Thursday, October 5, 2023

Mating by Norman Rush -- BOOK BEGINNINGS


Please join me every Friday for Book Beginnings! Share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author’s name.

EARLY BIRDS & SLOWPOKES: This weekly post goes up Thursday evening for those who like to get their posts up and linked early on. But feel free to add a link all week.

SOCIAL MEDIA: If you are on Instagram, Twitter, or other social media, please post using the hash tag #BookBeginnings. I try to follow all Book Beginnings participants on whatever interweb sites you are on, so please let me know if I have missed any and I will catch up. Find me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

TIE IN: Sadly, Freda at Freda's Voice is taking a break from her weekly blog event, The Friday 56, a natural tie in with this event. The idea is to share a two-sentence teaser from page 56 of your book, or 56% of the way through an e-book or audiobook. Many people are still posting Friday 56 teasers, even while Freda takes a break, and I will do the same. Please visit her Freda’s Voice blog even if there currently is no place to link your post.


In Africa, you want more, I think.

-- From Mating by Norman Rush. This book has been on my TBR shelf for so many years! It always looks good, but it is a chunkster and I never get around to reading it. It won the National Book Award in 1991 and is, apparently, having a resurgence in popularity, according to the New York Times that describes it as a cult favorite. 

That opening sentence doesn't do much for me one way or the other. But the book is fascinating to me. It is a novel about a thirtysomething anthropology grad student at loose ends in Botswana who becomes enthralled with the charismatic Nelson Denoon and the matriarchal utopian commune he runs in the Kalahari desert. The female protagonist is unnamed and the story told from her point of view, looking back over her relationship with Denoon. It's nerdy, and funny, and captivating.  


Please add the link to your Book Beginnings post in the box below. If you share on social media, please use the hashtag #bookbeginnings.

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I was wound up when I met Denoon. It was muggy, with freak intermittent blasts and lurches of hot wind, which was fine somehow when I was walking over to the reception with Z but nerve-wracking during the aeon we had to wait in a mob outside the locked gates of the house we were invited to.


  1. You always find the most intriguing books! That first line isn't much, but the book itself sounds like it might be a good read. Happy Friday!

  2. It does sound intriguing. I hope you enjoy it. Have a great weekend!

  3. You are right, this does sound fascinating. I am glad you are enjoying it. I hope you have a great weekend!

  4. Been wanting to read this one for years. Maybe your post will inspire me to finally do so.

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  8. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace ON OVERDRIVE (but 56 hours!)

    Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison FINISHED

    Light in August by William Faulkner FINISHED

    The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis FINISHED

    Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov FINISHED

    Lord of the Flies by William Golding FINISHED

    The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien FINISHED

    Loving by Henry Green FINISHED

    Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis FINISHED

    The Man Who Loved Children by Christina Stead ON OVERDRIVE

    Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie (reviewed here) FINISHED

    Money by Martin Amis (reviewed here) FINISHED

  9. Leave it to the creator of the PSAT, the SAT, etc. to come up with a list of books guaranteed to make every reader feel humble. I'm a fan of classics and do not have a problem with the idea of a "canon" to provide a solid grounding in Western literature. But to suggest that students should read all "101 Great Books Recommended for College-Bound Readers" while they are still in high school is setting some pretty high standards! Maybe that's why the list has completely disappeared from the College Board's website.

    I can now, in my 50s, look at this list and say that I've read most of them, 83 of the 101. But I read 62 of those when I was in college -- as an English Lit major -- or after college. I only read 20 of these when I was in high school, and I was a complete nerd. The idea that I would have read all of them in high school is enough to trigger that nightmare where I am back in school as an adult, trying to take an exam for a class I never attended!

    Here is the list, with notes about whether I have read the book and when, if it is still on my TBR shelf, or if it is available as an audiobook from my library.

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