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Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead
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Readalongs > Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk

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message 1: by Chris (new) - added it

Chris Wolak (chriswolak) | 190 comments Mod
Join us for our 12th readalong!

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead was first published in Poland in 2009. It was translated into English by Antonia Lloyd-Jones and won the 2018 Nobel Prize for Literature.

Our conversation about the book will air on February 18, 2020, so we'll probably start reading the book in late January/early February.

Jump in to discuss anytime! If your comment has spoilers, please say so at the beginning of your post.

Thanks, and Happy Reading!


message 2: by Deb (new) - rated it 4 stars

Deb | 42 comments Just ordered my copy from Book Depository. The hold wait at my library was crazy long. Can't wait to start this one.


message 3: by Emily (new) - added it

Emily | 175 comments Mod
Deb wrote: "Just ordered my copy from Book Depository. The hold wait at my library was crazy long. Can't wait to start this one."
So glad you will be joining us!


message 4: by Emily (new) - added it

Emily | 175 comments Mod
Here is the video with an interview of the translator - Antonia Lloyd Jones - that I mentioned on Episode 92.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzLIl...


message 5: by Nancy (last edited Dec 24, 2019 05:14PM) (new) - added it

Nancy Motto | 12 comments Listened to Podcast 91 and ended up reserving Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk which I plan to start tomorrow as well as The Widows (Kinship #1) by Jess Montgomery and The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai . I'm set for a while.


Gail | 13 comments I'm #19 on the Holds list!


Linda | 36 comments Mod
I'm #32 (on 6 copies) in the digital library. I may have to go to the physical library to get it sooner.


Tina (godmotherx5) | 27 comments I’m #50 at my library. Looks like I’ll be making a purchase.


Ellen | 5 comments I was so lucky, got a copy from my library and already finished it! I cant wait for the discussion.


Sandy | 6 comments I read this a few months ago and am looking forward to the discussion.


Heather Harper | 4 comments I bought the book for the read-along and so glad I did...only a chapter or so in, but the price of the book was worth it for this one line: "And the flowers in his garden are neat and tidy, standing straight and slender, as if they'd been to the gym." How delightfully weird.

I look forward to discussing in this format...I've never done such a thing.


message 12: by Nancy (last edited Dec 29, 2019 08:24AM) (new) - added it

Nancy Motto | 12 comments I noticed in the comments above that there are crazy wait times at many libraries but there are only four holds in my library system. Hmm? I just now finished this and I am going to need some time to process this one. Really don't know how I feel. Not a conventional mystery novel; if it can be called a mystery novel at all. I won't be around February 18 for discussion but really looking forward to hearing other people's interpretation and feelings when I return from vacation


message 13: by Chris (new) - added it

Chris Wolak (chriswolak) | 190 comments Mod
Nancy wrote: "I noticed in the comments above that there are crazy wait times at many libraries but there are only four holds in my library system. Hmm? I just now finished this and I am going to need some time ..."

Here in Guilford, there are 14 copies (!) with "only" six people on the waitlist...and another copy on order. Granted, this is a state-wide system.

Interesting to hear you're wondering if it can be called a mystery at all. I'm starting it in early January. Have a great vacation!


message 14: by Chris (new) - added it

Chris Wolak (chriswolak) | 190 comments Mod
Heather wrote: "I bought the book for the read-along and so glad I did...only a chapter or so in, but the price of the book was worth it for this one line: "And the flowers in his garden are neat and tidy, standin..."

So happy you're joining us, Heather! That is delightfully weird. I love it and can totally picture it.

Discussing books on Goodreads can be a lot of fun but sometimes frustrating because I don't think the platform's flow is all that user-friendly. I know some authors think Goodreads is the bane of their existence (one-stars and sometimes opinions that are unjustified). As a reader, I enjoy reading other people's take on books and have made some friends here.


Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 22 comments My public library has three copies available so I'm going to chance it in the morning and see if I can just drive by and get one without placing a hold. A friend picked this as her best read of 2019 and her opinion on it made me want to move it up my list, so I was pleased to see this as your pick!


message 16: by Chris (new) - added it

Chris Wolak (chriswolak) | 190 comments Mod
Nancy wrote: "Listened to Podcast 91 and ended up reserving Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk which I plan to start tomorrow as well as The Widows (Kinship #1) by Jess Montgomery and [bookcove..."

