October 24, 2013

October - The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

And we're back! What a great meeting we had this month. We welcomed a new member (we hope we didn't scare you off, Ann), Mary made a rare appearance (not her fault...entirely...with her schedule!), and all but one person had read the book. Which everyone liked and found plenty to talk about.

M.L. Stedman's writing impressed the group, particularly her ability to make life on a small island with only two or three people seem full and rich. A couple of us thought living on a lighthouse island would be great although most of us couldn't imagine what life would have been like being so isolated for such a long time. We talked about how people were more accustomed to less interaction at the time the book was set and how much busier they would have been with daily chores.

Linda was particularly taken with the details of life on the island as recorded by Tom and the impression that blank page on the day the boat washed ashore made on Tom and the reader. We were surprised that never really came back to play later, especially given the amount of foreshadowing that Stedman included. None of us were surprised, for example, when the fact that Bluey had seen Lucy's (Grace's) rattle came back to be a key point.

Cheryl recommended reading it on the NOOK as she was able to readily pull up resources to pin point where the book was set and to look up some of the Australian slang. Her greatest source of help there, though, was through friends overseas. It's a small world these days when you can go straight to people you "know" in other countries to get information!

We discussed whether or not what Tom and Isabel did made them good or bad people and how the town of Partaguese treated them when everything came out. The consensus was that they were good people who had made their decision based on the facts at hand at the time. For Tom, it was also a matter of doing what needed to be done to help the person he loved most. Once the decision was made, it was hard to imagine undoing it.

We talked a long time about what else we've been reading. Mary was excited about some nonfiction she's read recently, Ann told us about the kinds of books she's read (very excited that she's open to all kinds of books!), and Linda talked about trying to balance three books at once. Linda brought up graphic novels, something several of the ladies had not seen before. Lisa brought  out a copy of Alan Moore's The Watchmen so they could see what graphic novels were all about but it looks like we'll be passing on those for a while! Some members thought the drawings would be distracting and others said they'd rather be able to create the picture in their own heads.

It's time for our classic selection in November so we talked some more about what we wanted to read for that. Last month Diana suggested that we reread something that we were supposed to have read when we were younger. It turned out that more than half of the group had never read Anne Frank's book "The Diary of a Young Girl" when they were younger so we've chosen that for November.