Tuesday, August 3, 2010

How Did Book Club Go? A Mini-Discussion of The Little Stranger

It's interesting to me that some books get more of a book-club pop than others. Though we only have 8-12 folks show up for discussion, The Little Stranger went from selling 1-2 copies per week in June to 4-5 per week in the last month. In addition to being on the new paperback table, the book does get a face out in our heavily browsed book club case. It's a nice side benefit of the meeting.

All in all, the group liked The Little Stranger by about 3 to 1, though there were certainly several attendees who might have cut 100 pages. We liked the look at the class system in England and how the almost feudal nature of England persisted until after World War II, much longer than several of us imagined.

There was some interesting thoughts on repressed sexuality, and of course, how can you discuss a book that Stephen King called his favorite of 2009 without analyzing its supernatural elements. Our crowd is a little on the rational side (for the most part), so it would be interesting to hear a book discussion where most of the attendees favored explanations from the other side.

Like many books we read, this one seemed to be filled with homages to past works, particularly The Turn of the Screw and The Fall of the House of Usher. Nancy could not attend, but she sent me an interesting email filled with insights. And since she is our resident expert on F. Scott Fitzgerald, she illuminated the Fitzgerald connections as well.

I expected at least one of the Carolines to recognize Caroline as the hero, but no, that duty was left to me and Chris. I thought everyone would agree with me that she was the most sympathetic character, but it turned out not to be the case.

Our upcoming book club schedule:

Monday, August 28th, 7 PM (special date)
This is Where I Leave You, by Jonathan Tropper
My favorite book that I haven't read of 2009. I'm very sad that I am out of town for this. The other thing I find so interesting is that Tropper seems like a totally different writer when published by Dutton than he did when published by Bantam. Why is that?

Monday, October 4th, 7 PM
A Short History of Women, by Kate Walbert
I read her short stories many years ago, but have yet to read one of her novels. How exciting!

Monday, November 1st, 7 PM
Zeitoun, by Dave Eggers
And yes, I have never, ever read a full-length work by Eggers. Another breakthrough!

As always, this is an open group. Like the book and want to talk about it more? Come join us.

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