Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Book Club, Part 2

So I posted a bit ago about a book club that I joined. Our first book ended up being The Gargoyle, which was actually one of my suggestions based on the advice of one of the commenters on this blog (Liz). (We did consider Water For Elephants, but someone had read it already.)

I loved The Gargoyle. It was entertaining, disturbing, romantic, and even relevant to me as a rehab physician. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Thanks for the suggestion, Liz!

Next week we're going to discuss the book and decide on a book for next time. One of the women is into Oprah's book club inspirational stuff, and suggested reading Three Cups of Tea. I read a couple of pages of it on Amazon and boy, did it look boring. The reviews said that while it was inspiring, it wasn't very well written, and anyway, I hate books that are supposed to be good because they're inspiring. And furthermore, it turns out it may be a pack of lies.

Anyway, I'm open to suggestions for the next book. Basically, I don't want to read anything inspiring, nothing that's so new it will be hard for me to get from the library, and it has to be relatively easy to read. I mean, I'm not illiterate, but I don't feel like digging through dense prose in my free time.

19 comments:

  1. I know you said that you'd prefer something easier to read, but if you're willing to slog through it a little bit, "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" by Jonathan Safran Foer is an outstanding book. It's written very stream of consciousness, but I found that even though it was a little hard to read at times, I was so engrossed I never found it difficult.

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  2. How about Prodigal Summer? It's been out for a while now. It could be that everyone in your book club has already read it, but I really enjoyed it.

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  3. Perhaps The Kite Runner or A Thousand Splendid Suns if no one has read them already. Or I'd even suggest Unaccustomed Earth. All 3 books open up a lot of discussion topics and aren't written in dense prose!

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  4. John Connolly's The Book of Lost Things. It a slightly dark modern type of fairy tale. It's easy to read and a pure escape for the brain. It's not the most 'adult' of books, but it's a good change.

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  5. Lois McMaster Bujold's The Curse of Chalion. Fantasy at its best, set in a world resembling medieval Spain, and a fantastical retelling of the story of Ferdinand and Isabella. Don't be put off by the lurid cover art, this is an extraordinary book!

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  6. I'd suggest "A Handmaid's Tale" by Margaret Atwood. It's won tons of acclaim and awards, not for being 'inspirational,' but for being a phenomenally well-written book that packs quite a punch. It's about a dystopia a few decades in the future in which childbearing has suddenly become exceedingly difficult. Religious zealots take over and the society reforms around the Biblical tale of the handmaid who bore her master's child at the foot of the wife's bed in her stead.

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  7. First, I have to chime in that Prodigal Summer and A Handmaid's Tale were both excellent! I'd also suggest I Know This Much is True and The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb (both a little on the long side, but good). I read Flesh and Blood by Michael Cunningham and couldn't stop thinking about the characters when I was finished, if that gives you any indication. Think about Middlesex, by Jeffery Eugenides.

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  8. I really liked "Sarah's Key" - good mix of historical fiction and mindless romance.

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  9. I agree with the iamnothouse.com - Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathon Safran Foer is my all time favorite book. Philip Pullman's trilogy "His Dark Materials" is a young adult series but it is also an all time favorite. I think I've gotten a lot more out of it re-reading them as an adult.

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  10. So glad you liked it!

    Lots of good suggestions here. "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" is actually the first book I ever picked for my book club. I only pick books I have already read and I loved this one!

    We are reading Water for Elephants next month and if people want to they can just go see the movie instead (hopefully they stuck to the story or that would make for a confusing discussion!). It was my turn to pick and I also considered "Room" by Emma Donaghue, but we decided we had read so many sad/disturbing books lately we wanted a lighter one.

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  11. "God's Debris" by Scott Adams (creator of dilbert). It's a shorter book, but really interesting. He considers it to be a though experiment rather than novel and it's really not a religious book. I know it sounds like a religious book, but it will really make you think. Best yet, there is a free online copy: http://nowscape.com/godsdebris.pdf.

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  12. The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy - definitely not inspiring. Amazing story, somewhat disturbing, beautifully written. There's a movie with Barbara Streisand but I've never seen it - don't let that deter you.

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  13. For some good nonfiction, my favorite book ever is "Let's Roll" by Lisa Beamer.

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  14. I really enjoyed Three Cups of Tea, so give it a fair chance if it winds up being the book picked.

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  15. Thanks, everyone, for the suggestions :)

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  16. I don't know what kind of sense of humor your book club has, but if it's a good one then I recommend AJ Jacobs' The Year of Living Biblically. Dude decides to live for one year following every single old testament law literally. Hilarity ensues.

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  17. My mom's book club just discussed "Room"... She said she really didn't like it...

    If you're looking for something fun, (totally not serious) there's "The Sex Lives of Cannibals" by J. Maarten Troost... Dry humor and tropical living...

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  18. I'm late to comment here, and I don't know how long you guys give yourselves to read these books, but "Cutting for Stone" (published in 2009) is the most amazing book I've read in the past few years. It's long but well worth it. It involves medicine, but it's not really about medicine, if that makes sense. It's more the story of a doctor born in Eithiopia recounting his saga-esque life and searching for information on his mother. A much shorter (and older - 2004) book that is also excellent is "The Curious Incident of the Dog in The Night-Time" It's a work of fiction but told from the point of view of a boy with autism. It's alternatingly HILARIOUS and heart-wrenching.

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  19. I love your book club posts! I get so many good recommendations!

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