Wednesday, May 14, 2008

May 2008 Book Club Meeting with Joshua Henkin and June Selection

Summary: It's 1987, and Julian Wainwright, aspiring writer and Waspy son of New York City old money, meets beautiful, Jewish Mia Mendelsohn in the laundry room at Graymont College. So begins a relationship that spans twenty years, as it takes Julian and Mia across the country and through the depths of family tragedy, love and friendship, money and ambition, desires and tensions of faith. -- Pantheon Reading Group Guide

Last night, my book club met with Joshua Henkin, author of MATRIMONY. That's right, Mr. Henkin was gracious enough to drive two hours each way and spend time away from his family so he could discuss his latest book with us. I can't even begin to express how much fun I had -- I am still floating on "Cloud Nine." As many of you know, I love having the opportunity to talk to authors about their books via telephone author chats. But I have to say that talking in person brought the "author experience" to a whole new level.

My book club met for about an hour before Mr. Henkin arrived so we could talk about MATRIMONY. Everyone had a lot to say about the story as well as the characters; and we did manage to touch on a few of the questions in the discussion guide (I thought these questions were especially good at generating discussion even though we didn't have the chance to address all of them.) Even those members of the book club that didn't love the book still had definite opinions about the characters and the events in the novel.

While I mentioned in my review of MATRIMONY that I really liked the book, I can now say that I love it. I thought that Mr. Henkin's insights into the "whys" of the story definitely enhanced my enjoyment. In addition, I found it extremely interesting that it took him 10 years to write MATRIMONY (and he ended up throwing away around 3000 pages.) I have to admit that I was a little in awe of Mr. Henkin when he described his writing process for this book and how he developed the characters. He didn't set out with a particular story to tell, but rather just started writing - sometimes he didn't know what was going to happen until he wrote the few lines before it.

I highly recommend considering MATRIMONY for your next book club selection. There are just so many themes covered within the pages of this book which you could talk about for hours. There are also a few controverial incidents which will make for some interesting conversation. Mr. Henkin is available to meet with your group if you are within driving distance from New York, New Jersey or Philadelphia. He is available for author chats. You can contact him by filling out this form.

I just want to thank Mr. Henkin for everything -- writing a book that I enjoyed, spending an entire evening with my book group, providing interesting conversation, and graciously answering all our questions. I had such a wonderful time!

Our June selection is THE REINCARNATIONIST by MJ Rose. My book club lucked out again next month -- MJ Rose will be joining us via telephone to discuss her book. THE REINCARNATIONIST looks like a great read, and it was chosen as a Booksense Highlight Pick for 2007.

Summary: A bomb in Rome, a flash of bluish-white light, and photojournalist Josh Ryder's world exploded. From that instant nothing would ever be the same.

As Josh recovers, his mind is increasingly invaded with thoughts that have the emotion, the intensity, the intimacy of memories. But they are not his memories. They are ancient—and violent. A battery of medical and psychological tests can't explain Josh's baffling symptoms. And the memories have an urgency he can't ignore—pulling him to save a woman named Sabina—and the treasures she is protecting.

But who is Sabina?

Desperate for answers, Josh turns to the world-renowned Phoenix Foundation—a research facility that scientifically documents cases of past life experiences. His findings there lead him to an archaeological dig and to Professor Gabriella Chase, who has discovered an ancient tomb—a tomb with a powerful secret that threatens to merge the past with the present. Here, the dead call out to the living, and murders of the past become murders of the present. -- Mira Books


LisaMM said...

Sounds like a great meeting with Josh!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for a fun night Julie.
Mr. Henkin was interesting and gracious. Did you get a picture?!

Anonymous said...

Had a great time Julie - like you, I enjoyed the book, but meeting the author and discussing the process enhanced my appreciation of the book a lot. I STILL am thinking about Julian!

Julie P. said...

Can you believe that I forgot? I remembered in the parking lot as he was driving away! UGH! I didn't think it would be appropriate to run after him for a picture!