Laguna Beach Bookies
My Dearest Readers:
Laguna Beach Bookies is possibly the longest running book club in the world. We have been meeting once a month for over forty years. I have been a member for twenty-five years as have most all of us. We meet once a month in each other’s homes. The hostess provides wine, while each member arrives with the book consumed and a tasty dish to share.
Unlike most other book clubs, we actually discuss the book. (Hide your surprise.) I might also mention there is a spiritual aspect to our book club. Each member finds three things in our group: Not just acceptance for who she is, but genuine admiration, rare and deep intellectual stimulation which contrasts with the background noise of modern life, and… love and laughter. These last two go together and we have such a lot of laughter together.
Allow me to present our current reading, followed by last years complete reading list.
List of Selected Books for 2018
January: Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
The writing is incandescent and truly extraordinary. It is the story of a family told from the pov of a thirteen year old boy Jojo, his drug addicted mother Leonie and two ghosts who stand in for the haunting and tragic history of so many black southerners. The novel transpires over a few days on a trip to a prison where Leonie's husband and Jojo's father will be released.
While this novel was hilarious, generate big belly laughs the whole way, and it is a compelling, engaging novel, it is about a gay teenager growing up in Ireland. We are taken through his whole life. Is it worth reading? I suspect the answer varies a good deal between readers. My book club mostly love it.
March: Elizabeth Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
My book club mostly loved reading this book. I found it contrived and implausible in the extreme. The author presents us with a mystery at the beginning: What the heck happened to Elizabeth to make her so weird? She doesn't answer the question until the end and in this way managed to keep everyone turning the pages. I did admire the author's presentation of kindness and this is what ultimately saves our messed up heroine. Please keep in mind that most people really love this book.
April: American Marriage by Tayari Jones
This is the heartbreaking story of, indeed an American marriage.
List of Selected Books for 2017
Nora Webster by Colm Tolbin
Safekeeping by Jessamyn Hope
Circling the Sun by Paula Mclain
And one of our all time favorites: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt