Last September I joined a book club, something I’ve always wanted to try. I love to read, but up until now it was a solitary pursuit. I read, on average, 2 to 3 books a week. This sounds like a lot, but many of them are children’s books, so those are quick reads. I’m very fond of children’s literature. I tell everyone I joined a book club so I would be forced to read adult books again!
This month we’re meeting to discuss The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. The first time I read that title, my eye skipped over the word ‘pie,’ so I went around for ages thinking it was an even stranger title than it is. I quite like the book, mostly because it’s a very good story about an interesting subject. The English Channel Islands were occupied by the Nazis for most of World War II. The people there were isolated completely, unable to communicate with the outside world. Many children were evacuated from the island before the Nazi occupation. Parents and children had no news of each other for the whole of the war. Once the war ended, the islands’ inhabitants were thirsty for news, as well as food and goods, to make up for the long years of deprivation. This is where the book begins, with the islanders telling their stories to a London writer who comes to Guernsey. She’s intrigued by a letter from a member of this oddly titled book club, and she ends up finding more than she expected on the island.
A book about a book club is a natural choice for a book club. That doesn’t mean we’ll all agree to like it. In my short time in the club, I’ve learned that we’ll express every kind of opinion. If one person loves a book, somebody else will hate it. Usually the disagreements are amicable, and the snacks are awesome! I try avoid to drinking the wine, though, since alcohol makes me sleepy and unfocused.
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Mark Kurlansky appeared at my local bookstore tonight to talk about his latest, The Eastern Stars. It’s about baseball and a small town in the Dominican Republic which has produced 79 major league players. I’m not any kind of baseball fan, although I love baseball movies. It’s just that Mark Kurlansky is one of my favorite gonna-read authors. That means I haven’t actually gotten around to reading his books, but I know I’ll love them when I do. I plan to read Salt, Cod and The Basque History of the World…any day now.
Kurlansky looks just like the stereotype of a writer, with wild hair, rough beard, glasses, and a rumpled suit. He discussed his current book and told us about his two upcoming ones. I can’t help admiring an author who’s so prolific writing about wildly diverse subjects. I look forward to his future work…which I plan to read. Really.