Tuesday, August 5, 2008

A Neighborhood Book Club

The other day I was browsing at my local Border's book store and I overheard two women asking for a book. The salesperson said the book was constantly sold out and on back order and that she was also dying to read it. I had to know what this fascinating new book was, so after the shoppers moved on I went up to the counter and asked. The constantly-sold-out-book was "Storitelling" by the actress and current reality show muckity-muck Tori Spelling. ARGHHH! If you don't know who she is, she is the daughter of the 70's uber TV producer Aaron Spelling, which is, I'm sure, the only way she got to be an actress. Now she has a reality show that details her marriage and pregnancies as if she's the only person to ever have experienced these things. So she gets to write a best-selling book too? Is my face turning bright green yet? Are my claws showing?
Sorry for the rant, but that little piece of knowledge made me think of all the wonderful books that are out there and all the struggling writers that are sweating blood everyday trying to get published.
The joys of reading a good book are magnified when you are in a book club. I love my neighborhood book club. It started when one of my neighbors was over for a party and I found her in my little writing room/library perusing my books. She said, "We like the same books!" After a chat we decided to start a book club. Now it is four years later and 40 books later and we actually have too many members. (Fourteen or fifteen people is a lot to try to hold an organized discussion, a lot to fit in your living room and an awful lot of wine!)
One of the members has kept track of our choices and there has been a great variety of fiction and non-fiction. Our first book was "Angry Housewives Eating Bon-Bons". That sound like fluff, but it was actually a really nice book about a neighborhood book club. Our most recent book was "Loving Frank" by Nancy Horan, a novel based on the real life of a woman who left her family and ran away with Frank Lloyd Wright. It was a great discussion. Some of the others that I can remember leading to great discussions were:
"A Million Little Pieces" (None of us cared if he exaggerated some of it and we all agreed that Oprah was a bitch to him!)
"My Sister's Keeper" by Jodi Piccoult
"My Life So Far" by Jane Fonda
"The Glass Castle" by Jeannette Walls
"One Thousand White Women" by Jim Fergus
"Water for Elephants" by Sara Gruen
"For One More Day" by Mitch Albom
They even indulged me and read "Flying Over Midnight"
Just to name a few! Three times we read the book and then watched the movie together - "The Notebook", "Must Love Dogs" and "No Country for Old Men".
Any suggestions for our next book?


Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

It just fries me too when people get published because they are famous. It's all about the marketing, not about the book.

Has your group read The Friday Night Knitting Club? I just finished it, and I think it would be perfect for a book club.

Water for Elephants is next on my list.

AmyS. said...

Hey Diane~

you all seem to read the same things we do in my book club. Try: A Thousand Splendid Suns
The Space Between Us
Beneath a Marble Sky
I Know This Much is True (older and long, but a good read)

We're getting ready to read Three Cups of Tea, which I hear is good.

Choralgirl said...

Got two--"Jayber Crow" by Wendell Berry (it's like a hammock, a prayer and a glass of iced tea on a summer afternoon) and "Lamb: the Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal" by Christopher Moore (it'll make you laugh until you wet yourself, and it's really well researched!). My book group has done both and pretty universally loved 'em.

CJM-R said...

I love the idea of a neighborhood book club, how fun!

Diane said...

I just read "The Double Bind." I would highly recommend that one. Our book group read Tall Grass, by Sandra Dallas, in June.

Cheryl said...

Peace Like a River by Leif Enger. My book club read it and it led to one of our best discussions.