Monday, 16 November 2015

Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking - Questions

Sorry for the lateness of this email. Here are some questions for you to think about with regard this months book club book.
·         Quiet talks about “restorative niches,” the places introverts go or the things they do to recharge their batteries. What are your favourite restorative niches?
·         Quiet talks about the New Groupthink, the value system holding that creativity and productivity emerge from group work rather than individual thought. Have you experienced this in your own workplace?
·         Which parts of Quiet resonated most strongly with you? Were there parts you disagreed with—and if so, why?
Looking forward to seeing you all tomorrow!

State Of Wonder - Ann Patchett

This book prompted a lot of discussion about one of the main themes, that being the ability for women to have babies far into old age. We wondered if it's a good idea to have babies at advanced age, are women at that age thinking of themselves or of the baby? We also wondered if having babies at all is a right or a privilege?

We found that the book was quite slow going almost all the way through until you get to the very end of the book where it all feels as though it gets a bit rushed. We felt that some of the characters were a little bit flat apart from the main ones like Easter and Aneke.

There were a lot of questions we found to do with Marina. We wondered whether she had father issues as shown by her nightmares about her father leaving. She also seems to go for men who take control and who seem to be a little older than her. She did seem to let a lot of things happen to her rather than make decisions about what she was going to do next which we found a little annoying.

We found that a lot of the issues at the end were quite shocking, but one element we really disagreed on. This may sound a little faffy but I really don't want to give away the ending for anyone, but we wondered whether one particular elements was a happy ending or not. It felt that the author was trying to tidy up certain elements but in the process she made some book club members a little uncomfortable.

The final ending of the book was interesting as it felt that it tailed off a little, we don't know what happened to all the characters. But then again this is very much like real life, but it's not something that all the book club members liked.

Overall we gave this book 6 out of 10.

State Of Wonder - Questions

Hello everyone,
Just a little reminder that book club will be happening on Thursday 27th August (next week). Here are some questions that you might want to consider as you’re reading the book. Please be aware that these questions may contain spoilers if you haven’t finished the book yet!
·         State of Wonder raises questions of morality and principle, civilization, culture, love, and science. Choose a few events from the book to explore some of these themes.
·         What role does nature and the natural world—the jungle, the Amazon River—play in Marina’s story? How does the environment influence the characters—Marina, Annik, Milton, Anders, Easter, and the others? Annik warns Marina, “It’s difficult to trust yourself in the jungle. Some people gain their bearings over time but for others that adjustment never comes.” Did Marina ultimately “gain her bearings”? Would you be able to live in the jungle as the researchers and natives do? Is there an appeal to going back to nature; from being removed from the western constraints of time and our modern technological society?
·         Consider Annik’s research in the Amazon. Should women of any age be able to have children? What are the benefits and the downsides? Why does this ability seem to work in the Lakashi culture? What impact does this research ultimately have on Marina? Whether you are a man or woman, would you want to have a child in your fifties or sixties? How far should modern science go to “improve” on nature?
·         Describe the arc of Marina and Annik’s relationship from the novel’s beginning to its end. Do you like these women? Did your opinion of them change as the story unfolded? Why didn’t Marina ever tell anyone the full story of her early experience with Annick?

Longbourn - Jo Baker

Almost everyone in the book club finished this months book and everyone enjoyed it. It was found to be especially interesting if you had read Pride & Prejudice first, but it was felt that it lost nothing if you hadn't already read P&P.

We felt that the character of Sarah was maybe a little bit forward for the time period, especially compared to the female characters in P&P. She certainly seemed to like the attentions of the various men within the book hence her attraction to Ptolemy as he made a great deal of her compared to James. We did wonder why the author chose the name Ptolemy given the historical connotations of that name.

We liked the fact that we got to see some of the elements of the war that Jane Austen shied away from in her books. We felt that although there were soldiers in the original book they were simply there as male interest. In Longbourn we saw more of the realities of war such as the floggings etc. Maybe this was because in Austen's time it was frowned on to put that kind of thing into books?

Seeing the main characters from P&P through the eyes of Sarah and the other staff was very interesting. Elizabeth came across as a lot weaker and seemed to be a bit whiney. Mr Bennett seemed to have a whole other life in this book compared to P&P, which was not exactly to everyone's taste as it did give him a very different character. Mr Darcy seemed even more like himself as he had the power to ignore people so strongly that they vanished! Wickham definitely shows his true colours in this book, he doesn't seem to have any other side than the one he shows in P&P.

We enjoyed the ending of the book, it all felt that it ended as it should.

Overall we gave the book 7.5 out of 10.