ABOVE ALL THINGS is being described as "THE PARIS WIFE meets INTO THIN AIR in this breathtaking debut novel of obsession and divided loyalties, which brilliantly weaves together the harrowing story of George Mallory’s ill-fated 1924 attempt to be the first man to conquer Mount Everest, with that of a single day in the life of his wife as she waits at home in England for news of his return." Sounds fantastic to me... and perfect for book clubs.
I just adore Ms. Rideout's guest post because not only does she give readers some potential questions to help start their discussion, she also gives a great food idea for the meeting! I hope you enjoy this one as much as I do.
One of the loveliest parts about putting a novel out into the world is the chance to share the experience with readers. I’ve been lucky enough to join a few book clubs when they’ve met to discuss Above All Things—and it’s been fun and exhilarating and humbling. Readers open up their hearts (and then their homes!) to an author and fiercely discuss the book. Amazing.
As an author, it’s so interesting to hear what other people think and feel about your characters and your decisions. Having been a fly on the wall to some of these discussions, here are a few questions that might spur your own:
- Is George selfish to do what he does? What does that—“selfish”—even really mean?
- What do you think drove these men to go to Everest? Do they all have the same motivations? Is Sandy’s, say, different from George’s?
- How did the war shape the climbers’ attitudes toward the mountain?
- How do you feel about Ruth? Can you relate to her? What might you have done in her situation?
- How important is it to support your partner’s obsessions? How far should you support them? What’s the best way to be a good husband or wife and parent in these types of situations?
- What do you think George decides to do? To go forward to the summit, or turn back to Sandy?
- Is Everest—or anything like it—worth dying for? What is worth dying for?
Recipe for roasted garlic to accompany the ploughman’s lunch (borrowed from Food & Drink magazine):
Heat up your oven to 450 degrees.
Cut the tops of your garlic bulbs and tuck them into an oven-safe dish—the smallest one that they’ll all fit into. Fill the container with chicken stock (or veggie) so that the garlic isn’t quite covered over. Top with slices of lemon and sprigs of rosemary and add a drizzle of olive oil and some salt and pepper.
Chuck them in the oven for about an hour—basting every 15 minutes or so. Top up chicken stock if required.
Take them out, let them cool. To eat, scoop the garlic cloves out of their skins with a knife and smoosh on bread with cheese. Don’t worry; they’re super mild and tasty.
To make a greater quantity to store, you can also try this garlic confit recipe at the Modernist Cuisine: http://modernistcuisine.com/recipes/garlic-confit/
Serve with that most English of drinks—gin and tonic with a slice of cucumber. Enjoy! (And invite me.)
Putnam & Riverhead Book Club Community,the publisher is giving away copies of ABOVE ALL THINGS for your entire book club! To enter, just fill out the form here. You will also be included on the mailing list for suggested book club titles and special offers, including sweepstakes, call-ins, reading group guides, and more. The contest to win ABOVE ALL THINGS ends 11:59pm EST on 3/17/2013 and winners will be notified by 3/22/13. Best of luck!
A huge thanks to Ms. Rideout for participating in Book Club Exchange!
If you are interested in participating in a future Book Club Exchange, please contact me at bookingmama(at)gmail(dot)com.