanamo

SOMERVILLE — It’s a quiet night at The Thirsty Scholar,
an Irish pub and dating bar on Beacon Street. A handful of bored-looking
guys sit at the bar, watching a hockey game on the TV, and a few couples
and small groups chat quietly at scattered tables. But in what Irish
pubs call ”the snug," an alcove off the dimly lit main room, conversation
is animated, laughter frequent, and there are more books than bottles
on the table. The Boston-area ”Finnegans Wake" Reading Group is
in session.

The 10-year-old group, which meets weekly, is carefully making its way
— word by word, line by line, and page by page — through James Joyce’s
famously difficult final work. The book is 628 pages long, and they’re
now on Page 251.

from the Boston Globe

And we thought we were a slow reader! Actually,
the Dowbrigade has been a member of a Reading Group for even longer.
"Doctor Gonzo" has been trying to work its way through that American
classic, "Fear
and Loathing in Las Vegas
" since shortly after it came
out in 1972, meeting in burnt-out basements, poorly illuminated street
corners in dangerous neighborhoods and sleazy dives in what was once
known as
the Combat Zone.

As was perhaps to be expected, given the nature
of the Group, our attempts to gather and discuss were almost universally
due to an inability to follow directions and arrive at the same place
at the same time. On those uncommon occasions when a handful of the Doctor’s
disciples did manage to meet, our readings rarely penetrated more than
a paragraph or two into the text before disintegrating into digression,
non-sequitors, rambling off-topic rants, marginally related commercial
transactions and barter, and an unhealthy mix of paranoid schitzophrenia,
bi-polar disorders and drug or mental health induced halucinations.

And yet, we suspect we reached a clearer understanding
of our work than these jokers….

For the record, the Dowbrigade considers Joyce
an obscure, old-world sot not worth the time and effort requrired to
figure out what the hell he was trying to say. Give us robust transparent
American writers any day – Poe, Kerouac, Burroughs, Bukowski, Pynchon……

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One Response to Next Year in Guantanamo

  1. Nicholas Borelli says:

    May I suggest my novel for your reading group? It is available as a very inexpensive eBook at The full first chapter is excerpted there and you can determine if you would like to read on. In addition my bio and a discussion of my other novels is also there. You may eMail me from or link to my blog, where you can read my other writings and comment as well.

    Thank you and regards,

    Nicholas Borelli

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