Thursday, December 15, 2011

December 2011 Book Club Meeting

Summary: It all started when Jeff Guinn was assigned to write a piece full of little-known facts about Christmas for his paper, The Fort Worth Star-Telegram. A few months later, he received a call from a gentleman who told him that he showed the story to an important friend who didn’t think much of it. And who might that be? asked Jeff. The next thing he knew, he was whisked off to the North Pole to meet with this “very important friend,” and the rest is, well, as they say, history.

An enchanting holiday treasure, The Autobiography of Santa Claus combines solid historical fact with legend to deliver the definitive story of Santa Claus. And who better to lead us through seventeen centuries of Christmas magic than good ol’ Saint Nick himself? Families will delight in each chapter of this new Christmas classic—one per each cold December night leading up to Christmas! -- Tarcher/Penguin

Earlier this week, our book club got together for our annual holiday meeting. Our hostess selected THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF SANTA CLAUS as told to Jeff Guinn. She thought it would be a light and fun read, and we were hoping that it would it get us in the holiday spirit.

Well... I don't think THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF SANTA CLAUS really was an enjoyable read for any of us. I was surprised that everyone finished the book except for one of us and she read over half. And none of us liked it -- not a one. In fact, some of our members absolutely hated it. I'm not entirely sure it was an ideal discussion book anyway, but considering how everyone felt about the book, I don't think any of us really wanted to spend any more time on it. I'll give my opinion in a few days in my review!

So, we had a nice meeting and ate some yummy food and talked... a  lot. We actually began the meeting with our book swap since one of our  members had to get home to her children. I ended up with a book that I already had (imagine that!) so I gave it away. But I didn't come home empty handed. One of my friends brought PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES for me.

Next month, we will be reading IN THE GARDEN OF BEASTS by Erik Larson. I have been wanting to read this one ever since BEA so I'm looking forward to it. Having said that, I'm a little worried about some of the reviews out there, but for the most part, they seem to be generally positive.

Summary: Erik Larson has been widely acclaimed as a master of narrative non-fiction, and in his new book, the bestselling author of Devil in the White City turns his hand to a remarkable story set during Hitler’s rise to power.

The time is 1933, the place, Berlin, when William E. Dodd becomes America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s Germany in a year that proved to be a turning point in history.

A mild-mannered professor from Chicago, Dodd brings along his wife, son, and flamboyant daughter, Martha. At first Martha is entranced by the parties and pomp, and the handsome young men of the Third Reich with their infectious enthusiasm for restoring Germany to a position of world prominence. Enamored of the “New Germany,” she has one affair after another, including with the suprisingly honorable first chief of the Gestapo, Rudolf Diels. But as evidence of Jewish persecution mounts, confirmed by chilling first-person testimony, her father telegraphs his concerns to a largely indifferent State Department back home. Dodd watches with alarm as Jews are attacked, the press is censored, and drafts of frightening new laws begin to circulate. As that first year unfolds and the shadows deepen, the Dodds experience days full of excitement, intrigue, romance—and ultimately, horror, when a climactic spasm of violence and murder reveals Hitler’s true character and ruthless ambition.

Suffused with the tense atmosphere of the period, and with unforgettable portraits of the bizarre Göring and the expectedly charming--yet wholly sinister--Goebbels,
In the Garden of Beasts lends a stunning, eyewitness perspective on events as they unfold in real time, revealing an era of surprising nuance and complexity. The result is a dazzling, addictively readable work that speaks volumes about why the world did not recognize the grave threat posed by Hitler until Berlin, and Europe, were awash in blood and terror. -- Crown


Beth F said...

I have the new Larson to read too. I bet Mr. BFR gets to it before me.

bermudaonion said...

I would have guessed The Autobiography of Santa Claus would have been light and fun too. Oh well, at least you got to visit. My book club decided to forgo a book in December for just that reason.

Karlie said...

I got the new Larson book for my husband on audio cd and he loved it! Too bad to hear about the Santa book. It looked promising.

Serena said...

I cannot wait to see your review of a book the entire book club hated. O boy. Looks like you ended up with a good book...hope you like it.

I've only read 1 Larson book, and I didn't like it...but it wasn't Devil in the White City.

Kim@Time2Read said...

Thanks for the heads-up! This one has been on my TBR for awhile. Sounds like I can take it off. I'll be interested in your thoughts on the Eric Larson book, since it also on my TBR stack. Hope it's as good as "Devil in the White City'!

rhapsodyinbooks said...

OMG, I'm so surprised! I can't wait to see your review also!

Sandy Nawrot said...

Well that just stinks, but I guess they all can't be winners. And sometimes it is healthy to have a good hate session on a book (I loved hating Freedom). As far as the Larson book, I will just keep my mouth shut except to say that while it is fascinating stuff, it was the hardest I have had to work to get through a book in a long, long time.

Anonymous said...

I nominated Autobiography of Santa Claus for our December read and it didn't get voted in. It's probably a good thing, huh? One of the ladies in our group is reading it anyway and she is really liking it so I have it on reserve at the library. Maybe I should cancel?