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Book Club: new selection

Our Book Club year ends in July with The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. I’ll write a billet about it in a couple of days or weeks, depending of how fast I read it. Meanwhile we’ve been preparing our list for our third year of reading together. As always, you’re invited to join us for as many books as you want, whenever you want. Just leave a comment in my billet about the book you’ve read or paste the link to your review.

Since I’m the worst bookworm of the group, we’ve mostly been browsing through my enormous TBR to pick our new books. So, we’ll be reading:

August: The Odd Women by George Gissing. (UK, 1893) We start with a book which is not available in French, so we’ll all be reading in English. It has already been the case for some books last year, we’ve all improved and feel more comfortable with the language. I had never heard of Gissing before reading Guy’s post about New Grub Street and when he reviewed The Odd Women I knew right away I wanted to read it. I’m always eager to read about the condition of women, whatever the century. Discover Guy’s review here.

September: The Pets by Braggi Olafsson. (Iceland, 2010) Another one we owe to Guy’s eclectic tastes for books. It’s an Icelandic novel and it sounded funny in the department of odd relationships between bipeds. Max has reviewed it here.

October: Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín. (Ireland, 2009) This one is totally different from the previous month. It’s been on my TBR since Max’s excellent review. I’m a bit worried about the language but it’s available in French if need be. It explores the feelings of a young woman who emigrates from Ireland to New York. When I visited Ellis Island, I thought about all the people who’d been through that place and how brave or desperate they must have been to leave everything and everyone they knew to start a new life in America.

November: Penguin Lost by Andrey Kurkov. (Russia, 1996) That’s again another discovery from Guy’s blog. In Gros Câlin by Romain Gary, M. Cousin befriends a python he names Gros Câlin. (Big Hug) In this one, the main character Viktor has a penguin, Misha. Add to the mix gangsters and adventures and you have what seems to be an original and funny book. So I expect.

December: Contempt by Alberto Moravia. (Italy, 1954) I haven’t seen the film (yet) and I’ve had in mind to read Moravia for a long time now. I’m glad my Book Club friends were also interested in reading this novel.

January: Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis. (UK, 1954) I just noticed it will be two books in a row that were published in 1954. After reading David Lodge, campus novels always sound attractive, so how can you not be tempted by Lucky JimGuy reviewed it a few months ago, after it was republished by NYRB.

February: The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes. (UK, 2011) Well, I suppose everyone in the blogosphere has heard about this one. There are many many many reviews. I’ll just add my thoughts to the pile.

March: Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë (UK, 1847) I really enjoyed The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and I’m very interested in Agnes Grey and what Anne Brontë has to say about the status of governess. Edith has reviewed it here.

April: How to Be Good by Nick Hornby (UK, 2001) This is for the fun, which is a perfectly valid reason to read a book. We’ve all read Hornby before and are happy to find him again with this novel.

May: A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway (USA, 1964) I wasn’t enthralled by A Farewell to Arms but reading about Hemingway’s experience in Paris sounds fascinating.

May (2): Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote (USA, 1958) We haven’t been able to pick only twelve books. So we have two short books in May. I haven’t seen the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s, I probably will after I read the novella. My edition also include three other short stories. (House of Flowers, A Diamond Guitar and A Christmas Memory) and I think the four stories were originally published together.

June: Time After Time by Molly Keane (Ireland, 1983)I have no idea how this one ended up in my TBR. Guy’s review was before I started reading blogs. Anyway, we were attracted to this story of four bizarre siblings whose routine is disturbed by the arrival of a long lost cousin.

July: Anna Edes by Dezső Kosztolányi (Autro-Hungarian Empire, 1926) This will be my third novel by Kosztolányi, after Skylark and The Golden Kite. I love this writer and reading Anna Edes is a safe bet. I know I’ll enjoy it. It has been reviewed by Guy, here and by Max, here.

