Jul 18, 2012
How much of a book do you have to read to be able to say you finished it? We also discuss the often imperfect art of titling books. And we recommend The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian and Redshirts by John Scalzi.
Carol, from our Goodreads group, asked if her friend who reads half the book for book group can say she finished it. The resounding answer is "NO," with a caveat: Ann believes there should be professional dispensation for anyone who reads for a living. Often we will read most of a book, then have to move on to something else. It's usually our intention to get back to the books we don't finish, but it doesn't always happen. Ann's solution? If we read more than half, we can say we read it. I'm not sure I agree 100%, but I do mourn the books in which I invested a lot of time, yet aren't on my list of books read for the year. What do you think?
Karen, also from our Goodreads group, suggested the topic of "odd or misleading" titles. She specifically thought of Lauren Groff's The Monsters of Templeton, a book she loved but had a hard time convincing friends to read. Callie weighed in with The Poisonwood Bible and The Night Circus. For me, a perfect example is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, a book whose title seemed too whimsical at first. Ann felt the same way about The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (the other books in the Flavia deLuce series have similar titles). The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency might give the impression that the book is a mystery. Other titles that don't fall into the "odd or misleading" category, but that we discussed, include Seabiscuit (almost titled Dark Horse), Rocket Boys (titled October Sky for the movies), One Shot (re-titled Jack Reacher for the upcoming movie) and Cogan's Trade (being turned into the movie Killing Them Softly).
Ann raves about Chris Bohjalian's new novel The Sandcastle Girls. The book follows a novelist in the present, who is researching her family history, as well as a young woman, newly graduated from college, who is doing missionary work in Syria just before the Armenian Genocide. This is a perfect example of a wonderful work of fiction that will leave you wanting to know more about the history on which it was based.
The Star Trek fan in me was so excited to read John Scalzi's Redshirts. What happens when a group of new recruits on an intergalactic starship begin to realize that they're meant to be expendable? And what happens when they try to find out why? This is a book that surprised and entertained me. Actually, "entertained" is too mild a word: I loved it!