Four fantastic (bookloving) friends – and Yours Truly

August 17, 2008 at 10:48 pm (Book clubs, books)

Friday night, the Literary Ladies met to decide on the titles we want to read as a group in the coming year. Five of us were able to make this meeting, and frankly, it’s just as well. What a riot of good reads came to light – when will I get to all these gems! And let me tell you – these women are such terrific book talkers, I kept wanting to reach across the table and shout: “Here – Gimme that!”

As one who of late has had a frustrating time finding likable – or even readable – new fiction (excepting mysteries), I also breathed a sigh of relief. Thank goodness – there is some hope after all!

Here are some of the tempting morsels that were dangled before me:

In addition, it was wisely suggested that for one of our meetings, we each read a title by Penelope Lively. Hey, no problem – I’ve already read several and am more than happy to read more. The Photograph is terrific, and probably the best known, but I can also recommend Heat Wave, Passing On, and Making It Up. Spiderweb was likewise very good but featured a disturbing scene involving a dog – read with caution, therefore. (Lively won the Booker Prize in 1987 for Moon Tiger. This title is not currently owned by the library, a situation we hope to remedy soon!)

These were my suggestions: Netherland by Joseph O’Neill, Best American Short Stories 2007, Best American Magazine Writing 2007, The Other Side of You by Salley Vickers, and Uncommon Arrangements by Katie Roiphe. Among them, only Netherland has a 2008 copyright date.

A fellow mystery lover noted that our favorite genre was not represented. We then suggested Not in the Flesh by Ruth Rendell – or another title by Rendell or Barbara Vine (her pseudonym). I think the Vine novel I would pick is The Chimney Sweeper’s Boy, with its devastating depiction of a disastrous marriage. Many of us had already read Laura Lippman’s What the Dead Know; we agreed that this would be a great book to discuss, with its local references and compelling storyline. I personally would love to do The Careful Use of Compliments, the fourth entry in Alexander McCall Smith’s Isabel Dalhousie series. But I worry about asking folks to jump in at number four  – particularly since this is a series that I would normally suggest reading in sequence.

Before we got to the books, our gracious hostess plied us with delicious food. As it turned out, we had much to discuss, so it was a while before we got down to the business at hand. But once we did get to it – well, this was world class book chat!

1 Comment

  1. Consequences, by Penelope Lively « Books to the Ceiling said,

    […] clubs, Book review, books) To comply with our book group’s assignment to read something by Penelope Lively, I just finished her most recent work, Consequences. This novel explores the lives of three […]

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