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Book Club

bookish all sorts

bookish all sorts

This is a new venture – an online book club.  I am a member of a local book club and I love it.  We all read the same book over a month-ish and then get together with wine and cake and talk about children, the weather, clothes and even sometimes the book.  But I share a love of reading with lots of friends who I don’t see very often but whose recommendations rarely fail me – so, this is a club for them, my regular book clubbers and anyone else who wants to talk about what they are reading, what they think constitutes a good book and anything else reading/book related that pops into heads.  I think perhaps because we all read at different paces and this is not necessarily going to be updated as regularly as I would like, and of course no cake is involved online sadly,  we should simply read, review and recommend or otherwise, books that we are reading, have read etc. Good plan?

Some of the books for my local book club have been really good, Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese being the favourite with everyone, some not so good like The 100 Year Old Man Who…. the title is as irritatingly tedious as the book (apologies to Ron who I gave it to for Christmas).  Our next one is The Great Gatsby.  I didn’t make that evening sadly or would have insisted that the next book be A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry which I am reading now, and was sent as a gift by Alison, co founder of this idea who also recommended The Lonely Polygamist to me, by Brady Udall, while on holiday in Italy.  It was so good I risked the wrath of Ryan Air to bring it home (it’s enormous).

what a lovely thing to receive in the post

what a lovely thing to receive in the post

A Fine Balance is story of a group ordinary people in India during the period just post partition, who are brought together in ways they could not have imagined.  The opening paragraph is so vivid in its description that you are immediately right there, on that train…  “The morning express bloated with passengers slowed to a crawl, then lurched forward suddenly as though to resume full speed.  The train’s brief deception jolted its riders.  The bulge of humans hanging out of the doorway distended perilously, like a soap bubble at its limit”.  What beautiful language. It is sad, funny, horrific, absolutely tragic and eye opening if your knowledge of India is as small as mine is, or was until now (though please don’t test me on it, I have the retention ability of a gnat).

So Great Gatsby anyone?  Inextricably linked to the film with Robert Redford for me, with school girl fantasies of living that life and being a dark, rather plump version of Daisy,  I don’t think I have actually ever read the book.  So here goes (when I have finished A Fine Balance of course).

GG with Robert Redford & Mia Farrow, none of this new fangled disco version for me

GG with Robert Redford & Mia Farrow, none of this new fangled disco version for me

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. alison b permalink
    May 23, 2013 4:44 pm

    Yes!! I am def up for virtual book club! (Closest thing I get to clubbing these days, snigger) will press join button pronto..will also dig out Great Gatsby-have school edition crumbling in book case am sure xxx ps read Heft (Liz Moore) its wonderful

  2. russell walker permalink
    May 23, 2013 10:58 pm

    Well, as I’m lying next to the president of the club right now, I’d better write something intelligent and literary. The fact that I mostly read non-fiction film books might make some of my selections a little off-base. but i’ll try to read some novels for a change that don’t have anything to do with film (anyone up for Day of the Locust by Nathaniel West? Thought I’d sneak that one in).

  3. Susanna permalink
    May 24, 2013 9:29 am

    What a brilliant idea – since I haven’t found a book club in Battersea yet – or, more truthfully, time to join one, this is a damn good substitute. What about an amazing novel I found on my daughter’s shelves the other day: ‘Tender Morsels’ by (hang on while I check) Margo Lanagan. It offers the sort of magic realism I can cope with, infused with the conventions of the fairy tales of Western Europe. Set in an unidentified place and time, it tells the wonderful, sad, funny and powerful story of Liga, and how she survives an abused and tragic childhood, through sheer power of will, to bring up her two daughters in her cottage in the woods, and how the arrival of a mysterious bear who becomes almost a household pet, changes their lives. The language is extraordinary, using rhythms and words drawn from the days of oral story-telling (Beowolf crossed with Andrew Lang’s coloured Fairy Books) in a way which has none of the the tweeness of Tolkein at his worst. It’s believable magic firmly set in a reality which is full of the detail of life lived within the confines of rural life before industrialism of any kind. It’s not perfect – a bit sprawly perhaps – but a fantastic read and gained the ultimate accolade from me – I want to read it all over again now to enjoy the language properly, without needing to rush to know what happens next. However, I will be strong and see if I can find The Great Gatsby somewhere. It will be interesting to know if it’s as bad as I thought it was when I read it at school (long before the Redwood film, Liz). And A Fine Balance sounds amazing too. The only problem is, if I bring one more book into this house, it might just burst – our lovely new bookshelves are already overflowing and there’s no more room in the loo either. And don’t say Kindle at me; I have sworn off Amazon and all its works.

  4. Alison permalink
    May 24, 2013 1:52 pm

    So..um…how does this work then?? Are we all to read The Great Gatsby?? I joined (I think)…what do I do now (#hopelessofwim) xx

    • Liz permalink
      May 30, 2013 10:22 pm

      Yes, Gatsby it is. I have to read it anyway for my on the ground book club. Let us reconvene in say 3 weeks to discuss?

      • alison b permalink
        May 31, 2013 1:06 pm

        Saw movie on Sunday. Was too long. Daisy needed to be more careless. And film score didn’t work for me as appeared to be the only 21st century thing and therefore pointless. Other than that…

  5. June 5, 2013 10:50 am

    Book club, lovely, happy be be involved, I have read the Great Gatsby, a long time ago, and loved it. Will reread and share.
    xx

    • Liz permalink
      June 5, 2013 11:10 am

      welcome Louisa! I still don’t quite know how to actually make this page function but with time… I downloaded GG to my ipad for free – for anyone without a copy who has one of these reading gizmos. Starting reading it tonight.

      Alison – I had a feeling the new movie might not be so good – will still go see I expect, for frocks and pretty faces! I remember the RR and Mia F one so well for the feel of the time and characters. Must re watch. Just finished A Fine Balance – deeply moving and epic and incredible. Plus educational. Thank you again!

  6. Lizzie permalink
    June 30, 2013 3:19 pm

    So, book club fans – I don’t know how to add another post to this page, not being terribly i.t clever, so for now this has to run as a long discussion meandering down the page.

    I finished Gatsby last week, having taken breaks to read other things, watch the new film, and fall asleep too often book in hand. That is not a reflection of what I thought of it though. I struggle slightly to say what I thought of it actually, as the story is so familiar it was quite hard to detach from the film versions and really read the prose properly. It wasn’t until the end, which is so different from the films, that I really began to take notice of the language and the tragic beauty of it the story.

    Half the time I wanted to slap Gatsby for being such an idiot. I think he was deranged really, and what he did would now be called stalking. Of course there was sympathy for him, to a degree, as Daisy was horribly spoiled and thoughtless, and her husband just repulsive. It is a much more tragic book than film, in the films I was distracted by the sets, the dresses, those parties – who wouldn’t want to go to one of those fabulous parties?!

    Nick, the narrator, is one of the most interesting characters for me – neither film does him justice, as i think he used simply as a vehicle for Gatsby and Daisy, like bread for butter. But he is a main character in himself, his relationship with Jordan and his unlikely friendship and liking for Gatsby is curious and worth exploring.

    That’s enough form me – what did you think?

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