Sunday, July 27, 2008

Book Club Meeting reminder!

Hi everyone! I wanted to remind you that our first monthly book club is meeting on Friday, August 1st. This month's book is PARALLEL LIVES, by Phyllis Rose.

PARALLEL LIVES: FIVE VICTORIAN MARRIAGES is a nonfiction look at five high-profile Victorian marriages: those of George Eliot and George Henry Lewes, Charles Dickens and Catherine Hogarth, John Stuart Mill and Harriet Taylor, Thomas Carlyle and Jane Welsh, and John Ruskin and Effie Gray. As I mentioned, the book is easily divided and dipped into and out of, so if you're short for time and one of those famous authors interests you in particular, I would highly recommend you give it a shot even in part. If you have more time to put down to the book, there are some really fascinating conclusions about marriage in general and Victorian marriages in all their particular splendor. I hope you'll stop by during the day on Friday (or after) if you've read the book, read part of the book, or are interested in the topic of the book. I, for one, had a lot of fun with my reading.

This is how the meeting is going to work. Since I might be the only one who's read the book, I'm going to write a short synopsis, my thoughts, and some discussion questions (which will be heavily biased toward things that interest me).

Anyone who has read the book is welcome to critique my take, and anyone who hasn't read the book is encouraged to read and participate as they see fit. I'm only featuring books that I already know I like for some reason, so you can consider any book club meeting an Ass-inine recommendation.

Also, I'm ready now to announce some of our future book club picks so people can plan ahead! First, I had a little fangirl moment on Friday when I saw that Andromeda Romano-Lax, the author of my FAVORITE BOOK OF 2007 BY FAR, had left a comment on my blog post!! That book, by the way, is THE SPANISH BOW, a fantastic debut novel about a Catalan boy born at the turn of the 20th century and his very eventful life traveling around Spain as a concert cellist. Which means she apparently visited my blog! So, to celebrate Andromeda and the fact that the paperback of THE SPANISH BOW is apparently being released on September 5, it will be our October 1 Book Club selection. I'm looking forward to rereading it.

This leaves the September 1 selection (and future selections) yet to be determined. Actually, to be honest, I have a couple of ideas already, but my point here is please email me if you have suggestions. There aren't any rules to my whims and fancies, but generally: Books I'll tend to like and go for will usually be literary fiction or nonfiction, and I love historical and/or cultural elements. I also like to support debut authors (like Andromeda) or overlooked or forgotten masterpieces (like PARALLEL LIVES, which was published in the early 80s). So yeah, shoot me some suggestions. I know you all have them.


Precie said...

Well, I'll be at the book club. I read the Eliot/Lewes chapter first, of course. But I look forward to the Mill/Taylor chapter too. And to the others. Kinda feels like home to me. :)

If I think of any sept suggestions, I'll let you know.

JES said...

If you like historical non-fiction of the forgotten-masterpieces variety, you might take a look at Simon Winchester's The Professor and the Madman. (It first came out in the late '90s, I think, and is still in print -- most recently reissued a couple years ago. So "forgotten" might be a stretch.)

The subtitle says it all: "A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary."

(Since you're just now doing non-fiction, though, it might be better suited for consideration a few months down the road. rather than as the September choice.)

Andromeda Romano-Lax said...

Well of course I read your blog! Doesn't everybody? Thanks very much for picking The Spanish Bow as a book club read (good timing, with the paperback edition out) and when we get closer, I would be more than happy to answer any readers' questions, engage in any lively debates (music, politics, the state of publishing, what it's like to be a first-time author), or just talk about how close we've each gotten to Michael Chabon. I sat right next to him (gulp, sweat) when he visited Alaska after publishing Yiddish Policemen's Union, a GREAT book. (Being Alaskan, and Jewish, and having spent lots of time in Sitka, where the novel is set, I feel extra pride in that particular Chabon novel.)

Andromeda Romano-Lax said...

Oops -- I should have said "with the paperback edition (of The Spanish Bow) COMING out" (in early September).

Moon said...

awesome!! that would be really special.

moonrat said...

and, upon reflection, precie, it might just be you and me. that's ok, elite groups are my favorite kinds of groups of all.

Julia said...

I can't wait. Parallel Lives is one of my favorite books ever.

I'd be totally up for a Spanish Bow book club!

Ello said...

I didn't have any time to read it but I will read all of your wonderful and fascinating comments. Even spoilers. Actually, I like spoilers so let them rip!!!