Geek Love

Registered by Deerskin of Aberystwyth, Wales United Kingdom on 4/29/2004
Buy from one of these Booksellers:
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15 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by Deerskin from Aberystwyth, Wales United Kingdom on Thursday, April 29, 2004
It's really difficult to classify this book, in any way. Horrifying, touching, original, moving - I just couldn't put it down. Wonderfully developed characters and twisted family relationships - this is not for the squeamish. But, if you can stomach it, it is a fantastic book that will leave you laughing, crying, and reeling in shock!

I'd better include a back cover description for this one so you know what you're getting into!

"Lil Binewski, born a Boston aristocrat, was in her time the most stylish of geeks. That is to say she made her living by biting the heads off live chickens in front of a carnival audience. This she gives up for doting motherhood, because she and her fairground-owning husband had a money spinning idea. Throughout each pregnancy Lil gobbles pesticides, experiments with drugs and douses herself with radiation to ensure that she produces infants grotesque enough to keep the turnstiles clicking. She does. Arturo the Aqua Boy is a limbless megalomaniac, Electra and Iphigenia are musically gifted Siamese twins with a penchant for prostitution and Fortunato is possessed of strange telekinetic powers. Their story - by turns shocking, tender, touching and cruel - is narrated by their sister Olympia. She is a bald, hunchbacked, albino dwarf."

As I had never heard of this book before seeing it on a BC related website (Bizarre Bookrings) I have decided to offer it for the 'Book in a Million' Challenge and have purchased an extra copy for this bookray. I hope you all enjoy it!

Members;

FamFatale (USA)
kdhnow (USA)
yourotherleft (USA)
kellyonhiatus (Canada)
KathyS (UK)

Journal Entry 2 by FamFatale from Chantilly, Virginia USA on Tuesday, June 01, 2004
Received today, very interesting cover. Looks like it will be a unique read.

Journal Entry 3 by FamFatale at BookRing in Book Ring, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases on Wednesday, December 01, 2004
Released on Wednesday, December 01, 2004 at about 6:00:00 PM BX time (GMT-06:00) Central Time (US & Canada) at BookRing in Book Ring, A Bookring Controlled Releases.

RELEASE NOTES:

To be released to yourotherleft after a lengthy sojourn in Virginia.

Kdhnow skipped due to lack of response to PMs over several weeks.

Journal Entry 4 by yourotherleft from Danville, Pennsylvania USA on Thursday, December 16, 2004
This came in the mail today. I've got a few ahead of it, but I'll do my best to read it and pass it on as soon as I can. Thanks!

Journal Entry 5 by yourotherleft from Danville, Pennsylvania USA on Wednesday, July 06, 2005
This is quite a book. I debated over whether I wanted to join this bookring because I thought the book just might be too weird, but I found myself really enjoying it. Some of the events and people and deeds that are done seem simply inhuman, but through it all, it seems like real human emotions are depicted with incredible accuracy as not quite pure but tainted and twisted by peoples' motives and difficulties expressing how they really feel. All the characters were drawn so well that I found myself really caring about them. I particularly liked Chick. I also liked the story inside a story format. It really added a lot of depth to Olympia's character and gives a real "inside look" at a family that was self-contained despite being "designed" to pique the curiosity of outsiders. Finally, I enjoyed the very last paragraph of the book a lot. I think it was perfect way to finish off the book.

Thanks for sharing, Deerskin, and please accept my apoligies for having held up the book so long. kellyonhiatus asked to be skipped, so I'll be mailing this to KathyS either today or tomorrow.

Journal Entry 6 by KathyS on Saturday, August 20, 2005
Yay - the book arrived safely and is back in the UK :o) Thanks yourotherleft.

I've a couple of ring/loan books ahead of it but I'll read it as soon as possible.

Thanks for sharing Deerskin and you'll be pleased to know that the book is still looking good :o)

Journal Entry 7 by KathyS on Tuesday, September 27, 2005
I've finally finished the book. It took me almost a month to read as I never really engaged with the characters. I was initially repulsed by Al & Lily's "designer baby" technique and then felt very sorry for Arty, Oly and the twins. But as the novel progressed I began to really dislike Arty and felt angry with Oly that she wouldn't stand up to him. After the initial shock of the characterisations, I liked the story of family life, and especially liked Chick, but as the story grew darker and Arty attacked the twins I began to dislike all the characters. Even Oly's undisputed love for Miranda did not redeem her in my eyes. But I was left with an overwhelming sadness for Miranda, having to find out her history in the way she does. Truely a horrific and gruesome book to read. Not one I would revisit but I'm glad I read it and thanks for sharing.

