I met @bibliosue on Twitter. And then I meet Suzanne Weiner in person at the Books On The Nightstand retreat in Vermont this past April. She’s a great reader, blogger and friend and now she shares her thoughts about belonging to a book club!
One of my favorite things about belonging to a book club is that I am exposed to books that I would not likely select on my own. Sometimes I am disappointed with a particular choice – that happens with books I’ve chosen for myself, too – but more often than not I have been thrilled to discover something wonderful.
A recent selection at my book club at the Read Between the Lynes bookstore in Woodstock, Illinois comes to mind. The book was The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa, a novel about an aging math professor with only 80 minutes of short-term memory, his housekeeper and her son. I admit to not being too excited about reading it – on the surface it did not appear to have a story that would interest me – but because I strongly believe book group discussions are as good if not better when there are people involved who did not like the book, I read it with an open mind.
And I could not have been more wrong! The Housekeeper became one my favorite novels read in 2010. The writing is so simple and so beautiful, the story is the same; and I even found myself with a pencil and paper at hand attempting to solve some of the math problems described in the narrative (Oh to have had this book around when I was in school to make math more interesting!)
When it came time for the discussion, the novel was declared a unanimous hit; which even in our relatively small group is not common. Despite that, the conversation was lively and did not lack for topics to discuss – math (really – it was fascinating!), caring for seniors (comparing the Japanese culture with the West), the power of memory, the definition of family, just to name a few.
At the end of the discussion, a general question came up as to who selected this book for the group (we usually select the books as a group in the fall for the following year). Surprisingly, not one person admitted to recommending the book or remembered who did. It still remains a mystery, but we were all glad to have had this book present itself to us.
Be sure and visit Suzanne on her blog!