Book Clubs

Anyone else belong to a book club?
What are you reading right now?

I belong to one whose members hail from the southern and southwestern suburbs of Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota. We’re called the Bookmarkers (gotta admit, I hate that unoriginal, boring name). The club was established in January 1997, I believe. Here’s an incomplete list of the books we’ve read:

Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt

Paradise by Toni Morrison

Map of the World by Jane Hamilton

Lucifer’s Hammer by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle

Lost In Place: Growing Up Absurd in Suburbia by Mark Salzman

An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

The Here and Nowby Robert Cohen

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

Animal Farm by George Orwell

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells

This month’s pick: The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields

Men are from Mars, women are from Venus, dogs are from Pluto. - Anonymous

Hail, fellow Book Clubber! Yep, I’m in one and I love it – I have so little social life at this point (with the two jobs and all) that I love our book club get-togethers. Currently we’re reading 'Tis, the sequel to Angela’s Ashes and we just finished God: A Biography, whihc was a very dense and difficult book – way more so than the stuff we usually read.

We have also read: The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, Paradise, Love In The Time Of Cholera, Jane Eyre, Memoirs of a Geisha and Blood Meridian.

Our book club only has two rules: The person picking the book (we take turns) cannot have read it before, and the book must be out in trade-paperback so we don’t have to invest in a bunch of hardbacks (though we voted to break that rule for 'Tis.

I have to think of a pick for my upcoming turn and have no ideas, so I’d love some recommendations for good book-club books.

My girlfriends and I have sort of an unofficial book club: when one of us reads a good book, we spam the others with the title and author.

Our current recommendation:
If you liked Bridget’s Diary, read Watermelon, by Marian Keyes.

Memoirs of a Geisha is one of the best books I have read this year…I hope you all loved it. The most interesting aspect (I think) is how well Andrew Golden wrote the female characters. And how historically accurate it was. Sorry, digression.

Hmmmm jodhi…

We don’t have an actual rotation of who chooses books. We don’t really have a ton of people clamoring to choose, so whoever brings it up first gets to choose or bring in several books for the group to vote on during the meeting.

We also have a rule that is the opposite of your club. The person choosing the book has to have read it. That way they know what they’re recommending. I don’t know if I agree with that, but it’s not a big deal.

We also have the trade/mass market paperback rule, thank God.

I wasn’t a member of the club when it was first started, so I missed the discussion of Angela’s Ashes. I just finished it and loved it so much that I wrote to Mr. McCourt. If I get a reply, I’ll post it. Can’t wait to read 'Tis.

Yep, eden, I really enjoyed Memoirs of a Geisha.

I’m not, but I’d like to be. Any suggestions about how to find/get into one?

“And comb London’s teeming millions for him? Had we but world enough and time.”
Dorothy L. Sayers
Murder Must Advertise

How did you guys get into your book club?
I think its a neat idea, but noone I know is doing one.
Did you just have a bunch of friends who wanted to do it?


I don’t belong to a book club, but one of the books listed in the OP really made me very angry and I wanted to comment on it. Can I just say that A Prayer for Owen Meaney was a total ripoff of the best book in the world The Tin Drum by Gunter Grass?

Thanks for letting me vent.

Also, has anyone here read 'Tis, the sequel to Angela’s Ashes? If so, is it worth shelling out $20 for it?

pricciar, my book club was started by three friends who loved to read. They decided to each invite one friend to start a book club, and voila!

Melanie, A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving is my favorite book of all time.

In my book club, I was one of two people that feel this way about that book. The other six thought it was okay, but not great.

Hey, art is in the eye of the beholder.

A co-worker and I started a book club several months ago. We meet about every month or so, and about 8 people show up each time, although there are about 15 people who belong. We have read:

The Beach

Mistress of Spices

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood

Animal Farm

I Know This Much is True

We’ve only been meeting for a few months as you can see, but we all really enjoy it. I Know This Much is True was probably our most successful book so far, in terms of the amount of discussion it sparked. We keep it all pretty informal: we meet at a bar (one tha also serves food), have some drinks, spend about an hour discussing the book and then dish for the rest of the time.

One of our members is in a play over in Berkley next month, so for the next meeting we are going to read the play and go see her in it, and discuss afterward.

To choose the books everyone suggests something we want to read, and then we pick it out of a hat. It has been really rewarding, and fun too, to get together with some smart women every month and talk book.

I’ve been a member of the Science Fiction Book Club for many years, though I don’t really get that many books from them. Most of the books I buy I get from a book store. I love browsing.

Currently, I’m finally getting around to reading Catch-22. Don’t tell me how it ends.

My book group is reading Ian McEwan’s “Enduring Love” this month. I’m not finding it very interesting. I’m not very far into it, but I think it’s about guy who is stalking a woman and the effect it’s having on her happy, close, marriage.
Last month we read “A Tree Grows In Brooklyn” I’ve never read it before. I enjoyed it.
And, I did read 'Tis by Frank McCourt. It made me with I had an English teacher like him…I liked it.

Absynthetic, I loved The Beach! Did you know it’s being made into a movie?

I thought The Beach was wonderful too! Yeah the movie is coming out some time this year, right? With Leo DiCaprio?

Actually The Beach was our first book, but it was “unofficial”: A couple of coworkers read it in turns, and started chatting about it, so I demanded (and they agreed!) that they wait till I had read it to discuss it. Thus our book club.

What is the name of everyone’s club? I hate the name of ours. But that’s what we get for deciding on a name at the end of a long and drunken meeting.

We don’t have a name for our book club; it’s just the book club. I got into mine by finding out a friend was in it and begging to be admitted. We’re not an exclusive bunch, but we’ve limited it to ten people because that seems to be the limit for good discussion. If others are interested, they might check with their libraries (ours runs several book clubs, though the one I’m in isn’t one of them), or just get some friends together and start one up. My club meets once a month and we take turns hosting. We serve wine (and soft drinks) and appetizers, we talk about the book for an hour or so and then we dish – it’s great fun.

I also loved A Prayer for Owen Meany – it’s one of my top three favorite books, and if it’s anything like The Tin Drum I never noticed that, though I read The Tin Drum years before.

Those of you with informal book clubs - are you aware that you can register with your local Barnes & Noble or Borders?

They give you 10% off book club selections.

My friend registered our club - I think it was pretty easy - just gave them the club name and the members’ names.

I’m resurrecting this because I can’t get enough of the topic! Plus, we’ve just chosen some new books.

We’re skipping December’s meeting. We have to read The Green Mile by Stephen King and see the movie with Tom Hanks before the next meeting in January. As a mondo King fan, I read this book as it was coming out. It’s a serial book, for those of you who don’t konw. Anyway, I read it again in preparation for the movie. December 10th!

We chose The Magician’s Assistant by Ann Patchett for February. I borrowed it from the library and am about halfway through. Great book so far.

March’s book is Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire. I’m psyched about this one because of one of my favorite books of all time: Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley. It’s the Arthur legend told from Morgan La Fey’s point of view; it’s absolutely wonderful! Ever since reading it, I’ve been looking for books that tell well-known stories from the antagonist’s point of view.

So, what’s up with the other book clubbers?

Well, since you asked, we are reading Whoredom in Kimmidge for December (and having a Christmas pot-luck with S.O.s as well), and The Poisonwood Bible for January. I haven’t started the second one, but I’ve heard really good things about it.


Fiat Justitia