The Kicking! The Screaming!

The best thing about being in a Book Club (okay, besides the food and wine) is that everybody gets a say in what we’ll be reading.  What this means to hard-heads like me is I’ll sometimes need to read books I wouldn’t choose.  Imagine!

Here’s our list for 2012.

Mar —THE HUNGER GAMES, Suzanne Collins
Apr — BECOMING MADAME MAO, Anchee Min
May —REBECCA, Daphne DuMaurier
Jun — RUSSIAN WINTER, Daphne Kalotay
Jul — THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF KAVALIER & CLAY, Michael Chabon
Aug — COLD SASSY TREE, Olive Ann Burns
Sep — A FINE BALANCE, Rohinton Mistry
Oct — 11/22/63, Stephen King
Nov — FRANKENSTEIN, Mary Shelley

With our February pick, I’ve been brought kicking and screaming to a book I’ve avoided for a year.  A darling of the New York literary universe.  A “Must Read.”  Written by a young, first time novelist.  Up for a bunch of awards.  Magical realism.  And you know what?  Thank goodness.  Because this hard-head has been stuck in reading limbo, bored to tears, unable to finish much of anything I’ve chosen on my own.

THE TIGER’S WIFE it is.  I read the first few pages last night before I nodded off.  And guess what?  I already kind of like it.

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28 thoughts on “The Kicking! The Screaming!

  1. Jennifer

    Looks like a respectable list. I’m reading Hunger Games as well and I’ve heard good things about Tiger’s Wife (but I, like you, am suspicious). I always look forward to what you have to say about books – it makes a difference in whether I pick it up or not. Keep posting…

    1. Teri

      Thanks, Jen. I read THE HUNGER GAMES over Christmas and loved it. What a fun read, and not like anything I’d choose in a million years.

      The next 2 books in the series aren’t as good (as is usually the case, right?) but they were worth it to see what happens in the end.

      1. Lyra

        Oh, and on this! My daughter is at the tail end of the second book and tells me it’s even better than the first.
        All that I’ve read from people our age says exactly what you said, and I wonder how great it would be to be 11 again and just wrapped up in the story, the lives of these kids.
        Do you remember what a wonderful feeling to be that age and totally engrossed in a book? The series for me hands down was Flowers in the Attic. I was terrified my parents would acutally look at what I was reading. Lucky for me, they never did.

      2. Teri

        Oooooh, FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC was so great. I went from that series to Jackie Collins’s books — now there was an education. And nobody ever looked at what I read either. A blessing, that was.

  2. schietree

    I am avoiding A Visit From the Goon Squad for reasons of over-saturation as well. Is this silly? I hope you get a lot out of The Tiger’s Wife, disprove the stance.

  3. lauramaylene

    I’m interested to hear what you think about THE TIGER’S WIFE. I have my own opinions that I will refrain from sharing until you finish the book…

    Have you done a general post on your book club before? Who makes up the club and how do you know them? Any advice for locating or starting a good book club? I’ve been in a few in the past that were just disasters. (Example: One person refused to finish reading To Kill a Mockingbird because it was “too racist.” Another time everyone at the meeting ignored the book entirely and instead had an impromptu jello shot party. I wish I were kidding.)

    1. Teri

      Those are great book club stories, Laura. I’d share some of my book club horror stories the past, but I’m pretty sure the jello-shot-party would win. ha!

      I was invited to mine because my neighbors were already in it and were kind enough to ask. I’d suggest starting your own. You really only need 3 or 4 committed people, and then after some months you could decide if you want more people and who those people might be.

      I tried to start a Classics Book Club some years ago. I wanted people to read the big hard books, like Dostoyevsky etc…, with me and talk about it. It was a big fat failure. People were gung-ho until we actually had to read the books.

  4. lisahgolden

    Since I am such a non-joiner, I’m going to draft off you to push myself. By that I mean I’m going to read Rebecca with you in May. I haven’t read it, but it’s on my shelf. That one I’ll commit to. I will also try to read The Hunger Games in March and the Chabon book in July. I’ve liked some of his other writing and haven’t read that one.

    And I still haven’t finished listening to the audio book of The Tiger’s Wife.That’s what happens when mowing season ends.

    1. Teri

      I keep hearing this Chabon book is one of the best books people have ever read, so I’m looking forward t it. And I read THE HUNGER GAMES over Christmas — in 2 days. It was hard to put down, that’s how much fun, and I never ever like Sci-Fi or futuristic stories.

