Saturday, May 3, 2014

Adventures in Book Clubs

Four book clubs in two weeks -- even for me, that is a lot! I host two monthly book clubs: a CanLit group as part of my work at Jasper Place Library, and one at my home, where our only criteria is that we choose books written by women. I've also been a longtime member of two other book clubs: the Edmonton Lesbian Book Club that has met monthly at Audreys Books for 11 years, and a YA group that has been meeting at the School of Library and Information Science at the University of Alberta for more than two decades.
I did some bookshelf sorting today. These are TBR.

My attendance at the lesbian and YA book clubs has been sporadic in recent years, but I rejoice when my calendar is clear on the corresponding evenings. That's what happened in April and the result has been a book clubbing bonanza. Read on to discover what books we talked about (with links to my earlier reviews) and some of the topics they inspired.

April 21 - The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer. Morality; loyalty; jealousy; 1970s; feminism; likable vs unlikable characters; parenting. The Two Bichons list of previous titles is on Goodreads.

April 23 - Astray by Emma Donoghue. Historical role of women in society; mothers; ethics; manipulative behaviours; characterization; writing style; short story format; increasing general knowledge via fiction. The CanLit Book Club title roster is available online. Drop-in members are welcome.

April 29 - Prairie Ostrich by Tamai Kobayashi. Voice; 1970s setting; multiple entry points for readers relating to story; writer's craftsmanship and attention to detail; racism; grieving; character development; small-town lesbians; books that make us cry. Everyone at this meeting was blown away by Prairie Ostrich, by the way. It's a magnificent, universal story. See the Edmonton Lesbian Book Club website for previous and upcoming titles.

April 30 - Lighter than My Shadow by Katie Green. Size/length (it's a hefty book); visuals/artwork (it's a graphic novel); pros and cons to memoir genre. We always discuss two books at the YA group. The second was Australian science fiction: And All the Stars by Andrea K Host. Despite its faults, most of us were impressed with this self-published work. It prompted discussion of "studly nerds" in YA fiction in general, and whether or not there is now such a thing as the "female gaze." 

What adventures have you had in book clubs?

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