Discussion Forums - September Hot Topics

Topic: Discussion of Island of the Sequined Love Nun

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
  Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Subject: Discussion of Island of the Sequined Love Nun
Date Posted: 4/1/2012 9:02 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
Posts: 20,024
Back To Top

K Guys I've been looking forward to this one and not just because I love Christopher Moore, I missed having the discussion last month. Anyway I could only find a few discussion questions for this book so I'm gonna stretch them out plus add in my own, feel free to add yours. So without further ado, the QotD is:

The author spent a great deal of time studying on Pacific Islands. Were there any elements of island life portrayed in the book that surprised you or particularly intrigued you? Were there aspects that you would like to know more about? Do you think that comedy translates across cultures? Would the people of the islands find this story funny? Why or why not?

I don't know if the island people would get Moore's humor, I'm guessing only about a third of Western culture get's his humor, he's a love him or hate him kind of writer. I do think he put in a lot more detail than I expected and reading the afterword I was surprise how much of it he didn't make up that sounded made up, if that makes sense. I was certain that he was just inventing the shark hunt but he got that story from an island high school teacher. I would like to know if that part was accurate and if so I'd love to learn more about it because it sounded fascinating. The cargo cult idea was fascinating as well. I was aware of them before this book but only in a cursory saw a seconds long clip in something I can't name kind of way. I had no real understanding of what would happen to create a cargo cult.

Barb S. (okbye) - ,
Date Posted: 4/1/2012 1:42 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2011
Posts: 5,767
Back To Top

I got a late start and need to make a better effort, I'm not very far into the book yet. It looks like it should go quickly though with the short chapters (I always push myself to read juuust one more...) and I am enjoying it so far. 

Date Posted: 4/2/2012 7:42 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
Posts: 5,930
Back To Top

Just gonna invite myself to the party here... its been a few months since I read Love Nun, but Moore is one of my favorite authors (I already have his new book Sacre Bleu on hold at the library).

Love Nun wasn't my favorite.  I thought there was too much build up and not enough payoff.  I know Moore likes to make his humor kind of dark and biting but there were parts of Love Nun (experimenting on the unsuspecting natives) that I thought didn't mesh smoothly enough with the humor.

Date Posted: 4/3/2012 5:17 AM ET
Member Since: 11/14/2009
Posts: 6,677
Back To Top

Sevenspiders, welcome to our book discussion.   I stopped reading this one around page 70, but thought I'd stop by and see how it was going.   Basically I stopped reading the book because I don't like to read about people who obviously make bad decisions, then seem to con't to make bad decisions.  I guess it is my Catholic upbringingsurprise

WRT the question does humor transend cultures, I'll say 'no it doesn't'   Case in point is how the French find Jerry Lewis funny.  No offense to Jerry Lewis, he has done great things for MDA, but I haven't appreciated his humor since I was about 12 years old. 

Date Posted: 4/3/2012 1:37 PM ET
Member Since: 4/2/2007
Posts: 5,547
Back To Top

Were there any elements of island life portrayed in the book that surprised you or particularly intrigued you? Were there aspects that you would like to know more about? Do you think that comedy translates across cultures?  

No, I don't think that the comedy would translate across cultures. I think the culture difference is the whole reason it's funny.

A lot of the humor sprung from how they interpreted articles or pictures in western magazines.  Those were especially entertaining.

I was intrigued how the islanders incorporated western influence, either western language or western objects, into their daily lives. I tend to think people are either Western or not. (And yes, I've lived a very sheltered life.)

Date Posted: 4/3/2012 9:03 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
Posts: 20,024
Back To Top

Anyone is welcome Spiders so pull up a chair. :D

I think some humor can transcend culture, for example guys getting smacked in the junk by little kids with sticks is pretty universally funny. Some humor is situational though, you have to have lived in a situation that lends you an understanding of the culture that created the humor. For example a non westerner would probably not get why it's so funny that the islanders thought they were getting boobs when Tuck explained what the Sorcerer and Priestess were doing to them. Moore's is a particularly odd sense of humor, he did after all create a talking fruit bat with a love for designer sunglasses.

Barb S. (okbye) - ,
Date Posted: 4/4/2012 10:09 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2011
Posts: 5,767
Back To Top

Finished! Just a little late.

I really enjoyed the book. I haven't read him before but I will now. 

Some humor transcends culture, it depends on the references. When I first started watching British tv pretty much exclusively 4 years ago there were a lot of things that went over my head. As I watched more and learned who and what the references were things got funnier. I've been a British comedy fan for a long time but watching things now that I had seen previously they are funny for different reasons. Benny Hill is pretty straight forward, his type of comedy is understood [retty well here and it shows in the popularity of his show. There are subtle things though even in simple slapstick shows that I didn't get before and do now. I think basically in order for something to be funny you have to at least partially understand what they're doing. It's kind of hard to imagine what other cultures would pick up on. 

Date Posted: 4/5/2012 2:57 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
Posts: 20,024
Back To Top

Ok new question, Moore tends to trade in religions imagery and is sometimes irrevrent and never serious when he does so. I've read that people assume he is a member of their own religion no matter what that religion is. What do you think about the way he portrays religion in general like how he portrays the figures playing poker or making bets on who can get more followers?

I've always assume he was agnostic like me so when I read that others think he is of their particular flavor of religion as well I wasn't all that surprised. I know you'd have to read more of his work to get the full effect of the way he deals with religion in his writing but even in this book he has a unique and inspired way of viewing things.

Barb S. (okbye) - ,
Date Posted: 4/5/2012 5:13 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2011
Posts: 5,767
Back To Top

Most people who are members of a certain religion, whichever it may be, tend to not make too much fun of or undermine their religious figures. I didn't think about whether he was religious or not while reading the book but I would think now that if he was religious he isn't very committed. Not everyone is that reverent though, it's probably not enough info to tell. 

Date Posted: 4/8/2012 5:52 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
Posts: 20,024
Back To Top

At one point in the book a parallel is drawn between Tucker Case and Hamlet. Other than the examples drawn in the short biographical sketch of Tuck, can you think of any other similarities between these two men of indecision?

I think there may be a method to Tuck's madness. He is probably about fifty percent actual crazy and about fifty percent faking.

Barb S. (okbye) - ,
Date Posted: 4/9/2012 11:38 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2011
Posts: 5,767
Back To Top

I'm afraid I know practically nothing about Hamlet. I just can't get into Shakespeare. 

Date Posted: 4/10/2012 4:07 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
Posts: 20,024
Back To Top

I don't know if I could do Hamlet in a nutshell, it's been too long since I read it, but from memory the plot goes something like, Hamelt's uncle Claudius kills his father, who them comes to Hamlet as a ghost and tells him to get revenge for his murder, meanwhile Claudius marries Hamlets mother and takes the throne.  By the phrase "method to his madness" Shakespeare meant that Hamlet was acting crazy but was not actually crazy but I think the character was a little of both.There are several movie version, David Tennant even stars in one. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8VOZLjQbvQ  I may have to watch that one soon because I'm a dorky fan girl and it's been a while since I read it or watched one. We watched the Kenneth Brannaugh version in high school.

Barb S. (okbye) - ,
Date Posted: 4/10/2012 11:06 AM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2011
Posts: 5,767
Back To Top

Oh yeah, I downloaded the one with David Tennant and Patrick Stewart but I've never watched it. 

Date Posted: 4/11/2012 12:05 PM ET
Member Since: 2/28/2009
Posts: 842
Back To Top

The Love Nun - I read the book and for a Christopher Moore book it was okay, mostly because it introduced Tucker Case, but IMO it is not his best book.

Honestly I liked his books 'Lust Lizard at Melancholy Cove', 'Practical Demonkeeping' and 'The Stupidest Angel'. All played in Pine Cove, which is full of crazy characters and Tucker shows up there eventually.   Those made me want to roll with laughter.

I thought the sub-theme of Love-Nun was a bit too dark, I felt so bad for the islanders, but he does get the punch lines just right.

Most of the time I don't 'get' american humour, I am too serious for it.  British humour I 'get' because it is darker and more cynical.

But yes, love Christopher Moore.  I have all of his books, haven't read them all yet.  But my husband read 'Coyote Blue' and thought it was  hilarious.

 



Last Edited on: 4/11/12 12:16 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/11/2012 8:34 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
Posts: 5,930
Back To Top

My faves so far from Moore are the first two vampire ones he wrote (Bloodsucking Fiends and You Suck: a Love Story) and the one he wrote based on King Lear (Fool).  There's some dark stuff in those as well, and in A Dirty Job (the one he wrote about the grim reaper), but I think because they feel more removed from reality by the supernatural elements or different time period the dark subplots don't seem as jarring.

