Again, I’ve fallen behind on reviewing the books my book clubs have discussed. I’m catching up with mini reviews and book club notes on each of them. I’m starting with my Book Club M.
was our book for February. It’s the true story of a man who stayed to help during/after Hurricane Katrina, and the way he (and others) were treated.
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
It’s a story that deserved to be told. It was an interesting tale. I enjoyed it, and was glad I read it.
However, the delivery of the story seemed flat. I’m not sure if the blame is more with the audiobook narrator or the word choice of the author. I’m guessing it is a little of both, with the author having more of an issue.
I’d have liked it more if the story had been a little wider, and if Zeitoun and family didn’t seem quite so perfect.
I was sick, so wasn’t there. One other member was sick as well, which left a very small group to discuss the book. From their comments afterward, I think they all liked it more than I did. It sounds like they didn’t find a lot to talk about, although that might have changed if I was there, since I may have added a different viewpoint on Zeitoun.
was our March book. The book was based on the relationship between Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah Borthwick Cheney.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I thought that this book sounded interesting, but I was wary of reading it– I usually find plots involving infidelity hard to sympathize with. In this case, it didn’t get in my way. I enjoyed it, in spite of characters making decisions that made no sense to me personally (but were consistent with their personalities).
We had a good conversation on Loving Frank.
We enjoyed discussing the how much of this book was based on fact. Several of us had gone to do some research before the meeting, since none of us were familiar with the events mentioned, or even with Frank Lloyd Wright’s work. In particular, none of us saw the ending coming. We were interested to know that the book follows the historical record, as far as it exists. Although some aspects of Wright’s life are well documented, there isn’t a much about Mamah Cheney.
It was interesting to examine how the attitudes of the time influenced the events of the book: if there was not expected for woman to marry, would the situations of the book have arisen in the first place? Did this in any way excuse Mamah’s behaviour? How much could we understand, even if not forgive? Why did the other characters behave in the ways they did?
This is a case where we had a good discussion even though we all enjoyed the book. I know of other people who didn’t like it, and I can understand that. I think the book can lead to a good conversation either way.
was under discussion in May.
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
The concept of this book grabbed me right away: Look back at your life. Pick a point in the past. What if something had gone differently at that point?
I still love the concept, but the execution isn’t what I’d hoped for. It was often difficult to tell which character was supposed to be the author, and what the changes were from her life. Often, her character was a very, very minor player in the story.
Taken as short stories, several of them were very captivating, although others were unmemorable.
I’d like to read another book by Lively, but I can see why this book was tricky to find.
I’d say the group as a whole would agree with what I wrote above. We were all disappointed in the book. We had trouble discussing more than a few of the stories, because they had faded from memory after a few days. (There were a couple that worked well for some of us, and we did spend time on them.)
In spite of this, we had a great meeting, because it led to discussion of turning points in our own lives. If this appeals to you as a way to spend a book club meeting, I’d recommend this book.
For the book club, we are discussing The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood this month, followed by The House on Fortune Street by Margot Livesey and The Soloist by Steve Lopez. I aim to catch up on my other book club’s picks next week.
What has your book club been reading? Tell me here, or leave a link to a post in your blog.