Saturday, September 26, 2009

New *Giveaway* - The Bible Salesman by Clyde Edgerton

This post has been closed to further comments. I'll post results as soon as possible.

Ask me what it is about The Bible Salesman's cover that appeals to me. Go ahead. Ask.

Okay, since you asked . . . just about everything. The marmalade cat (we still miss our dearly departed little Miss Sunshine), the green door (I Love Green!!!!), the shovel. All combine to give the cover a welcoming "Home Sweet Home" look. At the same time, you can visualize yourself as the person who is about to knock on that door, can't you?

I just had to mention the cover because I appreciate an inviting book cover.

I've signed up to give away *5 copies* of The Bible Salesman by Clyde Edgerton and am eagerly awaiting my own copy for review, thanks to Valerie and the Hatchette Book Group.

About the book:

Preston Clearwater has been a criminal since stealing two chain saws and 1,600 pairs of aviator sunglasses from the army during WWII. 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 kind of 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 drives 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 hasn'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.

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 two men. How does Henry's naivete 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 the interpretations of the text did you find interesting?

***Rules, rules, rules. Always with the rules***:

1. Leave your email address OR ELSE (Big Meanie Alert). No email, no entry.

2. Answer this question: Does the fact that Christianity, beliefs and Bibles play an important part in this book put you off at all or pique your interest?

3. Think like a North American and Be One. Hatchette's giveaways are limited to residents of the U.S. and Canada. No P.O. Boxes.

4. Spread the word and provide a link to your post or tweet for an extra entry. It is not necessary to comment more than once; you can put all the info in a single comment (actually, I prefer it that way). There will be five winners. Wahoo!

The contest ends on October 18, 2009.

Also, don't forget to drop by and sign up for my other two giveaways:

The Smart One and the Pretty One - ends tomorrow night, Sept. 27 at 6pm!

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with Hatchette - a huge giveaway; each winner will receive 5 books!

Important Notice: I now give winners roughly 48 - 72 hours to respond because I'm a busy girl. I strongly advise following this blog in a reader, if you don't, so that you will see your name if something hinky happens to your email (or you just don't check your email often). I'll let you know how long you have to respond within the text of the drawing winners announcement post.


  1. I am very interested in reading this book because of the Christianity aspect! I think it looks great!

    I also tweeted:


  2. Thw book sounds really good. I agree about book covers. A cover can sell me completely. The fact there are Christian aspects of the book piques my interest.


  3. Oooh, first comment!

    This cover is MUCH better than the hardcover version. I've had this book on my 'to read' list since it first came out but don't have my own copy so I'd love to win one!

    Since I'm now living in the Southern Bible Belt, the Christian element is what piqued my interest in this book. I'm curious as to how the author incorporated the various elements into what sounds like a great book.

    Thanks for the contest!

    My email is lesley[at]

  4. No need to enter me because I've read this (and I completely agree, Lesley, this cover is much better!) but just wanted to put in a plug for this book. It's very good! Still need to do my review, but it was a good read.

  5. Love the cover, LOVE the subject. The religious aspect gets my attention because I was raised fundamentalist and paid my dues selling books and bibles door to door, and then after that lost my religion. Even if I'm not a winner, this goes on the to-read list, thanks!


  6. Yes, whoever designed/chose that cover deserves a pat on the back. The cover is enticing, and so are the Christianity/Bibles/beliefs aspects of it. I'd love to be entered. Thanks!

    toadacious1 at yahoo dot com

  7. I love the cover, especially the green door. I remember a door almost exactly like that on a neighborhood grocery store back in the 1940s.

    Now to enter your contest: First, my email address: emerging DOT paradigm AT yahoo DOT com. And my answer to your question: Does the fact that Christianity, beliefs and Bibles play an important part in this book put you off at all or pique your interest? The idea of a Bible Salesman definitely piques my interest and is the reason I want to read the book, along with the fact that it's by Clyde Edgerton. I still think Raney is one of the funniest books I've ever read.

  8. This book sounds so interesting,
    please count me in on this giveaway.
    I follow by google reader.

    cenya2 at hotmail dot com

  9. Great giveaway. My interest in this book stems purely from the fact I heard it was a fun mystery of sorts.

    bibliophilebythesea AT gmail DOT com

    (I'm a google reader follower); thanks

  10. Thanks for this great giveaway. I am defiitely intrigued with this novel. The Christianity aspect appeals to me greatly and the cover is striking and original. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  11. The Christianity theme totally puts me off, but I'd love this for my aunt.

