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Buzz Book Club: Important Artifacts and Personal Property . . . Wow, This Title Is Long


Buzz Book Club readers, I'm excited to announce my April book club selection because I think it's really cool. Ready? It's an auction catalog! Just kidding . . . kind of. The full title is Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, Including Books, Street Fashion, and Jewelry by Leanne Shapton (art director for The New York Times op-ed page), and it's a fictional catalog of items belonging to a couple that has broken up.

If the long title sounds familiar to you it might be because of the recent news that Natalie Portman and Brad Pitt will likely star in a screen adaptation. Without having read a word of the book, I'm already in awe of how cool the pictures are and I can't wait to dig around this fictional couple's stuff. I'm also intrigued by this quote by author Dave Eggers:

The task is daunting: How to render the dissolution of a relationship in a new way? Leanne Shapton succeeds against all odds with this wildly romantic and erudite book.

Wildly romantic? Yes, please. For those of you new to my book club format, here's how it works: I announce a new book each month. Every week I suggest chapters to complete by the next post (which, in this case, will go up every Friday in April). In these weekly Book Club posts, I'll posit a few discussion-provoking questions for you to respond to in the comments section.

To read a description of the book and to see the first assignment, read more.

The synopsis for Important Artifacts reads:
"In Leanne Shapton’s marvelously inventive and invented auction catalog, the 325 lots up for auction are what remain from the relationship between Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris (who aren’t real people, but might as well be). Through photographs of the couple's personal effects . . . the story of a failed love affair vividly (and cleverly) emerges. From first meeting to final separation, the progress and rituals of intimacy are revealed through the couple’s accumulated relics and memorabilia. And a love story, in all its tenderness and struggle, emerges from the evidence that has been left behind, laid out for us to appraise and appreciate."

The first assignment: Read from the introduction postcard text from Hal through LOT 1112. We'll chat about this section next Friday, April 10.

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