Thursday, May 17, 2012

May 2012 Book Club Meeting

Summary: Jane Levitsky is a bright light in the field of nineteenth-century Russian literature, making her name as an expert on the novels of Grigory Karkov and the diaries of his wife, the long-suffering Masha Karkova. Jane is also wife to sweet, reasonable Billy and mother to lovable (if demanding) Maisie, roles she’s finding surprisingly challenging to juggle along with her ambitions. But when Jane uncovers evidence that Masha may have been more than muse and helpmeet to her famous husband, she seizes her ticket to academic superstardom. Little does she know that she has set in motion a chain of events that will come perilously close to unraveling both her marriage and her career. Lady of the Snakes will be instantly familiar—and instantly unforgettable—to anyone who has ever felt torn between two worlds. - HMH

For our May meeting, we read LADY OF THE SNAKES by Rachel Pastan. When my friend first picked this book, I figured it was historical fiction; and since he haven't read this genre for quite awhile, I was looking forward to it. However, when I actually sat down to read this novel a few days prior to book club, I discovered that it does take place in the present day; and it actually wasn't anything like I was expecting. I wasn't disappointed because the premise of the book was interesting (and to a certain extent it was), but I have to admit that overall I ended up being kind of "meh" about it.

There were only three of us who completed the book, so it wasn't as good of a discussion as I had hoped. Having said that, I do think LADY OF THE SNAKES had the potential to be a great discussion book, although I'm pretty sure my group didn't do it justice. Two of us thought the book was just okay; while another member really liked it; and I do think our differing opinions did help make the discussion more interesting. However, there were so many universal themes about the roles of women through the years, and I don't think we delved deeply enough into these issues.

Next month, we will be reading 1984 by George Orwell. I haven't read this book since high school (or maybe it was college), but I don't remember loving it. I'm hoping that twenty-something years later, I see the book in a different light. But even if I don't, I suspect it will make for an interesting discussion.

Summary: Written in 1948, 1984 was George Orwell’s chilling prophecy about the future. And while 1984 has come and gone, Orwell’s narrative is timelier than ever. 1984 presents a startling and haunting vision of the world, so powerful that it is completely convincing from start to finish. No one can deny the power of this novel, its hold on the imaginations of multiple generations of readers, or the resiliency of its admonitions—a legacy that seems only to grow with the passage of time. -- Signet Classic


Serena said...

I really liked 1984. Sorry that this book club pick didn't work for you and that discussion wasn't better.

bermudaonion said...

The title of the book doesn't seem to fit the description. My book club has had months like that too.