This is another update on the books one of my book clubs has been discussing. I really enjoy reading about what other book clubs are doing, and talking about both of mine. The last update covered our books for my Book Club L from April to August 2010.
Real Life & Liars by Kristina Riggle
I wrote up my review and book club notes at the time our group read Real Life & Liars.
I enjoyed the book and recommend it for book club discussion if your club is looking for a good example of women’s fiction (although I’d now recommend The Weird Sisters as just as good on the character front, but with a little more of a literary feel)
Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese
I kept putting off blogging about Cutting For Stone because I had trouble figuring out what to say. This book is absolutely amazing, and made my Top 10 list for 2010.
It’s harder to say why. Everything about the book is brilliantly executed. I’ve never read a book that gave me such a look into another culture. I loved the depth of all the characters, the major ones and the minor ones. I loved the historical context. I was stunned by the look at our medical system. And so on.
I found this book to be a very slow read, but it wasn’t that I didn’t want to be reading it. It was just so rich that I needed to savor it.
Book Club Notes
Everyone enjoyed the book, and we talked about the reasons why. We didn’t have as rich of a discussion as I would have expected for two reasons. One is that almost no one had finished the book, because it took much longer than expected even for a book of its size. The other is that we met at an Ethiopian restaurant, which was an interesting and distracting experience in and of itself.
The Opposite of Me by Sarah Pekkanan
This is another character-oriented family drama, and I liked this one as well. I like sister stories, and I found this one well executed. I enjoyed the writing, and was not expecting a couple of the twists. The best part of the books was exploring the lifelong relationship between these women, and how it affected who each of them was.
Book Club Notes
Most (but not all) of the group enjoyed the book. One group member found it much to predictable, saying that she’d seen the plot twists from the very beginning, and didn’t see anything else redeeming in the book. Our lone male member was skeptical of the business storyline, and of how reliable our narrator was.
Overall, we found a lot to talk about in the relationship of the sisters and in the life choices they were making.
Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen
I reviewed Mennonite in a Little Black Dress when I read it a year ago. My review brought it to the attention of one of the book club members, who suggested it for discussion.
Book Club Notes
I think everyone enjoyed reading this book, and we appreciated the light-hearted yet respectful look at Janzen’s family and at Mennonite culture in general. The book had us talking about the characters and their motives and about our experiences with religious communities in general and with Mennonites we’ve known.
And that wraps up 2010 for this book club. We’d been starting to feel that too many of our books are falling into a Women’s Fiction, woman conquers problem in her life with help from her dysfunctional but loving family category, which has not traditionally been an emphasis for us (See what we’ve read in the past 11 years), so we’ll see what we pick next time.
I already posted about our first meeting of 2011, where we discussed Miles From Nowhere by Nami Mun. Although character oriented, this definitely isn’t the same kind of book we’ve been reading!
What is your book club reading? Anything we should keep in mind?