Since my posts about books generate so many comments from you, my readers, I thought I would share at least some of the latest reading list my book group generated for August thru next July. This isn’t the complete list — just a “teaser.”
If you are a regular Ivy & Ironstone reader, you may recall I am a member of a book group that’s been meeting on the first Friday morning of the month for well over 50 years. I wrote about it here We recently met to choose our books for the coming year.
This was also the first time we met in person since the pandemic began. We have met faithfully via Zoom, but readily admit technology is a poor substitute for the intimacy of in-person greetings, mingling over coffee before we launch our discussion. Some hugs, lots of laughs. It’s just so good to be together, a shot of emotional tonic.
But I digress. We’re talking books here and you probably want to hear titles. I won’t bore you with all eleven books, but I will share a few I am especially looking forward to.
Caution: if you’re looking for beach reads, this may not be the right place — although a few of them could be — and this list has little to do with best sellers, although a few of them are. It does include a few critically-acclaimed first novels, a few prize winners (or at least contenders) and some authors that this book club returns to again and again.
First up, we are reading Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore, which I read and wrote about here. I really liked this book and, more importantly, think it will generate a good discussion. It’s not “happily ever after,” but it is a story that stays with you. I’m eager to see what the rest of the group thinks.
We’re also reading The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett, about African-American twin sisters from small-town Louisiana who eventually move to the city where they discover one can pass as white. This revelation fractures the sisterhood and examines the subject of identity and family. It’s been included on several “best books of 2020” lists. It was already on mine.
This group often goes back to authors we have enjoyed in the past, so we chose The Cold Millions by Jess Walter, author of The Beautiful Ruins, which we loved. Set in 1909 Spkane, the novel focuses on two brothers caught in the class warfare of the early the twentieth century. Sound familiar? More than one critic has noted the similarity to today’s social climate.
I may take the next two titles with me to the beach next month. Technically they are not necessarily “beach reads,” but I’m looking forward to reading both. And who defines “beach read” anyway?
The first is Stories from Suffragette City, a collection of 13 short stories all set on October 23, 1915, when thousands of women marched up Fifth Avenue in New York demanding the right to vote. We love the topic and the history. I think this may be our first short story effort, so it will be an interesting discussion. It is, of course, our October selection.
The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman is described as “an intelligent mystery about four septugenarian sleuths who find themselves in the center of a murder investigation.” It’s set in an English home for senior citizens. It sounds a little whimsical, but several members of my book group are also enthusiastic mystery readers. And I have no comment on the “septugenarian” angle.
I’ll share more with you as the reading year goes on. In the meantime, if you want a break from reading and some pretty pictures to look at, how about these personal libraries? I don’t need a separate room, but would love a library wall like one of these.
Before I close, I want to thank all of you who took the time to wish my husband and me well after our “break through” Covid diagnosis. Your care and concern are sincerely appreciated. (And, boy, quarantine is really lonely!) We have recovered & are catching up on what we missed. It’s very good to be back!
That’s it for now. Thanks for stopping by. See you again soon!