Thursday, January 9, 2014

Tuesday Library Book Group 2013

The Second Tuesday of the Month evening book group read the following titles in 2013. Library blog reviews are linked to titles when available.

January – Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
February  – How it all Began by Penelope Lively   
March  – The Light of Day by Graham Swift
April  – Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
May  – Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
June – Kitchen House by Kathleen Grisson
July – The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
*No meeting in August
September  – Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
October  – Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi
November – The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin and Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
December  – Defending Jacob by William Landay

Our first book, translated from the French, 'Elegance of the Hedgehog' was not generally liked by the group. I think the criticism was that it was a bit preachy and wordy. Rather than really developing the characters or plot, the characters pontificated about philosophy at length. Is it possible that an American audience would prefer to be shown, not told?

'The Night Circus' divided the group firmly into those who loved it and came dressed in black and white with touches of red  (fans are called 'reveurs') and those of us who just don't like fantasy and wished the plot or characters were a little more developed. As Ellen noted in her review, the descriptions of the circus are beautiful and imaginative, but for some readers, that's just not enough to carry the book.

Most of the reading group members seemed to like 'The Language of Flowers' and found it easy to read and to finish, which is not always the case with reading group books.

'Gone Girl', a huge bestseller and book club pick across the country, usually provokes strong reactions in readers. I remember hearing patrons discussing it heatedly at the Circulation Desk. Some readers so dislike the characters, that they choose not to finish the book . Most of our book group members found 'Gone Girl' engrossing even though none of the principal characters is at all sympathetic and the plot beggars belief at times.

The discussion of 'Defending Jacob' was snowed out twice, so we will discuss that at our January meeting.

Leave a comment with your thoughts about these books or email me at and I will post your comment for you.

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