Tag Archives: Book Club Reading List

Book Club: What We Pitched & What Was Chosen

If you visited me earlier in the week, you may have read this post where I expressed my anxiety anticipation over my book club’s yearly selection meeting. Well, we met at Border’s last night to select twelve books and let me tell you, it was hard to limit myself to two books. I came in with a stack of oh… 18 or so.

I’ve separated them into two groups.

Once the chosen books have been assigned to a month, I will post them under the Book Club tab.

The Chosen

A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller
A Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet by David Mitchell
A Very Long Engagement by Sebastien Japriscot
Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
Notes from the Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Pearl of China by Anchee Min
Room by Emma Donoghue
The Lost City of Z by David Grann
*The Quickening Maze by Adam Foulds
The Surrendered by Chang-rae Lee
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
*Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez

*Pitched by me

The Recommended (not chosen)

A Short History of Women by Kate Walbert
A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
*Bitter in the Mouth by Monique Truong
Candide by Voltaire
Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu
Master and Man by Leo Tolstoy
Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes
Random Family by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc
*Safe From the Sea by Peter Geye
Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway
The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy
The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman
The Lotus Eaters by Tatjana Soli
The Photographer by Emannuel Guibert
The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova
The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu
*The Unnamed by Joshua Ferris
*We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

*Pitched by me

What do you think of the list? Sometimes it’s hard to choose for an entire year because you just don’t know what you’ll want to read several months down the line but we’ve been choosing this way for years. It seems to work for us.

Review: Last Night in Twisted River

Last Night in Twisted RiverLast Night in Twisted River
By John Irving
Random House
June 2010
592pp

The Short of It:

Unforgettable characters and a truly unique story are something reader’s expect from an Irving novel. Last Night in Twisted River delivers on both counts.

The Rest of It:

The story begins in a New Hampshire logging camp in 1954. Twelve-year-old Daniel accidentally kills the local constable’s girlfriend, which forces him and his father to flee town. As fugitives, they move from place to place, making friends along the way.

Told over the course of five decades, Last Night in Twisted River is many things. It’s definitely a story about a father and a son, but it’s also very much a story about friendship. In this novel, friendships remain true and loyalties prevail.

I fell in love with many of the characters in this novel. Dominic could not love his son more. The passages where he reflects upon Daniel literally caused my heart to ache. Some may argue that Dominic’s decision to flee does more harm than good, but when it comes to the protection of your child, people often make rash decisions. I didn’t hold it against him.

Oh, and Daniel!. He’s flawed in many ways. He seems to pick all the wrong women and has a tendency to drink too much, but the love that he holds for his father is enough to make you love him. He’s cautious, until he’s not. Which is sort of an ongoing theme throughout the novel. He grows up to be a writer and it’s through his writing that we get to know the real Daniel.

My favorite character of all though is Ketchum. Ketchum is their logging friend who remains a constant source of support for them. Although he is my favorite, I’ll let you experience him for yourself when you pick-up the book.

I do have this to say about Irving’s depiction of women… I’m not sure if he loves them or hates them! In this novel, the women are very bold, surly types. Most have questionable manners and lack good hygiene, yet they are quite important within the story itself. I enjoyed them, because although they lacked social graces and often, common sense, they were endearing in some way.

I love how Irving is able to walk a reader through a story. He takes your hand, and glides you through the chapters as if you’re a character in the story. I don’t believe there was ever a moment where I felt lost. His voice comes through so clearly. It’s one of the things that I love about Irving’s writing.

Last Night in Twisted River is a bit long, but well worth the effort. It will be on my fave list for 2010 and will probably be a favorite of mine for a long time to come. There aren’t many books that you want to reread right after finishing. That’s how I felt about this one.

Source: Purchased