Tag Archives: Jodi Piccoult

How Many Book Groups Make Too Many?

I love books. I know that sounds like a rather obvious thing to say with a book blog, but sometimes my love of books gets me into trouble. For example at the moment I am in the midst of reading the Green Carnation Prize submissions, of which we have easily had double or maybe treble what we did last year and there are more to come. I also have a big pile of books on the bedside table which I keep ‘meaning to read next’, some advance reading to do for ‘Discovering Daphne’ and another project for the blog which starts in August. Phew! So you might think considering I am part of two book groups the very thought of joining another would seem idiotic… and yet I think I have.

It’s not the fault of the other two book groups that have made my eyes wander. It’s definitely me.

You see with the book group I first joined (that in my own head I call ‘the lovely ladies of Levenshulme book group’ because it is lots of lovely women and me and Paul Magrs) I love the banter and I love the people but until this month a lot of the choices have been re-reads for me. This is of course my fault for reading too much frankly and not theirs at all. However this month, though I have no idea what day it’s happening, we are reading ‘The Lost Daughter’ by Diane Chamberlain which is a book I have never read and would go as far as to say from the cover looks like a book I would possibly avoid. It looks a bit Jodi Piccoult. However this is the very point of a book group isn’t it?

Sadly at the moment the book seems to be avoiding me. I ordered it from the library, they went and loaned it after I ordered it. I have tried book shops and no avail. I could go online, but I feel all funny about online sales after the latest Book Depository news. So if I get it and if I find out when the meeting is I shall of course be going.

The next book group I joined in part because it was organised by one of my lovely new friends up in the north and secondly because I hadn’t read the book, which was ‘Purple Hibiscus’ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, one I had wanted to read for ages and ages but not quite got around to. The only issue is that I have read the next book that’s been chosen (again my fault not theirs) but I really don’t want to read it again. What is it? ‘The God of Small Things’ by Arundhati Roy. This seems odd, especially as you can see from a review of it back in 2008, when I had read it for a book group too, I came away confused but overall liking it. So wouldn’t this be just the sort of book that could do with a re-read? After all this was a few years ago. The answer screaming at me is no. I don’t want to be confused by it again, and one thing I missed in that review was how long that book took to read. I have it by the bed in case but I will see, I did love the people who went so much – a really lovely mixture. Can I not go without having to re-read it and see if I can remember it fully? I admit I remember one horrid scene in a cinema all too well.

Fate seemed to extend a hand when I found a new book group in Manchester through twitter completely randomly. I think Waterstones Deansgate retweeted them, they are the @NQbookclub. This group are a little specific with what books they choose, which is what attracts me so much – as well as meeting new book lovers that is, as they only read post war classics it seems… Classics such as ‘Revolutionary Road’ by Richard Yates, ‘Things Fall Apart’ by Chinua Achebe and next up to read is ‘Rabbit, Run’ by John Updike. Many of you will of course have read these, but I haven’t and yet they have always been books I have fancied (I did read Updike’s ‘Couples’ for a book group and was impressed with the read and the discussion was great) so should I add another book group to my reading schedule?

I am torn, especially as with ‘Bookmarked’ starting soon (exciting announcement about that soon) and the reading I will need to do for that… maybe it is too much? Do I need to give up one? I don’t really want to. How many book groups are too many? Has anyone else found that they go to a book group and each month it’s a book they have read? Does it matter if you pick and choose which meetings you attend, what are your thoughts on etiquette?

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Filed under Book Group, Book Thoughts

What To Read Next… It’s Not As If I Don’t Have Enough Choice!

Yes that’s right I have been truly stuck on what to read next. Part of the problem is that fact that The Luminous Life of Lilly Aphrodite was just so good; it’s difficult to decide what can follow that at the moment. I could start on the next Richard and Judy and be early but it didn’t take my fancy and neither did any of the ‘review’ books I have received of late, some of them are going to be stonking reads I just know it, they just didn’t do for now.

One thing I can’t say it that I don’t have choice as I do currently have a TBR pile and TBR boxes of over 600 books to choose from then again this is part of the problem when you have too many books to read you simply don’t know where to start. Farmlanebooks had the wonderful idea of choosing one of the books that I have had on my TBR the longest the only problem with having so many books is that you don’t know which ones have had waiting to be read for eons and eons. So I hatched a plan, as the weather was so nice I knew me and the Non Reader were off out to spend a day in the park with a picnic and hours of fresh air and no plans. So I decided I would look at my new years book resolutions and pick a book out of each resolution to take with me and have a try of the first page of each one.

