Monday, February 21, 2011

It's Book Club Day

I am two discs shy of finishing The Corrections. I might take the book club advice from Date Night (which had only a couple of funny moments to me) and read "the first thirty pages and the last page" of The Thirteenth Tale. My mom said I wasn't missing much and she liked The Corrections more.

The Corrections is, ultimately, an observation of a family whose members are living out the results of some really bad choices. My audio bookmark is at the point where the sister has broken up a family by sleeping with both the wife and the husband. She seems really messed up. But an excellent chef, apparently.

Oh, and the father is very ill and seems to be hallucinating that he is being taunted by an evil piece of poo.

If that's the kind of writing that gets an author acclaimed, I might as well throw away my unfinished efforts and start over.

Anyway, I will be taking my opinions and some book recommendations to the meeting tonight. Angela recommended a few that looked interesting, including a short read which might be very agreeable after this recent doubling-up.

I'll let you know what all goes down. Including whether or not it will be snowing when we finish, as predicted by the current weather forecast!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Book 1, Disc 3

O.K., I'm up to the third disc of The Corrections. I'm starting to get the idea about the theme of corrections.

Disc 2 talked about a proposed drug called "Correct-All" (at least that's how I think it's spelled, and yes, there is some talk about how it sounds like a certain other drug) whose formula originated in a long-ago patented formulation by the patriarch character.

I'd guess I'm about a third of the way through Disc 3, and there's a flashback to when the two now-adult sons were younger, and there's a comment that their desire to throw their arms around their father's legs upon his return from a business trip had been "corrected out of them." Sad.

Now I'm slogging through what I hope is the tail end of the flashback, where the younger son was left at the dinner table all night because he refused to eat his dinner. There's this long crazy equation of the unappealing food with his life, and all I could think was, "Come on! The kid's in first grade!"

This story seems to be growing in sadness the more I wade into it.

Also, I can't wait to bring up the "spouses resent each other" topic with all the married/divorced members in the group.

That oughta be good for at least ten minutes of discussion.

Monday, February 7, 2011

February's Book 1

Due to a miscommunication about January's reading, for our next meeting we are required to have read not one but two books.

The first book--the one some people accidentally read for January--is The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen. I remembered reading a review of his latest novel and feeling a bit apprehensive, but book club requirements are book club requirements. (I'm not one of those people who can fake having read a book unless I'm booktalking to a bunch of kids.)

Sometimes I find that if I'm wary of a book, or not willing to devote my full literary attention to it, I borrow it on audio from the library. That's what I did with all three books in the Hunger Games trilogy. I run a Walkman CD player through my car's tape deck and listen as I drive. It's about a half hour to school in the morning, and usually longer to get home, between rush hour and any errands diverting my route home.

That's right: I'm a grown-up who stills likes someone to read to me every once in a while.

It took a long time to get through Disc 1 (of nine) of The Corrections, partly because I had to put the radio on to listen to the news as I traveled in bad weather frequently this past week. Now I'm at the top of Disc 2. The actor (award-winning Dylan Baker) who reads it is very expressive, and while he doesn't make his voice really weird to be the voices of the female characters, he has a way of distinguishing them and their mannerisms that is kind of charming and very entertaining.

So far I don't hate it. It's not really my cup of tea in terms of the frequent talk of disordered things like affairs between professors and students, drug experimentation, and the like as if they are normal, everyday things. (I'll have more to say about that later.) But it's got colorful characters, some of whom I'm starting to like or at least take an interest in, and some neat turns of phrases. The story's getting going.

At least, I think it is.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

I Say I Joined, but Really I Had No Choice

If you lament to your mother that you can't seem to find any places to make friends often enough, eventually she will talk you into coming to her neighbor's book club.

A half hour into the meeting, you're accepting the offer of a refill on your wine glass to take the edge off the bombardment of "girl talk"--or rather the talk of married/divorced women my age and older. Including Mom.

After we talk about the book for about five to ten minutes, of course.

* * * *

I'll get into the more specific details of how I came to join the Neighborhood Book Club in the next post, but for now here's the gist of why I started this blog:

1. I like to read and I like talking about books I've read.

2. Book clubs make people read books they probably would never read in a million years--at least, in my case it is true. (So get ready for some rants and hopefully a few "pleasantly surprised" admissions.)

3. The Twist: I am the only single, never-married woman in the group. (And possibly the youngest but I can't confirm without point-blank asking everyone).

4. The Sub-Twist: Most of the members live in my parents' neighborhood--i.e., my childhood home. And a few members are longtime residents. (Prepare for some awkward moments.)

So, pour yourself a nice beverage, pull out your library card, your Amazon account, or your Kindle, and stay tuned for reading notes, meeting minutes, and all the surrounding drama/hilarity/insanity.

Because there will be some of each at every month's meeting.