I will now readvertise this bookray for new members.

Journal Entry 8 by KathyS on Wednesday, October 05, 2005
The bookray continues with the following readers:

Pookledo
angellica - asked to be skipped to the end
huckleby
FabClaire
Navig8r
angellica

Journal Entry 9 by KathyS at mailed to next reader in Postal release, A Bookray -- Controlled Releases on Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Released 13 yrs ago (10/5/2005 UTC) at mailed to next reader in Postal release, A Bookray -- Controlled Releases

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

RELEASE NOTES:

On it's way to Pookledo via 2nd class post. Hope it arrives safely. Enjoy :o)

Journal Entry 10 by Pookledo from Loughborough, Leicestershire United Kingdom on Friday, October 07, 2005
Looks like a good book. I've got 3 bookring books to read first though, but it shouldn't be too much of a problem.

Journal Entry 11 by Pookledo from Loughborough, Leicestershire United Kingdom on Wednesday, November 02, 2005
Just a quick note to apologise for taking so long with this book. I've been reading it for the past couple of weeks now and I'm just over half way through it.

I'm going to be a little late passing it on, but I'm doing my best to finish it as soon as possible.

It's a great book and I'm loving it, but it's taking so long to get through!

Journal Entry 12 by Pookledo from Loughborough, Leicestershire United Kingdom on Tuesday, November 08, 2005
What a strange book. very odd, but a good read.

It usually takes me a week to read a book of this size, but this one took me 3 weeks. Definitely worth it as long as you aren't easily offended.

I'm going to passs this book onto angellica at the next Nottingham Bookcrossers Meet.

Journal Entry 13 by Pookledo from Loughborough, Leicestershire United Kingdom on Thursday, December 01, 2005
I have a confession. I forgot to take this book to the bookcrossing meet and it is still here on top of my computer.

Angellica has asked to be missed out as she has lots of bookring books at the moment but would like to be added on to the list so she gets to read it at some point.

I've just PMed huckleby so I can post the book on to continue it's travels.

Sorry for the delay.

Journal Entry 14 by Pookledo from Loughborough, Leicestershire United Kingdom on Monday, December 05, 2005
Finally posted to huckleby this morning.

Journal Entry 15 by huckleby on Friday, December 09, 2005
I just got this in the post! yay! It's on the top of the pile to read.

Thanks Pookledo

Journal Entry 16 by FabClaire from Malvern, Worcestershire United Kingdom on Wednesday, February 01, 2006
Arrived safely this morning. Hope to get started soon.

Journal Entry 17 by FabClaire from Malvern, Worcestershire United Kingdom on Monday, February 13, 2006
I've just finished reading this, and have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's very odd in some ways - not like anything I've read before - but in other ways it's just like a family saga.

It wasn't as horrific as I expected after reading other people's journal entries. I found myself really caring for the characters, particularly Chick and the twins. Some of the scenes are a bit distasteful, but there wasn't anything that I found really stomach-churning. I wonder what that says about me...

Anyway, thanks very much for sharing. I hope everyone that reads this in the future enjoys it as much as I did. It'll be on its way to Navig8r as soon as I have an address.

Journal Entry 18 by Navig8r from London, Greater London United Kingdom on Monday, February 27, 2006
Sorry for the delay in journalling this one. Life got slightly manic... I also have two bookrings in front of this one. But given that I have to make an unexpected 8.5hr plane ride x2 this week, I should be on top of things in no time =)

Thanks for sending it. I should add that I'm looking forward to it, but I'm also mildly bemused by the cover!

Journal Entry 19 by Navig8r from London, Greater London United Kingdom on Friday, March 31, 2006
I just had to check back in and say I do still have this book. I'm half way through (so far I think it's fantastic) and I hope to finish it next week.

Apologies to all - I'm having one of those phases where all bookrings turn up at once!

Journal Entry 20 by Navig8r from London, Greater London United Kingdom on Thursday, April 06, 2006
Well, I finally finished this - like others, I found that it took longer than usual to get through it. For me, I think that was because I was really savouring the story and language.

I do think it is hard to categorise this book, but in my mind it comes under 'surreal allegory'. I engaged with all of the characters except for Arty, who I simply despised. He just got worse, and worse, and worse. What a megalomaniac!

Once I got past the disgust stage of what the parents were doing to their children, I found the book very touching. The sibling-based interactions really had the ring of truth to them: I particularly found Olympia a sympathetic character. And Chick just broke my heart - I felt so sorry for him. He just wanted to fix everything for everybody, and it couldn't happen. I thought what he did at the end had been coming for a while, but it was so sad.

