Saturday, September 19, 2009

THE BIBLE SALESMAN: BOOK CLUB GUIDE AND GIVEAWAY

GIVEAWAY NOW ENDED
THE BIBLE SALESMAN

BY CLYDE EDGERTON

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Henry is a bible salesman.

Clearwater is a car thief.

Henry needs a ride.

Clearwater needs an assistant.

The second World War is over, and nineteen-year-old Henry Dampier walks the roads of North Carolina, selling bibles. When Clearwater offers him a lift, Henry thinks it is a lucky day that only gets better with Clearwater’s “confession” of being an FBI agent in need of aid. Henry joyfully seizes the opportunity to lead a double life as bible salesman and G-man.

Preston Clearwater has been a criminal since stealing two chain saws and 1,600 pairs of aviator sunglasses from the army during the Second World War. Back on the road in postwar North Carolina, now a member of a car-theft ring, he picks up hitchhiking Henry Dampier, an innocent twenty-year-old Bible salesman. Clearwater immediately recognizes Henry as smart but gullible, just the associate he needs--one who will believe Clearwater is working undercover for the F.B.I.; one who will drive the cars Clearwater steals as Clearwater follows along in his own car at a safe distance. Henry joyfully sees a chance to lead a dual life as a Bible salesman and a G-man. During his hilarious and scary adventures, Henry grapples with doubts about the Bible's accuracy, and we learn of his fundamentalist upbringing, an upbringing that doesn't prepared him for his new life. As he falls in love with the captivating Marleen Green and questions his religious training, Henry begins to see he's being used--that he is on his own in a way he never imagined.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Few who knew Clyde Edgerton during his childhood would have predicted that he would grow up to be a writer. Odds would have been placed on his being either a professional baseball player or a rock musician, or, if his parent's wishes had been fulfilled, a missionary or a concert pianist. He loved to hunt and fish and hang out with his “good buddies.” There was little indication that he had the slightest literary leanings. Clyde's decision to be a serious writer was a very deliberate one, but somewhat of a surprise even to him. He had been keeping a journal, jotting down ideas, feelings, characters, and events on paper. He planned to use this resource in case he continued to write. In May 1978, Edgerton watched Welty read one of her stories on public television. That night he wrote in his journal: " May 14, 1978 —Tomorrow, May 15, 1978 —I would like to start being a writer." That was the beginning of a career that has resulted in the creation of eight novels.
THE READING GROUP GUIDE FOR BOOK CLUBS:

Questions and topics for discussion

1. Henry sells free Bibles he receives from Bible societies across the country, which he has requested under less-than-honest pretenses. Discuss how Henry reconciles his actions with his morality. Does he feel that his actions are acceptable? Do you?

2. From the moment Henry and Preston meet, Henry’s innocence contrasts with the older man’s manipulativeness. Discuss the relationship between these men. How does Henry’s naïveté ultimately allow him to upset Preston’s plans for him? In what ways are the two men similar?

3. Henry’s family is charitable (sending blankets to Yancy), but their church is sometimes harsh (warning the child Henry about being a blasphemer). How does Henry’s Uncle Jack help him navigate these contradictions?

4. How do the elderly, especially women, contribute to the comic scenes in The Bible Salesman? Does their unworldliness add to their being funny? Are they similar to Henry in this respect?

5. The Biblical characters of Abraham, his wife Sarah, and his mistress Hagar intrigue and puzzle Henry. Does his knowing their story make it easier for him to accept his attraction to Marleen Green?

6. Henry’s childhood is revealed over the course of The Bible Salesman, as are the numerous forces that shaped his Christianity—Aunt Dorie, the Bible salesman instructor, and Henry’s church, just to name a few. To what extent does each influence how he approaches his faith? How do his beliefs change over the course of the novel?

7. Although he initially views Henry as a gullible boy, Preston eventually realizes that he is not as clueless as he thought. How do you see Henry? Did your opinion change as you read? Why and in what ways?

8. Henry’s beloved Uncle Jack is ejected from a surfside club as “white trash.” Clearwater feels justified in burglarizing a plantation house owned by rich northerners in Florida. Does class conflict lead to the doctor’s death in Drain, Georgia? Or is Clearwater’s character the sole culprit?

9. In what ways does Henry mature from a child to an adult over the course of the novel? How is he still like a boy? What characters and events influence his growth? Do you think it is possible to maintain a positive outlook such as his in the face of the trials of adulthood?

10. Henry and Preston’s journey through the South is the focus of the novel, but they travel in other ways as well. How does movement, in both the physical and psychological sense, cause the characters to change? Do you think Henry would be the same man at the end of the novel had he not partnered with Preston?

11. Family reunions play a big part in Henry’s past. How does the extended family unify the disparate personalities and bloodlines in The Bible Salesman? Does it assuage the fact that Henry’s parents are absent and that his sister’s son looks nothing like his brother-in-law?

12. Did The Bible Salesman inspire you to compare parts of the Hebrew Bible to the King James Version and the Chicago Bible? If so, what differences in interpretations of the text did you find interesting?

