Voyage Out Book Group-Literary Adaptations

The Voyage Out Book Group has been meeting for quite a while. We are your basic book group in that we read a book a month and discuss it in an open forum—typically we read literary novels between 200 and 500 pages. What makes us a little different is that we choose three-month regions (mostly) based on a geographical location. Think of it as a little travel time through books and discussion.

Below you can see the whole history of the regions we’ve traveled to and the books that we read on those journeys.

We are going outside of our norms for our next region where we will be spending three months reading Literary Adaptations!

Here’s the plan:

  • Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi, October 28th, 2018 (an adaptation of Frankenstein)
  • The Brothers K by David James Duncan, November 25th, 2018 (an adaptation of The Brothers Karamazov)
  • Snow White by Donald Barthelme, December 30th, 2018 (an adaptation from Snow White)

We meet at BookPeople the last Sunday of every month at 5pm.

Looking back on this decade of reading, here’s a list of quick thoughts from me:

The best books that we’ve read that might not be on everyone’s radar:

Authors that are on everybody’s radar, but should be read anyway!

  • Elena Ferrante
  • Valeria Luiselli
  • Eudora Welty
  • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Books that were super-duper hard:

The most liked regions:

  • Japanese Lit (Oe, Murakami, Kawabata)
  • Nigerian Lit (Cole, Adichie, Oyeyemi)
  • Mexican Lit (Villalobos, Luiselli, Boullosa)
  • The Jazz Trilogy by Toni Morrison

Most Notable Arguments:

  • What constitutes the ‘Great American Novel’?
  • Can we find Coetzee’s books to be reprehensible and brilliant simultaneously?
  • Is it problematic for Eggers to fictionalize the stories he tells?
  • While discussing White Tiger, who gets to claim to tell THE story of a place?

List of Regions and Books Read:


1. Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian

2. Larry McMurtry, All My Friends Are Going to Be Strangers

3. Oscar Casares, Brownsville

Women of the American South

4. Carson McCullers, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

5. Flannery O’Connor, Wise Blood

6. Eudora Welty, The Optimist’s Daughter

South America

7. Gabriel Garcia Marquez, The General in His Labyrinth

8. Isabel Allende, Ines of My Soul

9. Alejo Carpentier, The Lost Steps


10. J.M. Coetzee, Disgrace

11. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Purple Hibiscus

12. Ngugi Wa Thiong’O, Petals of Blood

13. Nadine Gordimer, The Conservationist


14. Aravind Adiga, The White Tiger

15. Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things

16. Jhumpa Lahiri, The Interpreter of Maladies


17. Kenzaburo Oe, A Personal Matter

18. Haruki Murakami, Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

19. Yasunari Kawabata, Master of Go

New York

20. John Updike, Rabbit, Run

21. Jennifer Egan, Look at Me

22. Paul Auster, The New York Trilogy


23. Joan Didion, Play It As It Lays

24. Salvador Plascencia, The People of Paper

25. John Fante, Ask the Dust


26. JMC Le Clezio, The Interrogation

27. Marguerite Duras, The Ravishing of Lol Stein

28. Jean Cocteau, Holy Terrors

The Balkans

29. Aleksandar Hemon, Nowhere Man

30. Orhan Pamuk, Snow

31. Slavenka Drakulic, S.: A Novel of the Balkans


32. Italo Svevo, Zeno’s Conscience

33. Guissepe Di Lampedusa, The Leopard

34. Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

The Caribbean

35. Reinaldo Arenas, Before Night Falls

36. Edwidge Danticat, The Farming of Bones

37. Eva Lucia Portela, One Hundred Bottles

Non-Region Region

38. Nicole Krauss, The History of Love

39. Tea Obreht, The Tiger’s Wife

40. Phillip Meyer, American Rust

41. Dave Eggers, You Shall Know Our Velocity


42. Michael Crummey, Galore

43. Alice Munro, Lives of Girls and Women

44. Joseph Boyden, Through Black Spruce

45. Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin

The New American South

46. Karen Russell, Swamplandia!

47. William Gay, Provinces of Night

48. Randall Kenan, A Visitation of Spirits

49. Charles Portis, The Dog of the South


50. Mikhail Bulgakov, Master and Margarita

51. Ivan Turgenev, Fathers and Sons

52. Victor Pelevin, The Sacred Book of the Werewolf

Women of Contemporary England

53. Zadie Smith, NW

54. Pat Barker, Life Class

55. Jeanette Winterson, Written on the Body

Latin American Literature

56. Roberto Bolano, By Night in Chile

57. Julio Cortazar, Hopscotch

58. Mario Vargas Llosa, The Feast of the Goat

The Great American Novel

59. Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road

60. Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita

61. Marilynn Robinson, Housekeeping

Off Shoot One Off

62. Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore


63. Mo Yan, Red Sorghum

64. Ha Jin, Waiting

65. Yiyun Li, The Vagrants

Cormac McCarthy’s Border Trilogy

66. All the Pretty Horses

67. The Crossing

68. Cities of the Plain

Summer of Love, LGBT Edition

69. James Baldwin, Giovanni’s Room

70. Gertrude Stein, The Autobiography of Alice B Toklas

71. Virginia Woolf, Orlando

Scandinavian Lit

72. Knut Hamsun, Hunger

73. Karl Knausgaard, My Struggle

74. Haldor Laxness, The Fish Can Sing

Speculative Fiction

75. Philip K Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

76. Margaret Atwood, Oryx and Crake

77. Blake Butler, Scorch Atlas

Nigerian Lit

78. Teju Cole, Every Day is for the Thief

79. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah

80. Helen Oyeyemi, Icarus Girl

Brit Lit Summer Love

81. DH Lawrence, Lady Chatterley’s Lover

82. Graham Greene, The End of the Affair

83. Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited

Literature of Mexico

84. Juan Pablo Villalobos, Quesadillas

85. Valeria Luiselli, The Story of My Teeth

86. Carmen Boullosa, Texas

Weird Japan

87. Kobo Abe, Woman in the Dunes

88. Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood

89. Keizo Hino, Isle of Dreams

Native American Lit

90. Louise Erdrich, Round House

91. Leslie Marmon Silko, Ceremony

92. N Scott Momaday, House Made of Dawn

Summer of Love Campus Edition

93. Chad Harbach, The Art of Fielding

94. Zadie Smith, On Beauty

95. John Williams, Stoner

Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Quartet Trilogy

96. My Brilliant Friend

97. Story of a New Name

98. Those Who Leave Those Who Stay

Ex Pat Literature

99. Paul Bowles, Spider’s House

100. Djuna Barnes, Nightwood

101. Katherine Anne Porter, Ship of Fools

Scottish Literature

102. Jackie Kay, Trumpet

102. James Kelman, How Late it Was, How Late

103. James Hogg, Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner

Mississippi Lit

104. William Faulkner, Absolom Absolom

105. Jamie Kornegay, Soil

106. Jesmyn Ward, Salvage the Bones

Iberian Lit

107. Jose Saramago, All the Names

108. Carmen Laforet, Nada

109. Jose Marias, Infatuations

Toni Morrison’s Jazz Trilogy

110. Beloved

111. Jazz

112. Paradise

Lit of Los Angeles

113. Helena Viramontes, Their Dogs Came With Them

114. Viet Than Nguyen, The Sympathizer

115. Paul Beatty, The Sellout

Summer of Love French Edition

116. Jean Genet, Our Lady of the Flowers

117. Marguerite Duras, North China Lover

118. Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary

Literary Adaptations

119. Ahmed Saadawi, Frankenstein in Baghdad

120. David James Duncan, The Brothers K

121. Donald Barthelme, Snow White


—Brian C.

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