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Read Along

Midnight’s Children Read-Along Starts Now!

Today we begin the Midnight’s Children Read-Along. It is not too late if you want to sign up still.

I have decided to post some general and in-depth discussion questions so that you could keep a look out for various characters and literary prose in the novel and explore how you feel about them (page numbers are guidance only). Some questions we may not be able to talk about it now until we have finished the book but that’s alright, because I haven’t got a clue as much as you are since we are reading this along together!

You may choose to discuss some or all of the questions.

10 STARTING POINTS FOR YOUR DISCUSSION

  1. Saleem describes himself as ‘handcuffed to history’. What do you think that this means, and do you think that this is true of him?
  2. The prose of Midnight’s Children has a distinctly filmic quality. Why do you think this is, and what would be the implications of making a film of the novel?
  3. Unlike many novels, Midnight’s Children is not written using a linear narrative. Why do you think that Rushdie uses this technique, and do you think that it is successful?
  4. Saleem makes many errors in his narrative – both accidental and purposeful. Why do you think that he does this, and why does he not bother to correct his mistakes?
  5. What is Padma’s role in the novel?

For the first 100 pages, you might want to explore the following in-depth discussion questions. The page numbers serves as a guidance.

  1. “What is so precious to need all this writing-shiting?” asks Padma (p. 24). What is the value of it for Saleem, do you think?
  2. Saleem often appears to be an unreliable narrator, mixing up dates and hazarding details of events he never witnessed. He also draws attention to his own telling of the story: “Like an incompetent puppeteer, I reveal the hands holding the strings…” (p. 65). How much faith do you put in his version of events?
  3. “To understand just one life, you have to swallow the world … do you wonder, then, that I was a heavy child?” (p. 109). Is it possible, within the limits of a novel, to “understand” a life?
  4. Saleem’s father says of Wee Willie Winkie, “That’s a cheeky fellow; he goes too far.” The Englishman Methwold disagrees: “The tradition of the fool, you know. Licensed to provoke and tease.” (p. 102). The novel itself provokes and teases the reader a good deal. Did you feel yourself “provoked”? Does the above exchange shed any light on Rushdie’s own plight since The Satanic Verses?
  5. and my question is.. how much of the novel, do you think, is autobiographical?

Enjoy your first week of Read-along! I’ll see you at Week 1 wrap-up next Friday!

Here’s the participants list again (in order of sign-up):

Wilfrid Wong

Adrian of Reading Monk

Mel U of Reading Life

Bina of  “If you can read this”

Vishy of Vishy’s Blog

Jessica of Park Benches and Bookends

Stu of Winston’s Dad Blog

Rob McMonigal of Book Stew

Birdy of Life Word Smith

Pete Karnas of What You Read

Zee of My Wordly Obsessions

Madeleine at Madeleine at books and photos

Amy of Literary Quest

Sign up now and I’ll add you in!

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About JoV

A bookaholic that went out of control.... I eat, sleep and breathe books. Well, lately I do other stuff.

Discussion

32 thoughts on “Midnight’s Children Read-Along Starts Now!

  1. Wow. I’ve wanted to read this for the longest time – but it’s so big it sort of put me off. I’ll see if I can get my hands on a copy today (library) and join you if I can. I like how you set up the questions before-hand. It gives us something to look out for while we’re reading.

    Posted by mywordlyobsessions | November 12, 2010, 9:55 am
  2. Add me, I even bought his latest book but have to read any of his novels yet. This i a good time :).

    Posted by madeleine | November 12, 2010, 2:54 pm
  3. My post is up:
    http://ifyoucanreadthis.wordpress.com/2010/11/13/read-along-midnights-children-book-1/

    Can’t wait to read everyone else’s thoughts, the books is really good, glad you got me to read it 🙂 (oh, and I read book 1 for this week, will probably divide book 2, and then read book 3 for the final post)

    Posted by Bina | November 12, 2010, 11:00 pm
    • Bina, left a comment on the post. Great stuff! Does it come in 3 books? or is it your mental division? 😉 I think the book is great too!

      Posted by JoV | November 13, 2010, 2:20 am
      • Heh, it does come structured into 3 books with lots of chapters, did not make this up 😀 Aren’t all editions structured like this? I’ve got the 25th anniversary edition.

        Posted by Bina | November 13, 2010, 8:59 am
        • LOL 😀 Bina, the first thing I woke up this morning is to read the book in a quiet corner. When I arrived at page 142+, I bumped into the division and end of Book 1! Imagine my surprise, I am one reader who avoid reading table of contents, introduction of a novel and just plunge straight into it! This is a classic joke, yes Bina you didn’t make it up! 😉

          Posted by JoV | November 13, 2010, 9:49 am
  4. Hey JoV! I’d love to be a part of this, but I actually checked out the book at the library when I read it and don’t have a copy. However, I’ll try to keep up with what you guys are reading and leave a comment now and then to chime in on the conversation. It’s a great book!

