Sunday, April 26, 2009

April

This month we discussed Carlos Ruiz Zafòn's The Shadow of the Wind.  The opinion on this book was divided almost perfectly in half.  Some members of The Third Tuesday Book Club really, really, enjoyed this book.  Others members just could not get into it at all.
The former half were most intrigued by the Gothic story-telling conventions that existed in the book.  It had everything a good, dark Gothic novel needs: secret rooms, forbidden love, and classic good versus evil.  Those members who enjoyed this book named characters as one of the biggest reasons they found this book so enjoyable.  "Zafòn has a way of making them come alive," they said. They also agreed that Zafòn's good characters were likable, and his evil characters were fantastically written.
The book ends with quite a plot twist.  No one saw it coming.  It was well disguised, but in my opinion, hardly inventive.  
As I mentioned, only about half of us truly enjoyed this Gothic novel.  The other half of us found this novel hopelessly slow.  It was almost impossible to sink our teeth into this story when the bits of action were so few and far between.  Darline informs me that the first half of the novel was extremely slow, and that it really picks up in the second half.  I wouldn't know because I only made it through the first 80 pages.  Rarely do I put a book down, but when it's as painful as Zafòn's work, I have to know when to quit.  
So in all, about half of us truly enjoyed this book, and the other half found it painful.
In other news: Lynn brought Olivia, our newest member, to our meeting.  She has the most amazing head of hair, and she is absolutely beautiful.  Congratulations again to Lynn and Terrance.
In May, we are reading Emma Donoghue's The Sealed Letter.  Ms. Donoghue will be unable to join us because she is spending half of the year in France.  I can't believe she won't fly back to meet with us! (Kidding—of course we understand that she is very busy.)  This information also makes me wonder why I am not a professional writer—I could go for living in France for six months! 
In June we will be discussing Lawrence Hill's The Book of Negros.  If you have any book suggestion for following months, be sure to bring them along in May.
See you all on May 19!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

March

Right. Better late than never, I like to say!
In March we read Chitra Divakaruni's The Mistress of Spices.  This is one of those rare books that didn't seem to go over very well with anyone.  
My complaint was this: the book starts out great.  I loved reading about Tilo, the island, and all of the people that Tilo helps through her position at the spice shop.  However, after Raven was introduced—it all went downhill.  I know that everyone pretty much agreed on that point.  Not a single one of us believed that a man like Raven could fall in love with a gnarled old woman.  I suppose you're supposed to buy into the Native American mysticism-deal that Divakaruni tried to create, and believe that Raven could see in Tilo what others could not.  But no.  No because, although this may have been easier to swallow if Divakaruni had bothered to create an actual Native American character instead of a gross stereotype, it still seemed in the realm of impossible.  Or perhaps, The Third Tuesday Book Club is actually comprised of cynics, (lol), and although I don't believe that, you decide.  
I just need to comment on the fire at the end of the book.  It is supposed to represent Tilo's redemption and her freedom to love and live.  I thought it was a cop-out.  A big, huge, "I don't know how to end this thing so I'll just do something cheesy," ending.  It's akin to the famous "And then I woke up and found it was all dream" scenario that so many writers since Carrol have used as a way to buck providing an explanation that makes sense.  

We selected a book for June.  We are going to read The Book of Negros by Lawrence Hill.  I can't wait to discuss this one!  We are still looking at suggestions for the months following June, so have a couple ready!  Someone suggested Kahled Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns, and although this book is of interest to all of us, we might hold off on that one until September or October.  So for April's meeting we are reading Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafòn, in May we are reading The Sealed Letter by Emma Donahue (I will be emailing her in the next few weeks to invite her along), and then in June we will look at Lawrence Hill's The Book of Negros.

Finally, we have a new member to introduce.  Her name is Olivia Kathlynn and she was born on the 8th of March.  Proud parents Lynn and Terrence couldn't be more happy, and Aunt Elena is very excited as well.  Lynn, Terrence, and Olivia are all doing very well.  Congratulations to Lynn and her family!

See you all on April 21!