Sunday, May 15, 2011

May 2011 Book Club Meeting

Summary: Myra Lamb is a wild girl with mysterious, haint blue eyes who grows up on remote Bloodroot Mountain. Her grandmother, Byrdie, protects her fiercely and passes down “the touch” that bewitches people and animals alike. But when John Odom tries to tame Myra, it sparks a shocking disaster, ripping lives apart. Bloodroot is the dark and riveting story of the legacies—of magic and madness, faith and secrets, passion and loss—that haunt one family across the generations. -- Vintage

A few days ago, my book club met for our May meeting and we discussed BLOODROOT by Amy Greene. I actually hosted the meeting and was the one who chose this novel because I had read so many amazing reviews. I appreciated the novel, but I didn't love it like I had hoped. Maybe my expectations were too high? I think most of our group agreed with me though -- the book was good and the story was interesting, but it didn't blow away any of us.

Having said that, I loved our discussion of the novel -- it was a very interesting book to dissect. I found it intriguing how the various members of our group interpreted things in the story differently when I was pretty sure that the events were obvious (I realized they weren't at all obvious after further analysis!) I can honestly say that after our discussion, I realized that BLOODROOT was a pretty darn good novel. I definitely appreciated it much more and talking about it for a few hours with my friends.

Next month, we will be reading STILL ALICE by Lisa Genova. I have been wanting to read this book for quite awhile now so I'm glad that I now have the excuse I need to "make" me read it. I have heard such wonderful things about this book; however, I have a feeling that it won't be an easy read for me because of the subject matter. Regardless, I am looking forward to reading and discussing this novel.

Have any of you read STILL ALICE? What did you think? Is it a good discussion book?

Summary: She didn't want to become someone people avoided and feared. She wanted to live to hold Anna's baby and know it was her grandchild. She wanted to see Lydia act in something she was proud of. She wanted to see Tom fall in love. She wanted to read every book she could before she could no longer read. 

Alice Howland is proud of the life she has worked so hard to build. A Harvard professor, she has a successful husband and three grown children. When Alice begins to grow forgetful at first she just dismisses it, but when she gets lost in her own neighbourhood she realises that something is terribly wrong. Alice finds herself in the rapid downward spiral of Alzheimer's disease. She is only 50 years old. 

While Alice once placed her worth and identity in her celebrated and respected academic life, now she must re-evaluate her relationship with her husband, her expectations of her children and her ideas about herself and her place in the world. 

Losing her yesterdays, her short-term memory hanging on by a couple of frayed threads, she is living in the moment, living for each day. But she is still Alice. 

Still Alice is as compelling as A Beautiful Mind and as powerful as Ordinary People. You will gain an understanding of those affected by early-onset Alzheimer's and remain moved and inspired long after you have put it down. -- Gallery

12 comments:

Karlie said...

I really want to read Still Alice. I've heard great things about it.

Kay said...

Julie, my book group read STILL ALICE last year, at my request. I had read it earlier and was very, very impressed. There will be a lot to talk about I think. We had a great discussion about aging, sharing stories and talking about the latest research in memories, etc. A lot of my group are older ladies and it was tough for some to read this book. However, it was tough for me to read it because I dealt with Alzheimer's and dementia in both my parents before they died. I will tell you though that the way Lisa Genova writes about Alzheimer's and Alice's experience seemed very accurate and true to me after having watched my parents struggle. It's a powerful book. Frightening, but very important. I recommended it to the staff at both my parents' care centers and also to the support group we attended.

I'll be interested in hearing how your group meeting goes. :-)

bermudaonion said...

I'm glad to see Bloodroot created such a great discussion! I can't wait to read it to see what I think. I haven't read Still Alice, but I really want to.

Sandy Nawrot said...

I finished Bloodroot a couple of weeks ago on audio. I just wrote up my review, and I think I said that if it weren't for the gorgeous writing, the story would have been a big buzz kill. But I ended up really liking the book. And the audio had a different narrator for each character, and was spectacular. So for any audiofiles out there, that is definitely the way to go.

Beth Kephart said...

This sounds really difficult, but important. Sometimes you have to take that risk, writing or reading.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

What a different choice for a book club! Your discussion sounds really interesting!

Angie said...

The wonderful thing about book clubs are the different points of view expressed by its members. I have went to a book club thinking a book was terrible and after listening to others rave about it I realize "you know, I did like that about the storyline" or "I did appreciate the way the character did such and such" and come away from the meeting thinking the book was actually okay.
I have read Still Alice (in fact it was nominated for book club last month and didn't make the vote) and I thought it was a realistic and heartbreaking novel about early onset Alzheimers. I hope you like it!

Aths said...

I enjoyed Still Alice a lot! It was one of my favorites from last year! Hope you'll love it too.

clg1213 said...

stumbled here from the harper page (i'm another tour stop for faith). i read still alice back in my MA days with a small book club in my apartment building (i was the only member under 65 or so). i found it interesting and definitely need to revisit it. the club wasn't a good experience and didn't have great discussions (left the club well before i left MA), but i can see it being good fodder for a good club.

saw you are a nittany lions fan. i actually recently moved to the state college area. i'm not a football girl though so plan to just kinda hide on home game saturdays! i'm not in SC proper so i should be able to avoid the crowds (remember the impact of games in a college town from my UVA grad school dys) :)

Mrs. Melissa said...

I devoured STILL ALICE in two days. There is so much I didn't know about alzheimer's and I only wish I was in a book club to share those insights.

Carolina Gal's Literary Cafe said...

I just finished Still Alice, it was a difficult book to read for the prospective of family members watching their loved one deteriorate. But, this book depicts the disease and the patients accurately. I do recommend this book, but it is a hard read to digest. It is scary at time. If you would like to read my review. go to my blog at http://susansliterarycafe.blogspot.com . I will be coming back to read what your book club thought. I have doubts that our book club would read this. Many of our members have had their loved one have Alzheimer's Disease.

Carolina Gal's Literary Cafe said...

I just finished Still Alice, it was a difficult book to read for the prospective of family members watching their loved one deteriorate. But, this book depicts the disease and the patients accurately. I do recommend this book, but it is a hard read to digest. It is scary at time. If you would like to read my review. go to my blog at http://susansliterarycafe.blogspot.com . I will be coming back to read what your book club thought. I have doubts that our book club would read this. Many of our members have had their loved one have Alzheimer's Disease.