You're definitely set! I'm still on the fence about The Great Believers. I started The Hollows last night and it's off to a good start.


message 17: by Chris (new) - added it

Chris Wolak (chriswolak) | 190 comments Mod
Tina wrote: "I’m #50 at my library. Looks like I’ll be making a purchase."

Wowzers. That's a lot of holds. Glad you'll be joining us!


message 18: by Chris (new) - added it

Chris Wolak (chriswolak) | 190 comments Mod
Gail wrote: "I'm #19 on the Holds list!"

Here's hoping your fellow library patrons are fast readers. ;)


message 19: by Chris (new) - added it

Chris Wolak (chriswolak) | 190 comments Mod
Linda wrote: "I'm #32 (on 6 copies) in the digital library. I may have to go to the physical library to get it sooner."

I noticed in our system there were more holds on the digital copies than the physical copies. They'll be happy to see you. :)


message 20: by Chris (new) - added it

Chris Wolak (chriswolak) | 190 comments Mod
Ellen wrote: "I was so lucky, got a copy from my library and already finished it! I cant wait for the discussion."

You are on it, Ellen!


message 21: by Chris (new) - added it

Chris Wolak (chriswolak) | 190 comments Mod
Sandy wrote: "I read this a few months ago and am looking forward to the discussion."

I see you gave it 4 stars. That's encouraging.


message 22: by Chris (new) - added it

Chris Wolak (chriswolak) | 190 comments Mod
Jenny (Reading Envy) wrote: "My public library has three copies available so I'm going to chance it in the morning and see if I can just drive by and get one without placing a hold. A friend picked this as her best read of 201..."

Fingers crossed for you, Jenny!


message 23: by Emily (new) - added it

Emily | 175 comments Mod
Hi Everyone! Like Chris, I plan to start the book in early January. I'm looking forward to chatting about it here. Thanks for joining in the conversation.


message 24: by Emily (new) - added it

Emily | 175 comments Mod
Heather wrote: "I bought the book for the read-along and so glad I did...only a chapter or so in, but the price of the book was worth it for this one line: "And the flowers in his garden are neat and tidy, standin..."

Definitely a line to remember! Thanks for sharing. It is interesting to think about the translator here. I wonder if it was difficult to wrestle a meaning from the Polish or if this sums up exactly what Tokarczuk was trying to get across? No matter, I'll never be able to look at a flower bed without that line coming to mind!


Heather Harper | 4 comments Yeah, I've been thinking about the translator a lot. I admittedly haven't read a lot of translations, but there have been quite a few words that I jotted down in my "cool word" notebook, and I've wondered how the heck that word was chosen by the translator and how faithful it is to the original.


Heather Harper | 4 comments I stayed up way too late finishing this last night. Can’t wait to discuss and hear what people think. I struggled through the middle but the end was totally worth it. Loved it...great rec! Dying to opine!


message 27: by Ryan (last edited Jan 08, 2020 11:38AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ryan (ryanludman) | 3 comments I thought the translator did a great job, but I thought about the translator way more for this book than I have for others. The word choice is so specific to really capture the voice of the narrator. I, too, am interested in how some of these words are chosen. In addition, I wonder how faithful the nicknames of the characters like "Bigfoot" and "Oddball" and "Dizzy" are to the original names.

Throughout the text there are capitalizations of certain nouns that seem to be added for emphasis by the narrator. I wonder if this carried over from the original text and how it was done by the translator as well.

Great book. I can't wait to hear what others think.


Linda | 36 comments Mod
Yeaaaaaaaa! I just got an e-mail from my library that a copy is in for me!


Karen Brown (khbrown) | 1 comments Felt that this book was a bit slow at first but ended up really loving it and the main character, Janina. Looking forward to the book discussion!


Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 22 comments Heather wrote: "Yeah, I've been thinking about the translator a lot. I admittedly haven't read a lot of translations, but there have been quite a few words that I jotted down in my "cool word" notebook, and I've w..."

I thought about the translator a lot too, especially in translating Blake and that whole discussion.

