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Chapter 12: "Great Rock and Roll Pauses"

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message 1: by LVR (new) - added it

LVR Such an unusual/refreshing/fun chapter!

Alison reflects on the nature of pauses in songs, but she requires the readers to also pause in order to make sense of her set of PowerPoints...

She doesn't simply 'spell it out.' A lot of Reader-Effort is required to interpret the image along with what she is actually saying.For example, in p. 265 and p. 266, she is trying to make a statement on her parents that is supported by the chaotic assortment of shapes. In p.301, the black background suggests a dark room.

How long did you have to "pause" on each slide in order to creatively make sense out of these images and words? Which are your favorite slides and how do think the formats help suggest an interpretation? Do you think this format helps you learn more or less about the way the Alison feels?

Aedan Lake I was scared that the "PowerPoint chapter" had been overhyped & would be a gimmick, it ended up (along with the final chapter) pushing the book up from 4 stars to 5 as Egan begins to bring everything together (in terms of both plot and themes).

I lent my copy to my sister immediately & so don't have it in front of me for reference, but I thought that the slide that allowed the questions & answers to be read in any order was clever. In general, I processed the slides very quickly in terms of what they meant, but often took some time to read them over & over, looking at the different possibilities.

I liked the references to the sort of future world Alison inhabits, and the graphing of the pauses was great from a music-nerd point of view. The slogans used to encourage the presentations (something that rhymed "graphic" with "improve traffic") were classic.

It also left me itching to open up Audacity and start looping the pauses in some of the songs mentioned!

Patrick Brown Aedan, we actually put together a play list of songs with pauses in them for our launch party. I'll try to upload it to one of the various playlist sites in a week or two.

Tricia I loved how Lincoln's graphs were really well done at the end, implying something about the father-son relationship.

Aedan Lake Patrick, that would be awesome to see, especially since as I mentioned I have lent my copy and can't recall all the songs mentioned in the book.

Tricia, I agree, that was great.

Patrick Brown By the way, in case people missed it, we are holding a Slideshow Story Contest. You can win a B&N NOOK Color or a Kobo eReader. Check it out!

Heather Patrick wrote: "Aedan, we actually put together a play list of songs with pauses in them for our launch party. I'll try to upload it to one of the various playlist sites in a week or two."

I would love to see that list as well!

Blair I just added a lengthy comment to this thread and it disappeared! I don't have the time to type out all of my thoughts in detail again, but I really liked this chapter. It definitely overcame my expectations that it might be a bit gimmicky, and conveyed Alison's voice really well. I too liked the glimpses into the not-too-distant-future world - and the fact that Rob was mentioned, and remembered by the whole family. There were a few points where I wondered if Sasha was truly happy, though. Probably one of the chapters I would be most likely to re-read.

Dhitri To me, this chapter is just brilliant. It's amazing how easy it was to interpret the slides and how they were able to convey complete information! It really felt like I was hearing Alison's voice in my head. Brilliant!

Larry Bassett Blair wrote: "I just added a lengthy comment to this thread and it disappeared! I don't have the time to type out all of my thoughts in detail again, but I really liked this chapter. It definitely overcame my ex..."

I had the vanishing comment problem also. It was the pause that never ended! Finally, I thought of copying each comment before I tried to post it. Then when it disappeared, I could just paste it in and try again.

What's the problem here, GR?

As far as this chapter goes: It was novel. It was good it was only one chapter. A whole book like this? I don't think so.

Courts & Castles Books I loved this chapter! I thought that it was a very unique way to present a teenager's point of view on the story- way to use technology in her own way. I had no trouble understanding the plot or the story, though there were a few slides that I had to read a couple times to get the "flow" right.

I was nervous about the Ppt thing, but now I am a huge fan. And, as a teacher, I am really interested to see how I could incorporate the idea in my classroom...

Louise I'm reading this on my Kobo ereader and this chapter is only 20 pages, yet on my iTouch app it's a lot longer but the power point presentation form doesn't work well and the writing is too small to read. On my Kobo I'm thinking a lot of it has left out. It stops one page past "In My Room". I'm assuming I'm missing that section plus the "One Night Later" and "The Desert" sections?

Kristin Invovative, Fresh, and really echoed Allison's youth. I love how Egan pulls in a bevy of problems throughout the novel that people come up against (suicide, drugs, 9/11, sexuality, and now autism in parenting). I was so skeptical about this chapter, but i think it was brilliantly done and I'm not sure anyone else will ever pull it off like Egan.

Carol Ryan I read the book on my Kindle and this chapter didn't come out well at all. Luckily I looked up the book's website where music and power point slides are available. It's essential for Kindle readers but I bet it adds a lot for print editions too.

Eileen Souza As a usability expert, I really enjoyed the powerpoint chapter, and the graphic way of telling a story. My personal favorite slide was the "Lincoln Want to Say/Ends Up Saying: slide - it felt like an accurate flow for someone who has hard time communicating emotions. I also loved the three slides that started with "What I Hear When I'm Falling Asleep." It was a powerful honest attempt for a parent to try to connect with their child.

