Saturday, September 7, 2013


Book menu for Tinkers by Paul Harding

ISBN of edition I read: 9781934137192 (hardcover)

Food mentioned in Tinkers:
Potato salad, 9
Rolled slices of roast beef, 9
Ginger ale, 9
Chicken and mashed potato, 69
Pancakes, 71, 139, 173
Coffee, 72
Ham crusted in brown sugar and molasses, 83
String beans, 83-84
Apples, 104-105, 135-136
Ham sandwich, 123
Saltwater taffy, 152
Roast chicken, 164
Eggs and ham, 173
Blueberry cobbler, 173
Oranges, 174, 181
Pork chops, 176
Apple pie, 176
Meatloaf, 185
Banana cream pie, 185
Meatloaf sandwiches, 186
Cola, 186

Books/Authors mentioned in Tinkers :
The Scarlet Letter / Nathaniel Hawthorne, 37-38, 43, 178
Mark, the Match Boy / Horatio Alger, Jr., 104

Magazines mentioned in Tinkers:
Saturday Evening Post, 19

Great vocabulary in Tinkers:
vastation, 10, 180
anneal, 64
reliquaries, 146
atavistic, 151
intaglio, 181

Title mentioned on pages:
p.12: "He tinkered. Tin pots, wrought iron. Solder melted and cupped in a clay dam."
p. 12: "Tinkerbird, coppersmith, but mostly a brush and mop drummer."
p. 15: "Tinker, tinker. Tin, tin, tin. Tintinnabulation. There was the ring of pots and buckets."
p. 74: "I hope you are right--there is little need for a tinker on Mars. Now higher again..."
p. 125: "His despair came from the fact that his wife saw him as a fool, as a useless tinker, a copier of bad verse..."
p. 169: "How to Make a Bird's Nest: Take a wafer of tinker's tin. With heavy scissors, cut four triangles."

Libraries mentioned in Tinkers: (I can't help it, I am librarian and LOVE to see how novelists portray us and our buildings!) 
p. 35
p. 152: "No one knew whether Sabbatis and Red were related by blood. Some of the librarians, who had a sense of the town's history, thought they might be distant cousins, and could easily be provoked into heated arguments about the matter during a slow twilight at the checkout desk in the library."

Discussion questions for Tinkers:
Discuss the technical aspects of the books (chapters, alternating points of view, lack of quotation marks for dialogue, the use of multiple verb tenses).

What, if any, is the significance of the book's title?  Is it aptly titled? Why or why not?

What literary elements does the author use throughout his novel?

What are the parallels between George and his father Howard?  How did they differ?

What scene stayed with you long after you finished reading Tinkers?

What aspects of Tinkers do you think made it worthy of a Pulitzer Prize?

What significance is there in the references to The Scarlet Letter?

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