My spoilery comment is that (view spoiler)


message 31: by Deb (new) - rated it 4 stars

Deb | 42 comments Finished last night! I loved Janina from page one. For some reason the feel of the story, the quirkiness and the small village setting reminded me a bit of the movie Waking Ned Devine or the series Derry Girls. It was just the feel I got.

Jenny - I agree with you about the big plot points!! I had to double read that one sentence!


message 32: by Alicia (new) - added it

Alicia Salmon | 9 comments I stayed up to finish it last night with my tablet on airplane mode so the library would not take it back lol. Looking forward to the discussion. Loved the descriptive writing. Also wondering about the use of capitalization. If that was the author or translator. At times got bogged down by the astrology terminology. Enjoyed the dynamics of the relationships. Glad the read along spurred me to read the otherwise I probably wouldn’t have.


message 33: by Gina (new) - rated it 4 stars

Gina Thomas | 1 comments Just finished and gave it 4 stars. So much to delve into, I’m looking forward to discussing. I’ve been reading more translated fiction in the last couple of years and find it so rewarding, especially when I’m introduced to intriguing protagonists like Mrs Duszejko. Thank you Book Cougars for making me aware of this one!🤓


message 34: by Bethany (last edited Jan 30, 2020 06:54AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Bethany | 5 comments My copy is in at the library! can't wait to read and follow the discussion! I'm counting this as my book in translation on a reading challenge.


message 35: by Emily (new) - added it

Emily | 175 comments Mod
Hi All - I’m on a train to Philly to visit my son. For some reason,my tablet won’t let me respond to each of you individually, so I’ll just say I’m so thrilled to hear that folks are enjoying the book! AND, getting through the queue at their libraries!

I’d love folks to pipe in about the following question:
Do you think Janina is simply a passionate lover of animals that was overcome by her loss or is there some mental illness sprinkled in, as well?

Also, anyone that has inside information on Blake, feel free to educate us!


Suzan Jackson (suejackson) | 31 comments Emily wrote: "Hi All - I’m on a train to Philly to visit my son. For some reason,my tablet won’t let me respond to each of you individually, so I’ll just say I’m so thrilled to hear that folks are enjoying the b..."

Hey, Emily, you're coming down to my neck of the woods! I'm in DE just south of Philly :)

I am no poetry expert (by a long shot!). All I know of Blake is the Tyger poem: "Tyger Tyger, burning bright,
In the forests of the night ..." because my son chose it for his elementary school project when they studied poetry - ha ha!

I am enjoying the novel, too - almost finished. I noticed some blurbs mentioned a fairy tale aspect to the book, so I'm wondering if Janina will be proven right in her theories?! Not finished yet, though, so don't tell me!

I've especially enjoyed the humor in the novel and am soooo impressed that it's a translated book - that seems like it would be a very difficult thing to do, to translate humor and word play.


Darcie K (darciek) | 1 comments This is quite the topsy-turvy situation for me, but I actually saw the film adaptation BEFORE reading the book! I watched Spoor (Polish title: Pokot) at a film festival in 2018. No spoilers, but I'll just say it was the best movie on my schedule, hands down. I've wondered about a translation of the book ever since and am really looking forward to reading this one! (I'm #4 on the holds list for 17 copies in the library system.)


message 38: by Emily (new) - added it

Emily | 175 comments Mod
Darcie wrote: "This is quite the topsy-turvy situation for me, but I actually saw the film adaptation BEFORE reading the book! I watched Spoor (Polish title: Pokot) at a film festival in 2018. No spoilers, but I'..."
Darcie This blows my mind! I had no idea it had been made into a movie. Thank you so much for letting us know. Glad you are making it higher up on the queue for the book. Can't wait to hear what you think of it and how it compares to the movie!


Heather Harper | 4 comments Emily wrote: "Hi All - I’m on a train to Philly to visit my son. For some reason,my tablet won’t let me respond to each of you individually, so I’ll just say I’m so thrilled to hear that folks are enjoying the b..."

