The following is the list of books that the book club of the Guelph Gang of Gals has read. (We aren’t officially called this, in fact we aren’t officially called anything, but this post seemed to call for a grandiose title.) From the beginning!! Which is something, because this group has been meeting for… gosh, at least five years now.
I shall include brief reviews thusly organized: GGG’s general opinion, Dilovely’s general opinion, a keyword in case you have no idea what the book’s about, and any other random tidbit I feel like including. A * indicates it’s become a movie (I may not know all of those!).
Please feel free to add your perspective on any you’ve read!
- The Devil Wears Prada* by Lauren Weisberger. Fashion. I can’t report on this because it was Before My Time in book club; however I did try to read it later and found the protagonist’s situations too stressful and aggravating to continue.
- Tar Baby by Toni Morrison. This was also BMT.
- The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom. BMT.
- Pilgrim by Timothy Findley. BMT.
- Rare Birds* by Edward Riche. Restauranteurs. GGG mixed, Di enjoyed it but did not find it uber-compelling.
- Running With Scissors* by Augusten Burroughs. Psycho people. GGG and Di agreed it was shocking!! And fascinating.
- The Inventory by Gila Lustiger. The Holocaust. GGG didn’t like, too depressing. Di must admit she did not finish – but that had something to do with depressingness. Despite being very concerned about the Holocaust.
- East of Eden* by John Steinbeck. People with serious issues. GGG liked, but not all finished. Di finished in the nick of time, liked a lot! Creepy, very interesting.
- Eleanor Rigby by Douglas Coupland. Loneliness. GGG liked, Di liked. On the warm side of lukewarm.
- Charlotte Grey* by Sebastian Faulks. War resisters. GGG not overly thrilled. Di sorta liked, but disappointed as it was her pick and it didn’t move her nearly as much as her first Faulks experience, Birdsong.
- Wicked by Gregory Maguire. The Witch of the West. GGG mixed, Di liked a lot! Dark, weird, imaginative. Don’t expect a lighthearted musical.
- The Same Sweet Girls by Cassandra King. Friends grown up. GGG and Di agree: a great chick-y read!
- The End of Food by Thomas F. Pawlick. Dangers of messing with food supply. GGG mixed (as with any non-fiction), Di liked. Food politics: bring it on.
- The Princess Bride* by William Goldman. Romantic adventure. GGG liked! Di liked! How can you not? BTW, foreword = not true. It’s a joke, people – don’t go trying to find the original.
- Assorted biographies. Di read Lucky, Alice Sebold’s autobiography. Very compelling, as every woman who is fortunate enough not to have been raped can’t help but wonder fearfully what it’s like. “Liked” is not the proper word here.
- A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews. Dysfunctional family. GGG and Di lukewarm. I know it’s like seminal Mennonite Canadiana and all… but she didn’t make me care about the characters enough.
- The Lovely Bones* by Alice Sebold. Perspective of a murder victim. GGG and Di enthralled, in a morbid kind of way.
- Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. Stories within stories. GGG daunted by unconventional format and language styles, Di intrigued by same.
- The Time Traveller’s Wife* by Audrey Niffenegger. Heartbreaking romance. First book the entire GGG raved about! A huge hit.
- At Home in the Muddy Waters by Ezra Bayda. No idea… self-actualization? GGG very unimpressed, according to reports. Di was not at this meeting and did not manage to procure the book; apparently that was okay.
- Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. Circus intrigue. GGG mostly enthusiastic, Di loved it!
- Middlesex. Hermaphroditic soul-searching. Di missed the meeting, but read the book, found it fascinating.
- Eat, Pray, Love* by Elizabeth Gilbert. International soul-searching. GGG mixed, Di liked a lot, agreed with some that we liked the book itself better than the protagonist/author. Some parts very moving.
- My Sister’s Keeper* by Jodi Picoult. Leukemia and generosity. GGG overall enthusiastic but very divided about the acceptableness of the ending. Di loved it except for that ending, which she felt copped out.
- The Birth House by Ami McKay. Tough moms and midwives. GGG and Di liked a lot, makes one so glad to have a baby in this day and age instead of that one!
- A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry. Misfortune in India. GGG and Di liked, found it amazing how quickly it went for such a long book, and how it manages not to be completely depressing despite being one depressing situation after another
- Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O’Neill. Twisted childhood. Di has not finished and was not at the meeting – but found the part she has read interesting and poignant.
- The Virgin’s Lover by Philippa Gregory. Elizabeth I’s indiscretions. GGG liked, Di found interesting but was driven crazy by the writing, ugh.
- Twilight* by Stephenie Meyer. Vampire-human love. GGG very enthusiastic, Di loved it and read the rest as well and isn’t ashamed to say it. So ha.
- Choice of Harlequin romances of different levels of “spiciness”. Sex… and sometimes love. Filled out questionnaire re what page is first kiss, what page does sex begin, what terms are used for the male anatomy… Di’s book was sexy but forgettable.
- The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill. Slave trade. GGG and Di agree: a very hard but worthwhile book to experience. Wow.
- A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. Women in Afghanistan. GGG mixed, Di found unrelentingly sad.
- The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. House of mysteries. GGG and Di liked a lot!
- The Life of Pi by Yann Martel. Stranded at sea. GGG mixed, Di loved it, nobody sure if they love or hate the ending.
- The Rhino with Glue-On Shoes edited by Lucy Spelman and Ted Mashima. Animal stories by vets. GGG mixed, Di didn’t finish due to newborn baby (was reading it while waiting for induction gel to take effect) but enjoyed the stories she did read.
- The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. What’s really important in life. Di missed the meeting, but loved the book. Great read for a nursing mom because it has all small sections, and mentions babies.
- Lamb by Christopher Moore. Jesus’ youth. GGG enthusiastic, Di loved it.
- The Friday Night Knitting Club* by Kate Jacobs. Girl bonding. GGG and Di lukewarm – felt character development was unsuccessful.
- The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson. Incarnations of love. GGG and Di liked a lot, super-interesting, if dark.
And from here on… perhaps I can manage actual reviews for the rest!
40. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.
41. A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore.