Discussible Choices: What Are You Reading? September 2011

Congratulations to Lynn and Wine, Women & Books for winning the random drawings for this month’s Discussible Book Choice!

We enjoy hearing from book club members who share with everyone the book choices that made for lively discussions.. Please let us know what about the book contributed to your great discussion – you may win a book-related prize for every member of your reading group!

“All of our group enjoyed Olive Kitteridge, and usually a book that everyone likes does not make for good discussion.  This book went against that trend, mostly I think because Olive was such a strong personality and each person related to her differently.  For some who found her unlikable, they could relate her to someone they knew and looked for excuses for her behavior.  Others thought she was spirited and wished they had her kind of spark, even though misdirected at times.  The setting was interesting to most, as our members generally live in a large urban area.  I live in more of a small town, so could explain how a town like Olive's affects behavior and opinions of the residents.  Our discussion was wide ranging and interesting, but because most readers enjoyed the book, it was not polarizing or acrimonious.”

Lynn, Wine, Women & Books, Clarkston, MI

More Discussible Book Choices

“Our book club entertained a very insightful and lively discussion of The Postmistress by Susan Blake.  With several members having ties and/or memories of The Blitz, it was good to have their input.  It is a story that involves many layers - love, death, lies and questions of how we as humans can label stigmas, even to this day.  I would strongly recommend this novel to book clubs who can appreciate a well-written story that entertains history with good writing.”

Bree, Taylor Tales, Butte, MT

“We just finished a lively discussion about The Women by T.C. Boyle.  Boyle does a terrific job of taking us into Frank Lloyd Wright's world. Anyone who enjoyed Loving Frank will appreciate learning about Frank's other women. Miriam's story is can't-put-down interesting! Boyle is at the top of his form. Lots to discuss.”

Linda, Thursday Ladies Book Club, Moorpark, CA

The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas. Most of the group disliked the book, but it generated a lively discussion on the current perception of typical Australian cultural values which certainly raised some heckles between various members.”

Jeniwren, Ann's Bookgroup, Greigs Flat, New South Wales, Australia

Homer and Langley by E.L. Doctorow. We had never heard of these brothers.  They led an interesting life. Doctorow used the real events to create a portrait of our society during the last century. The topics of hoarding, living off the grid and brotherly love were all discussed. Our group is made up of men and women, and this novel was a hit with all of us.”

Sandra, The Gammy Birds, Oak Park, IL

“We have enjoyed discussing a variety of mysteries from different eras, from A.C. Doyle to Robert Crais. Recently, we discussed The Dante Club, by Matthew Pearl. Although there were some literary and historical references that the members found challenging to keep track of, our discussion was enjoyable, because I think there was a lot of elements that could be related to the modern reader's experience. Probably the group's favorite has been Robert Crais's book The Watchman. We all agree that discussing books with others adds a great dimension to reading.”

Catherine, Book Club for Adults, Chillicothe, IL

“We recently read Clara and Mr. Tiffany by Susan Vreeland.  We enjoyed discussing the time period (turn of the 20th century) and women's roles in the workplace.  This story is based on a historical figure, Clara, who worked in the Tiffany Studios and was instrumental in the design of the first Tiffany style lamps for which Tiffany is known.  The book richly details the work necessary to create such beautiful art.”

Diana, Tadlock Plantation Book Club, Raleigh, NC

“Our book club read Pictures at an Exhibition and held a speakerphone discussion with the author, Sara Houghteling. Our favorite and most enjoyable discussion topics were our discovery of the author's Jewish background and its influence on the work (especially since it wasn't clear from the book and her last name). We also enjoyed discussing the nature and motivations of the book's characters, especially since there was some mystery surrounding it.”

Rhonda, Stamford Chapter of Hadassah Book Club, Stamford, CT

“One of our most enjoyable and different discussions was on Boomsday. This book was very different from the typical book club selection. We were able to discuss ageism, father-daughter relations, political promises, and more. Very lively discussion!”

Barbara, Dames with Wine and Proses, Plano, TX

“A book our group read that created an enjoyable discussion was Room by Emma Donaghue. The story of 5-year-old Jack and his mom who were forced to live their lives in a shed that was the "room". One of our members found the subject matter "icky" and said she just hated the book.  Everyone seemed to have a comment in defense of the book to convince her she might be wrong. She did sway, but we were unable to make her bend. I think we got more insight and discussion out of this book than we have in a long time.  We found we don't all have to agree to enjoy a book.”

Dee, French River Readers, Duluth, MN

“Our group recently did the play Hasty Heart by John Patrick. The leader for the evening did a very unique thing. She asked for volunteers to read parts and then had parts read which dealt with the questions she wanted to discuss. As an example: we discussed the ethics of the doctor in the play when he decided not to tell his patient that he had only a month or so to live. All the sections of the play that dealt with that aspect were then read, and we discussed the question. The leader went through an incredible amount of work in setting it up, but what a wonderful way to discuss a play.”

Jane, Excelsior Book Club, Excelsior, MN

“Best discussion lately: Edna Ferber's So Big.”

Susannah, Books Sandwiched In, Norwalk, CT

“My reading group enjoyed this book so much. I personally loved the book and thought the story was believable and the characters seemed real, however not all of us agreed. It was great to hear different opinions as to the author’s perception.  Great discussion! And we cannot wait to see the movie together too!”

Jessica, The Readers, Thornton, CO

Sarah's Key. Shanghai Girls. Good stories, but we also learned things we had not known.”

Barbara, All Faiths Book Club, Monroe, GA