Pulitzer Book Club Inclusion Guide

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GET THE BOOK

"Independence Day" by Richard Ford

INCLUSION MILESTONES

1996

• Telecomm Act mandates closed captioning and computer & telephone accessibility
• Hawaii first state to require gay and lesbian couples same privileges as other couples

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AUTHOR INSPIRATIONS

Richard Ford was born in Mississippi; his father was a traveling salesman. Ford, like his Frank Bascombe character, was once a Marine, launched his writing career with a short story collection and went on to become a magazine sportswriter.

Featured Reader Wanted!

Featured Reader

– Share your key take-away about inclusion in this book in a sentence or two.
– Write a paragraph or two (up to 250 words) to describe your thoughts on exclusion/inclusion in the book, why you related or did not connect with the book, and why you think reading, inclusion and dialog about inclusion matter.
– Identify the name and website address of a cause you support with an inclusive mission.

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Divorced realtor’s holiday weekend with son doesn’t go as planned

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Vermonter wearing “ball-packer” shorts enchanted with house with visual and olfactory red flags; wife doesn’t want to live next to a prison.

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Realtor’s eye-view of failings that thwart the American dream during the late 1980s housing slump, including racism, classism, and violence as well as the financial market and real estate prices.

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400 pages or 20 hours; feels like a long holiday weekend

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Embrace vulnerability. The search for community and connections requires putting yourself out there in a world where the American Dream remains a dream, not reality, and all people are imperfect.

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Narrator is a white 40-something divorced realtor who thinks of himself as an open-minded liberal; his thoughts, descriptions of people, and actions often say otherwise.

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Your guests are now taking long, disorienting naps, so chill some Fumé Blanc, make a bowl of faralline and put purple iris and wisteria on the table. Desert is blueberries in kirsch over sponge cake.

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“You make choices and you live with them, even if you don’t feel like you’ve chosen a damn thing.”

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Open house at your home which you are faux selling. Be ready with a disturbing reason to explain why you are selling. Props if you create a listing sheet that points out everything wrong with your house.

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"Frank describes a love wince, grief wince, and wince of fury. What triggered bigotry winces as you read? Talk about how Frank describes the people he encounters.
How does real estate define and limit people in the novel and in real life?
Is there a real difference between the Red Man Club and the Old Lyme Club, or between Haddam and Deep River? Why/why not?
What is the stereotype of a realtor and how does Frank fit with/address it?
How does violence, fear of violence, and views of the neighborhood prison and the legal system figure into inclusion and exclusion in this novel?
Did 15-year old Paul commit a hate crime? Why does he bark?
What’s the difference between anticipation and judgement?
How does the occasion of Independence Day and books like Carl Becker’s “The Declaration of Independence” and Emerson’s “Self-Reliance” and “Democracy in America” influence Frank’s connection with himself and his son?"

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Hall of Fame tour begins with a marriage hall of shame fight, then continues to the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts. Next stop is National Baseball Hall of Fame Museum in Cooperstown, NY, not a nearby batting cage. You may opt for one of the MANY other halls of fame, including the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame, Latin Grammy Hall of Fame, National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame, International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, and the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. Seek out regional spotlights like the Idaho Rodeo Hall of Fame as well as walks and walls of fame including the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame and the National LGBTQ Wall of Honor.

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A 6-part Frank Bascombe HBO mini series was announced in 2007; no trace of production found, however. Ford’s novel “Wildlife” is a 2018 film.

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“Independence Day” is the sequel to “The Sportswriter” (1986); the last two novels Ford’s Frank Bascombe series are “The Lay of the Land” (2006) and “Let Me Be Frank with You” (2014).