Back at the end August, I put a post on Facebook asking if anyone in L.A. had a book group I could join, and if not, was anyone interested in starting one with me? I was overwhelmed with the response. No one had a group but so many were interested. We now have 26 members and though it’s large, we all lead busy lives so there are usually 12-15 members at a meeting. We’ve just started a Good Reads group too so that members who’ve had to miss a meeting can still discuss the book there.
We try to have a themed beverage at each meeting as well. Don’t let that fool you though, we REALLY discuss the book. Sometimes quite heatedly and I LOVE it!
Here’s what we’ve read so far.
Our first book was Commonwealth by Anne Patchett. At that meeting we had gin and orange juice available since that is the drink that sets off the chain of events in the book. I think all of us enjoyed this tale of two families connected by betrayal and the journey they take over the years.
Our next selection was Reading With Patrick by Michelle Kuo. There was no themed drink this time, just wine and cheese (which is always available at our meetings!). This discussion was the most heated since some really liked the book and others felt it was a self-serving piece that really didn’t accomplish much. A few of our members grew up in the deep south and resented the sweeping idealism of someone coming in to “fix their problems”.
In December we didn’t have a book discussion but we did have a holiday get-together!
January’s book was The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton. We chose this enormous book because we had two months to read it. The overall response was not great. It was agreed that it was a brilliant feat of construction, but that ultimately the language was difficult and plot was devoid of any real consequence relative to the length of the book. Most of us would not recommend it.
We did have a fun cocktail for it, though! The Gilded Corpse Reviver!
In February we read two books.
Play It As It Lays by Joan Didion was our main selection and was loved, or at least enjoyed, by all but two of our group. It IS very bleak and yet to those of us who loved it, it’s exquisite in it’s pain and imagery. I personally am obsessed with Joan Didion now and I highly recommend watching the documentary The Center Will Not Hold.
We had an “optional dessert” choice, if you will, a YA book called Carry On by Rainbow Rowell .
I’ve been describing this book as “an edgy Harry Potter”. It is clearly fan fiction and apparently is a follow up to Fan Girl. However, I am so happy I read this before Fan Girl because otherwise the twist has already been revealed. And a great twist it is!
Next up we are reading Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman.
If you’d like to read it too, we can discuss it here afterwards. Let me know in the comments!
Do you have a book group? What books have you read that you’d recommend?\