Lindsay I loved this chapter. Cute, endearing, real. Loved it. I love kids and the simple way they view the world.

Wendy I was also nervous, but excited about the Powerpoint chapter. I couldn't imagine that it would work or fit in with the rest of the book, but it did perfectly. I am really impressed with Egan's writing, and with the trust she places upon the reader to figure things out intelligently. I'm not sure I ever read a book (except Pale Fire by Nabokov) that required me to actually think and make decisions and refer back to previous chapters and put two-and-two together, like this book has done. And I loved it! Reading this has completely changed the direction I want my own writing to go.

message 18: by Kim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kim Schultz This chapter is brilliant - I can easily imagine it standing alone in an art show, continuously repeated on a computer's monitor. The Lincoln character is so strong I would enjoy reading an entire novel written from his perspective. Egan's ability to get me inside his head is outstanding and every bit as effective as George Dawes Green's effort with Romulus Ledbetter in The Caveman's Valentine.

Shaun Initially I was ready to hate this chapter. I thought it would be gimmicky, but I was so wrong.

It was sweet, touching, and thought provoking. How Egan ever made this work so well I will never know.

Sam Still Reading At first I thought this was a chapter showing off that someone could use Powerpoint. But it flowed well and was genuinely interesting. No problems reading it on my Sony Reader.

Allison I thought this chapter was so well done. Totally loved it.

I read it on my Kindle and didn't have a problem reading the slides at all, I just turned the orientation of my screen sideways so the slides were larger.

Kerilotion What an interesting chapter! After I read it, I ended up downloading the audiobook from the library website so I could listen to it while I looked at the slides on my nook color. (I love technology). I really like it.

"My job is to make people uncomfortable + I will do it all my life --> My mother, Sasha Blake, is my first victim."

Carol I just finished this chapter and I was wowed by it. I too, thought it would fall flat, but it was a perfect voice for Allison and really tied in so many other characters. I'm glad to get that closure on Rob's story. Great job!

Shawn Camp Absolutelty love this chapter!

message 25: by M.S. (new) - rated it 4 stars

M.S. I kept hoping for "Make Me Smile" by Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel to be mentioned. And when it wasn't, I felt relieved, because it's still 'my' pause now. By the way, that pause is amazingly similar to the pause in "Nature Boy" by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.

(Funny how a book can stir up the nerd in oneself, right? It's High Fidelity all over again, with pauses now instead of Top 5's)

Christopher This chapter takes the most cliché business tool and really makes it new. Wonderful visual storytelling.

Sharon Hallman I liked the Power Point which I think is typical of a teenager. Very insightful. Sometimes I wasn't sure which child was autistic as they both had obsessions. He people that do this can really teach you a lot if you take time and have patience with them. They just use their brain different than ours and it's good to get a different perspective.

Carol Ryan And it seems like how the characters would communicate. The more I think about the book, the more I realize it's richness.

Christie I loved this chapter. I liked that it was in Alison's point of view and that it was told in a power point presentation. I like the contrast of Sasha making sculptures out of their old toys and the past as Alison is using her computer and slides as a journal. Sort of old and new in my eyes. I also like the way Egan alludes to Lincoln's autism and its strain on the family.

Samantha Jones I never even realized I paused to understand the slides myself, but totally makes sense now! I found the phrases Alison learned in school a little creepy -- the thought of paper dying and only efficiency in technology left to teach pretty scary. The way Alison breaks down thoughts or conversations through flowcharts and graphs is so impressive.

Katie I, too, was primed to hate this chapter as a gimmick, but ended up thinking it was brilliant. It could certainly have gone wrong in less capable hands, but there is a lot of depth here.

I can't imagine how this would work in audiobook format!

I think it's interesting that the chapter done in this format is also the most futuristic chapter. It makes me wonder if this is our future in literature... no more text. I don't think she is really suggesting that, but the thought did pop into my head, especially with Alison's opinion that Sasha's collages are kind of "quaint." Like, oh, how cute and old-fashioned paper is!

My favorite slide in terms of format communicating meaning was on page 266--the seesaw one where it is clear that dad's bad, grumpy days outweigh his good, cheerful ones.

Paige Bennett I hated this chapter-

Carol Ryan Paige,
I'd like to know why you hated this chapter. I'm just curious because I like your favorite books, too but I loved the book and the chapter.

Paige Bennett Carol: I am glad you ask- I had meant to finish my thoughts on book and got distracted.
I hated it because it did not tie everything up in a cute bow. I would of had all the characters meet up at a concert or maybe Lou's funeral. But than it woould not have been the book Egan wrote.
As far as chapters and endings go this was a well witten and fitting ending- I was just not into it.
Interesting that you like all my favorite books We should "talk"

Carol Ryan Thanks for elaborating!
Sure--great minds etc.

