Friday 8 October 2010

My Book Club Selection

You will have to excuse this post as it was written a couple of days in advance. I wanted to share with you the books that I have chosen to be selected from for my book club. I wanted to write the post before the event, as I didn't want to be biased towards the book chosen. If you are reading this post, then the book club would have occurred last night and I will tell you how it went next week. The idea of this post is for you to try and guess which book we chose.
Firstly let me tell a little bit about my book group. To be honest they range from all walks of life and vary in age from early thirties to retirement age. They all enjoy reading, but are looking to read outside their comfort zone.
I wanted to choose books that best reflected my reading choices as well as a little something for the season. I changed the books I had chosen quite a few times and finally decided on Wednesday which books I would choose. Here are my final six.

1) The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud was brought back to my attention after watching the adverts for the new film made about the book. Here is the blurb from Wikipedia.

Two brothers, Charlie (15) and Sam (12) decide to go to watch a baseball game. They "borrow" their neighbor's car. Charlie decides to chase the moon to let Sam have a good time. On the way there they cannot decide which CD to listen to. They get into an accident, and Sam is killed. Thirteen years later, Charlie has grown up and is working at the Marblehead cemetery. Every evening at dusk he goes to a nearby forest where he plays with Sam. Charlie has the gift of seeing ghosts. This serves him well as an undertaker, as he can talk with the deceased.

2) The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
I chose this one as I have been wanting to read Ishiguro for ages. I couldn't decide between this one and Never Let Me Go and decided that this one may be more well known due to the film released with the same title.
Here is the blurb from Wikipedia.
The story is told from a first person point of view. The narrator Stevens, a butler, recalls his life in the form of what appears to be a long letter to an unknown person – possibly another butler – while the action progresses through the present. Much of the novel is concerned with Stevens's professional and, above all, personal relationship with a former colleague, the housekeeper Miss Kenton.

3) Notes On A Scandal by Zoe Heller. As I have a couple of teachers coming to the book club, I thought this one might be of interest to them as it is set in a school.
Here is the blurb from Amazon.
When the new teacher first arrives, Barbara immediately senses that this woman will be different from the rest of her staff-room colleagues. But Barbara is not the only one to feel that Sheba is special, and before too long Sheba is involved in an illicit affair with a pupil. Barbara finds the relationship abhorrent, of course, but she is the only adult in whom Sheba can properly confide. So when the liaison is found out and Sheba's life falls apart, Barbara is there...
4) The Sweetness Of The Bottom Of The Pie by Alan Bradley
I liked this one as it is a mystery story set in the 50's and told from the point of view of a child.
Here is the blurb from Amazon.
It is June 1950 and a sleepy English village is about to be awakened by the discovery of a dead body in Colonel de Luce's cucumber patch. The police are baffled, and when a dead snipe is deposited on the Colonel's doorstep with a rare stamp impaled on its beak, they are baffled even more. Only the Colonel's daughter, the precocious Flavia -when she's not plotting elaborate revenges against her nasty older sisters in her basement chemical laboratory, that is - has the ingenuity to follow the clues that reveal the victim's identity, and a conspiracy that reached back into the de Luce family's murky past.
5) The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Over the last year I have developed quite a love of southern fiction, so I thought this would be a good one to reflect my reading interests.
Here is the blurb from Amazon
Jackson, Mississippi, 1962. Black maids raise white children, but aren’t trusted not to steal the silver. Some lines will never be crossed. Aibileen is a black maid: smart, regal, and raising her seventeenth white child. Yet something shifted inside Aibileen the day her own son died while his bosses looked the other way. Minny, Aibileen’s best friend, is by some way the sassiest woman in Mississippi. But even her extraordinary cooking won’t protect Minny from the consequences of her tongue. Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter returns home with a degree and a head full of hope, but her mother will not be happy until there’s a ring on her finger. Seeking solace with Constantine, the beloved maid who raised her, Skeeter finds she has gone. But why will no one tell her where? Seemingly as different as can be, Skeeter, Aibileen and Minny’s lives converge over a clandestine project that will not only put them all at risk but also change the town of Jackson for ever.
6) Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger - now we couldn't start a book club in October without a ghost story included, could we?
Here is the blurb from Amazon.
Julia and Valentina Poole are normal American teenagers - normal, at least, for identical 'mirror' twins who have no interest in college or jobs or possibly anything outside their cozy suburban home. But everything changes when they receive notice that an aunt whom they didn't know existed has died and left them her flat in an apartment block overlooking Highgate Cemetery in London. They feel that at last their own lives can begin ...but have no idea that they've been summoned into a tangle of fraying lives, from the obsessive-compulsive crossword setter who lives above them to their aunt's mysterious and elusive lover who lives below them, and even to their aunt herself, who never got over her estrangement from the twins' mother - and who can't even seem to quite leave her flat. With Highgate Cemetery itself a character and echoes of Henry James and Charles Dickens,

So there are the books we had to choose from. Which book do you think we chose to read for our book club? Which book would you have chosen, if you had been part of our club?


  1. Oh, this is fun! I'll guess you chose The Help (which I loved!), but I would have voted for Notes on a Scandal since it's near the top of my tbr pile.

  2. How did it go and did you have enough chairs?

    Being totally selfish I hope you read The Sweetness At The Bottom Of The Pie as I loved this story and would like to know what you thought of it. However I think you may have picked Remains Of The Day as it is quite controversial and also it is written in the first person and I know there have been complaints amongst certain authors about books written in this way. Ooh I can hardly wait to know.

  3. JoAnn - good guesses, but my lips are sealed until Monday.

    Tracey - luckily there were enough chairs. It was a little nerve wracking to start, but we all got on really well. It was lovely to spend time with other book enthusiasts. I am hoping no one reveals our choice on Facebook before MOnday!

  4. I would go for The Help, cos I hear it's good, and there would me much to talk about

  5. Great choices! I'd narrow it down to #2, #4, #5, or #6! I'm no help, am I?! Have a lovely weekend, Vivienne.

  6. Notes on a Scandal is one of my favorite reads from this year! I can't wait to read Remains, and Sweetness was a lot of fun. Great choices!

  7. Your book club sounds like fun Viv! I'd go for Her Fearful Symmetry or Notes On A Scandal.
    I think you guys picked Her Fearful Symmetry, it being October and this book sounds fitting.

  8. What fun! :D I'd go for Her Fearful Symmetry or The Help. :D

  9. My guess would be Her Fearful Symmetry because it would make for good discussion.

  10. The Help without a doubt although I did enjoy Remains of the Day and Her Fearful Symmetry.

  11. even if the group didn't pick 'the help', i hope you read it. i have her fearful... on my nightstand and hope to get to it sometime this month! enjoy.

  12. It's a great list! I'd love to read The Remains of the Day, Notes on a Scandal, and The Fearful Symmetry. I hope you choose The Remains of the Day because I'm thinking to read that one for my next book ;)

  13. Thanks! for sharing this great list.


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