    BethsBookReviewBlog AT gmail DOT com

  12. No need to enter me in the drawing but just wanted to let you know I've given you a little bloggy award. Happy weekend--what's left of it anywho! :)

  13. The Christianity aspect piques my interest, as does the fact that Clyde Edgerton wrote the book. Please enter me! milou2ster(at)

  14. Anonymous4:40 PM

    Please enter me!
    regularrumination @ gmail . com

    It does interest me, but I hope it's more along the lines of the way Christianity is featured in books like The Poisonwood Bible.

  15. Please count me in. I would love to win this one. The fact that this deals with Christianity piques my interest. Thanks for the chance.

    lizzi0915 at aol dot com

  16. The Christian themes in this book make me more interested in it.

  17. Anonymous1:43 PM

    I would love to be entered in your draw.

    The Christian aspect in the book totally intrigues. me.


  18. I was intrigued by the reading group guide question asking about comparing different versions of the Bible. I always stick with the King James version and I'm interested to see what the book says...

    s.mickelson at gmail dot com

  19. The Christain theme does interest more.


  20. Please count me in! I love the cover as well, you picked up on many of the great parts of it!
    The Christianity aspect of this one and Henry's questions seem to probably make the story, so, no, I'm not turned off by that.
    Thanks for the chance!

  21. I love the cover too! And you are the 2nd person, who's said she loves greens!
    dnt enter me !

  22. 1. tongfengdemao[at]gmail[dot]com

    2. It is the fact that Christianity, beliefs and Bibles play an important part in this book that makes me want to read it. That cover caught my eye first, though. :-)

    3. I am North American.

    4. I will make a link to this page and your main page on my Xanga blog tonight. That blog goes out to (at least) three other sites, not that I have the readership you have.

  23. Madwoman-doing-cartwheels5:30 AM

    No the Christianity, Bible aspect does not put me off. I think I would like this book for the Southern post WWII lifestyle aspects most of all and I like an author that can weave a good tale.

    espressogurl at hotmail dot com

  24. The Christianity/Biblical element actually piques my interest to read it.

  25. It sounds like a good book. Period. The bible aspect fascinates me.

    je2kids(at)yahoo(com) (See, I'm leaving my email this time, with no reminders! LOL!!)

  26. The fact that this book includes Christian beliefs makes it attractive.


  27. The Christian aspect does not put me off and definitely makes me want to read the book - thanks!

  28. Anonymous11:32 PM

    I'd love to win this book... The aspects of Christianity and how heavily laden they are in this novel, does not put me off at all; it doesn't necessarily matter what religion or the beliefs of the characters are. Books I personally believe, express the human condition in it's myriad aspects and open worlds unexperienced... That transcends religion. Thank you!

    Aliya D.

  29. I am never "put off" by religious topics. However the fact that there are religious topics isn't usually *why* I read a book either. I am actually attracted to the fact that it seems to be done with humor.

    nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com

  30. Andrea9:30 AM

    The fact that Christianity plays a large part in this book doesn't really pique my interest but doesn't turn me off to it either. I'm interested in this book because it looks like it will be funny.

  31. Blogged:

    nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com

  32. I would love to win this book.

    The subject of Christianity and beliefs actually makes me want to read it more.

    joannelong74 AT gmail DOT com

  33. The Christianity strikes my interest.
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  34. I am really interested in reading this book! The Christianity aspect really doesn't effect me either way I guess.

    imsosweepy { at } gmail { dot } com

  35. I Tweeted!

    imsosweepy { at } gmail { dot } com

  36. Anonymous8:26 PM

    It piques my interest. Isn't it interesting to know how, if, and when religion motivates people to act, react or not act in a certain way at all. This book really piques my interest.


  37. Anonymous6:20 AM

    The Christianity aspect of this book is of no relevance to me. A good book, is a good book regardless of religious conotations.

  38. I blogged about your contest here.
    joannelong74 AT gmail DOT Com

  39. I'd like to read this - thanks for the chance to win a copy!

    Christianity and Bibles question -- Frankly, it just sounds like a good story and I've enjoyed Edgerton's books in the past.

  40. The Christianity aspect has no weight in my wanting to read this book one way or the other. It just sounds funny so I want to give it a go!

    melacan at hotmail dot com

  41. The Christianity/beliefs/Bibles aspect of the book doesn't affect me either way. I just think it's an interesting aspect of a good story.

    Thanks ~ megalon22{at}yahoo{dot}com

  42. There is something about this book that looks interesting-the whole Christianity aspect can sometimes be a turn off it it is too preachy.

    I recently read Kabul 24 and admired their devotion.

    chocolateandcroissants at yahoo dot com

  43. I've seen some great reviews of this book. Makes me want to read it more.

    My interest was piqued by the title, plus I also love the book cover.

    I am also a subscriber.

    Thanks for the chance.