The Arturism element of the story was for me, the most disgusting part. I think the author was trying to comment on the power of great oratory skills, and what it can do to people: how it can persuade them to do things that are so clearly against their best interests, and how a certain number of people just get sucked into some ludicrous behaviour simply because someone convinces them that's where their self-esteem lies. Arty could have just been a silent interesting attraction at a carnival, but through his voice and behaviour he began this movement designed to satiate his desire for power. People got sucked into it, just like they are sucked into so many 'movements' within society that cause them harm (I'm thinking of fundamentialist religion, cult-isms and sect-isms and the like where people abrogate responsibility for themselves and hand themselves over to some person who is really just a slimebag in it for what they can get).

Up until the point where Arty started interfering with the twins, I could retain an element of 'well, these are consenting adults who are just stupid' train of thought about what he was doing. But when he involved the twins clearly against their will, and took advantage of Chick to such an extreme, I really started to hate him. He is probably the most unlikeable character I have read in a long time.

As a reader, I actually found myself forgetting about the truly horrifying nature of the subject matter myself - I suppose you could say that I got sucked in: I was reading along, having become sanitised to all the strange things happening, until about 2/3 way through, when Norval Sandersen appeared to give an objective viewpoint again. That's when it all came back, for me. In the end, of course, Sandersen is sucked in himself, and I was really reminded of the power of persuasion and what I think the author's message was.

I really enjoyed the rounded characters: each of them were very well developed and all but one had some likeable elements to their personalities. There were some flashes of human kindness in there: Chick being the most obvious opposite to Arty.

Overall I thought it was extremely well done: a very good read. Never the sort of book I would have picked up off the shelf myself, but I'm very pleased to have read it. Thank you for sharing!

I have the next person's address and the book will go off to them this week.

Journal Entry 21 by angellica from Worksop, Nottinghamshire United Kingdom on Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Arrived with me today. I have a fair few ahead of it, but I will read it soon.

Please can you let me know where it is travelling next?

Journal Entry 22 by angellica from Worksop, Nottinghamshire United Kingdom on Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Well, isn't it surprising where things come from when you move furniture. I thought I'd posted this and it was lost in transit. Can't really remember much about it, but reading these journals leads me to believe I didn't read it.

Have offered it on the bookcrossinguk yahoogroup to continue the bookray

Journal Entry 23 by angellica from Worksop, Nottinghamshire United Kingdom on Tuesday, February 03, 2009
Book ray:

Participants:

dolph1n
Celticseahorse
vekiki
ciloma
snufkin81
Bug2004

Then to be reoffered somewhere

Will be in the post to dolph1n when I can get through the snow to the postoffice

Journal Entry 24 by dolph1n from Chester, Cheshire United Kingdom on Friday, February 06, 2009
It survived the snow and arrived today. I have just finished my bedtime book so will start this tonight.

Journal Entry 25 by dolph1n from Chester, Cheshire United Kingdom on Friday, March 06, 2009
I started off really liking the characters but later, began to dislike them more and more. I felt sorry for the twins and Chick. Quite a bizarre story but I did enjoy it.

Journal Entry 26 by dolph1n at nearest postoffice, Ring/Ray book -- Controlled Releases on Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Released 10 yrs ago (3/11/2009 UTC) at nearest postoffice, Ring/Ray book -- Controlled Releases

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

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On it's way to Celticseahorse.

Journal Entry 27 by celticseahorse from Newquay, Cornwall United Kingdom on Friday, March 13, 2009
Arrived in Cornwall safely. A book I heard of some years ago and had not been able to get hold of so looking forward to reading it. One ring to finish so hope to start it this weekend. Little book you are in very good condition for all your travels:-0 Thank You Angellica and Dolph1n.

