Jan 16, 2009

Censoring and Recommending.

I confess life without a job is a good life. A tad bit of a guilty life but a good life. So let me tell you what I have been doing with all my time..... all after I clean the house, exercise, write loving notes to all my children, put dinner in the crock pot, and read my scriptures...of course!

Book club is coming up and the book for January was a book called Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah. Nobody had read the book before it was voted into our lineup last March so as people started reading it in preparation for this book club I heard some rumbling about some serious questionable content in the book. This is the part that a leader of book club dreads. I never know how to deal with it. It always comes up so you think I would have a plan. And actually I think I have finally, after all these years of book clubs, come up with a plan. Here it is:

First when we choose books for the year you can only bring books for us to vote on that you have actually read so that you can divulge all the "juicy" parts up front.

Second, we will be grown ups and make our own decision and vote for what we want to read.

Everyone has a different level of tolerance and it is SO hard to please everyone so I hope my plan works.

Since we postponed Firefly Lane we moved our February book up to this month. February's book is Angle of Repose. I first learned about this book at book club in Kansas. And I think it may have been Melissa who introduced it. All I know is I love Wallace Stegner. The first time I heard of Wallace Stegner was when my dad sent all of my siblings and I an article about the Mormon pioneers written in a Harper's Collier magazine many years ago by Mr Stegner. Wallace Stegner was not a Mormon but has written several things about Mormons. This particular article was written about how dignified and hard working the Mormon pioneers were compared to other pioneer groups.

In book club in Kansas we once read Wallace Stegner's Mormon Country. Kristy lead that discussion in Wendi Bastian's living room and I seem to remember it was quite a discussion :)

I have read Crossing To Safety and Big Rock Candy Mountain also by my best friend Wallace but nothing can compare to Angle of Repose. It won a Pulitzer and is one of the few books that I own that I have read more than once. The first 15 pages of my copy are missing since I have read it so much :) My copy is one that Melissa gave me years ago. (Yes, "years ago.") I always get nervous when a book club actually votes Angle of Repose in because you have to be patient with this book and be willing to really savor each description and word. I find that people rarely finish the book thus making it nearly impossible to discuss with any coherence opinions on the main characters and why they end up the way they do. But I am used to it and prepare myself to be pleasantly surprised if someone else finishes it and loves it. I was heartened to see that on Scribbit's blog she actually lists Angle of Repose as one of her favorite books too. And she is a very coherent, smart person unlike me :) Everybody needs validation, right?

It is so hard to recommend entertainment because it is so subjective. Everyone likes something different for all kinds of reasons. I watched a movie I really liked the other day but I am afraid to tell anyone I liked it because people will watch it and think I loved the just the "juicy" parts. :) Oh, come on we all know we do it :)

My TV entertainment this week, that I justify because I am filing and sorting papers while watching, has been season 4 of Lost. Season 5 starts next week so I need to hustle. My favorite way to watch a TV shows season is to rent all the DVDs after all is said and done and watch a whole season all at once without commercials. It takes a little patience to wait for it come out on DVD but the wait is always worth it. Although then your head is another place because it is so overloaded with a million hours of viewing :) You find yourself on the paper route wondering if you just saw Jack in "those there" woods. Anyway, I have 9 million Lost questions in my head each question that gets solved brings up another question. And all I can say is addiction is evil.

So has your book club has ever dealt with a "questionable content" book? Are you also afraid to tell people that you saw The Duchess and cried and cried through the whole thing? And what are you watching while you are "filing and sorting?"


Jenny said...

I'm running right out to check out Angle of Repose now. I LOVED Crossing to Safety and never thought to check out his other books. Now I have something to read!

I hate recommending things too. We recommended The Office to my dad. He listened to us talking about the show so much, and he finally decided to watch one episode. And it happened to be the one talking all about breasts. Boy, was I embarrassed!

Camie said...

I think your approach to the questionable content is perfect. It's important that someone has read the book that they recommend so that they know ahead of time. And really, we do all have different tolerance levels. Thanks for sharing Angle of Repose--I'm in a reading mode right now and I would love to read it!

My Many Coloured Days said...

Love Wallace with a passion!

Questionable content is always tricky... my tolerance level has changed big time over the years... not sure if that is good or not. There are books I will read but don't dare to have on my shelves:)

Good luck.

Whitney said...

I loved Angle of Repose! I read it almost a year ago and I have been aching to re-read it the past couple of months! Fantastic book, and so deep. And yes, I finished it!

Scribbit said...

Oh I'm so glad to hear you say this--that book is so amazing, do detailed, so layered and moral and human and well-written. If you haven't read The Spectator Bird that was the last one of his that I read and it's wonderful too. I was meaning to reread Crossing to Safety.

Kristy said...

My Wallace Stegner class was one of my favorites in college. Imagine being forced to pick up a huge stack of his books at the bookstore! To read, study, and discuss!

I confess that I sometimes get bored with book groups because everything is so tame. There are lots of great books with juicy bits, and I think grown-ups can handle most of them, but every group is different, I guess!

Melissa said...

One of my favorites! I think it was actually Kathy who picked it but one of the few books that I have read more than once. I wish I could come to your book group...mine is stuck on one genre-fantasy. And while I do enjoy a good Harry Potter now and then sometimes I want something with more substance!