Tag Archives: literature

Book Club for Winos — Room

It’s been a while since I’ve posted about a book. Now that the holidays are over and we’ve all had more time to relax in general, we had nearly 100% of the club actually read a book again. And we even talked about it!

Room by Emma Donoghue is unlike any book I’ve read before. It is written through the eyes of a 5-year-old boy who has lived his entire life in a room with his mom. They’re kept there by a creepy old man who brings them food and an occasional “Sunday Treat.” It’s pretty amazing to experience how the mom has worked to give her son the most normal life possible with little more than a tv, a few books  and a skylight.

Unfortunately, the book climaxes pretty early. The first half is great, and you absolutely can’t put it down. But once something big happens, it starts to slow down. I still enjoyed the second half, and the psychological learnings in it, but it does lose the thrill that made it a real page-turner in the first half.

It’s a book you’ll want to talk about with your friends. In fact, it might break the record for the longest our club has ever talked about one book.

I say, “definitely read it, just be ready for a change of pace in the second half.” Book club says, “Starts off feeling like the greatest book ever…overall it’s still worth reading.”

Up next...Water for Elephants.

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Book Club For Winos — The Beach House

Well, book club this week turned out to be on the lighter side. Just 4 of us, and only 2 who had finished the book.

Honestly though, it’s unfortunate that more people didn’t read it. The book we chose, The Beach House by Mary Alice Monroe, was great.

If you’re looking for something lighthearted and easy-to-read, that also has depth, this is it. It’s a simple premise about a woman who leaves her busy life in Chicago to visit her mom at her childhood home down in South Carolina. It intertwines family, friendship, romance and self-awareness with a unique parallel to the journey of sea turtles and their offspring. You felt like you knew every character, and were happy to be a part of their lives.

It was one of those books you just finish with a sigh and a smile.

I say it’s the perfect book to relax with. And my solo survey of one would agree.

Next Up… Little Bee by Chris Cleave

(here’s hoping I can conjure up a bigger focus group of opinions for this one ;)

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Book Club for Winos

I’ve found it surprisingly difficult to find a good, easy-to-ready blog about books –  specifically books that match the interests of my wine-motivated book club. I’m sure they’re out there, I just haven’t had the time or patience to look hard enough. If I had that extra time on my hands, I would love to devote my own blog to the compelling dynamics of our club, and the books we choose to devour (and by devour I mean read passionately, not read at all, read a little, skim and/or just give up and watch the movie…).

But, lo and behold…there aren’t enough hours in my day. So that time-consuming pipe dream will now be a recurring post on my blog. After all, what we choose to read – and whom we spend our nights drinking wine and chatting for hours with – really is a transparent piece of our own Living Rooms.

Now, to reword an annoyingly overused (and overly paraphrased) tagline, “What happens at book club, stays at book club.” Don’t get me wrong…us girls don’t do anything crazy. But we definitely get chatty (like I said, it’s a wine-motivated book club). And since the girls in the club aren’t sitting around writing blogs about me, I don’t think I should be writing about them.

I do, however, love a good book review. And I figured you might like one too. We try our best to read a book a month. But being a mix of hard-working teachers, sales-reps, writers, bartenders, wives, mothers and mothers-to-be, that doesn’t always happen.

So here are my thoughts – with a touch of my recollected feedback from my book club companions – about what we have read in the past 6 or so months…

1. Eat, Pray, Love

If you’re still in Italy, put  down the book and go to the theater…it doesn’t get any better. I likened the book to grabbing a drink with an old friend you haven’t seen in a while, and spending the entire night listening to her pout about how hard it was to spend three months eating great food, seeing beautiful places and meeting new men…and as she rambled away, all that my cynical mind could think was, “really you got divorced and when all your money ended up with your lawyers, you came up with a clever marketing scheme to get rich, and see the world. This pinot better be on you.”

Now, I have heard a lot of people say they liked it. And I did like the idea of the book. But, I feel like it lacked depth. I can see how the movie would be much, much better (a rarity), as so much is based on the beauty of these three cultures (Italy, India and Indonesia). And of course, it’s been a while since we’ve gotten to see Julia Roberts shine her pearly whites.

The book wasn’t for me. The overall response from book club — “eh.”

 

  2. The Glass Castle

 

Now this is a memoir worth reading!  I so, so, sooo loved this book! My favorite book-club choice by far.

Just imagine the most self-absorbed, nonsensical, outrageous couple you know…and give them 4 children. The world these kids were brought up in is almost too outrageous to believe, but that’s what makes the story so spectacular. Seriously, you couldn’t make this stuff up. It not only dips deep into your imagination, but makes you stop and think about nature vs. nurture along with what goes on among some aspect of our nation’s homeless population (I’m not in any way saying that all those in poverty live this way).  The book is written by one of the 4 kids in the family, and I thought she was brilliant.

I highly recommend this read. The overall response from book club — “wow.”*

*…”wow” is from what  I recall. One or two might have thought it was just, “okay.”

 

3. The Help

Interesting premise. Kept my attention. It wasn’t the greatest book I’ve ever read, but everyone else in book club really, really enjoyed it.

Set in the 60’s, it’s a very clever story told from three points of view — one, a wealthy, white southern girl; the other two, the hired “help.” It definitely felt inspirational, and had some great historical relevance that helps people from my generation get a glimpse about how much our parents and grandparents have seen and overcome. The dialect was a little tricky for me at first, and I felt like some of the parts were just left hanging, but I still think it’s worth the read. I can see my own children having to read this for a literature class some day.

I say check it out. The overall response from book club — “a must read!”

 

4. The Other Boleyn Girl

Deception, romance, royalty…I was so engrossed in this book.

I’ve never really known much about this family, so, to me, this book was an absolute page-turner.  However, since a lot of the girls in my book club had either watched The Tudors or seen The Other Boleyn Girl movie, they found the book to be long and slow. So if you know what happens, it’s probably not worth picking up. But, if you’re like me, and this is all new to you, definitely read it.

I say if you’re curious, read it. The overall response from book club — “we knew what happened.”

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Have you read any of these books and agree/disagree? Let me know! I’d love to hear your thoughts!

 Have any ideas on what we should read next? We’re always looking for something new, so let me know if you have any suggestions!

Our next book club is around the corner. We read The Beach House by Mary Alice Monroe. I thought it was fantastic, but I’ll wait till I’m with the girls to give a review.

Happy reading!

– Emily

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