Sunday, May 3, 2009

Sunday Salon: Book club suggestions and other ramblings

As May is now upon us, I am anticipating the e-mails that will start rolling in as my devoted acolytes ::ahem:: fellow summer bookclub members ask what I've chosen for our mutual delight this June, July, and August. Leaving aside the question of why they continue to allow me to dictate our three months' choices (I am the self-declared Supreme High Book Chooser for the group), I need to think of what these choices will be. I try to choose things that aren't necessarily terribly well known and that none of us, including me, have already read. The books can be new or old, paperback or hardback, fiction or non-fiction. So far I've been lucky and chosen at least one wonderful read each summer. Some summers I hit the jackpot and all three choices are gorgeous reads. Other less satisfying summers, only one is exceptional. I'm really only starting to noodle through my options right now but I know the e-mails will be starting shortly and I want to be prepared. Anyone out there have any suggestions (even if it's just of books to avoid)?

Choosing the summer bookclub books is not the only reading related thing I need to be working on right now. Do you ever get a funk that makes the thought of even beginning to do something that you should do (and even want to do) is completely wearying? I imagine this is how my children feel when faced with the prospect of cleaning their rooms or the basement if I let them go too many days without tackling the chaos. There's just so much to do that it seems interminable and possibly completely insurmountable. Not only is my May determination list making me feel this way (and yes, I totally know it's 100% self-imposed, thank-you very much) but the backlog of books I need to review is also suddenly larger than I feel like I'll ever manage to get through. The only positive is that I do like doing it so I assume that eventually, I will manage to whittle the stack down to a reasonable amount and re-discover the joy of accomplishment. Now if only I could help my kids feel that glow of a job well done when they clean their rooms or finish their homework!

And now you know why the latest book I ordered from the bookstore was called Why Bright Children Get Poor Grades. I haven't cracked the spine yet but one of the three main reasons I bought the book has skimmed it and already informed me that I shouldn't hover over him as he works. The perils of having a child who is a good and advanced reader although I still maintain that me making dinner in the kitchen while homework is being avoided at the kitchen table does not constitute hovering! Maybe I should just make him read the book and report back to me on the salient points in hopes that it will inspire him to change his ways, negating most of my need for the book. Then I could get back to what I want to read instead of what I need to read. (Hmmmmm. Sounds like the argument R. gives me when she's grousing about the AR books she's forced to read, instead of the much more appealing but slightly questionable books she mines from the teen section at the bookstore--and yes, I let her get them since I seem congenitally unable to say no to the purchase of a book.) Do my kids know my weak spots or what?!


  1. I read several short books for the readathon that I'd recommend for your summer club....Breakfast at Tiffany's...A Streetcar Named Desire...Member of the Wedding...That Night....

    Maybe you've already read these. I thought Elegance of the Hedgehog would make a good book for discussion. I liked Absolutely Maybe, a strong YA book. And I'd recommend as a perfect book for summer moms Everything is Beautiful.

  2. I've missed so many of my book group's meetings that I don't dare suggest a book. However, if I had the nerve, I'd suggest The Air We Breathe by Andrea Barrett: a great read with lots of interesting characters and ideas.

    Btw, my bright child used to get poor grades until we started offering him a performance bonus. Fifty bucks for an all A's report card. Otherwise, zero. Worked wonders. :-)

  3. My book club this month is reading "Ella Minnow Pea" - I'm enjoying it thus far - feels sort of literary but isn't too hard to get through.

  4. Thanks for these suggestions. I'll look into the ones that I ahven't read yet. On the plus side, for those that I have read, I have really enjoyed them so you guys must be on the right track. :-)


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