So I took some classics a Scott Fitzgerald, a Bronte and a James Baldwin. I grabbed a Jodi Piccoult as I have always been a bit sneery about her without actually reading a word she has written (I am not alone I have had that same conversation with three different readers) and We Need To Talk About Kevin as that’s one of my re-read missions for 2009 after I hated it when I first tried to read it a few years ago. None of these – despite the sun, my good mood and my relaxed brain – did the trick and it’s not because I had the dreaded readers block they just weren’t what I wanted.

Now it’s of course typical that when you twig exactly what you do want to read you don’t own it. Two things happened which gave me for the desire for the book I really want to read next but don’t have a copy of. The first was my Gran who told me that it was her next read. The second was the author herself being on television last night at 10pm on ITV, the actress and now also author of memoirs Sheila Hancock. ‘The Two of Us’ is her memoirs as an actress and also living with the death of her husband John Thaw and how she coped and it is said to be marvellous and after seeing her on the telly last night I think she is wonderful. I oddly have the second Just Me but I have to read things in order. It looks like I might have to go shopping… whoops! I know I shouldn’t but I think it would be a wise celebration of my 200th post on this blog, yes 200 posts old today! Come on I think that’s fair? I will only get it if I see it in one of the charity shops… here or in the next two towns.

**UPDATE**

I did find the book on the way to Sainsburys in the first charity shop I went in and it was the only book I bought (despite seeing a wonderful copy of Madame Pompadour by Nancy Mitford – there is alwys tomorrow) however as I was pottering about I noticed a book I had aimed to take with me to the park yesterday and had forgotten… The Parasites by Daphne Du Maurier, I am already loving it and quite hooked so Sheila will be next on the list to read!

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Filed under Book Thoughts, F. Scott Fitzgerald

New Book Resolutions

First of all Happy New Year!

It’s that time where we both look forward and look back and stock take isn’t it? At the beginning of last year when I start the blog properly one of the internal resolutions that I made in myself was to keep the blog up and not let it run dry. I didn’t do as well at that as I thought I would, I mean I reviewed every book I read but the blogs I had intended to write like ‘why I am obsessed with what everyone else reads on the tube’ and many more never got written but hopefully they will in 2009, I definitely improved toward the end of the year though! I also made some other resolutions on here…

The ones that sadly I failed at were;
– Read a Jodi Piccoult, I have always had something against her books and have absolutely no rational for this, 2008 wasn’t the year that I broke that habit
– The Odyssey, my mum would have been so proud if I had… but nope
– Read harder fiction, well am gunning through Anna Karenina at the moment and Will Self’s ‘The Book of Dave’ wasn’t easy but was extremely rewarding
– Hardy and Trollope, double no
– Revisit old favourites; nope sadly I was focused on getting through my huge TBR
– Give some books a second chance, no I wanted to have a second slog at Lionel Shriver’s ‘We Need to Talk about Kevin’ but I simply didn’t.

The ones I managed were;
– Read more short stories, I read two collections, maybe three but would have liked to read more
– Read a James Bond
– Read Tess Gerritsen, well I definitely did that actually becoming a big fan, managed to save some for this year though
– Read more non fiction, well with the Mitford Letters, a book on ghost hunting and the fabulous Kate Summerscale I did just that

So what about for 2009? What book resolutions have I got this year? Do I want to take any over that I didn’t manage this year? Well the ones I am setting myself this year are;
– Find a new favourite author I haven’t read before but can’t get enough of
– Classics, I want to read a lot more classics both classic classics and modern classics if that makes sense
– Try stuff I wouldn’t normally, this means joining some more book groups me thinks
– The Man Booker-a-thon, I would really like to give this a go this year especially now I know more publishers
– Possibly re-try a few books like ‘We Need To Talk About Kevin’ and ‘Company of Liars’ the latter I really wanted to read but it didn’t grab the mood I was in, oh and Kate Atkinson’s ‘Behind The Museum
– Not buy as many books; I think this one is unlikely.

I think that’s enough? Is anyone else making any book resolutions this year?

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Filed under Book Thoughts, Kate Atkinson, Kate Summerscale, Lionel Shriver, Tess Gerritsen, Will Self