  5. Bobbi

    OMG A Fine Balance. Perhaps my favourite book of all time. That is one of the few books that actually changed how I see the world. Of course it came from Canada as do many fine books. I found Tiger’s Wife to be a stunning debut from someone so young (or from someone older for that matter).

    1. Teri

      I’ve been thinking about reading A FINE BALANCE for more than a year now, so I’m glad somebody in the group cheered for it.

      And Canada? You have Margaret Atwood and Alice Munro. That’s pretty much the best, period.

    2. lauramaylene

      Adding A Fine Balance to my list right now!

      I agree Tiger’s Wife was stunning to come from someone so young…on the other hand, I wonder what the book’s reception would have been if no one knew the author’s age.

      1. Teri

        I’ve been wondering the same thing. I have never once heard anyone (critics??) talk about this book without mentioning the writer’s age. Not the writer’s fault, but there it is nonetheless.

  6. Downith

    I’ve only read May and September, but Kavalier and Clay has been in “da house” for years – if that box is unpacked by July, I’ll join you.

    1. Teri

      I’m looking forward to almost all of these books. It’s a new system for us, to choose the whole year in advance. I’m glad we’re doing it this way —- it seemed we were always running out the door saying, Hey what should we read for next month?!, and therefore picking random stuff on the fly. I like the mix of fat/skinny books, classics, subject matter, etc…

  7. Sarah W

    I understand your initial reluctance! I’m starting a Hollywood Hype book club, and I’ve got three days to read One for the Money before we go see the movie.

    i really, really don’t want to read this book. . . .

    1. Teri

      A couple of our gals would love to pick that book — but the rest of us pin them down with our elbows and make them scream Uncle!!

      I feel for you, Sarah. And now that I’ve said that, you’ll probably LOVE this book and I’ll have to read it next! Let me know.

  8. macdougalstreetbaby

    I dig my book club for so many reasons. The coming together of women to discuss literature and hear different opinions is awesome. I’m always so surprised to learn how different everyone’s tastes are but mostly I love my gatherings because it forces me to finish books I’d probably throw aside if left to my own devices. There’s something beautiful about finishing a story, even if it’s not your cup of tea. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not one to keep reading something I don’t like but I feel accountable in my book club. I’m missing this month’s gathering which really irks me because it’s the Steve Jobs book and I was really enjoying it. I’m so curious as to what everyone else is thinking about it.

    I tried reading KAVALIER AND CLAY a while back but it just didn’t jive. THE TIGER’S WIFE? Definitely. I love controversial parenting books.

    1. Teri

      Oh, it’s Tiger’s Wife, not Tiger Mom —- if we read that parenting book we might come to blows.

      The last few years have been full of Tiger titles …. and now it’s the Chinese New Year of the Dragon. Hmmmm. What does this mean?!

      1. Teri Post author

        Now there’s a nonfiction book I’d read if she wrote it. But I’m guessing her silence (forever) was part of the divorce agreement.

        Tiger. What an idiot.

  9. Lyra

    I always wanted to be part of a book club. The idea of combining food and wine and books sounds perfect. But my taste in books doesn’t jive with the majority of the people I meet, and I’d end up lying my way through the meeting. I know I would. I’d be too afraid of hurting someone’s feelings, and anytime I’ve been in a group situation there’s that one person who just needs to be heard. Drives me nuts.
    I have kids for that.
    Man, I sound like a crab. Long day.

    1. Teri

      Some of book club is chatting away, and some is holding my tongue. Just like everyday life. Hahahahaha.

      I just read about your day. “Long” ain’t the half of it….

    2. Averil Dean

      I’m like you, Lyra. In theory a book club sounds wonderful, but as soon as I hear the words “must read” I get all twitchy and start trying to come up with excuses to get out of it. Now, a book club in which I get to choose ALL the books? I’m in!

  10. Sherry Stanfa-Stanley

    I currently have nearly 50 books in my house that I either bought or agreed to borrow from friends who have bestowed them upon me. I can never think of joining a book club until I get through at least half of these…

    You mentioned you’re looking forward to reading most of them. So I’m curious–How many of these titles were actually on your own reading list before they were assigned? Were you familiar with most of them, or were they new to you?

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