    Posted by Amy | November 13, 2010, 5:22 am
  5. I m starting this evening currently am here and off to work in a bit looking forward to rereading this ,all the best stu

    Posted by winstonsdad | November 13, 2010, 7:25 am
  6. My intro post is up. This is a re-read for me, partly to see if my 1999 self was right to list this book as a personal favorite.

    The sad thing is that I don’t remember much of this book at all. Now that I do more reviews, it’s easier to recall things.

    Posted by Rob McMonigal | November 14, 2010, 6:07 pm
    • Rob, I am glad that you took up the challenge and the time to read this again. It is interesting to find out how you feel about the second time around. I felt I benefit a lot more when I give a good book a second read and I hope if many of us are reading this together, you’ll discover (and I’ll discover) a lot through the discussion that we may have overlooked.

      Posted by JoV | November 15, 2010, 3:31 pm
  7. JoV – The book does look really thick!

    OK. Baby steps. First 100 pages first … hehehe.

    Posted by Wilfrid | November 15, 2010, 3:23 pm
    • Sigh Wilfrid, stop counting and start reading! Rushdie writes beautifully, you will finish it before you know it! Baby steps and then take a giant leap, don’t take too long! 😉

      Posted by JoV | November 15, 2010, 4:24 pm
  8. Jo, I actually borrowed a copy from the library and read first page just to have a taste. But I’m in the middle of other books and don’t feel like starting a new one especially as I’d like to give Midnight’s Children my full attention and concentration. I think it deserves it. So I have to say I stepped down from the challenge for now. But who knows, I might read it soon after you all do. Have fun! 🙂

    Posted by mee | November 17, 2010, 9:59 pm
  9. can I still join in? I started the book earlier this year and would like to finish it – doing it with others may be just what I need to achieve that! I have already read Book 1 and can post on that while I dig into Book 2.

    Posted by Colleen (Books in the City) | November 22, 2010, 9:24 pm
  10. I’m on page 62… but I’m dying to contribute.

    So far enjoying the decadently confusing prose. Initially, I found the shifting narrative a bit tormenting, but now I feel as though I’ve been invited into the madness. I also think the use of analepsis & prolepsis (flashing back/flashing forward) lend “Midnight’s Children” some cinematic qualities.

    Off to read some more now…

    Posted by Jennii | December 7, 2010, 9:21 pm
    • LOL… oh Jennii… you went off and read this privately without telling me that you are with us! 😉 I am fairly sure there might be some people in the group who thinks I have invited them into madness in reading this one! Ha ha… I can’t wait to hear what you think at the end! 😀

      Posted by JoV | December 8, 2010, 1:10 pm

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: Spotlight on the Wordpress.Com Book Bloggers! « Randomize ME - November 18, 2010

  2. Pingback: Midnight’s Children Read-Along Part 1: Week 1 Wrap-up, Week 2 begins (19 to 25 November 2010) « Bibliojunkie - November 19, 2010

  3. Pingback: Book 1 Of Midnight’s Children – Wrapping Up Week 1 Read-Along - November 21, 2010

  4. Pingback: Midnight’s Children Read-Along Part 2: Week 2 Wrap-up, Week 3 begins (26 November to 3 December 2010) « Bibliojunkie - November 26, 2010

  5. Pingback: Midnight’s Children Read-Along | Part One Discussions… « Zee's Wordly Obsessions - December 2, 2010

  6. Pingback: Midnight’s Children Week 3 Wrap-up, Week 4 begins (3 to 13 December 2010) « Bibliojunkie - December 3, 2010

  7. Pingback: Midnight’s Children Read-Along | Part Two Discussions… « Zee's Wordly Obsessions - December 13, 2010

  8. Pingback: Midnight’s Children Readalong | Part 3 Discussions « Zee's Wordly Obsessions - January 17, 2011

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Ratings Defined

0 = Abandon the book after first chapter

1 = Waste of paper, we will see what the environmentalist say about this!

2 = Skip it, read the book if you have got nothing better to do

2.5 = An average book, easily forgettable.

3 = A good read.

3.5 = A good entertaining read, a page-turner

4 = So glad that I read the book, a book with substance and invaluable for future reference

4.5 = So glad that I read the book, would pester everyone to read it, invaluable, I would want to own it and wouldn't mind a second read (something that I seldom do)

5 = The book is so good that I feel like I am on scale 4 and 4.5, and more, it blew me away and lingers on my head for weeks!

Books Read

JoV's bookshelf: read
Hold Tight
The Fault in Our Stars
The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon
The Thief
Mockingjay
Catching Fire
A Tale for the Time Being
Into the Darkest Corner
The Liars' Gospel
Goat Mountain
Strange Weather In Tokyo
Strange Shores
And the Mountains Echoed
Ten White Geese
One Step Too Far
The Innocents
The General: The ordinary man who became one of the bravest prisoners in Guantanamo
White Dog Fell from the Sky
A Virtual Love
The Fall of the Stone City


JoV's favorite books »
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Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking. - Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)

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