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Book Club: new selection

July 23, 2012 27 comments

As I mentioned in my previous post about our Book Club wrap-up, we decided to go for another year of reading together. It was very nice to read the same book at the same time and be able to discuss it. Since we’re good friends, it’s also an opportunity for us to get together once in a month, to share a meal, exchange the latest news and discuss our ideas about the book we chose to readalong. I’m delighted to present you our choices for the 2012-2013 school year:

  • August 30th: The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

I’m glad we chose a Wharton as I loved The Custom of the Country. I thought it was brilliant for the style, the characters and the study of the American and French societies of the time. I’ll be starting this one pretty soon as our meeting will be by the end of August.

  • September 27th: The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

I can’t resist to include the unorthodox cover I found for this one. It’s not exactly how you imagine a book cover for a book by Henry James, isn’t it? This one has been recommended by fellow book bloggers when I read What Maisie Knew. It’s a totally different theme, apparently and I’m looking forward to discovering that side of Henry James. September is a busy month for us, with children going back to school and the family schedule to adjust to the new school year, therefore we chose a rather short book for that month.

  • October 11th: The Captain’s Daughter by Alexandr Pushkin

We want to explore Russian literature a bit more but we don’t have read the same ones. None of us ever read The Captain’s Daughter, so we’ll give it a try.

  • November 22nd: Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler

Ah! A novel by a writer who didn’t live before WWII. We’ve never tried Anne Tyler but I heard she’s good and that her exploration of marriage is well crafted.

  • December 20th: Diary of a Madman by Nicolaï Gogol

Russian literature again.

  • January 17th: Notre Coeur by Guy de Maupassant

We all read Maupassant when we were younger. We studied him in school and read him by ourselves among other classics from French literature. Notre Coeur isn’t the most famous one, the one you think about immediately when you say “Maupassant”. After Guy’s review of it here, I suggested we read it and unlike Bel Ami or Une Vie, this is one none of us had read before. I suppose that reviews of Bel Ami will bloom all over the net after the last film starring Robert Pattison. (But why did they choose him? He looks so British he can’t be taken for a Frenchman!)

  • February 13th: The Moon and Sixpence by William Somerset Maugham

This work by William Somerset Maugham is one of his most famous. This is about Gauguin and I’m not a fan of his paintings but it’s not too long and it’s the opportunity to discover his style if you’ve never read him. As far as I’m concerned, I’m happy to explore his work a bit further. (I also want to read On Human Bondage but I’m torn about the language I should choose. On the one hand, it’s a long book and it will take a long time for me to read it in English, so I’d rather get it in translation. On the other hand, his English not difficult to understand, I should be able to read it in English and that would be a great training before reading a long Trollope)

  • March 28th: Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry

Two of us have had Under the Volcano on the TBR shelf for a while. We know it’s supposed to be a masterpiece but it felt daunting. So it remained on the shelf. I have to say that Emilie de Turckheim’s comment about it help me decide to try it. I have a copy in English, I wonder if I should get one in French.

  • April 25th: L’Argent by Emile Zola

Last year we read La Curée (The Kill) and loved it. We wanted to read (or re-read) another Zola and in a way, with the current problems on the stock markets and the storm touching the Euro, reading L’Argent (Money) sounded spot on and we’re curious about Zola’s take on money. Aristide Saccard, one of the main characters of La Curée, is also a character in L’Argent.

  • May 23rd: Trouble Is My Business by Raymond Chandler

I suggested this one as we wanted to include at least one crime fiction book in our selection. I enjoyed The Big Sleep and I’m looking forward to meeting Philip Marlowe again.

  • June 20th: Rien ne s’oppose à la nuit by Delphine de Vigan

This is the first book we selected, there was no discussion about reading it. Two of us have read Les heures souterraines and loved it. Delphine de Vigan’s last novel was praised by the critics here and we were waiting for it to be available in paperback to read it.

  • July 25th: The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

I tried to read it in English once, impossible, I couldn’t understand Hawthorne’s prose. I need a copy in French, at least it’s clear. I have no idea how I will respond to this book and I don’t remember reading a review by another blogger. It will be a surprise, which is nice too.

And with The Scarlet Letter, we’ll complete our reading year. I’m sharing this with you for several reasons. The first one is that I’ll be happy to read your comments about our selection and hear your thoughts about the ones you’ve already read. The second one is that you can join us and read any of them along with us. I’ll link your review to mine or will answer your comments if you don’t have a blog and decide to share your thoughts in the comment section. You can always check in the Book Club pad to see which book we are currently reading. And the third one is that I’ll be writing the billets about this books every month, you might wonder about the Book Club logo.

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