January 14, 2008

Behold! My brain did not explode

Last Thursday I ventured timidly to my book club, hoping and praying that my mouth wouldn't burst forth with profanities towards this month's book. Because the book was really bad. Really, really bad. So bad that I knew I would scream "This book is shittier than a clogged toilet that no one has fixed in three weeks!"

But then an amazing thing happened: we didn't even talk about the book. Well, maybe we did for five minutes but then we all moved on to more interesting topics like the writer's strike and how much we really miss The Office.

I was saved.

And here is the good news: next month we voted to read Life of Pi, which I read back in college and which is a pretty decent book.

And here is the great news: I am hosting book club next month so I get to choose three or four books that the club will vote from! Now my brain is buzzing with what books I should choose. I want them to be really good books, of course, but I also want them to appeal to a wide audience. Thus I need to stay away from such literary figures as Marquez or Vonnegut because their prose may be too "out there" for my little book club.

Here is a list of what I have in mind:

1.) The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
2.) The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien
3.) The Road by Cormac McCarthy
4.) China Road by Rob Gifford (A non-fiction book by a reporter who hitchhikes his way across the Chinese version of Route 66.)

I'm sure I'm forgetting some great books...


  1. Those are all really good pics (that you have chosen). I need to read Life of Pi. Reading The Road rightnow...

  2. China Road, that is the one! I was trying to remember that title a while back so I could pick it up.

  3. lisa lazar11:02 AM

    I'm finally reading Lahiri's Interpreter of Maladies--I love her! Maybe I'll have to pick up Namesake next.

  4. Hey lady,
    I found this page and thought you'd find it really funny: http://www.angrylittlegirls.com/

    I'm blogging at a new page now - www.rainbowfriends.net

    It was lurvely to see you over the holidays. I miss you so much!

  5. I think The Strangeness of Beauty by Lydia Minatoya would be good for a book club. Its about a Japanese American woman who goes back to live in Japan in the years leading up to World War II. Also The Poe Shadow by Matthew Pearl, a kind of literary mystery about the death of Poe, might be fun. I also like The Night My Mother Met Bruce Lee: Observations on Not Fitting In by Paisley Rekdal. It's about a woman who is half Chinese, half Western European (I can't remember what country). It's a collection of stories about her experiences in China, Korea, Japan, and the U.S. Really good stuff. You should check it out even if you don't use it for book club.
    You know The Things They Carried is like my all-time favorite, but how does your book club feel about the f-bomb?

  6. Anonymous3:01 AM

    Have you read "The Things They Carried?" It was required reading for my son a couple years ago. I hadn't read it and I love to read so I tried to read it. I just could not finish it. It is a powerful discussion on the vulgarity of war; certainly an important book. I could not stomach the book. If you're up for a deep discussion about the immorality of war, perfect choice. If you're looking for a nice, comfortable read -- try another one.

  7. Anon,

    I read The Things They Carried about a year and a half ago. It is one of my husband's favorite books (he is in the military) and was also recommended to me by several good friends.

    I do agree that it is not the most comfortable read. War can be so ugly and it can leave such a sad imprint on a soldier's life. Thank you for letting me know your feelings. The book has become one of my favorites yet it may not be to everyone else's tastes. I should keep that in mind when I present my 4 choices at the next book club.

    I thought this book would be a good choice for my book club since every member has a husband in the Army or has served in the military herself. I'll be sure to warn them about the language, but I also hope that they will be able to see the inherent beauty in the book too. (O'Brien is one of the most talented writers I have ever encountered.)

    Anyway, I'm just ready to discuss something that isn't Nicholas Sparks or Jason Wright or Blah Blah Boring Cliche. Whether it is this book or The Namesake or The Road, so be it!

  8. Anonymous3:33 PM


    I know a lot of people love the book. The language wasn't a problem for me. I am so much of a pacifist that it bothered me a lot. My dad served in Vietnam, so I think that had a lot to do with my feelings as well. Like I said I believe it is a powerful and important book, just not my cup of "hot cocoa." I had a number of friends in my ward who objected to the book without ever reading it, which to me is almost as bad a banning and burning books. I wasn't trying to persuade or condemn, just comment.

    Looking at my previous post, it comes off a little argumentative. Not my intention; blame it on posting at 3 in the morning.

    BTW - new to blogging, so I can't figure out how to give my name. It's Rondell.

  9. Rondell,

    Welcome to my blog! And thank you for your comments.

    Thank you too for your last comment. I think I better understand now your feelings about the book--especially since your father is a Vietnam veteran and your reservations about war itself.

    I think my own biggest reservation about recommending this book for my book club is because all of the members have a strong connection to the military. All of the members' husbands have been in the Army and some of these men are currently serving abroad. I'm afraid that this book, which portrays war so vividly and hauntingly and violently, may be too much for them. Perhaps too close to home?

    I'll definitely disclose to my book club that The Things They Carried is not a warm and fuzzy read. *Sigh* It's hard for me to choose books for this club. There are so many different kinds of women with different interests in this club... Not sure how to please everyone (or at least a majority).

    Anyway, just babbling now. Welcome again and thanks for the comments!