Sarah The neat thing about this chapter is that it is in itself a rock & roll pause. It serves as a false ending to the book, and you could just stop there if you were of a mind to do so. Then the book starts up again with one last chapter, reiterating previous themes the way a final chorus does.

Rachel I find myself going back and forth on this chapter. It was very inventive. I love that the powerpoint allows Egan to portray so much in so few words. Kind of like a Picasso drawing. I liked the insight into "future Sasha"'s life, but I want to know what is up between her and Drew. I can't just be the autistic child. Is there something about the memory of Rob? Does Drew sometimes look at her and just see the "hooker and thief" from Naples?

I like that Sasha makes art out of discarded objects and old toys, and that she repeats people's goodbyes word for word. Still finding and appropriating other people's things. I'm really looking forward to the last chapter.

Megan Sarah Pi wrote: "The neat thing about this chapter is that it is in itself a rock & roll pause. It serves as a false ending to the book, and you could just stop there if you were of a mind to do so. Then the book s..."

I think that this is a great way to think about this chapter - It takes such a different mindset to read and you gain different though no less illuminating levels of information that it is truly like a pause in reading. You spend more time negotiating the slides than actually reading. Best of all...

(view spoiler)

Carol Ryan Very interesting comments! I've gotten more from the book by reading other readers ideas.

message 40: by Ivy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ivy Reisner For what it's with, this chapter is nearly unreadable on the nook without a magnifying glass.

Carol Ryan ditto for Kindle--check the book's web site. It's clear and the music is there too!

message 42: by Emma (new) - rated it 5 stars

Emma I'm just relieved for future-Sasha that everything urned out all right. And proof that Rob's worldview, the one where of course everything is going to turn to shit and your friend who wants to be the president is full of it, is wrong. Ha. There's love, and people can maintain it, if they're careful and strong.

message 43: by Emma (new) - rated it 5 stars

Emma Formally, yeah, also she did a good job with this chapter. You couldn't have a whole book like this though; its all about the contrast, and how silence or distance works in *relation* to volume or proximity. She's very good with form. Reminds me of David Mitchell. The final chapter as well, although of course I can't comment on that here ;)

Cindy I thought this chapter was brilliant. I never could have believed that a story in this format could be so moving and show so much about how a family functions.

Choco I loved this chapter as well. I think it worked well because we know Alison's parents' characters well enough by then, so we have insights into their thoughts and emotions.

I cried reading this chapter because Drew, not being able to save Rob, became a doctor, and even now years after that incident he must go through the same helplessness every time he loses patients. He must feel guilty not being able to save again and again even though it wasn't, hasn't been and won't be his fault. I think Drew is with Sasha and loves her so much partly because she is a forgiving person.

So much we can emotionally get out of this chapter and the characters despite the fact it's in power point! Loved it!

Barbara This chapter had me laughing and crying and then jumping up and down...I couldn't wait to show a fellow mom of an "Aspie" child (our sons each have Asperger's Syndrome).
What a wonderful way to "show and not tell" what an Aspie's brain is like (although, how do we REALLY know, but who cares, this is fiction and it works).
All-in-all, SO creative. So clever. Loved it.

Carol Ryan I'm glad to know your perspective. The book seemed to be right on about Lincoln, but I have no first hand experience with Asperger's, so I appreciate your comment.

message 48: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa I loved this chapter also! It's like art. Reading it on my kindle worked well enough after increasing font size and changing to landscape view but then went to Egan's website to see it in color and with sound - WOW! I don't know if it was just my ebook but there were blank pages in-between each slide that I thought represented pauses. There weren't any on the website slideshow until I clicked "pause" to read and interpret each slide. That would be the pause all right. Some took longer than others. Unfortunately, the music stopped when I pressed pause, darn it.

This method was a perfect vehicle to see the world through Alison's eyes and to learn about her family. I'm wondering if she has a higher functioning Autism, or whatever the proper terminology is. With Lincoln having a more pronounced Autism. Music is math and I can see how their minds could gravitate towards music. This was great! I've never given much thought to pauses in music before except in dancing to it, what do you do during a lengthy pause? Keep moving is what I do, as if I still hear the music, because you know that it will start back again. Well, that is, until it's really done LOL. Hey, there was a slide on that! :D

It's hard choosing my favorite slide because I liked so many. 'Mom's Art' shown in collage form (I love making collages too). The wall with "Lincoln's Bed is on the other side of the wall from my bed" showing a bedtime ritual. The giant headphones for 'Lincoln appears when I'm half asleep'. The one about Dad in the form of razor blades. Brilliant!

Rodney The novelty of this chapter wore off after the first couple of slides. After that, it was just a very annoying way to read a book. I get that it's from a child's perspective and all, but come on. It got old very quickly. Just another in a long line of chapters making me hate this book more and more. Shame on you, Pulitzer committee!

message 50: by Mike (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mike Cavosie After reading this chapter, I'm convinced that Egan could even shit a good story. Amazing.

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