December 22, 2016

Coming in 2017!

It was fun to play with a theme for last year's book selections so we're doing it again this year. For 2017, our theme will be "Friendship, Family, and Feminists." The list for the year is not yet complete, a couple of the choices are still not set in stone (although, as you know, nothing is ever entirely set in stone as we may run into trouble getting books from the library or something will come up we really want to read). At least one of the open months we'll likely look to do a movie night again. Those of us who went to The Light Between Oceans enjoyed doing that a lot (and found we were in a theater full of book club members!).

January: Kicking off the year, we're reading a book about friendship (which also gets into the theme of family and touches on feminism), Meg Wolitzer's The Interestings. Lisa has an extra copy of anyone wants to borrow it.

February: This month will be both our classic and our multi-generational read (if you'd like to invite your mom, aunt or daughter(s) to join us, we'd love to have them!). Instead of choosing a single book we'll all read, each of us will choose a book to reread that we particularly loved as a young girl. I'm interested in seeing what everyone loved then and hearing why and hearing how it held up to a reread.

March: The first in a book series (although it's not essential to read all of the books), Elena Ferrante's My Brilliant Friend is not just a book about friendship but a nice chance for us to read a translated work.

April: Tentatively this month we will read Anne Tyler's  A Spool of Blue Thread. The library has a book club bag of books we may be able to get.

May: This month we're getting in a nonfiction read and hitting on that feminist theme with Iron Carmon's Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsberg. 

June: Again, this month's choice of Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney's The Nest is a tentative choice.




October: Stacy Schiff's The Witches will be another nonfiction read for us and it's one that got rave reviews when it came out.



Some of the books I'm considering for 2017 are Did You Ever Have A Family by Bill Clegg, The Wife, The Maid and The Mistress by Ariel Lawson, Kitchens of The Great Midwest by Ryan Stradal, The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan, The Wonder by Emma Donohue, Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay, Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neal Hurston, and The Trespasser by Tana French. I'll continue to scour "best of 2016" lists for other choices as well.

Of course, as always, I welcome your suggestions!

October, November, and December

In October, we read Anna Quindlen's Miller's Valley. For Lisa S, it was one of her favorite books of the year. While not everyone enjoyed it as much (some thought it was too slow), we had a interesting discussion about it, trying to skirt around a big reveal toward the end of the book that actually let all of us wondering. The relationships between the characters gave us a lot to talk about - sisters who lived on the same piece of property but had almost nothing to do with each other, a couple who may have been living with a secret for years, the burden placed on a daughter by her parents. While it may not be a book everyone will love, it's definitely a book that will give book clubs plenty to talk about.

In November, we read Lauren Groff's Fates and Furies (unless your Linda, who accidentally raced to finish it for our December meeting!). Lisa and Ann both liked the book a lot, the way Groff tells the story of a marriage from both the husband's and the wife's point of view. We agreed that the wife's part almost read like a thriller with secret after secret being unveiled but we also agreed that the book might have been a bit too long, with so much of some of the plays included. Again, this one is certainly not a book everyone in book clubs will enjoy, but since the point of a book club is to find things to discuss about the book, this does make a good choice.

For December, we read The Boys In The Boat by Daniel James Brown. Those who finished the book all liked it a lot, although we all agreed that, for most readers, it's too detailed. If you're interested in rowing as a sport, you may be interested in reading the details of each race and the minutiae of building the shells from wood. For those looking for an interesting human interest story, an underdog success story, and some interesting history of both the U.S. and Germany, this is a book worth reading even if it does mean you might want to skim over a lot of the races.

We all learned a lot about the Nazi propaganda machine as well; while we were aware that Hitler had meant for the games to shine a positive light on Nazi Germany, we weren't as aware of just how much had been done to sanitize what they were doing so that they looked less dangerous to the world.

We got very involved in the stories about the boys in the boat that we got to know well and got a little agitated about how Joe Rantz's father and stepmother treated him. Although Linda had been a month behind, because she had just finished Fates and Furies, she was the one to point out that in both November's and December's books, we had characters whose parents had abandoned them and we spent the rest of the book seeing how that had impacted the character (although, of course, here it was a real person).