Today was my book club meeting where we discussed "Rise and Shine" by Anna Quindlen. I had a hell of a time getting my hands on this book due to some bizarre glitch in the half.com system where books that had already been sold were still listed for sale. Dang it! So, I ordered another and the same thing happened. For my third attempt, I ordered the book at regular price through Barnes and Noble. Had it not been such a busy week, I would have notice how far this would put me behind and just picked up the book from the library as is the original intention of our book club, but that would be far too logical. We have two weeks to read each book and, by the time I received this one, there were just over two days left.
So, Monday morning I set out to voraciously read and was surprised at the ease of this book. By the end of day one, I was a little more than a third of the way through the 269 page book. I probably would have made it through sooner if I didn't have to compensate for my poor vocabulary skills by constantly looking up words. Sure, I can gain a gist through context, but I like to take the effort to gain clarification. I did a lot of that with this particular book.
By the time I met with my book club to discuss, I had gotten up to page 171 - almost one hundred pages yet to go. And I might have finished thousepages were it not my turn in the book club to present suggestions for an upcoming read. Although I had been researching choices by asking friends and looking up reviews, I had not officially compiled the list until yesterday. The good thing is that while they asked me to present about three choices, I came with seven. It is very important to me to not disappoint. My first choice had already been read by the group and boy were they excited when I mentioned it "Ohhhhhhhhh! Yes! We've read that one already." The response was enough to confirm that I should read it on my own. I described my second choice and asked them if they like it or should I go on offering choices. They were pleased and let me stop. Funny thing was that while we were waiting for the book club to begin, there was chat about how a good mystery would be welcome and someone made the comment, "Do we ever consider writers who aren't American?" Turns out, the book I suggested was both a mystery and written by a European man.
My first choice book that they had already read -- "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" by Mary Ann Shafer and Annie Barros (2008)
My second choice book that they are anxious to read -- "Amagansett" (sometimes referred to as "The Whaleboat House") by Mark Mills (2004)
One of the ladies at the club is from Long Island and knows how to properly pronounce this name. She said it has roots in Native American Indian heritage. It will be nice to tap into her personal insight as she said she spent some time in Amagansett as a child.
This leaves five other choices left on my list that I can save until it is my turn again. At this moment, I would like to thank Nicole [St. Pierre] Morris and Jane St. Pierre for these two suggestions. Thank you!
Now, back to "Rise and Shine." As I said above, this book is a quick read. Its fairly uncomplicated and offers no real message. It is simply a nice story about two sisters who live diametrically opposed lifestyles yet seem to maintain an inexplicable bond or need between them. They rely upon one another. The protagonist is a social worker and her sister is a morning show host for a national network. When the hosts life starts to unfurl after a dasterdly on-air emotional breakdown, the sister is left to pick up the pieces.
The ladies in my book club tell me that they were disappointed with the happy ending this book provides all nicely tied up with a pretty bow. I will have to find out for myself when I conquer those last hundred pages. If you've read it, I'd love to know your opinion on this.
I think in contrast to Margaret Atwoods "Surfacing", this book ("Rise and Shine") was a welcome no-brainer that we didn't have to fret much over. So the general consensus was that the girls in the club liked it, minus the ending. Huh. I think they didn't like the end of "Surfacing" either. I'm sensing a pattern. Ha!
Today we also had a new member join in much the same way that I did a month ago. And, apparently my friend from Long Island had joined just before me. So I inquired as to why business was suddenly booming within the group and the ladies said that the head librarian had been promoting the group. I hope that this is good. We sure wouldn't want the group to get too big to be fun anymore. We shall see.
I'm happy to say that I not only survived another meeting but actually did well and quite enjoyed the experience.
If you'd like to join in on the discussion, up next for reading are:
1st) "The House of Mirth" by Edith Wharton (1905); and,
2nd) "Amagansett" by Mark Mills (2004).
I love that my group chooses books that are written 100 years apart. Thank goodness they are not stuck in any particular timeframe or genre. Love love LOVE them!