Book Club

We had a very fun meeting last Tuesday. We did it a little differently this time. Instead of choosing one book, we all read whatever we wanted and then reported back. What a great variety! I think I will post the list of all the books that were mentioned.

Doulicia's titles:
Margaret Charles Smith. Listen to me good: the life story of an Alabama midwife.
Chris Turner. Planet Simpson: how a cartoon masterpiece defineed a generation.
Mary Kroeger. Impact of birthing practices on breastfeeding.
George Saunders. Civilwarland in bad decline: stories and a novella.
George Saunders. Pastoralia.

Dawn's titles:
Stephen Greenblatt. Will in the world: how Shakespeare became Shakespeare.
Mireille Guiliano. French women don't get fat: secrets for enjoying food, having fun, and being thin.
Karen Joy Fowler. The Jane Austen book club.
Amin Maalouf. Leo Africanus.

Erin's titles:
Susan Orlean. My kind of place.
Louisa May Alcott. Little women.
Lynne Truss. Eats, shoots & leaves: the zero tolerance approach to punctuation.

Julie's titles:
Temple Grandin. Animals in translation.
William Makepiece Thackeray. Vanity fair.
Dorothy L. Sayers. Gaudy night.

Leslie's titles:
Patrick O'Brian. The fortune of war.

Tish's titles:
Monica Ali. Brick lane.
Jhumpa Lahiri. The namesake.
Haruki Murrakami. Kafka on the shore.
Lian Hearn. Tales of the Otori: Across the nightingale floor; Grass for his pillow; and Brilliance of the moon.
Ellis Peters. Brother Cadfael mysteries.
Mary Roach. Stiff: the curious lives of human cadavers.
Ben Okri. The famished road.
Ben Okri. Songs of enchantment.

Yeah, I only actually managed to read one book in its entirety during the month of February. That's because I really was one fried mommy. The one book I managed to finish was the Temple Grandin, which my mom lent me. Vanity Fair, well, gee, what more can I say?

The book by Temple Grandin was fascinating. In case you haven't heard, she is the autistic woman who is an expert on animal husbandry. Among other things, she travels around the country to various slaughterhouses and advises them on how they can be more humane. She believes that animals think similarly to autistic people, and that is why she understands them so well. She has a lot of neurology and brain anatomy to back her up, as well as some terrific anecdotes. But the best part, I thought, was the autobiographical bits. Very, very interesting.

So, after a while we got to talking about mysteries and, gee, somehow I managed to bring up Lord Peter Wimsey, oh, be still my beating heart! Gaudy Night is The Best Book Ever. It's not a mystery. Oh, there's a mystery in it, but the crime is only vandalism. Really, it's a novel of ideas, and the ideas are totally relevant today even though it was written in, what, the 1920s? It's about women who struggle to balance academic careers with families and try to define their priorities, and what happens when their priorities go against the societal grain. Oh, and did I mention, too? It's a romance. I'm not big on romance novels, but Lord Peter and Harriet? Sigh.


  • First, I am so envious of the people who read all those books in one month!

    Second, you've re-sparked my interest in Grandin's book. I first came across her in a book by Oliver Sacks, and I was intrigued by her work with slaughterhouses. Her book sounds fascinating!

    posted by Blogger Suzanne on 1:34 PM  

  • how old is your book club, suzanne? how did you get it to be what it is? i have a book club but have had some trouble keeping membership up.

    posted by Blogger Thomas on 6:03 PM  

  • Oops. Just to clarify, we didn't actually read every single book on the list, but these were all the titles that came up in the course of the evening's conversation. That Tish is pretty amazing. I hadn't even heard of many of her authors. Suzanne, I wish you would read the Grandin. The question I would ask you is: do you think her writing style is at all different or unusual because of her autism? I sort of think it is, but I'm not sure. Plus, she had a co-author.

    posted by Blogger Julie on 9:11 PM  

  • Temple Grandin. Animals in translation.
    I want to read that one! :)

    posted by Blogger mrsd on 9:30 PM  

  • I'm glad you're enjoying your book club, Julie. Interesting list of books. I founded a book group several years ago, but everyone except me has moved. I haven't been able to put effort back into forming one. I have joined others in the interim. I'm currently in between book groups b/c of job schedules. I greatly miss it!

    posted by Blogger Green-Eyed Lady(GEL) on 9:17 PM