Saturday, July 30, 2011

I Finished It!

I  finished The Great House by Nicole Krauss.  It was difficult to get through, which leads me to question whether I have been reading too many books that have no depth to them.  I read for enjoyment, and while I can't say I enjoyed this book, I do appreciate the writing, the story, and the ability of the author to leave the reader with that lingering feeling of having read something profound, even if I don't understand everything I read.

This book is about secrets, regrets, being haunted by your past, and of course, the ever continuing ripples that the Holocaust has caused through history.  As we get farther and farther past WW 2, I think books like this are important  to keep reminding those of us who did not experience this time in the world that it did happen, and it is not something that people can forget.  It continues to shape and haunt those who lived through it and the guilt they feel for doing so.  That guilt colors generations; something as seemingly unimportant as a desk can symbolize a lot of pain, regret, and lost love.  Time really is a great house, full of rooms and hallways that seem to go on  forever.

I hope a few of you have managed to finish this book.  I am happily diving into a light summer read, but this will linger in the back of my mind for some time to come.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Great House Ate My Brain

Aw nuts.  I have managed to get through about half of this book, and I must say I don't know what to think about it.

Jewels is struggling, Jo hasn't started it, and I feel doom and gloom whenever I start to read more.  Now I understand the beauty of the writing, and I understand each story is connected by not only the desk, but by the Jewish experience in this century--especially the effects of the Holocaust on those who survived it.

But it's depressing as hell, and it's difficult to get into this book when the sun is shining and it's 95 degrees outside!

So I will try to finish it this week, but I am not holding myself to this, and won't feel bad if I don't.  I am appreciative of the author's hard work, and her talent.  Perhaps if I had read this at another time, I would have enjoyed it.

I'll recap at the end of the week.  Next week, we start a non-fiction book that I think we will love!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Great House Questions For You To Ponder

I'm about 100 pages into The Great House.  I am not giving up!  This is what makes a reading group interesting--reading something that requires a bit of work and dedication.  My fellow co-worker Kirk is also reading it, and he has fallen hard for this novel.   Kirk, if you're reading this, please share your thoughts about The Great House.

Here are a few questions from that may help you think about the characters in the novel and the overall theme of each story:

1. The large and imposing desk in the novel is passed from life to life, moving through space and time to link the characters in the novel to each other and to the past. What does this inheritance represent for each? Is it a burden?

2. A sense of loss—of a child, a parent, a lover, a home, youth, an illusion, and so many other things—suffuses the novel. How do the characters respond to loss, destruction, and change?

3. The novel is composed of intimate and emotional monologues that have the tone of a confession. What does Nadia, or Arthur, or Aaron feel themselves to be guilty of? What role does judgment play in the novel?

4. Many of the characters are haunted by doubt or uncertainty, whether it's moral doubt, or self-doubt, or the doubt that comes with a realization of the limits of how fully known we can ever be to one another, of how often we must live unknown and unknowing. What is the nature of Nadia's doubt, as expressed in the question that afflicts her: What if I had been wrong? What kind of uncertainty did Arthur feel in his marriage? And Aaron, as a father? What about Yoav and Leah Weisz?

Keep reading!  I'll post a few more questions next week.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

And The Next Selections Are...

August Pick
September pick

October Pick
Here are our choices for the next few months.  All are in paperback and available as Ebooks!

Monday, July 11, 2011

My First Impression of The Great House

Ok.  I know this book is going to be a challenge.  I've read about 50 pages, and I had to get on Google and see what other people thought of it.  I can say people either love it or hate it.  I think it will be a book that will stay in my brain for quite some time, simmering away.

Have you started it?  What do you think so far?  I don't know anyone at the bookstore that has read it, so I have no one to question!  Aggh!  One theme that came up a lot in people's reviews was the argument that it's actually 4 short stories, and not a novel.  The critics love it; "regular folks" like us are definitely mixed.

I will keep digging in!  I can say with a pretty good inkling that it's not a happy novel, so read it out in the sun, with a cheerful drink by your side.  Then go out and do something fun.  Loneliness and isolation are certainly themes Nicole Krauss explores in The Great House.

More later...

Friday, July 8, 2011

Last Batch of Goodies to Pick from!

Searching for books that will appeal to this group of book lovers has been both wonderful and full of "Oh I have to read that one" moments for me.  Here's the last batch for you to choose from for the next few months.  Even if we don't pick one you like, I certainly hope you will write down the title and rush to your local library or bookstore and add it to your pile.  I will post the top three choices next week, and then if there are any questions or comments, please let me know!  Which of these do you like?  Or do you like them all?

Read about it here

Read about it here

Read about it here

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Three More Choices

Here's another batch of titles to look at.  Yesterday's batch responses show Amaryllis in Blueberry in the lead.  If anyone has suggestions, please let me know!  And you don't have to pick just one from each batch, I'm just grouping them in 3 sets of 3 to make it a bit easier for everyone to look at them and decide.  I'll post another 3 tomorrow--

Read About This Book Here

Read About This Book Here

I'm happy to read any one of these titles, but I have had The Lost Girls on my list for a loooong time.  
Looking forward to seeing your comments--

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Decisions to Make!

Hi fellow book lovers!  Yes, we are again at the point where we have to pick our next three choices for the book  club.  I will be posting titles for us to choose from for August, September, and October.  They are linked to BN.Com so you can pop on and read the overview and other people's reviews to help you make a choice.  They are also available as Ebooks and I'm trying to pick titles that are in paperback.  So, here's the first three choices:

Read about it here

Read about it here

Read about it here

I'll be posting a few more choices, so by Mid-July we'll have our picks.  There are so many great books to choose from, I would be happy to read them all (and maybe I'll even try to do that :).

Friday, July 1, 2011

July's Pick: The Great House by Nicole Krauss

It's July 1st already!  This weekend will be full of fireworks, BBQ, and family fun.  After Monday, be prepared to tackle our latest pick--The Great House by Nicole Krauss.

I must confess, I have picked up this book so many times in the past few months.  I am intrigued by the story of a desk and the history it holds for so many people.  Nicole has many fans in our bookstore--her History of Love has been a favorite handsell.  I am new to Nicole, so I am looking eagerly ahead to the coming weeks and can't wait to dive into this novel.

If you want a short synopsis of the novel, click here.  It takes you to Nicole's website.

I will be posting a few questions for you to ponder, and also posting some suggestions for our next three months of reading.  I'm trying to narrow down my list, which seems to grow every week.

Have a great 4th of July, and start your reading!