Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Thursday, September 07, 2006
The first one in this batch is Goodbye Lemon by Adam Davies. The excerpt was sort of horribly fascinating in its introduction to Jack Tennant, his two brothers, one of whom drowned in childhood, his mother, his father, from whom Jack is estranged, and Jack's girlfriend, who can't understand why Jack would even hesitate to go home (for the first time in 15 years) when the news arrives that Jack's father has had a stroke. A family this twisted is hard to look away from, like a train wreck. An Amazon reviewer comments that "You want to simultaneouly hug all of the characters and also shake them and kick them for their terrible decisions," and I agree. It's difficult to imagine what will happen in the rest of the book but I am kinda curious, though it might turn out to be the sort of book I have to put down because how stupid people are sometimes really gets to me.
I never read The Da Vinci Code (out of a sort of snobbishness that if so many people who aren't big readers liked it, I probably wouldn't, as well as a general lack of interest in Christian-oriented books). So I can't judge the comparison to that book that The Begotten: A Novel of the Gifted seems to invite. The BzzAgent site says that author Lisa T. Bergren wrote this The Begotten because of the "heretical 'truths' the author set forward" in The Da Vinci Code. I'm also not a Christian, so I can't vouch for heresy or lack of it, but a historical novel set in 14th-century Europe has to deal with Christianity to be accurate, and in the five chapters given in this excerpt I didn't find this book to be preaching to the reader. There are supernatural powers clearly related to the Christian God and Satan, though, so it's probably not a book for the sort of atheist who doesn't wish to read of something they'll consider fantasy. But as a fantasy novel, it seems pretty interesting.
I've also never been in a book club, and so my thoughts on The Book Club Companion: A Comprehensive Guide to the Reading Experience may not be the best quide. But I think this book would be a huge help to anyone wanting to start a book discussion group; it not only lists books and questions to prompt conversation on them, but issues like whether or not knitting during the group meeting is appropriate, and what to do about pets when meeting in a home they occupy, and it offers recipes for meeting foods and beverages. This wide range of suggestions and thought-provokers seems like just about everything a person would need to get a book club running and keep it going, rather than petering out as so many good intentions do.