Barely a Book Club

Teetering on the edge of a normal book club

A Post from Sam 9/7/06 October 4, 2006

Filed under: Glass Bead Game — antof9 @ 4:43 am

Well we had a great book club, and a good turnout even though no one posted the meeting time/place. 

Topics of discussion:
Does the author promote the ideals/system of castalia?
What is the balance between experiential learning and traditional models?
Do you believe that Knecht’s perfection is believable?
What are the similarities between Plinio and Father Jacobus?
What role did religion play in Hesse’s life and writings?
How does Hesse succeed when the writing is so boring and dry?
Proposed field trip for the last week of Glass Bead Game.

It has been amazing how great the discussions have been the past two weeks considering this book’s stylistic challenges.  Next week’s conversations can only be better.  We are trying to read through chapter 9 this week, and planning on meeting at Stella’s (an olive branch to our littleton attendees)



32 Responses to “A Post from Sam 9/7/06”

  1. Inspector Love Says:

    Ditto on the great discussions.

    Here’s the web address for the proposed field trip destination.

    The brochure actually looks better than the web site, but you get the idea. Buddha will be there- he looks very European IMHO.

    Maybe we can discuss the book on the way there and then select the next round of books on the way back… just a thought. Then, we don’t have to worry about online voting. Old skool- that’s how I roll.

    Peace out.

  2. Shanda Says:

    I’m all for the field trip. So when would we be going?

    I’m really excited to get back to BC and receive a little Hesse therapy. There are paragraphs, pages of the book I really like. But as a whole, I just don’t get it. From the comments, it seems like everyone else seems to have more clarity than I do:)

  3. M Says:

    Welcome back!

    I don’t totally get it yet, but I think the clarity (or perceived clarity) is strictly from the discussions.

  4. Inspector Love Says:

    Clarity? Oh, no, none of that in the Glass Bead Game. That’s why it’s frustrating for me. I’m trying to figure out the point of the book as I go along. I just hope that by the end of the book I’ll have some insight on what Hesse is trying to say.

  5. M Says:

    I don’t think you should hold your breath, Inspector.

    I’m just saying.

  6. Inspector Love Says:

    Yeah… well, a girl can dream, can’t she? *sighs*

  7. M Says:

    “no one posted the meeting time and place”?!!!!

    (yes, it took me several days to notice that snarky remark)

    Excuse me — I sent an email on the 28th, complete with the link you sent me! I couldn’t get to the blog from NYC (the work computers block it) And if you don’t know that bookclub is every Saturday at 10:30, something’s wrong with you.


    I’m giving my monitor and thus, you, a very nasty look right now.

  8. the prof Says:

    ahh, the illusions of clarity. hope this week’s discussions cleared things up at least a little bit. i can’t wait to finish this book and end the lack of suspense.

  9. M Says:

    LOL, Prof! I bet if Aaron Spelling (were alive and) could make this into an evening soap, it would be LOADED with suspense 🙂

  10. Inspector Love Says:

    I glanced at Knecht’s faux “Freedom Years” poems and stories at the end of the book… I started reading the first story and I have to say, so far, it’s more interesting than the rest of the book. I think I might actually read the stories (poems were…um… dull). Is it possible that (gasp), Knecht can actually write entertaining stories?!? I’m going to find out…

    If so, why? Why did he decide to torture us with the Glass Bead Game?

  11. the prof Says:

    that is the key: why? i have my theories, but i won’t launch into them for fear of spoiling your ultimate search – why does hesse purposely (?) write without the usual elements/staples of fiction.

    if the above didn’t make sense – it is my opinion that these two questions are related and their answer reveals hesse’s aesthetic philosophy.

  12. the prof Says:

    i think our next movie night could well be aaron’s spellings adaptation of the glass bead game.

  13. Inspector Love Says:

    Sad news- something has come up and I won’t be able to make the field trip. I’m taking a hiking class and we have our Grad hike the next day. I didn’t think it would be a problem, but we decided to camp out the night before and my group wants to meet at 1:15 on that Saturday. 😦

  14. the prof Says:

    i vote for postponement, it was your idea anyway.

    any more thoughts on the relationship of your two hesse questions?

  15. M Says:

    I vote for postponement too. It’s not fair that you’d miss out. Although I must admit a bit of confusing that you need a class for hiking 🙂

    Prof — you’re making my head hurt. I believe that he’s purposely not using the devices that would make this more interesting. I believe that you have a theory on why. Do tell!

