Monthly Archives: October 2012

Up next for October…

For our October meeting, we’re reading The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling. From what I can tell so far, it’s very VERY different from her Harry Potter series (you may have heard of it), which is the way she wanted it. 

Amazon says: When Barry Fairbrother dies unexpectedly in his early forties, the little town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils…. Pagford is not what it first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the town’s council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations? Blackly comic, thought-provoking and constantly surprising, The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling’s first novel for adults.

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September: The Age of Miracles

The September book was Age of Miracles  by Karen Thompson Walker. As I mentioned before, I haven’t read the book, but I think the premise is pretty interesting. Here’s what Amazon says:

On a seemingly ordinary Saturday in a California suburb, Julia and her family awake to discover, along with the rest of the world, that the rotation of the earth has suddenly begun to slow. The days and nights grow longer and longer, gravity is affected, the environment is thrown into disarray. Yet as she struggles to navigate an ever-shifting landscape, Julia is also coping with the normal disasters of everyday life—the fissures in her parents’ marriage, the loss of old friends, the hopeful anguish of first love, the bizarre behavior of her grandfather who, convinced of a government conspiracy, spends his days obsessively cataloging his possessions. As Julia adjusts to the new normal, the slowing inexorably continues.

http://www.amazon.com/Age-Miracles-Karen-Thompson-Walker/dp/0812992970

August: Gone Girl

I think this was one of my favorite books so far, but it was a pretty mixed reaction from the group. This book has gotten a lot of hype, so I kind of expected it to be generically exciting, but maybe not the most well-written of novels. What I liked the most was that it was a surprising narrative. This book was more about how changing the way a reader views a character can turn the plot upside-down.

I first found the female protagonist (Amy) incredibly intolerable. She would go on rants about how she was the “cool girlfriend/wife” and how she couldn’t understand how these other women expected to keep their man by demanding (read: expressing their needs) what they wanted. I was so angry when I read Amy’s journal entry about this. Another freaking woman telling me that I shouldn’t express how I feel and that the man should get everything he wants and I should get nothing I want. Unbelievable.

To focus back on the storytelling, I liked how Flynn switched between the male (Nick) and female protagonists. I also loved how she revealed more about the character’s personality as the novel unfolded, revealing that neither narrator (Nick nor Amy) was trustworthy. This is incredible storytelling. I love when the author doesn’t control the story too much by forcing me down a path of belief. I like to form my own opinions about characters with the evidence presented. This can be incredibly difficult to do unless you’re writing from third person objective, which can often times feel very stilted and wooden.

The personality switch reminded me a lot of Hitchcock’s Psycho in that who the viewer thinks will be the protagonist of that movie is killed within the first 15 or so minutes. It’s so shocking to the viewer that we’re not sure who we’re supposed to follow next. You can even feel the camera mimicking this struggle through the quick cuts after the character has been murdered in the shower. [Movie digression over.]

Many of the girls in the Girly Book Club enjoy books with characters with whom they can relate. If they can’t find a character that is like them in some way, they do not enjoy the book as much. This is a legitimate way to read a book, but if that is the case, then this book is definitely not for you. Almost every character is an asshole. All are very interesting and compelling assholes, but assholes none the less. Asshole.

A note on September: none of us read the next book, so I’ll post an Amazon summary and when I read the book eventually, I’ll post a review on it. Our October book, however is quite the exciting selection: the long-awaited next novel from J.K. Rowling, The Casual Vacancy. See you bitches at the end of October!

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July: Hidden Wives and The Five Love Languages

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I’m back, bitches and not-bitches. Now time to play catch up.

In July, The Girly Book Club read Hidden Wives by Claire Avery. I was so-so on the book, although our group had very polarizing viewpoints. Becky loved the book (and I believe has listed it among her favorites of chosen books), while Ali felt that there was far too much rape. To be fair, she did request a book without any rape. “I’ll read anything, just please no rape, you guys!” Oops.

I thought that the topic of a polygamist colony was interesting, but overdone at this point. Under the Banner of Heaven has been out for years, Romney is running for President, my best friend in high school was Mormon- is Mormonism still a hot-button issue that needs exposure? I also thought the characterization was completely predictable and unrealistic. Rachel (sister of Sara, our protagonist) was so under the spell of the religion that it made sense that she freaked out, but her complete 180 self-actualization in the end was a bit too cathartic for me. Honestly, I would have found the story much more interesting if she had died. I know that sounds harsh, but hear me out. If Rachel had died, then Sara’s reaction after the court case would have been totally justified. It would have also made for a more interesting story if Sara’s anger could be focused on revenge. Like in the show, Revenge. Overall, I give this book a “meh.”

Now, onto the The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts. I liked parts of this book, but I did not finish it. Mostly because I didn’t want to because I wanted to read other things. I did really like the idea that humans communicate and receive love in different ways. It gave me perspective on members of family and friends. Other than that, I think the book is directed at couples who are married. I couldn’t utilize a lot of the information in my daily life. This may be because I am an embittered single woman in my late-twenties, but I digress. I recommend this book to married couples everywhere who don’t feel like reading something else.

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