GIVEAWAY:
THANKS TO VALERIE AND THE
HACHETTE BOOK GROUP, I HAVE
5 COPIES OF THIS AMAZING BOOK
TO GIVE AWAY. HERE IS WHAT YOU
NEED TO DO TO WIN A COPY!


RULES:

--U.S. AND CANADIAN RESIDENTS ONLY
--NO P. O. BOXES
--PUT YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS IN THE COMMENT
---ALL COMMENTS MUST BE SEPARATE TO
COUNT AS MORE THAN ONE!


HOW TO ENTER:

+1 ENTRY: Comment below telling something you find interesting about this book and why you want to win it.


+1 MORE ENTRY: Comment on if you follow and where/how, or follow by joining through the Google Friend Connect in the left column of this blog.


+1 MORE ENTRY: Enter one other of my UPCOMING giveaways and then come back here and tell me the contest is that you entered.

ALL ENTRIES ARE DUE BY
6 PM, EST, OCTOBER 10

THANKS FOR ENTERING AND

GOOD LUCK TO ALL!

79 comments:

holdenj said...

I'd like to win The Bible Salesman because I am intrigued by the whole premise. On one hand it seems like a crazy buddy story, on the other, more serious tones as Henry figures out his life. Thanks for introducing another interesting new title! Please count me in!
Thanks.
JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

holdenj said...

I follow through Google Friend Connect. Thanks!
JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

Amanda said...

The interplay between the two characters sounds really interesting.

amandarwest@gmail.com

Amanda said...

I follow through Google Reader.

Amanda said...

I entered the Lace Reader giveaway.

Julie P. said...

I want to read this book because I think the questioning part of religion would be very interesting.

I'm also a follower.

bookingmama(at)gmail(dot)com

Pam said...

This book just sounds so funny! I can just picture a young, innocent falling for the "help me, I'm FBI undercover" and then ending up stealing cars. Very original premise.

melacan at hotmail dot com

Pam said...

I follow through google friend connect/google reader.

melacan at hotmail dot com

rubynreba said...

The combination of a Bible salesman and car thief sounds very interesting!
pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

rubynreba said...

I follow on google
pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

Brenda said...

I guess I'm first. The review of the book or description made me laugh out loud! I have to read it.

dancealert at aol dot com

Brenda said...

I follow through google reader!

dancealert at aol dot com

Brenda said...

I'm sure I entered for the contest for The Lace Reader!

dancealert at aol dot com

traveler said...

Thanks for this giveaway. This book is definitely intriguing and unique. I enjoyed reading about this book and the characters. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

Jessica said...

I'd like to win. The story sounds great.Two characters in close quarters like this tends to allow for a great deal of character development. Always interesting.
jessica(at)fan(dot)com

Buukluvr81 said...

This book sounds very good...I guess what is drawing me to this book is the fact that people (as did the car theif) ALWAYS feel that religious people are gullible and I am anxious to see if the ending turns out the way I think it will :)

Mollydawn1981 (at)aol(dot)com

Buukluvr81 said...

I follow through Google Friend Connect

Buukluvr81 said...

I entered The Smart and The Pretty one giveaway


Mollydawn1981 (at)aol(dot)com

Linna said...

I think this story would shed different light on how we perceive bible stories. But above all, its the characters' diverse background and their encouter make me want to read it. :D

linna.hsu at gmail dot com

Linna said...

I'm a goolge reader follower. :D

linna.hsu at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

I love the characterization. It seems so unusual, yet believable. Bizarre and yet funny. I must say I'm intrigued.

bgcchs(at)yahoo(dot)com

Anonymous said...

I subscribe via email.

bgcchs(at)yahoo(dot)com

Anonymous said...

I entered the Ripley's Believe it or Not Giveaway.

bgcchs(at)yahoo(dot)com

Linda K said...

I think it is interesting how trusting Henry is and how Preston dupes him into believing he is an FBI agent. I would like to follow this story to its conclusion.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Linda K said...

I follow on google reader

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

MJ said...

This sounds charming. Living in the rural South, we are often visited by traveling Bible salesman. I've sometimes questioned their sincerity!!

mj.coward[at]gmail.com

MJ said...

I follow on Google Reader.

mj.coward[at]gmail.com

holdenj said...

I just entered the McCorkle books giveaway.! Thanks!
JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

shopannies said...

sounds very interesting
shopannies@Yahoo.com

Glenn said...

The deception angle sounds interesting. Thanks for the giveaway.

glenn_pessano AT yahoo DOT com

Sheila (bookjourney) said...

I think the whole thing intrigues me.... but the words "book club" always raise my radar - LOL

Please include me!

journey through books @ gmail dot com

Lisanne624 said...

Well, being a cat lover and a resident of TN, I must say I am arrested by the picture of the big orange cat on the cover of the book. This cover contains two of my favorite things -- cats and orange, so there you go. I must have it! :)

lahlstedt (at) gmail (dot) com

Lisanne624 said...

I follow on Google Friend Connect!

lahlstedt (at) gmail (dot) com

Marjorie said...