  16. Shanda Says:

    I feel it’s necessary to point out that if we had just decided to do the fieldtrip on the date I wanted to, we would have had no conflicts. I think the lesson for us all is that next time, we should just do what I say:)

  17. the prof Says:

    i feel it’s necessary to point out that shanda feels it’s necessary to point out things.

  18. M Says:

    I feel it’s necessary to remind everyone that it’s all about Shanda. And if we had remembered that in the first place, this wouldn’t be an issue. For a brief period, Kylle thought she was Shanda, which if you’ll recall, is why we didn’t go this weekend, but hopefully now Kylle remembers who is Shanda and who is not and we’ll never have this happen again.

    And I’m still trying to buy Donald Duck in Mathmagic Land on eBay.

  19. Inspector Love Says:

    Thanks for offering to postpone the trip- I appreciate it. I got the feeling that I’m more excited about seeing the Buddha than most of you, but it’s not really about a Tibetan monument painstakingly built in BF Colorado. It’s really about the Road Trip. 😉

    Okay, M, pop quiz.

    If you can answer these questions, then maybe you don’t need to take a hiking class. Do you ever wear cotton while hiking (why or why not)? What are the ten essentials you need for a day hike? Do you know how to use a topographical map and compass (i.e. can you plan a trip to the top of a mountain, without using a trail, and actually get there and back without getting lost)? Can you build an emergency shelter to survive the night in? How do you treat (in the medical sense) someone with severe hypothermia?

    Three weeks ago, I wouldn’t have been able to answer most of those questions. We’ll also have a snow day where we learn how to use an ice axe and stop ourselves from sliding down an icy mountain. The class is more about safety than anything else.

    To tell the truth, I took this class so I’ll know what to do when Shanda wants to go hiking in the back country. Now, I can plan a trip for her, make sure she doesn’t get lost, and build her a cozy emergency shelter. I can’t wait. 😉

    To answer your question, prof, no, I haven’t gotten any further in answering the why questions. I don’t understand why Hesse would work so hard to alienate his audience. Maybe Hesse does not want us to become attached to the characters, plot, etc. so that his thesis stands out. Unfortunately, I’m having difficulty boiling down his thesis. I can’t even decide if Hesse promotes spiritual orders or not. I’m still waiting for the ending to enlighten me.

  20. M Says:

    Inspector Love, you need to meet my husband. He was a mountaineering guide for 2 summers. I do not need to answer those questions (although I do know the answer to the cotton one and it involves “wicking”), as I would just bring him along 🙂

    M, also waiting for the ending and enlightenment

  21. Inspector Love Says:

    Yeah, but what if he gets severe hypothermia and can’t think logically? He would have to depend on you to save him. Also, he can’t really help you when you’re falling down an icy mountain. Fortunately, survival situations are pretty rare (sliding down an icy mountain is less rare). I took the class so I’d be more confident in the backcountry.

    See I CAN put the “barely” in barely a book club! 😉

  22. the prof Says:

    i would love to slide down an icy mountain and the whole idea of waiting for enlightenment is incredibly inspiring….

  23. Inspector Love Says:

    Yeah, the snow day should be fun (as long as I can stop before sliding into a tree/rock/person). I’m looking forward to using the ice axe… *laughs evilly with one raised eyebrow*… um, yeah…

    Well, at least someone is inspired (or maybe you were being sarcastic). 🙂

    I’m starting to read ahead- Chapter 11 looks interesting. No, seriously. Maybe I’ll finish the book and let it percolate for a week.

  24. Shanda Says:

    IL – In the unlikely event that I will ever voluntarily interact with nature, I’m glad to know I can count on your expertise:)

  25. M Says:

    IL — although not as extreme as Shanda, I was thinking similar thoughts. Basically, that I won’t be caught in one of those situations, because it’s rare that I would *be* in those situations 🙂

    That said, I’ve just started chapter 9: where we call Joseph by his last name and Plinio by his first. Does that mean something? Prof?

  26. the prof Says:

    missed you this week M. as far as your plinio-knecht question: i don’t think so. one could argue that the last name-first name distinction is due to the nature of their positions (knecht is a magister, plinio a measley politician, but more importantly knecht his mentor, and plinio re-learning simple meditation). however, throughout the book plinio is the usual moniker that hesse uses, almost never calling him designori. and knecht is the predominant name for josef. i think that if there is any significance it was accidental at best.

  27. the prof Says:

    ps. there is a serious outbreak of smiley faces going on.

  28. the prof Says:

    ps. there is a serious outbreak of smiley faces in this blog.

  29. M Says:

    Do not fear the smiley face, prof.

    Would you feel better if it looked like this?

    (let’s see if this works)

  30. Inspector Love Says:


  31. Inspector Love Says:

    : P

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