Here’s another article that I missed when compiling today’s Monday Miscellany.
Archive for the ‘Book Groups’ Category
I am a feminist and I’ve never read ‘The Feminine Mystique’ till now (Emily Bazelon, Slate) | syracuse.comMonday, February 18th, 2013
Start you week off right, with some book-related reading.
Here’s a list to warm you up for the December 21 opening of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Peter Jackson’s film adaptation (Part 1) of J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic novel.
Novelist Ben Masters laments:
The novelists I find myself attracted to are those who cannot resist the extra adjective, the additional image, the scale-tipping clause. It feels necessary to assert and celebrate this, for we are living in puritanical times. The contemporary preference seems to be for the economical, the efficient, for simple precision (though there is of course such a thing as complex precision). Books, it appears, should be neat and streamlined. Language shouldn’t be allowed to obscure a good story. There is a craving for easily relatable and sympathetic characters. Among critics and reviewers, the plain style is more likely to be praised than the elaborate or sprawling. Embellished prose is treated with suspicion, if not dismissed outright as overwritten, pretentious or self-indulgent. Drab prose is everywhere.
He’s a man after my own heart. I actually like the novels of Henry James. His writing is intricate and complex because the ideas he deals with are large and complex.
And that’s also why one of my favorite books is Disturbances in the Field by Lynne Sharon Schwartz. Life isn’t easy. Books like this allow us to study it in all its complexity.
I’ve always wondered whether all the forensic wizardry in crime novels and on TV shows like CSI and Law & Order could really happen. The answer is yes.
There’s probably a good reason why we’ve never heard of most of these (with the exception of the Lois Lowry trilogy and Paradise Regained).
I have heard of exactly 3 of these. How about you?
Amanda Nelson takes issue with a list of books recommended last January by Love Twenty, an online magazines for women in their twenties:
So basically, a website devoted to helping women–I’m sorry, girls– in their 20s thinks that those girls are most concerned about shopping, getting married, shopping, maybe getting married, and also shopping (until you get married). Because “With a little sass and a lot of perseverance, you can get your happily ever after, after all.”
Fortunately, she also found an antidote:
I present an alternate list from Thought Catalog- 11 Books You Should Read If You’re A Woman In Your 20s (Hey, she called me a woman!). This list includes Dorothy Parker, Kate Chopin, Toni Morrison, practical books about sex, and even a Hemingway! There are books that discuss race, gender equality, female sexuality (including homosexuality, which Love Twenty basically ignores), depression, and the nature of commitment. It is full of win.
Kit Steinkellner proposes some truly radical ways to stimulate your book club’s discussions.
How about you? Do you have any suggestions for how to make a book club work? Leave a comment.
Here’s some reading to start off your week.
Link the story to their lives. Pause when you read and ask kids how the story connects to their own experiences. “Where have you seen a train (or a sunset, a forest, or any important element that connects to their own lives) before?”. Research shows that making connections like these builds bigger vocabularies.
I love this clever list. It’s not a list of specific book titles, but rather categories of books. Here are a couple of examples:
- The one that a friend recommends even though it’s in a genre you’ve never read
- The Young Adult novel that one of your kids loved
Robert Atwan, the founder of The Best American Essays series, has built this list for Publishers Weekly. To choose only 10 essays from a 50+ span of years seems not only ambitious but also, in some ways, arrogant. Indeed, Atwan explains that he had to eliminate whole swaths of work: “all the great examples of New Journalism” and everything written by a non-American author. And, he emphasizes, this is a list of individual essays, not of essayists.
Here’s how he defines what he did include:
To my mind, the best essays are deeply personal (that doesn’t necessarily mean autobiographical) and deeply engaged with issues and ideas. And the best essays show that the name of the genre is also a verb, so they demonstrate a mind in process–reflecting, trying-out, essaying.
Atwan explains why he has chosen each essay on the list. In a nice touch, the list includes links if online versions of the essays are available.
The coming weeks and months will see a spate of films based on books that were required reading for many a high school and college student.
An independent version of Emily Bronte’s “Wuthering Heights” arrived in select theaters over the weekend. Leo Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina” hits theaters Nov. 16, and Victor Hugo’s “Les Misérables” comes out Dec. 14.
The second in a series of films based on Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” will be released Friday, also in limited release. “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” the first in a trilogy based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s book “The Hobbit,” comes out Dec. 14. The cinematic version of the acclaimed novel “Life of Pi” is due Nov. 21.
Book lovers always want to find out if the movie will be better than—or even as good as—the book. This article ends with a helpful summary of these novels. If you plan to read the book before seeing the film, note that many of these works are very long, so budget time accordingly.
After Will Schwalbe’s 73-year-old mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2007, he began accompanying her to many of her chemotherapy treatments and doctor’s appointments. Both book lovers—Schwalbe is the former editor-in-chief of Hyperion Books—they often passed the time by reading, talking about reading or both.
Their informal waiting-room book club endured for the remaining two years of her life, and led to this tender tribute to Schwalbe’s mother and also to the universal power of books to unite and heal. In it, he chronicles the many books that he and his mother, Mary Anne, read together, and how those books shaped their final years together.
Amy Scribner interviews Schwalbe for BookPage.
This article about a book group originally formed at a Borders store prompted me to post about my own formerly-Borders group. We are a general group. Although fiction probably dominates, we read both fiction and nonfiction. We originated about 12 years ago in a Borders store that went down in the first round of closings. Still lead by our former Borders employee, we have relocated to the cafe of a nearby Barnes & Noble store. We meet once a month.
Right now we are focusing on books about Hemingway’s expat experience in Europe in the 1920s. Hemingway has been much in the news because of the 50th anniversary earlier this month of his suicide. And there’s a lot of current interest in Paris–for example, Woody Allen’s new movie Midnight in Paris.
Here’s what we’re reading now:
- A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway: his’s account of life in Paris in the 1920s.
- The Paris Wife by Paula McLain: a novel narrated in the first person by Hadley, Hemingway’s first wife, about her life with struggling-writer husband.
- The Sun Also Rises by Hemingway: his first published novel, covering life in Europe in the 1920.
- The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris by David McCullough: the story of how famous Americans brought back their findings about Paris between 1830 and 1900.