Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Book Groups? Pay attention!

Recently, one my sisters asked me for recommendations for her book group.  Below is an edited version (without most of the family in jokes) of my reply to her.  Book Clubs, pay attention!

" I loved The Little Women Letters.   It's a really fun book especially for people who read the original Little Women.  Nothing too terribly shocking or wrenching here but a LOT of funny conversations!  The book sort of reminds me of dinner at Mom and Dad's when we are - most of us - in a good mood."
For those of you, not familiar with this book, here's a quick summary.  A great-great-?-granddaughter of Jo March finds some letters of her famous great-x-grandmother in the attic of her parents' home in London.  The letters dovetail with the family drama surrounding the main character, her two sisters, their various love interests/careers/friends and their parents.

My response continues
 "A book that will definitely make  the book club circuit is The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh.  The main character is someone who is so damaged by her life in foster care that she finds it easier to use flowers to communicate - using the Victorian language of the flowers.  I mean, she talks but about emotional stuff she uses flowers.  This book is HOT right now. 

And here's a book just out this month that is a total change of pace but absolutely riveting - Lost in Shangri-La by Mitchell Zuckoff.  IN 1945, in New Guinea, a plane of GIs and WACs took off for a "pleasure flight" to fly over a valley, populated by Stone Age possibly cannibalistic natives,  that had never been charted.  They crashed.  This is the true story of the three survivors and how they were rescued.  There's good reporting here and interesting anthropology and the way they were finally carried out of that valley is breath-taking.  This book was so, SO good once I got into it.

I just got, in the mail, two books that look intriguing.  I started both of them.  The Last Testament: a Memoir by GOD is a funny tell-all look at God's existence handed down by the Big Man Himself to a lowly author named David Javerbaum.  Oops, it's not out until November. 

Another one due out in October that I HAVE - ALREADY - because I am the book GODDESS!!  Or Book Saint!  Is The Train of Small Mercies by David Rowell.  This book follows several people who want to watch the funeral train of Robert F. Kennedy as it makes it way to Washington DC.  Did you know that the last thing he said was "Is everybody all right?"  This is going to be a book club favorite, I think.  I have started it and the characters are people who are easy to care about.

A book that I gave to Mom but did not read myself - I started it and the writing is very nice - is The Soldier's Wife by Margaret Leroy.  It takes place in the Guernsey Islands during WWII so comparisons with The Potato Peel Pie Society  are inevitable.  Mom said that the ending made it all worth while.

Right now, I am preparing for a book review session that is being billed as "Best Books for Children's and Teens - 2011 by Karen Maurer".  Josh Berk - an author and also a librarian - has asked me to do a Tri-District Meeting and that's what he wants to call my presentation.  I have fans.  Well, one far.  Or maybe he can't get anyone else to do a presentation?......NAH!  Anyway, I will NOT be reading a lot of books for adults in the next two months...."

My sister then reminded me of another book, recently reviewed here, Before Ever After by Samantha Sotto - a first book for her.  This is a fantastic romance/travelogue/time travel-though-not-really look at life, death and "happily ever after".  I found the ending a bit unsatisfying, I think, but I am not a true romance devotee. 

So, book clubs, I think you have some good choices here.  Scroll back through my earlier posts for other suggestions.

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