Date Posted: 4/12/2012 5:39 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
Posts: 20,024
Back To Top

I agree Bloodsucking Fiends and You Suck are his best. I actually gave my copies to a guy I worked with over the holidays because he reminded me so much of C. Thomas Flood. It was like Moore wrote the book with him in mind.

Date Posted: 4/12/2012 5:43 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
Posts: 20,024
Back To Top

K new question Cargo cults and the worship of WWII bomber pilots by natives in the Pacific are real phenomena. Do you think the author was trying to draw a connection between cargo cults and the pyramid make-up sales structure of Mary Jean Cosmetics? Will the intrusion of Western culture destroy the cultures of the Pacific Islands?

Until I read this question I didn't make that connection but yeah there is a bit of link. I know that the Mary Jean sellers are a spoof of Mary Kay sellers and I know plenty of them. They kinda can be a little cult memberish, at least in my neck of the woods they can.

Date Posted: 4/12/2012 8:39 AM ET
Member Since: 2/28/2009
Posts: 842
Back To Top

Chris,

Don't get me started on Mary Kay or Amway or Pampered Chef etc..  Coming here as a foreigner and trying to make new friends, I was invited to many parties. I was thrilled to make friends so fast, being a bit of an introvert and stand-offish, only to find out that 80% of them were sales parties for pyramid schemes.  Needless to say my social engagements sort of dwindled down to nothing.

But the Pacific Islands are definitely being destroyed by the Western World, and not just the culture.  They will be sinking into the sea as we continue to just watch global warming and live in denial about it, rather than do something about it.  And if it is not the climate change then it is the western value system that will destroy them.  Many mormon missionaries are sent there to save souls.

 

Date Posted: 4/15/2012 10:03 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
Posts: 20,024
Back To Top

The value of transplant organs is a major motivating factor for the Sky Priestess and her doctor husband. Given that more than three million dollars was bid on eBay recently for a kidney placed up for auction on the Internet, before the company pulled the listing, do you think that organ smuggling will become a major crime wave in the future?

I don't think it will at least not here, because there wouldn't be a viable market for it. Besides I think the money was less of a motivator for Beth than the adoration. She was the Sky Priestess because she wanted to be worshipped.

Barb S. (okbye) - ,
Date Posted: 4/15/2012 2:15 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2011
Posts: 5,767
Back To Top

I think organ sales already go on even here under the radar. It will probably never be an above ground business here because people are too squiffy about it but it is definitely around. In dirt poor places like India it can be a way to save your family for some time. 

I don't think Beth gave a crap about money either other than wanting to be leisurely. She definitely had an ego issue going. Are a lot of Moore's women prostitutes? There seemed to be a lot of them of one form or another in this book. 

There was a guy on Letterman recently who is the exiled president of some island, can't remember which one, and they are seriously going to be underwater in a few years. The whole chain of them. I think he said by 2050 they will all be gone. He's working on finding somewhere that the people can go and hopefully preserve their culture.

Date Posted: 4/15/2012 7:57 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
Posts: 20,024
Back To Top

Is it the Maldives? The president was on the Daily show recently.

I know that the sale already happens but I don't think that it would happen widely like drug sales do because it would be too easily spotted to get away with it here. Didn't a kid in Japan recently sell one of his kidneys for an iPad?

Date Posted: 4/24/2012 1:27 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
Posts: 5,930
Back To Top

Hope its not verboten to go a bit OT but I just finished Moore's newest book, Sacre Bleu.  Its set in Belle Epoque Paris amongst the famous artists of the era, with a touch of the supernatural that Moore always likes to add.  Its not as laugh-out-loud funny as some of his others but they story was fascinating.

Date Posted: 4/25/2012 6:32 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
Posts: 20,024
Back To Top

Other books by the current author is not really OT I don't think.

Anyway sorry for the delay, as I said I was without net for a week and we didn't have many questions for this book anyway. So here is the last question for this book: Toward the end of the book Tucker Case has a change of feelings about the way he has treated women throughout his life. What do you think caused this? The influence of Kimi? Sepie? The Sky Priestess? Or perhaps a combination of many events?

I think it was the combo but The Beth mostly. When he recognized the behaviors in Beth that he had used on other women and realized how smarmy it was I think that kick started his new take on women.