Friday, August 23, 2013

The Latest and Greatest from Book Club

I'm a bit behind in my book club summaries.

May: So May was a bit of a fiasco.  I was hosting, but I missed April and everyone forgot so they picked a new book.  I didn't know about it and I read the book I'd told everyone during the March meeting.  I read Turn Right at Machu Picchu by Mark Adams.  (Complete with Peruvian snacks at my house for the meeting... oh well!)

In June we read The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. That was not an easy book.  It the story of a young women with cancer and focuses primarily of her struggle to connect/disconnect with the world in light of her illness.  It's a young adults book and as I read it, I wondered how old I would want my children to be before they read such a book (the answer clearly being dependant on the child).  I'm glad I have quite a few years before I'll have to address such questions.

As an aside, another thing struck me was that the main character is hesitant to reveal a book that has had a significant impact on her life because doing so reveals so much about her.  The more I thought about this, the more I realized how true it is.  The books that we love do tell others a great deal about us, probably more than we realized sometimes.  I suppose the same could be said for our preferences in other media realms, but at least for me, books have a special place and the impact tends to be more profound and lasting.

In July we read Where'd You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple.  I overall enjoyed the book.  There were aspects that annoyed me, but I enjoyed the story as long as I didn't take it too seriously.

This month, we read  Life After Life by Kate Atkinson and my goodness it was a headfull! The first problem is that I tend to read on several devices (primarily my iPad and my phone).  I sometimes have sync issues and end up rereading part of the book.  This is pretty much the worst book for that problem.  The story restarts again and again with minor variations each time.  You can imagine how frustrating that was given my sync problem.  "Did I read this one yet? No it's different... right? Wait.." Even without the sync issue I think I would have been annoyed at the restarts and trying to keep track of what year it was and how old the main character was and in what state of alive/dead.  I was so confused by one character that I've enlisted Gavin to read the book in hopes of gaining some clarity. (He's expressed similiar furstration with the story layout).

I have a quirk that makes some people crazy.  When I'm reading a book, I'll occasionally stop and read the last chapter.  Ms. Semple saved me the trouble by writing the last chapter first.  So the entire book, you know where you are ultimately going, but you can't help feeling like you're being drug two steps forwards and one step back over and over.

I think the book has potential for some very interesting conversations and is therefore a great book club book.

1 comment:

  1. I read The Fault in Our Stars recently as well (well, listened to it..) I really enjoyed it! "Okay? Okay."

    Young Adult typically means anywhere from age 12 or 13 through 18 with the median age range being about 15-18. Obviously I can't speak as a parent, but speaking as a youth/teen librarian, don't underestimate the level of understanding and intellectual ability that kids around that age have. I would have no problem recommending that book to someone 13 or 14+ (yes, also depending on the person, but as a general statement).

    John Green wrote this book as a result from his experience working as a student chaplain in a children's hospital. It's pretty heavy, but it's real. On a side note, they just started filming on the movie :-)

    I hadn't really heard of the first one, and I've SEEN that Atkinson book but knew nothing about it. I've been wanting to read Where'd You Go, Bernadette, but my immediate TBR (to be read) pile is immense....)