I am a google reader follower, please count me in.


cenya2 at hotmail dot com

pippirose said...

Count me in! Sounds like an interesting read...

pippirose59 at gmail dot com

pippirose said...

I follow your blog via Blogger.

pippirose59 at gmail dot com

Debbie F said...

Interesting - a bible salesman and a thief - how different are they, how are they alike - I would love to read this and see how the author relates the two. Thanks for the opp!
dcf_beth at verizon dot net

Debbie F said...

I'm a follower!
dcf_beth at verizon dot net

Debbie F said...

I think I have enter all your giveaways! Definitely entered for the Anita Shreve book - always wanted to read one of hers.
dcf_beth at verizon dot net

Beth said...

Please enter me. Thanks for the chance. I find it interesting that he's a bible saleman. Its such a cliche, I just love it.

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

Beth said...

+1 I entered the King Tut giveaway.

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

Barbara C. said...

I do like books about the 30's and 40's. Would love a chance to win and read this book.
BClark9216@sbcglobal.net

DCMetroreader said...

I think it was interesting that the author just willed himself to be a writer.

kimspam66(at)yahoo(dot)com

DCMetroreader said...

I'm a google friend

DCMetroreader said...

I entered Simon's Cat

etirv said...

Twelve years of Catholic school draws me to this book!

delilah0180(at)yahoo(dot)com

etirv said...

Google friend connect follower!

delilah0180(atyahoo(dotc)om

etirv said...

Entered Simon's Cat giveaway!

delilah0180(at)yahoo(dot)com

edmontonjb said...

The time period that the book is set in makes me want to read it.
dftrew(at)gmail(dot)com

edmontonjb said...

I am a follower
dftrew(at)gmail(dot)com

Kat Bryan said...

I think it would be interesting to read about how Henry grows up as he learns about life.

winterset AT peoplepc.com

Kat Bryan said...

I'm a follower.
winterset AT peoplepc.com

bekki1820cb said...

I find it interesting that people always assume that one is gullible and in reality they are much smarter than people give them credit for. I would like to see if I can pinpoint the areas where this occurs in the book. I am looking for a new book to read and hope that this will be it! Thanks for the chance! bekki1820cb@gmail.com

bekki1820cb said...

I follow via google reader
bekki1820cb@gmail.com

bekki1820cb said...

I entered the Going Away Shoes and Ferris Beach giveaway! bekki1820cb@gmail.com

catss99 said...

I like that it's set after WWII

amanda
catss99@yahoo.com

catss99 said...

I follow on blogger
amanda
catss99@yahoo.com

catss99 said...

I entered the Simon's cat giveaway
amanda
catss99@yahoo.com

g.g. said...

Sounds like a well developed character study that would be interesting to read.

g.g. said...

I entered for Simon's Cat
anick(AT) crocker(dot)com

rubynreba said...

I entered the True Blue giveaway.
pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

My Eclectic Reads said...

I'm curious to see how Henry resolves his religious dilemma and how the story ends for him.

oregonkimm(at)gmail(dot)com

My Eclectic Reads said...

I'm a follower through Google Connect.

oregonkimm(at)gmail(dot)com

My Eclectic Reads said...

I also entered your Breaking the Bank Giveaway


oregonkimm(at)gmail(dot)com

Madeleine said...

Having just reviewed THE WOMAN WHO NAMED GOD, I am facinated by all the different interpretations the bible offers.


madeleine444/at/gmail/dot/com

Madeleine said...

I follow you on google reader


Madeleine444/at/gmail/dot/com

Madeleine said...

I entered your

"GOING AWAY SHOES AND FERRIS BEACH GIVEAWAY"


madeleine444/at/gmail/dot/com

CherylS22 said...

I'd like to win this book because I think the dynamics between the bible salesman & the car thief will make for some good reading.

Thanks ~ megalon22{at}yahoo{dot}com

CherylS22 said...

I follow on Google Friend Connect
megalon22{at}yahoo{dot}com

CherylS22 said...

I entered the Hispanic Heritage Month Hachette Book Giveaway ~ megalon22{at}yahoo{dot}com

Nancye said...

I think it is interesting that a former criminal is now selling bibles.

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Nancye said...

Loyal follower on google

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Nancye said...

I also entered the giveaway "Show No Fear"

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

~The Book Pixie said...

I find the entire premise of this book in general very interesting and unique. It sounds really good and that is why I want to win it.

~Briana
thebookpixie[at]yahoo[dot]com

~The Book Pixie said...

+1 follow through google friend connect

~Briana
thebookpixie[at]yahoo[dot]com

~The Book Pixie said...

+1 Entered for Going Away Shoes/ Ferris Beach

~Briana
thebookpixie[at]yahoo[dot]com

MUM said...

This book sounds like a really humorous book they may turn out to be somewhat deeper than believed.

Marie
utah91960(at)yahoo(dot)com

MUM said...

+1 follow through google friend connect

Marie
utah91960(at)yahoo(dot)com

MUM said...

+1 Entered for Ferris Beach and Going Away Shoes

Marie
utah91960(at)yahoo(dot)com

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