That’s all folks. That was our new selection. I’m looking forward to reading all these books and sharing my thoughts about them with you. Have you read any of them? Browsing again through the list, I realise we haven’t picked any French literature this year.

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  1. July 7, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    You are aware that you could rename your book club “Chez Guy” 🙂
    I reviewed Molly Keane not too long ago and the book Danielle and Guy suggested as also very good was the one you have on your list.
    I’ve read a lot of Moravia, some I liked, some I hated so much, that I threw the book away (I’ve done that only once). I think you should be fine with this one though.
    Most of the titles are on my piles as well and many are not read yet, so I might join you for the one or the other.
    The one that tempts me the most (Gissing) is one I don’t have. Typical.
    I might get to some earlier. I had Molly Keane in my hands a week ago. We will see. I great list in any case.

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    • July 7, 2013 at 6:35 pm

      That’s a good one 🙂 I’d think about it if it weren’t the name of the fruit & vegetables store back home. What can I say, lots of his posts make my TBR grow and the books appealed to the others too.
      I’m curious about Moravia, it’s not often that a writer stirs such conflicted responses.
      I hope you’ll join us, it would be nice.

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  2. July 7, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    Looks to be a great list of books!

    I really look forward to your commentary on The Scarlet Letter. It has been a really long time since I read that one but I remember being very impressed. It was not as simple as I had expected.

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    • July 7, 2013 at 6:37 pm

      I like The Scarlet Letter better now that I’ve finished the looooong prologue.

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  3. July 7, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    I wasn’t that hot on Brooklyn, I’ll have to admit. I’d heard a lot about that author and this was my first book by him. I found it too sentimental for my tastes, but that just may be me. So I’ll be interested to see how you feel about it. Partly for me, it was the whole ex-pat thing. We all have to find ways of dealing with it, and it seems to be a fairly small thing when you are young but it gets a lot harder with the years. Then you pass a certain point….. Anyway for the subject matter, I was drawn to Brooklyn but it just wasn’t to my taste–although everyone else seems to love it.

    How to be Good–what can I say, I think about this book on almost a daily basis. It’s one of those books that hit a chord for me.

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    • July 7, 2013 at 6:39 pm

      I don’t remember reading a review of Brooklyn on your blog. I guess it rings differently for you since you’re an expat yourself.

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  4. July 8, 2013 at 8:45 am

    Nice reading plan, Emma! I have read ‘The Sense of an Ending’ and ‘A Moveable Feast’ from you list and liked both of them. Looking forward to following your reading adventures during this ‘book-year’.

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    • July 8, 2013 at 5:28 pm

      Thanks Vishy. Our book year is the same as the school year; our lives are shaped around our children’s lives.

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  5. July 8, 2013 at 11:58 am

    Looks like a great list! I already read ‘The Sense of an Ending’ by Julian Barnes (which I liked although I liked ‘Flaubert’s Parrot’ better ;-)), ‘Agnes Grey’ by Anne Brontë (which I reviewed on my blog), and ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ by Truman Capote (which I enjoyed a lot back then). Amazingly, I know none of the books of Dezső Kosztolányi although I’m Austrian.

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    • July 8, 2013 at 5:30 pm

      I must be the last out there who hasn’t read The Sense of an Ending.
      I’ll link your review of Agnes Grey, thanks for the nudge.

      I can only recommend Slylark by Dezső Kosztolányi. The Golden Kite isn’t available in English but it may be available in German. There are reviews on my blog if you’re interested.

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      • July 9, 2013 at 10:20 am

        I had a look and there are some books of Dezső Kosztolányi available in German, but I’ll refrain from buying any books for a while because otherwise I’ll soon be drowned in books to read that don’t fit into my crammed shelves anymore 😉

        Well, thanks for adding a link to my review of Agnes Grey! The remark just popped out without an ulterior motive.

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        • July 10, 2013 at 6:45 am

          Don’t I know about the ever growing TBR. It’s both exciting and frustrating because the time available for reading never matches the time I’d like to spend reading.

