Wednesday, October 15, 2008

October 2008 Book Club Meeting and November Selection

Summary: Cat's Eye is the story of Elaine Risley, a controversial painter who returns to Toronto, the city of her youth, for a retrospective of her art. Engulfed by vivid images of the past, she reminisces about a trio of girls who initiated her into the fierce politics of childhood and its secret world of friendship, longing, and betrayal. Elaine must come to terms with her own identity as a daughter, a lover, an artist, and a woman--but above all she must seek release from her haunting memories. Disturbing, hilarious, and compassionate, Cat's Eye is a breathtaking novel of a woman grappling with the tangled knot of her life. -- Anchor Books

Last night we met to discuss CAT'S EYE by Margaret Atwood. We pretty much agreed that it was a very difficult book to read, especially for those of us with young girls. The subject matter of bullying and the effect it had on the main character was at times very disturbing. CAT'S EYE was a little more intense than most of our book club selections; however, I think it made for a very interesting discussion.

For the past few months, we have had some difficulties staying on track with our book club discussion. This month, however, we were able to talk about CAT'S EYE for quite a long time. Not only did we discuss most of the reading guide questions, but each of us came across some particulars that we wanted to run by the rest of the members. I thought it was fascinating to hear how everyone interpreted this novel.

CAT'S EYE is just so rich and deep on many levels. Of course, Margaret Atwood is an amazingly gifted writer, and her prose is always beautiful and vivid. I don't know much about Ms. Atwood, but I did find it very interesting that CAT'S EYE is considered her most autobiographical novel. I thought it was wonderful how she told the story and tied the past and present events together. In addition, there was also much symbolism and many recurring themes that ran throughout this novel, and there were all just so well done. We all agreed, without a doubt, that while we didn't "love" the book; we definitely appreciated it.

For November, we will be reading THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. I have been dying to read this book for awhile since I've heard so many wonderful things about it (and now I have a really good reason.) We rarely pick books that are only out in hardcover, but this one just sounds too good to wait for.

Summary: “ I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers.” January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb….

As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society—born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island—boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all.

Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever.

Written with warmth and humor as a series of letters, this novel is a celebration of the written word in all its guises, and of finding connection in the most surprising ways. -- The Dial Press


Anonymous said...

I just finished Guernsey and loved it - hope you do, too.

Serena said...

Sounds like a good couple of books. Thanks for the update!

Ti said...

I've not read Cat's Eye but I have read other books by Atwood and they are all good discussion books.

I was not aware of the subject matter in Cat's though until I read your review. Although you said it was hard to read, I am somehow drawn to it now.

Anna said...

Looking forward to reading your review of Guernsey. The book is sitting on my shelf waiting for me to dive in! I've got to finish up a couple others first, though.