After a summer's hiatus, and a September's worth of back-to-school events, my book group finally got back together to discuss the passle o' books we've read over the last couple of months. Mocha chocolate chip cookies, pumpkin pie bars, Guatemalan chocolate chip bread, baba ghanoush, stilton with apricots, pinot noir--all big hits. The books were less consistent.
People of the Book, by Geraldine Brooks. This was probably the most successful book with the group overall. Most everyone really liked it, though some had trouble connecting with the present-day main character. I particularly enjoyed how Brooks brought history to life with involving characters and vivid historical details.
Lush Life, by Richard Price. Most everyone enjoyed this novel for its atmosphere. Set among the world of cops and crooks in Manhattan's Lower East Side, it's a novel to be enjoyed for its ear for dialect and attention to detail rather than its plot.
Darling Jim, by Christian Moerk. A horror fairy tale, with a lyrical Irish lilt. I didn't finish this one, but the others in my book group found it to be either page-turning mind candy or really yucky, because of the gory subject matter.
Engleby, by Sebastian Faulks. Okay, I admit it, I did not read this book. I meant to, but I kept forgetting to get a copy. I really enjoyed Sebastian Faulks's book Birdsong, many years back, but the idea of this book, a sort of psychological thriller/whodunit with a remorseless main character, didn't grab me. It didn't grab many of my fellow book-groupers, either. I would say it generally got a thumbs down.
The Help, by Kathryn Stockett. For me, this was a page turner. Almost everyone in the group loved this book. The main character was really appealing to most, and the subject matter really engaging. There was only one dissenting voice--one reader who didn't think the book covered any new territory. I liked it because the writer created some real tension for me--I was actually afraid of what might happen to the main characters.
As usual, great discussion, good friends, good food, lots of wine, and many laughs made for a successful book group evening.