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Book Club: the wrap up

July 21, 2012 8 comments

Time flows quickly and our first year of Book Club came to an end this month – yes, we’re all mothers and our years are school years, our every day lives are intertwined with children’s needs. We had a great reading year together and decided to go for another one and we’re currently selecting the books for our next reading year. During our last meeting, we took a little time to come back to the books we’d read and we had a little fun rating them, from one to five stars.

The top three books are:

The Kill by Emile Zola

Thanks Guy for pointing this novel to me, I suggested we read it and we all loved it. We hadn’t read a Zola for a while, French classics being teenage reading most of the time. That’s a benefit from blogging in English, foreign readers give me another look at French classics.

The Enchantment of Lily Dahl: A Novel by Siri Hustdvet

She’s a writer I intend to explore. The two novels by her I read were marvellous and this one is brilliant, the story engrossing and the style excellent. (PS: Does anyone know why sometimes publishers need to write “A novel” at the end of the book’s title?)

The Ripening Seed by Colette  That was a discovery for me, Colette isn’t a writer I’d read before. She’s got a wonderful style, rich with evocative images and with precise vocabulary. It’s not often that I need to look for words in the dictionary when I read in French.

The three ones we rated the lowest:

Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier

My post was entitled Remarkably Boring and that was the general feeling. I couldn’t finish it. Such a waste. The idea was good but ill-executed. We’re quite alone in our assessment of this novel as it got good reviews by other book bloggers. I don’t know why it didn’t work for us. No, it can’t be only the translator’s fault.

A Good Indian Wife: a Novel by Anne Cherian

We all found The Good Indian Wife agreeable to read but without real literary quality or depth of analysis. The part set in India was interesting but the one in America wasn’t as good. Quickly read, quickly forgotten.

Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

We also all remained cold reading Norwegian Wood; we had the same feeling about the character, aloof, grey, boring and the novel lacking psychological insight and depth.

As far as the other books are concerned, we enjoyed them we don’t have the same opinion. As a reminder, they were:

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by Francis Scott Fitzgerald

I thought this one very good and I want to read more by Fitzgerald whom I had unjustly classified in a “light writer” box. And that was really unfair.

P.O. Box Love. A Novel Of Letters by Paola Calvetti

It’s lovely but it’s not the literary breakthrough of the century. It’s nice to read for entertainment and for her take on architecture. By the way, why “a novel of letter”? Is epistolary too highbrow??

Gros Câlin by Romain Gary

I’m more than partial to this writer, so I even wonder if my opinion is worth listening. It’s a bitter-sweet tale full of dark humour and thoughtful analysis of loneliness in big cities.

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark

Not good: when we listed the books we’d read, we forgot this one. The kiss of death for a novel. However, it’s a good book, there’s no questioning its interest and its literary qualities.

Exit Ghost by Philip Roth

I’m the one who enjoyed it most. There’s something going on between Philip Roth and me; I’m fond of his style and his vision of life and his analysis of society.

I hope you enjoyed following our first Book Club year through my billets. I’ll let you know soon about next year’s list and you’re welcome aboard to read some along with us.

Categories: Book Club, Personal Posts
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