I'M TRYING TO BE CAREFUL BUT THIS WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS: I love this question, and I've been thinking a lot about it. I'm a counselor in Texas, so theoretically in the know something about mental health, and I don't know what to think. Personally, I've always struggled with the weird gray areas of insanity defenses...I mean, certain actions inherently speak to having a mental illness. I can't imagine being totally sane or in control and killing a spouse or shooting up a crowd, for example. Same goes here. But of course she's making that argument about killing animals too--who's really crazy?!--which is utterly wonderful. (I say that coming from a family of cattle ranchers and hunters.) That said, her Ailments read like she was somaticizing grief or guilt or anxiety or something because they were weird and non-specific, and I expected them to resolve with the conclusion of the book, but they didn't. And I really respected the author's choice here...which made me think she was trying to say "this is how Janina is and her actions are natural consequence of this condition." I loved the book but I do wish I had gotten some more clues about the logic of capitalization or the relevance of her symptoms. I'm cool with some ambiguity but the rest of the book was so deep and razor sharp that I wanted those elements brought home too.


Suzan Jackson (suejackson) | 31 comments Just FYI - I thought you all might be interested to see the Blake poem that the title of the novel comes from:

https://poets.org/poem/proverbs-hell


Linda | 36 comments Mod
Interesting start. I've only read the first chapter so far, but I originally thought Book Foot was probably an animal (dog?) and then to find out the gender of the narrator was not what I expected.

Good start.


Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 22 comments Heather wrote: "Emily wrote: "Hi All - I’m on a train to Philly to visit my son. For some reason,my tablet won’t let me respond to each of you individually, so I’ll just say I’m so thrilled to hear that folks are ..."

I think all of us are complicit into the social mores of the culture surrounding us. So for example, I may think it's unfair that men get to run around without shirts on, but I'm likely to be arrested if I do so... She uses the same logic for killing humans vs. killing animals and we all know better. Harumph.


Suzan Jackson (suejackson) | 31 comments I enjoyed the novel and thought it was very funny. I tabbed a lot of pages with funny or insightful quotes! I'm so glad to have read this book ... and I don't think I would have without the readalong, so thanks, Chris & Emily!

Here's my full review:

https://bookbybook.blogspot.com/2020/...


Robin | 32 comments I also really enjoyed the novel, and laughed out load many times. Janina was a fascinating character. I loved her. For awhile now, I've been using a pencil to checkmark pages and mark passages that I want to review, and I found myself marking MANY passages in this novel.

In thinking about this novel as a translated work that also includes translation in the story and plot, it made me reflect on how Janina was translating her way through life, in one way or another, assigning meaning and wonder to her world. She used Astrology as one way to make sense of her life. Adding William Blake into the mix added to this theme of creativity, imagination, and personal mythmaking. The description of place also gave the novel a feeling of otherworldliness which I really enjoyed.


Suzan Jackson (suejackson) | 31 comments Robin wrote: "I also really enjoyed the novel, and laughed out load many times. Janina was a fascinating character. I loved her. For awhile now, I've been using a pencil to checkmark pages and mark passages that..."

oooh, that's a really good point about the deeper meanings of translation in the story, Robin! You are so right.

And, from a purely technical point of view, I was so impressed by the talent of the translator - I think it must be very tough to translate clever wordplay and humor from one language to another.


Linda | 36 comments Mod
I'd like to know...
Did the original Polish version refer to the Paul Newman look alike or did it refer to someone known by many in Poland instead?


Linda | 36 comments Mod
Another thing I'd like to know...
Is the astrology in the book "real" or did the author just throw in a bunch of planets with the words "house' and "rising"?


message 48: by Anne (new)

Anne | 1 comments Thanks for recommending this book as a Read Along. This is not a book I would have normally been drawn to, but I loved it!


Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 22 comments Juane wrote: "I echo the sentiment that I wouldn't have found this book without the fabulous Book Cougars! Like many, I was impressed by Tokarzcuk's writing and copied a dozen passages to remember, including the..."

Re: #2 - I assumed (possibly erroneously) that perhaps in Poland more people just believe in ghosts.


message 50: by Emily (new) - added it

Emily | 175 comments Mod
Anne wrote: "Thanks for recommending this book as a Read Along. This is not a book I would have normally been drawn to, but I loved it!"

So glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for joining in.


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