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          • July 10, 2013 at 9:26 am

            Yes, I agree. Time is too short and there are so many interesting books! It’s quite a dilemma…

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  6. July 8, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    There’s a review of The Pets at mine also. I absolutely second Guy’s recommendation (which is where I found out about it from). It’s a great little book, blackly comic.

    For me Toibin is all about the writing. I just love his prose.

    Breakfast at Tiffany’s is a lovely novella, though darker in tone than the Hollywood movie (perhaps inevitably). I actually like the film more, but then it is a great film once you get past the appallingly racist part that Mickey Rooney plays in it.

    I still get more hits on my blog for my write up of The Sense of an Ending than anything else, sometimes more than most others put together. It’s an absolute hit magnet for some reason, which is a bit of a shame as while I liked it I’ve reviewed a great many better books that frankly better deserve the attention.

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    • July 8, 2013 at 5:37 pm

      I’ll add the link to your review of The Pets, thanks for the reminder. Maybe we could also rename the Book Club “Chez Max”, although, if I’m not mistaken, it’s a restaurant in Dublin.

      I hope I’ll be able to read Toibin in English.

      It’s rare to like the film better than the book, I’m very curious now. I should plan on a book/film night for this particular Book Club meeting.

      Andrew said the same as you about his post on The Sense of an Ending: lots of hits. Strangely, on my blog the “hit magnet” is The Boy in the Last Row by Juan Mayorga. I suspect it’s mandatory in Spanish classes somewhere.

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      • July 9, 2013 at 10:34 am

        Since I found out about The Pets from Guy, I think the honour still goes there.

        I get a lot of hits for a Guy Vanderhaeghe novel I reviewed ages ago. I suspect it’s on the US or Canadian syllabus. I can’t think why else people would search for it so often.

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  7. July 9, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    Quite an enviable reading list, that. I’ve read two and a half of the books on the list (the half is one of the few novels I’ve flat out abandoned, but I won’t poison your reception of it by revealing which one). I may join you for Lucky Jim – long on my TBR list and, as of last week, on the night table near the front of the queue.

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    • July 10, 2013 at 6:42 am

      Thanks Scott. Which are the two ones you’ve read?
      It’ll be nice if you join us for Lucky Jim. I’ll try to post / tweet reminders this year. I’ve been a bit disorganised in the last twelve months.

      Like

      • July 10, 2013 at 4:12 pm

        The Scarlet Letter and Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I’m not on Twitter, but I’ll certainly be following your blog posts.

        Like

  8. leroyhunter
    July 16, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    Quite a mix! Impressive.

    I used to be a HUGE Capote fan. I keep meaning to re-read In Cold Blood. Breakfast is as Max says quite a bit tarter then the Hepburn film.

    I can never quite make up my mind to read Moravia, so interested in what you think. Il Conformista is one of my all-time favourite films.

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    • July 16, 2013 at 2:36 pm

      I have The Conformist currently saved down on tivo, though with adverts sadly. I didn’t realise it was that good (or that it was based on a Moravia novel).

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      • leroyhunter
        July 16, 2013 at 3:41 pm

        Coppola (the 70s creative powerhouse Coppola, not the diminished figure of later years) freely admits it was one of his biggest influences when making Godfather I and II and (especially) The Conversation. But it’s brilliant in its own right.

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    • July 16, 2013 at 8:26 pm

      Thanks, I’m in a good group. No chick lit, only good stuff.
      I’m curious about Moravia and Caroline ‘s comment intrigues me.

      Like

  9. Diane Reynolds
    July 20, 2015 at 2:20 pm

    I want to join this book club and read all your insightful comments!

    Like

    • July 20, 2015 at 8:16 pm

      Hi, welcome to Book Around The Corner.

      Please do join us. You can always read the books along with us and publish your thoughts about them in the comment section of the related billet.

      Like

  1. August 1, 2013 at 12:06 am

I love to hear your thoughts, thanks for commenting. Comments in French are welcome

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