Monday, May 23, 2011

Gunn's Golden Rules

Oh how we love Project Runway!  So when we discovered Tim Gunn had penned a book, we simply had to add it to our lineup.  We were expecting something light and witty, and for the most part, Tim delivered.

Gunn's Golden Rules:  Life's Little Lessons for Making it Work.  It's part ettiquitte, part story-time.  Our main complaint:  the book can rabbit-trail, and lacks an overall cohesiveness.  Sometimes the chapters just end, and you can't remember which "rule" you started with because the storytelling went to a completely different place.  We also thought the ending was a little weak.  We wanted more of a "final thought" or something that would wrap it all up and leave us ready to "Make it work!"

That being said, Gunn's writing is very true to his voice.   He's warm and witty and sarcastic and slightly snarky (though he claims he constitutionally incapable of being so).  The crazy stories from the fashion world and the glimpses behind the scenes of Project Runway were consistently funny and satisfying.  And we enjoyed the stories from his personal life too.  We love Tim Gunn and we're happy that we read his book.

Next up:  Here Burns my Candle by Liz Curtis Higgs

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Still Alice

Out book for April was "Still Alice" by Lisa Genova.  It's a book that tackles the issue of Alzheimer's, and is told from the perspective of the woman who is struggling with the disease.  Our group's reaction:  This was the first book we've truly enjoyed since reading "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak in March 2010.  I would highly recommend this book to other book clubs.

We talked about the characters, issues, and plot.  We thought Lisa Genova did a wonderful job of writing so that you really identify with the main character and experience her stuggles and losses with her.  We loved the diverse, yet believable, reactions of her family and friends. 

Our longest discussion topic was around the question: "Would you want to know if you had an unavoidable illness?"  The characters in the book face this question specifically on the topic of Alzheimers.  Would you want to know if you were going to go through it?  Or would you rather face it (or not) as it came?  We had people that answered differently, and for very different reasons.  It made for a wonderful conversation, and I think we all learned about each other in the process.

Next up:  Gunn's Golden Rules:  Life's Little Lessons for Making it Work by Tim Gunn

Monday, March 21, 2011

Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver

Our nomal meeting night fell on St. Patrick's day...and we had green-frosted cupcakes to celebrate.  Also, we discovered triskits + Irish cheese + bruscetta = one delicious appetizer.  But on to the book.

Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver.  We didn't hate it, but we didn't love it either.  Kingsolver often weaves multiple storylines together.  To us, one of the storylines grabbed us much more than the others.  It featured a believable lead role, and a believable struggle.  I think it would have been nice if the whole book centered on that storyline.  The other characters could have been woven in through shared scenes or conversations. 

One thing we really enjoyed was the language.  Kingsolver truly gives each character their own voice, and has her characters use their unique voices to help them describe how they percieve their world and how they work through their problems.  That was very neat to read.

The conclusion of the story was a little sudden and convenient for our taste.  (With the exception of our favorite storyline.  We felt that one ended in a realistic place and we enjoyed the journey to get there.)  I would like to read some of her other books to see if this one just rubbed me the wrong way, or if Kingsolver...while very talented...just isn't for me.

Next Month:  Still Alice by Lisa Genova.  I'll be a little transparent here.  It would be nice to find a book our whole group can be excited about again.  That hasn't really happened since "The Book Thief"...and that was several months ago.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Magicians

After a very hectic fall, the Paige Turners are back to normal.  And with the presence of brownies, banana bread, veggies, and five eccentric girls, we had a lovely gathering last night.

The topic of conversation was Lev Grossman's book The Magicians.  The back cover describes it as a grown-up version of Harry Potter blended with Narnia.  Our collective group opinion was slightly different.

It wasn't one of our favorite books.  A few girls were deeply bothered by some of the content and language.  We did discuss several interesting topics:  growing up, teenage ennui, revisiting childhood stories, the affect of power, maturity, sexuality, dynamics of small groups, faith and confidence.  But what frustrated us all was the lack of something to root for.  We didn't feel any like the story took us (or the characters) anywhere, nor was there someone we could get get behind as a hero (tortured soul variety included). 

We've put this one behind us and are looking forward to Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver.