Welcome to The Fantastic Books and Where to Find Them Book Club! I am so happy to be able to share with you the first selection for this brand new book club! The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz has won a John Sargent Senior First Novel Prize, Dayton Literary Peace Prize in Fiction, a Pulitzer Prize, The National Book Critics Circle Award and was a New York Times Bestseller! This is especially impressive considering this was Junot Díaz' first novel. But of course, the prizes and awards aren't why we chose this book.
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao is our first choice for multiple reasons. The first reason is because Junot Díaz brings an incredible amount of nerd culture references into this book and uses them to make perfect analogies. As fellow nerds ourselves, finding and understanding these references feels a little like defeating Bowser in Super Mario or seeing something in a movie on your 5th re-watch that you hadn't noticed before. At least for me. Our virtual world is surrounded by nerdy references we may or may not understand but it isn't something we see often in literature. Trujillo, the Dominican Republic Dictator is a major character in this book and is referred to as, "...our Sauron, our Arawn, our Darkseid, our Once and Future Dictator, a personaje so outlandish, so perverse, so dreadful that not even a sci-fi writer could have made his ass up."
Oh yeah, if you dislike curse words, don't read this book. Junot Díaz does not hold back in that regard.
Another reason we chose this book is because the focus character, Oscar Wao deals with depression throughout the book and often times feels like an outsider. Something that many of our listeners can relate to.
Lastly, to satisfy our inner Hermione's, this book teaches the reader a great deal of Dominican Republic history and what it was like for immigrants moving from the DR into the United States. As an avid reader it takes a lot for me to enjoy a history book and this book uses real facts interwoven with the story and makes it so compelling that it makes me want to know more. *cough*Ravenclaw*cough* I know, I'm a Ravenclaw through and through.
I first read this book in an English class at a junior college. Did I mention that I am an avid reader who also enjoys writing? Well, I failed English twice in junior college. And by failed I mean that I stopped going halfway through. TWICE! By the time I got to my third try with English 1A, I finally found the right teacher for me. She was challenging (the other teachers were a joke) and she chose the best subjects. We read and wrote papers about Space, Artificial Intelligence and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao! Finally I was in my element and throughly enjoyed my english class and got an A on every paper. The point of this boring spiel is to tell you that learning should be fun and should cater to your interests. Yes, you can learn about history while comparing dictators to comic book villains.
Entertaining, heartbreaking, educational and relatable. I hope those who choose to read this book enjoy it as much as I did.
If you want to purchase this book, please support our sponsors and go to www.napabookmine.com and enter code NERDBOOKS at checkout for a 15% discount! We are so happy to partner with them and would love our members to support them just as you've been so supportive of us.
Cheers! And happy reading!
-Fantastic Books and Where to Find Them