August 11, 2018

Books for the Book Club

Over at the book club, we decided to shake things up a little this year in terms of our monthly reads/picks. For the past 6 years, we've been meeting in person to discuss a specific book; this year, we thought, why not try something new? So instead of a particular book that (most of) our active members have elected to read, we selected 12 genres and from there, the member will get to decide which book he/she will read for a particular reading month. The obvious advantage of this is, of course, the member gets to choose a book (or books) that he/she would really be keen on reading (as opposed to one that was "imposed", yeah?) and that would be more than likely he/she would already have in his/her library. We also get to book-push during the discussion and add more titles to our forever-growing TBR. The downside is that everyone would be completely clueless when someone is talking about his/her book of choice and the focus is really not on the books but on the genre. But anyway, it's just an experiment. We'll assess the result of this experiment at the end of the year and then decide if we want the old format back or stick to the new one.

For the first half of the year, these are the genres per month and the books I've picked.

January: YA - Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson and We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
February: Fantasy - Ooops, I didn't read anything here.
March: Filipiniana - The Butcher, The Baker and The Candlestick Maker by Gilda Cordero-Fernando
April: Graphic novels - Sandman #8: World's End by Neil Gaiman
May: Science fiction - The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula LeGuin
June: Short story collections - Fortune Smiles by Adam Johnson and Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage by Alice Munro

I moderated the discussion in June for the short story collections. It's interesting to hear friends talk about the books they've read, even if we can't really relate to the raves and rants if we haven't read the book yet. (Occasionally, and for the more popular titles, two or more members might have read the same book.) Personally, however, I kind of miss talking about just one book, especially since I don't always pick books based on the recommendation of other readers. It's also nice to know that someone shares the same sentiments as you, and it's also fun "debating" with those who have contrary opinions.

For July, I set out to read North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell for Classics month, but since it was too long and I was running behind schedule, I picked Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton instead. It was a very short read, indeed. I'm still going to finish North and South though, because Margaret and Mr. Thornton are very interesting characters and I'd like to know what happens to Margaret's brother, Frederick. And also because I'm already invested in the story. And this August, which happens to be Mystery month, I'm done reading Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None and I'm hooked!

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