Friday, March 2, 2012

Book talk

Next pick for book club: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer

Back to Unwind (last month's pick) for a minute. As is typical for books we feel strongly about (especially negatively), we talked about it longer than usual. It didn't hurt that there was plenty of current events that fed into the discussion. With the GOP trying to take away women's rights to contraception, the Susan G. Komen/Planned Parenthood kerfuffle, lots of material to discuss that related to the book. My final take on Unwind? Neal is pulling out all the stops to offend everyone. How juvenile. There's much better literature out there. Read something else.

And in this politically charged atmosphere, as so often happens, a carrot cake bake-off throwdown was launched. Yes, 7 of our 8 members are bringing a carrot cake to the April meeting. Judging will be on appearance and taste. We've been promised a prize by the one person not participating. She's more of a ├ęclair baker. I can eat her ├ęclairs for hours! Good thing that opportunity doesn't present itself monthly. Good lord.

Anyway. I assume I'll win the bake-off, har har, but in case I don't, I'll try to procure the winning recipe to share here. I definitely should win the appearance part. I have a Secret Weapon that I plan to use. My dad knows what it is. I bet he won't tell you what it is, either.

In non-book club reading, I just finished The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides (interview and excerpt). Recommended. First book I've read in a long time that reminds me of what college was like during the 1980s.

For some reason this paragraph (page 49) struck me as particularly poignant. She's reading Roland Barthes A Lover's Discourse for homework:

It wasn't only that this writing seemed beautiful to Madeleine. It wasn't only that these opening sentences of Barthe' made immediate sense. It wasn't only the relief at recognizing that here, finally, was a book she might write her final paper on. What made Madeleine sit up in bed was something closer to the reason she read books in the first place and had always loved them. Here was a sign that she wasn't alone. Here was an articulation of what she had been so far mutely feeling. In bed on a Friday night, wearing sweatpants, her hair tied back, her glasses smudged, and eating peanut butter from the jar, Madeleine was in a state of extreme solitude.

Other books by Jeffrey Eugenides that you may have read: Middlesex and The Virgin Suicides. I liked the first but found the second unsatisfying. The movie, too. I'm pretty sure I saw the movie first. That probably ruined the book for me.

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