Friday, 27 August 2010

The Girls - August Book Club

We were a very small group this month what with holidays etc. so only a few of us managed to sample Gaynor's lovely baking. This book provided a very frenetic discussion, especially to do with some of the practicalities of being a craniophagus twin.

We found there was very little description of the twins so it was very hard to imagine how they actually looked. This combined with the feeling that the characters weren't very well written to made us feel very little connection with the characters. We compared this novel with the previous book club book and found the reason we liked the previous one was because of a strong connection we felt towards the Guernsey characters. We all felt indifferent towards the characters in this book.

There were some shocking scenes to do with birth and sex within the book which we felt were only there to try to make the girls more human. These are things that "normal" people go through therefore the author made the girls go through them. We were all shocked by the impossibility of the girls birth, being medically inclined we thought this should have been handled more realistically. The scene between the girls and Frankie Foyle we found to be very strange and a little uncomfortable.

Not everyone managed to finish the novel this time this might be because the novel became very slow during the middle part with no real direction. It was also felt to be a little bit dry, not human enough to keep our attention. We discussed the end of the book and it was suggested that maybe Nick should have written a chapter at the end describing the girls last days just to neaten it all up. We felt Nick was the right person for the job because he had become so close to the girls. We also thought that maybe the girls chapters could have coincided a bit more often so we could see the same thing from different eyes.

Overall the book got 5 out of 10 with no marks higher than 6.

Monday, 23 August 2010

The Girls - Lori Lansens - Questions


Here are some question for you to have a look at before the bookclub meeting on 26/8/10

- The Girls is written as a fictional autobiography. Why do you think the author chose this format? Did you ever have to remind yourself while reading that The Girls is a novel rather than a memoir?
- The novel is, at times, endearingly funny. Do you have a favorite comedic moment?
- Did you find yourself forgetting that Rose and Ruby were joined at the head? In what way is the bond of sisterhood more important than their physical link?
- How did you respond to the scene with Frankie Foyle? Were you curious about the sisters’ sexuality before you reached this chapter? What other aspects of conjoinment fascinated you or helped you to see the world differently?
- Imagine that you were a neighbour or co-worker of Ruby and Rose. Which sister do you think you’d get along with better?

I hope you're all enjoying the book. See you at the meeting.

Questions are from Reading Group Guides.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - July Book Club

Firstly we need to thank Anna for bringing along some delicious chocolate flapjacks, and white chocolate and macadamia nut cupcakes.

This book has to be the first one we've all been of one mind on, we all loved it! Most of the club were very apprehensive because they didn't think from the cover artwork and the title that this would be their type of book. However once the book was started everyone changed their mind about it and found themselves really enjoying it. One of our members loved it so much she started casting the roles if the book was a movie! This started the rest of us off as well.

Because the book is written in the form of letters there's not a lot of description of the characters in terms of looks etc. this made it a little tricky to identify them all as they popped in and out of the story. Even so Elizabeth made her presence felt through her strong personality without actually writing any of the letters. We found Dawsey to be a little confusing, was he an old or a young person?

The book gave us a lot of insight into the way people lived on Guernsey during the war without it being too much of a history book. There seemed to be the right amount of the horrors of war countered with the sweetness of the people and the love story running through the book.

We got into a bit of a discussion about whether we would be able to send our children away if we had been the islanders. I don't think there was a conclusion other than you don't know how you would react unless you're in the situation. We all thought it must have been a horrific thing to have to go through.

We also wondered whether the authors had any particular reason for choosing the books they did for the book club to be reading in the novel? We thought they were very odd choices, maybe because this was all that was left on the island? We weren't sure. Also, the names of the characters were very unusual, we wondered were they realistic or not.

We gave this book a 9 out of 10 overall with no-one marking it lower than a 7.

The Geurnsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Questions


Here are some questions and also a really interesting website about this months book.

- What was it like to read a book entirely made of letters? What do letters offer that no other form of writing can?
- Discuss the poets, novelists, biographers, and other writers who capture the hearts of the members of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. What does a reader’s taste in books say about his or her personality? Whose lives were changed the most by membership in the society?
- Numerous Guernsey residents give Juliet access to their private memories of the occupation. Which voices were most memorable for you? What was the effect of reading a variety of responses to a shared tragedy?
- Juliet rejects marriage proposals from a man who is a stereotypical “great catch.” How would you have handled Juliet’s romantic entanglement? What truly makes someone a “great catch”?
- Do you agree with Isola that “reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones”? - This website is entirely devoted to our current book of the month and has lots of interesting questions and information about the book and about Geurnsey.