Another Turn of the Page: My Book Group – July

“Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.” -Lemony Snicket, Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can’t Avoid

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Second in my series on what we read in my book group. If you missed the June listing and blog post just go here-> Whadda Ya Readin’?

Okay this month everyone showed up except for the other Jeanne who presented our author last month. She was in San Francisco enjoying some cool breezes and good food by the bay. We, all nine of us (big group this month), stayed home in sweltering Wisconsin, reading. Hey its a great thing to do when it is just too darn hot to garden or even take a walk. Twelve books were covered this month including Marty’s presentation of our author of the month, F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife, Zelda.  Even though she looked up factual information about Scott and Zelda, she used two new novels, Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler (2013) and Beautiful Fools by R. Clifton Spargo (2013), to speak about their tumultuous relationship. Fiction authors do some pretty extensive research. Another of our group had just read Z and recommended it highly.

And now to the round table. I’ll be starting with the top right and descend left to right from there. When I put this graphic together the first thing that struck me was the strong covers. I’m a sucker for covers and I would pick up any of these. We’ve got thrillers, murder, the high life and the low life this month. And Nora Ephron makes us laugh.

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Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand (1957) 1200 pages. We commended Ricky on her perseverance. This book is basically a statement of philosophy in the form of a novel. Rand’s philosophy? Objectivism. Very simply put, Objectivism holds that there is no greater moral goal than achieving happiness. If you wish to know more there are volumes written on this, look it up. One interesting point, two years ago Senator Paul Ryan of WI said he regularly gave copies of Atlas Shrugged as Christmas presents.

Inferno by Dan Brown (2013) The fourth thriller featuring Robert Langdon. This was read by Pete, Ricky’s husband, and at 480 pages it is considered a largish book but it couldn’t be more different from the previous tome. Starts off with a bang, literally, when Langdon wakes up in a hospital with no memory of how he got there. Seems a bullet grazed him and he has a concussion. In the next couple of pages an assassin roams the halls in search of him while his doctor spirits him out of the building. And we’re off and running!

Old Filth by Jane Gardam (2006)  Yes, yes, that’s what we said too. But Old FILTH is the first in a trilogy of the life of an old barrister, Sir Edward Feathers, who “Failed in London, Tried Hongkong;” hence his nickname.  A Raj orphan, Filth grew up in Malaya, went to school in England, became a judge, and then worked for the Empire as a member of the foreign service.

I Feel Bad about My Neck, and Other Thoughts on Being a Woman by Nora Ephron (2006)  Nora is very frank and honest in this book about life as a woman of a certain age. You will laugh out loud reading it so you might want to find a private spot.

The Kill Room by Jeffery Deaver (2013) The latest Lincoln Rhyme mystery. Anita, who reviewed it, said she liked the story and the search for the government sanctioned sniper but the killings were pretty gruesome. She skipped a lot of the details.

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini (2013) A far reaching novel, Hosseini explores the ways families nurture, wound, betray, honor and sacrifice for each other and how we are often surprised by the actions of those closest to us.

South of Superior by Ellen Airgood (2012)  Madeline Stone walks away from Chicago and moves 500 miles north to the coast of Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Small town life in the middle of nowhere is a bigger surprise than she planned.

The Divide by Nicholas Evans (2005)  The frozen body of Abbie Cooper is found near a creek in Montana. The novel follows her story and why she was wanted by the FBI for murder.

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberley McCreight (2013)  Kate is called out of a meeting at work to take a call from her daughter’s school. Apparently honor student Amelia is being suspended for cheating and must be picked up now. By the time Kate arrives, 40 minutes late because of city traffic, she is faced with a tragedy, her daughter has committed suicide by jumping off the roof of the school. After a month of investigation, it is ruled officially a suicide except that is when Kate gets the first anonymous text message, “Amelia didn’t jump.”

The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin (2013) A novel about Anne Morrow Lindbergh spanning her first meeting with Charles Lindbergh through their marriage and finally his death. The whole world saw him as a hero but behind closed doors there was another story.

As an aside my other book group read The Bird Artist by Howard Norman. Set in Newfooundland  in the early 2oth century, it makes for good discussion if your group is looking for a book. How can you go wrong when the main character, Fabian Vas, the bird artist, tells you, in the opening paragraph, that he murdered the lighthouse keeper, Botho August?

Happy Reading!

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