Thursday, June 10, 2010

Book Club

One of my favourite childhood memories of summertime is of riding my bike to the public library and loading up on stacks of good books. I worked by way through all the teenage Beverly Clearys, every Betsy-Tacy book, the entire series of Anne of Green Gables. I was keen on time travel and historical fiction, 50s teenage romances and Nancy Drew mysteries. I loved stories that took place on the cobbled streets of London, in the mist of the Yorkshire moors, and I could never pass up a book that was set in a boarding school.

Some things never change. To me, summertime is very much about good books and cold drinks and losing myself in a faraway world while I sit outside in the sun. Dylan was three months old when Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince came out, and I remember Alan staying home with him so I could head out to a bench in the park with my thick new book. It was the longest I'd ever left him, but I sat there happily for hours, devouring the story for as long as I could. Same thing when Sawyer was born. He wasn't even 3 weeks old when The Deathly Hallows was released. I strapped him into the baby bjorn and lined up at midnight to pick up my new book. For a week that hot July, I'd sit outside on the lawn in the shade of our cherry tree, rocking him to sleep with my foot while I read.

Sadly, there are no new Harry Potter books to look forward to this summer, so instead I'm working my way at a fast pace through a whole bunch of other stuff. So far nothing can compare to the magic of Hogwarts, but I've read books a few over the past month that I really enjoyed, and now I'm on a roll!

The first is Eat Pray Love.

I have to say... I really liked this book. I didn't know much about it until I saw a movie preview recently and thought it looked like fun. Micaela kept talking about how good it was, my sister quite liked it, and finally, I could resist no longer. I took a gift card I had and headed to the bookstore in search of it. I was surprised when the woman in the shop led me to the biography section. I had no idea that it was a true story. This intrigued me even more, and I jumped right in to experience Elizabeth Gilbert's journey. She writes well, and the story moved along nicely. I loved the bit in Italy and expected to get bored when she moved on to India and the Indonesia (I'm more of a Europe girl myself...) but I was pleasantly surprised. I wanted to keep reading this memoir, even though I knew ahead of time how the story would end (it's sort of obvious from the start). It ended happily, which is just the way I like it. Oh and now I'm more interested in giving yoga a go, too!

As soon as I finished Eat Pray Love, I was on to Water for Elephants, which has been on my bookshelf since September!

A co-worker had given it to me, and I must confess, I really wasn't at all interested. A depression-era story that takes place in a circus? Um, no thanks. But once I started this book, literally before I'd got to the end of the 4 page prologue, I was hooked. I was loving it. And I stayed up late for several nights in a row so I could finish it. It is dark and troubling and light and funny. It made me cry and smile and want to go back and read it again. Jacob Jankowski is 90 (or possibly 93) years old, and remembering his life of 70 years before. At 23, after the death of his parents, he jumps a circus train in the middle of the night and ends up the veterinarian for The Benzini Brothers' Most Spectacular Show on Earth. The story is vivid and so beautifully described that you actually feel as though you're in it. I loved Bobo the chimp and Rosie the elephant and even Kinko the dwarf. I'm so glad I finally picked this book up off my shelf. Water for Elephants is absolutely wonderful and I really think you should read it.

Right now I'm reading a light, chick lit-kind of book, Seeing Me Naked (which is actually quite good and not at all what I expected... as an example, Publishers' Weekly said it's a "subtly sophisticated romance that outclasses most of the genre's other offerings") and next up I've going to read Secret Daughter, which up until last night I knew absolutely nothing about. Why am I reading it? Because I have joined a book club! I'm so excited! I have been wanting to join a book club for ages, and I think this one is going to be great. It's a wonderful opportunity to meet some new people (I only know one girl in the group, the one who invited me to join), get out and socialize, and to read, read, read. The perfect way to kick off summer vacation, don't you agree?

What are you reading right now? I'd love to hear all about the books you love. And pick up some recommendations along the way. My turn to host isn't until January, but I want to suggest some real winners! So any/all advice would be much appreciated. Merci, mes amies...


  1. Seem to have less time for books now than when I worked. I think new sewing, blogging and being with family have sort of taken over. You have given some good reviews there, may have to have a go again.
    Good luck with the book club.

  2. Ahh a lady after my own heart. Reading and cold drinks that is one of the best ways to spend summer :)

    I've been an avid reader since I was young too when my mum used to leave me in the library while she went shopping.

    Book wise, there isn't really anything I can recommend for the moment. Although it's a shame there is no more Harry Potter :(

  3. Right now I'm reading "And God Created The Au Pair" which you mentioned in one of you fill in the blanks post. I got it for my birthday, and I must say it really funny, I will trust any recommendations from you in the future. My next book will be John Grishams "Ford County" (also a birthday gift).

  4. I would recommend 'Pigtopia by Kitty Fitzgerald', it would certainly be discussion provoking. May have mentioned it before?


  5. I am reading Eat Pray Love right now and am still in India :)
    I too am enjoying the way Elizabeth Gilbert writes and will admit that I have laughed out loud more than once so far!

    Not sure what is next for me... all the books I have been reading over the last 2 years have been for personal development. For the most fun in that genre I recommend Mama Gena's School for the Womanly Arts by Regena Thomasauer (aka Mama Gena)

    I'm excited to hear more about your book club Erin!!

  6. i love books! and i love recommendations, too :) i'm reading the second book in an epic fantasy series {and let me just say, i don't read fantasy books, but this one is good. very far-off place, but not totally crazy. maybe like lord of the rings} anyway, the first book is called the game of thrones by george martin. quite entertaining.

  7. I picked up a book that Elaine Pagels wrote today -- I saw her in a panel at the World Science Festival last weekend and I was curious to read her work. I decided this summer I'm going to take full advantage of the public library and spend some time working there, reading, and taking books out. (Not to mention saving a bit of money too.)

  8. hi, just finished reading 'The Short Second life of Bree Tanner'
    These books are, well, they are ok, they are the sort of books that i know aren't great literature but i feel like i have to read them as i want to see what happens! I'm into easy reading at the moment :)

  9. ooooo! i just LOVED water for elephants. i read the whole thing on a journey from michigan to nairobi, africa... hardly slept the entire 22 hours of flying, i was sooo into the book. amazing!

    i just finished the 13th tale, per miss angelina la dawn's suggestion. another crazy good read. now i'm in the midst of a book, which i may abandon because my copy of the Happiness Project finally came in at the library!

    (oh, and reading is what summer is all about for me, too. i've been neglecting it with work/blogging/craft fair prep, but it's back in the midst of a good book all the time for me!!)

  10. Eat Pray Love is one of the first books on my To-Read list! I'm glad to hear of someone else who liked it :)


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