Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Book Club Reunion

We reunited for the first time all summer, and with six members present.

First, an update on the books selected at our last meeting. Which was in MARCH, apparently. Yikes. Here's what happened.

Our schedule was supposed to be:
April - Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
May - Last of the Mohicans
June - A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
July - Burning Bright

We nixed the April novel because one member started reading and was so disgusted with the gratuitous sex scenes that she refused to read further, and the rest of us decided to trust her judgement.

We did meet for A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, although I don't remember when. I read it a long time ago and couldn't find my copy in the packed boxes (honestly, I didn't even try. Do you KNOW how many boxes of books we have?)

Last of the Mohicans was supposed to be a "splinter" group read for the summer, but only G made it through. Actually, she's the only one that made it more than 10 pages in, so we gave her a quick round of applause.

So Sunday night we discussed Burning Bright, which is by Tracy Chevalier, the author of Girl with a Pearl Earring, which we read a couple years ago and really enjoyed. Here are the discussion highlights:
a) Jem & Maggie - what is their future together?
b) Why didn't Blake get more involved with the children's welfare? Or was he already pretty involved, just not as much as R wanted him to be? (Hee hee! I got you in there after all, R!)
c) My copy of the book included several of William Blake's poems, which I actually taught during my student teaching period. So the group indulged me and let me read The Lamb and The Tyger out loud. Yum, good poetry.
d) Knowing that Blake's books of poetry, Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience, feature poems that are mirror images of each other, is very helpful to understanding Chevalier's positioning of opposites, and this discussion throughout the novel.
e) Is Blake a Christian? We decided yes, but his opposing books of poetry seem to indicate that he struggled with doubt also. Which brought mention of our upcoming sermon series.

Other Discussion:
a) At what point did various member's relationships with their future husbands turn from friendship to romance? This also tied in (inadvertently) to the novel, as Jem and Maggie transition from friendship to romance. Good work, C & L (me)!
b)Is there such a thing as an underwire bra that won't break or poke? This was not tied to discussion of the novel.
c) Are we diametrically opposed to Christian and/or non-fiction books? I reminded the group that Three Cups of Tea, which we read last fall, was non-fiction. And G pointed out also that most of the classics we've read are by Christian authors and/or have Christian world-views.
So we didn't feel so guilty anymore.
d) Sarah Palin did not ban books. She inquired about the process, reportedly solely to be familiar in case she was questioned. NO books were censored or banned.

As we were throwing out book options, I overheard a couple ladies talking about a book that people loved. They were saying it was reminiscent of The Red Violin (movie) in that it traced the history of a certain novel that had had generations of owners. I asked what the title was and was told that people loved this book. Again, I asked what it was called, and got the same answer. Finally, I raised my voice and said something like, "Yes, I know people love the book! I get it! But WHAT IS THE TITLE?"

Turns out that "People of the Book" IS the title. Hmm. Seems to remind me of an old comedy sketch.

Here's what we finally decided on.

October 25th (at my house) - Wicked: The Life & Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire. Going to give this one another shot.

November - The Shack Lots of controversy in the Christian community on this one.

January - Middlemarch Time for a classic! But 912 pages?! Start reading in December - you have two months for this one!


Kim said...

You must have unearthed Middlemarch!

Noel said...

Here is a USA Today article on The Shack from last spring which I shared with the Book Club member in my house: http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2008-05-28-the-shack_N.htm?POE=click-refer.

I heard there was also a story/discussion about strange men leaving comments on blogs written by women. I sure hope that doesn't happen here ;-)

Aaron said...

Too bad the club nixed K&K; I hope you take the time to read it on your own.

Chabon has another book that has much fewer racy parts that the Christian book club might really enjoy: The Yiddish Policeman's Union. Really more of a "guy" book, in that it's in the noir style, but it uses Jewish culture in an extremely odd setting and circumstance.