Journal Entry 28 by celticseahorse from Newquay, Cornwall United Kingdom on Thursday, April 30, 2009
Extraordinary book, like others I found I couldn't just charge through it ..some things needed to be assimilated before I could take on more. I'm not sure what I want to say even a week on. I think I feel sad that soo much of it in some scarey way has a ring of truth to it. I read of this 'freak show ' world also in Electric Michelangelo and seemed to haven fallen into something similar with Angela Carter - Nights at the Circus. Others have been very eloquent on the characters and I share their views on the individuals my heart bled for Chick, but I think in some ways I was angrier with the parents for letting Arty become so powerful.
Some ponderings...
It is strange that at this time the TV also seems to be looking? at this issue? There have been a series of 'Extrordinary ' programmes on Channel 5. It became non PC for us to 'gawp' or certainly to 'pay to gawp' but if we are truthful we do it everyday..any slightly different other is stigmatised look at the teeth farce with the jockey..how can it really be otherwise when our current view of beauty is so airbrushed and created in a specific plastic vision of reality? but interestingly the programmes have all had follow ups of how medical advances can help..the group of travelling 'freaks' did in the main opt for treatment and were glad to get the hope of a more normal life or ordinary work. Our acceptance hasn't moved they have chosen to make themselves more acceptable to us ?
So, what now? have our attitudes changed..as if :-) we have spawned with plastic surgery a new breed of self/ money madelook at me's, big bust excessives etc etc..is there not in some eeerie way a chime here with Arturism. I'm not sure, see I said I wasn't really clear yet.

Prejudice is still alive and well that is all I know. The darkness of this book shows some light of illumination, and insight to those parts of ourselves we fear to look at. It is well written and crafted, and well deserves its cult status. I am very glad I had a chance to read it.
Thank You . Have contacted next up and have address on its way this weekend.

Journal Entry 29 by celticseahorse at Newquay, Cornwall United Kingdom on Sunday, May 03, 2009

Released 9 yrs ago (5/1/2009 UTC) at Newquay, Cornwall United Kingdom

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This one went via PO as I wasn't sure my scales were working for online postage but they would have been right:-) Happy travelling over bank holiday little book.

Journal Entry 30 by wingVekikiwing from London, Greater London United Kingdom on Wednesday, May 06, 2009
Recieved in the poat today, along with 2 other bookrings --- why does tht always happen???

Released 9 yrs ago (5/26/2009 UTC) at -- Controlled Release, -- By post or by hand/ in person -- United Kingdom

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Well, reading this at work it got alot of attention and one of the puppeteers has been reasing it at the same time as me (while I'm doing cues on stage, he read it!) I think he enjoyed it more than me... it took me a while to get past the weeirdness,. but I did and found the story really touching
Popped in the post today, surface mail though so make take a few weeks

Journal Entry 32 by ciloma on Wednesday, July 01, 2009
This one came in the mail today. THANX A BUNCH!!

Journal Entry 33 by ciloma on Friday, July 10, 2009
I enjoyed reading this book. It was well written, very readable and the characters were real enough that they compelled me right through the story. The story - well - that was something else. Just when I thought it was well past weird enough it got even more weird. It is something else. I liked it.

Journal Entry 34 by ciloma at Spirit Lake, Idaho -- Controlled Releases on Sunday, July 19, 2009

Released 9 yrs ago (7/13/2009 UTC) at Spirit Lake, Idaho -- Controlled Releases

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On its way to South Africa

Journal Entry 35 by snufkin81 from Cape Town, Western Cape South Africa on Saturday, August 15, 2009
This arrived yesterday. I have a few other books ahead of this one, but I'll get to it asap.

Thank you, angellica, for organising this ray, and thanks ciloma for the awesome handmade card!

Update 10 Oct 09: I'm reading this now and will try to get it moving soon. Sorry for the delay!

Journal Entry 36 by snufkin81 from Cape Town, Western Cape South Africa on Sunday, October 18, 2009
Unlike some of the other journallers, I read this much faster than I expected. Due to the subject matter I thought I would have to force my way through it, but once I got started I couldn't put it down. While I was repulsed by some of the events, I still wanted to keep reading. It's fascinating and horrifying at the same time.

Reading this book made me have to review my own attitude to "freaks" and "being normal". The attitude of the Binewski's towards the norms - ranging from pity to scorn - is probably how most "norms" feel about people who are different. And yet Olly was so proud of her difference, her originality, and so sad that she wasn't more different. She was truly surprised to discover that Miranda had for a long time hated her own "speciality".

For me the most shocking part of the story was probably what happened to Elly, and the fact that Chick had to have that on his conscience - he was just a boy and way too young to have to do something like that! The fact that Al and Lil basically abandoned their other children to Arty's whims made me lose all respect for them.

Dunn's writing is vivid and expressive. I would love to read something else by her, and I would probably like to reread this book in a few years time.

I have just PM'd Bug2004 and will post the book after payday.

Journal Entry 37 by snufkin81 at To the next participant, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases on Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Released 9 yrs ago (11/10/2009 UTC) at To the next participant, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases

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Sent by surface mail.

Journal Entry 38 by Bug2004 from Omaha, Nebraska USA on Thursday, January 07, 2010
Arrived safely.

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