Wednesday, January 13, 2010

January 2010 Book Club Meeting

Summary: An international publishing sensation, Stieg Larsson's Girl with the Dragon Tattoo combines murder mystery, family saga, love story, and financial intrigue into one satisfyingly complex and entertainingly atmospheric novel.

Harriet Vanger, a scion of one of Sweden's wealthiest families disappeared over forty years ago. All these years later, her aged uncle continues to seek the truth. He hires Mikael Blomkvist, a crusading journalist recently trapped by a libel conviction, to investigate. He is aided by the pieced and tattooed punk prodigy Lisbeth Salander. Together they tap into a vein of unfathomable iniquity and astonishing corruption. -- Vintage

This month, the Preschool Moms Book Club read THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO by Stieg Larsson. I absolutely loved this book (you can read my review here), and I think everyone else felt the same way! While most mystery/thriller books don't necessarily lend themselves to discussion, I was pleasantly surprised by how much we found to talk about. I think because the characters were so fascinating, we were able to analyze them and their actions. Another topic that we discussed was the recurring theme of violence against women.

I mentioned earlier this week that I can't wait to read the second book in the series - THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE. I'm definitely not alone! One of the women has already finished the book and she said it was a little different, but she enjoyed it. She actually gave us a few hints about the character of Elsbeth which made us want to read the book even more!

For February, we are reading HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET by Jamie Ford. I actually read this book before it came out (my review) and loved it! Of course, it has been awhile and I will probably have to re-read it before our next meeting.

I know HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET has been a huge book club favorite this past year. Naturally, there is a great reading guide available too. I am really looking forward to hearing what everyone else thought about this beautiful novel.

Summary: In the opening pages of Jamie Ford’s stunning debut novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Henry Lee comes upon a crowd gathered outside the Panama Hotel, once the gateway to Seattle’s Japantown. It has been boarded up for decades, but now the new owner has made an incredible discovery: the belongings of Japanese families, left when they were rounded up and sent to internment camps during World War II. As Henry looks on, the owner opens a Japanese parasol.


This simple act takes old Henry Lee back to the 1940s, at the height of the war, when young Henry’s world is a jumble of confusion and excitement, and to his father, who is obsessed with the war in China and having Henry grow up American. While “scholarshipping” at the exclusive Rainier Elementary, where the white kids ignore him, Henry meets Keiko Okabe, a young Japanese American student. Amid the chaos of blackouts, curfews, and FBI raids, Henry and Keiko forge a bond of friendship–and innocent love–that transcends the long-standing prejudices of their Old World ancestors. And after Keiko and her family are swept up in the evacuations to the internment camps, she and Henry are left only with the hope that the war will end, and that their promise to each other will be kept.

Forty years later, Henry Lee is certain that the parasol belonged to Keiko. In the hotel’s dark dusty basement he begins looking for signs of the Okabe family’s belongings and for a long-lost object whose value he cannot begin to measure. Now a widower, Henry is still trying to find his voice–words that might explain the actions of his nationalistic father; words that might bridge the gap between him and his modern, Chinese American son; words that might help him confront the choices he made many years ago.

Set during one of the most conflicted and volatile times in American history, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is an extraordinary story of commitment and enduring hope. In Henry and Keiko, Jamie Ford has created an unforgettable duo whose story teaches us of the power of forgiveness and the human heart. -- Ballantine Books

11 comments:

Sandy Nawrot said...

I just started The Girl Who Played With Fire TODAY on audio! I think Lisbeth Salander is one of the most enigmatic personalities in fiction these days. I also read and loved Bitter & Sweet on audio. It was fabulous. Your book club certainly picks good ones!

thekoolaidmom said...

I'm so jealous of you reading Hotel for the first time :-) It was beautiful and wonderful and sweet.

To Sandy, I didn't know it was on audio book. Maybe I can get my library to order it. It'd be worth re-reading.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I loved both of these books! They sound like good bookclub choices too!

Marie said...

I need to read HOTEL. I'm glad you enjoyed DRAGON TATTOO so much too! :-)

Gerbera Daisy Mom said...

I got Hotel for my birthday! I can't wait to read it!

bermudaonion said...

It sounds like your book club has such great discussions. I wish I could drop in for a meeting one night.

mia said...

Your site is such a great discovery. My book club is always searching for a good book to read. Thanks so much for your book ideas! I don't know if you ever want book club ideas for children, but I blog about that at www.pragmaticmom.com. I love children's lit b/c it's not too violent or depressing.

Carrie said...

Someone pointed out the Hotel one to me and said it was the next "Guernsey book." I've been curious about it but keep forgetting this title. I was glad to see it pop up in my Google reader tonight. Nice reminder! =)

Lisa said...

I think I'm the only person on the planet that hasn't read The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo yet.

imbookingit said...

I like the idea of DRAGON TATTOO for a book club discussion. It'd be a good excuse to reread it as well :-).

HOTEL is hanging out on my TBR shelf, I should read it soon...

brizmus said...

Ooh! What a great book! Great choice for a book club read! :-)