Thursday, May 27, 2010

book club selections

Thanks for the suggestions! Here are the choices for next school year, beginning in September.

Island of the Sequined Love Nun by Christopher Moore. I hadn't heard of this author before but that's part of being in a book club: reading something new. This guy sounds nuts, and I hope his humor delivers.

Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage by Elizabeth Gilbert. I just read Eat Pray Love not too long ago and spent the first third of the book wanting to hop on a plane to Naples for pizza. I've heard that Committed - being nonfiction - is much less confessional than her memoir so the style is either more or less appealing depending on what you thought of Eat Pray Love. (Quick aside: I went to Gilbert's site shortly after finishing Eat Pray Love and read that she didn't expect the memoir to be so widely read. I wonder if that expectation - a small audience - freed her to write more for herself than for the book clubs. If you write, you think about things like audience and honesty; the memoir is a slippery and beautiful form. Her Thoughts on Writing is worth reading - glean what you may).

Cooking Dirty by Jason Sheehan. A chef memoir! I might never want to eat at a restaurant again!

The Peep Diaries: How We're Learning to Love Watching Ourselves and Our Neighbors by Hal Niedzviecki. I found this book on Oprah's recommendation list and read the first chapter online. I was going to have my juniors read it as part of our unit on technology (too much? not enough? such a personal relationship we have with our cell phones!), but much of the content was an echo of criticism we'd already read. Essentially, Niedzviecki is calling us out for being self-absorbed and thinking that other people are (or should!) be interested in what we are doing or saying. One chapter in and I'm already wondering why I really blog.

The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver. I didn't start reading Kingsolver until a couple of years ago and my favorite book of hers remains the first that I read, The Poisonwood Bible. This year's book club read Animal Dreams, one of her older novels, and now we're going for more recent Kingsolver.

Better Off: Flipping the Switch on Technology by Eric Brende. I actually read all but the last ten or twenty pages of this memoir a year ago, forgot the book in Colombia, and have yet to finish it. I liked the book a lot and look forward to a reread. It's about a young couple who purposefully spend a year living without modern technologies; an Amish-like community allows them to live within their norms while the couple sorts out what they want and don't want from the modern world. I'm going to hunt around for an update on the couple and their children - I'd like to know what their lifestyle is like now.

Nikolski by Nicolas Dickner. I know very little about this Canadian author but am glad to meet another one, eh. He'll be joined by two other Canadian authors I read occasionally, Margaret Atwood and Timothy Findley.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Recommended by several people. I know little about the book or the author but am looking forward to the story.

The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga. Another book about India to add to my list. One person I know highly recommended the book as an insight into modern Indian culture; since there are many Indians living and working in Kuwait (including our nanny), some understanding of their country and culture is relevent. But another person I know could not even finish the novel. So. I am not sure what to expect.

There you have it: our book club selections. So looking forward to placing a book order soon!


Russ and Monica in Kuwait said...

As someone who really enjoys reading blogs of all sorts, I can say I do enjoy reading yours. However, I have frequently found myself hesitating to create my own blog because it feels somehow self-centered. I feel the same about the Facebook status. I am excited to read and discuss The Peep Diaries. Should be interesting!

DC Running Mama said...

This comes just in time! I have been devouring books lately and don't know where to start! I had Committed on my list a while back, but had forgotten about it. Thanks for the reminder! So, would you suggest Eat Pray Love?

jsmarslender said...

DC - A friend of mine told me to read "Eat Pray Love" awhile ago and I thought it sounded kinda gaggy touchy feely. Then a few more people mentioned the book and when I saw it on another friend's shelf, I borrowed it.

The book is good, but she writes in a very confessional style. Her honesty and openness with readers surprised me at times - it felt like what might happen if any one of us published our diaries. (She is sensitive to the people in her life and doesn't exploit any of her relationships though). Even if I didn't always applaud her philosophy, I still found myself taking bits of insight to think about in regard to my life.

Also, I loved the travel stories in the book. Her description of people and places is worth the read.

Anonymous said...

As usual I am one step behind! I'm currently listening to The Girls from Ames by Jeffrey Zaslow, you may remember he was coauthor of The Last Lecture, which is on my favorite books list. The Help and The Lacuna have been very popular with the book clubs who use the library's assistance in optaining extra copies. Rollene