Our first #SharingStories book club was held tonight at Giraffe restaurant on Greek Street, co hosted by @ArtsMindsLeeds - Tom to his buddies.
It's always a bit daunting starting anything new (*cough* even if you've done it once or twice before) so it was terrific to have so many book club buddies joining us and the newbies - particularly a certain unnamed book guru of mine who hadn't actually read the book but came along for moral support! Much appreciation Miss!
We'd a great discussion primarily about 'Why be happy when you can be normal' by Jeanette Winterson, but also managed to bring in our previous reads including The Silver Linings Playbook and The Psychopath Test - perfect really as our generous Guest Star reviewers for each of these were present!
Happily, everyone that attended - new members and regulars - seemed perfectly comfortable expressing their impressions and I really feel like I've picked up enough new perspectives to justify a re-read. Discussing a person's actual story involves different levels of understanding and empathy than with fiction - and I'm still feeling a touch guilty about scoring a non-fictional book (though only after another pointed it out! Whoops!).
We've agreed that we definitely want to hold another meet up and have decided to meet in October to chat about Patrick Gale's Notes's from an Exhibition (and likely all the books in between). I'm very much looking forward to hearing people's thoughts on Poppy Shakespeare in particular!
Huge thanks to the amazing LBC reviewing team - you have all been so brilliant and as per usual, the blog, clubs and I would be a shadow of what we are without your contributions. Thank you thank you thank you.
As for my reading; I enjoyed The Rosie Project so much that I finished it on Friday evening in one giant session. Such a gentle, sweet story about genuinely realistic characters with no pretension or artifice - I emailed my mum, bestie and various other book lovers immediately to insist that they place it at the top of their to be read pile...pretty much exactly what the Elf did for me I recall!
Don, his autism and his 'project'(search for love. Not luuurve) are depicted in such warm and friendly terms that you are on his side from the initial pages through to the descriptions of his more unusual quirks to the project itself and all that follows and by the end I was just desperate to have him find true love! The supporting characters are delightfully realistic and the author manages that thing where they go off and have lives outside of Don's story, rather than remaining static when off the page. No one is perfect, though Don is a wonderfully objective narrator and the love and friendship that he feels for each person renders them sympathetic despite any of their more dubious qualities.
It's a shelfer* people. If I had an LBC seal of approval, consider it stamped here!
Eventually I decided on the new Kate Morton novel, 2012's The Secret Keeper. As you might know, I've read her previous novels with a great deal of affection, though I personally felt that she had settled into a creative groove that meant there were too many similarities between them.
I've barely cracked the covers yet, so have no insights to share other than this; there are a few authors whose writing transports me immediately to the location they describe. Agatha Christie is one. Margaret Atwood is another. Iain M Banks... While each may have their detractors, the writing style works for me in an immersive way - I'm just there whatever the time period or location. No matter what I may end up thinking about the plot, I just love Kate Mrton's language so much. It's a pleasure to follow her once more.
Anyhoo, I'm off to watch Hope Springs with the mister. Have a great evening all!
*A book that you'll want to keep to read again in a few years. Particularly after a heavy read.
Anything Russian for example.