Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Book Club Wrap-Up

My book club met at my house on Monday evening to discuss our last book of the year and vote on books for 2010. Tasty chocolates and lemon cake were served!

The book we discussed was The Book Thiefby Marcus Zusak which was my choice. I was really pleased with the response - several people 'loved' it, most liked it a lot, and only 1 person didn't like it - she's tired of holocaust books - understandable as we've read quite a few this year. My thoughts from my first reading of The Book Thief can be found here. My response this time was more subdued. The first time around I *loved* the book and cried and cried. Knowing what was coming lessened the emotional impact for me this time around, though I still enjoyed the book very much.

Last month my book club discussed The Gargoyleby Andrew Davidson, the story of a severely burned man who is visited in the hospital by a woman, Marianne, who claims to have been his lover in medieval Germany and relates stories about their pasts. She is undeniably convincing. The book is extremely graphic, detailing the medical condition of the burn victim, so graphic that reading about his miserable childhood and sordid life were a 'break' from the burn unit. I found this to be an interesting and engaging read. A couple little issues I had: 1. I though it would have been interesting if the author decided that Marianne did not age (can you tell I bought into the story!) and 2. I didn't care for the drug-withdrawal apparently Dante-esque (I haven't read him) visions explored towards the end of the book. I actually skipped this part; I wanted to get back to the story and I found this tiresome. Everyone in our group enjoyed this book to one degree or another.

Here is our book list for 2010:

1. Breakfast of Champions, by Kurt Vonnegut
2. Child 44, by Tom Rod Smith
3. The Year of the Flood, by Margaret Atwood
4. The Wednesday Sisters, by Meg Waite Clayton
5. Plan B: A Novel, by Jonathan Tropper
6. Her Fearful Symmetry: A Novel, by Audrey Niffenegger
7. Sarah's Key, by Totiana de Rosnay
8. The Help, by Kathryn Stockett

What do you think? I feel rather so-so about this list. As always, I am let down by some of the books suggested (The Shack? Thank goodness that didn't make the cut.) and surprised by the books voted in. There are 3 I've read, including The Help which is my pick. I've wanted to read 2&6 so I'm pleased about those. My husband has been bugging me to read Vonnegut for years so he is pleased about that;I'm not so sure. 4 seems fluffy, and 5, well I'm just not interested in that At All!


bermudaonion said...

It looks like a pretty good list to me - lots of variety. Maybe the Tropper book will surprise you.

avisannschild said...

Although The Wednesday Sisters is light, I wouldn't call it fluffy. It was a fun read and one I would have enjoyed talking to other readers about (I did have some issues with the writing style). I think it's a good book club pick! Gotta say, though, that Plan B doesn't sound like my cup of tea either! (I hope Kathy is right and it does surprise you.)

Staci said...

I totally loved Sarah's Key, Her Fearful Symmetry....I really wasn't that crazy about Wednesday Sisters. The others I haven't read.

Megan said...

Looks like a decent list, but I haven't even *heard* of #5. I'm not much into fluff either, but I actually really ended up enjoying The Wednesday Sisters. I'd say it was about 50% less fluffy than I thought it was going to be when I first picked it up. It's definitely got some meat in there that might make it a good book for discussion. Hope you end up enjoying it!

Bree said...

You're so lucky to have a book group that stays together. I've tried several times and the group always disbands within a year.

Ti said...

I think the list is a good mix overall. Her Fearful Symmetry will be an interesting discussion. Child 44 and The Help are good anchors.

My Thursday night group meets soon to choose our yearly list and then I am starting my own club in Feb so I'll be picking books for that too. There are so many books that I want to read but trying to decide which ones to pitch is tough.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

Looks like a good mix of books for 2010. Looks like everyones tastes have been met in one way or another. I enjoyed The Gargoyle--different indeed.

raych said...

Child 44 was a ripping good thriller, and I'm not usually into thrillz. Don't tell anyone, but I totally hated Sarah's Key and didn't finish it.

ctussaud said...

Go into a bookshop and have a look at the Tropper. If it really isn't to your taste, find another book which, in your opinion, covers similar ground (there are said to be only seven main fictional plots, after all). Maybe you could find the Dickens which treats of a similar issue?

Tara said...

Kathy, I sure hope it does!

avisannschild, that's good to know. I looked at the first page online and thought 'meh'. I will give it a chance!

Staci, Sarah's Key is one that I've read - I liked it a lot, though not the present day story as much.

Megan, Exactly, me neither! Where do people come up with this stuff? I hadn't heard of anything this person suggested. Sounds like Wednesday Sisters will be a good read.

Bree, I think so. This is our 10th year together!

Ti, I'd like to know what's on your list!

Diane, that's true, lots of different styles here.

raych, Oh good! It's actually been on my nightstand for a while and this will make me read it sooner rather than later. I won't tell anyone! I really liked Sarah's Key in the beginning, it fizzled towards the end.

ctussaud, interesting idea!

Danielle said...

I really liked being in a book club, though sometimes the books didn't necessarily appeal to me. Still, it's a nice way to try new books you might not otherwise. I really loved Child 44 and am reading the Niffenegger now. The Atwood should be good. By the way The Gargoyle sounds interesting--I heard about often when it was first published, but I never paid any attention to what it was actually about.

Les said...

I think I'd had the same reaction to this list as you. None really appeal to me other than The Help and Sarah's Key. I read The Wednesday Sisters (review here) and thought it was ok. The Niffenegger book is on sale at B&N for 50% right now, if you wanted to buy it.

Nan said...

I have Sarah's Key! Two friends just loved it so I went right out and bought it. It looks very, very interesting!!

Elaine said...

The Book thief totally finished me off when I first read it. I was reluctant to try it knowing the subject matter, but glad I did in the end. Heartbreaking and uplifting at the same time

Tara said...

Danielle, I didn't know you'd read Child 44 - I'm looking forward to that one. I think the best part of being in a bookclub are the times spent as a group, rather than the books!

Les, Thank you! I will take a look at your review. Nuts! I already bought the Niffenegger book!

Nan, I will be curious to know what you think of this one. I liked it - mostly.

Elaine, absolutely, me too. I went into it with no expectations, only to find an amazing book.

Lesley said...

I want to read both Her Fearful Symmetry and The Help (the latter will hopefully show up on my book club's list when we vote next quarter). My book club read The Wednesday Sisters and while the book itself was not a personal favorite (but I liked it well enough), we had a great discussion about it - mainly because many of the women in my book club were roughly the same age as the women in the book.

We read The Shack for my church book club earlier this year and yeah, I hated it about as much as I thought I would.

Tara said...

Lesley, I can vouch for The Help - it's wonderful! My husband read The Shack - lent to him by his mother - and from what I heard from him, I knew this wasn't a book I ever needed to read!