Under Consideration

The Book Club which has been the most meaningful in my life is my mother’s. When I was a child, the women met in our living room. As I lay in bed, I heard the laughing and clinking of forks, I smelled the cigarettes smudged with bright lipstick, and wondered what could possibly merit hours of such lengthy conversation. Now, as an adult, I know. For this group of women didn’t meet to socialize as much as to discuss. Discuss the heart of each novel they read.
Choosing the books was a very serious business. Now that I’m a full fledged member myself I partake in this solemn occasion every August, for that is when we have Book Choosing Night. Each member of the group brings titles for consideration. The books must be ones that the person who is suggesting has read herself, and they  must come in paperback so they are not too expensive for purchase. (Although in 2012, paperback editions seem to be more expensive than digital.)
At any rate, once the books have been presented, the voting begins. As there are only 11 months in which to discuss, the twelfth being the one in which we choose, there are 11 titles on which to decide.
So, what to suggest? I have read 67 books this year. 67, and I am hard put to find one I want to bring up to the group. Many are lovely, but do they merit a deep discussion? Or, are they so long that some members of the group, now quite a bit older, will balk at the volume?
Here is what I have decided; I have chosen books to suggest for which there will soon be a film. Consider the following:
Anna Karenina to be released November 9, 2012
The Great Gatsby, to be released Summer of 2013
The Hobbit, made into a trilogy, to be released December 14, 2012; December 13, 2013, and the summer of 2014

I’m anxious to see if the book club will choose any of these most worthy titles. Coming soon to a theater near you.

What would you choose? (I should have mentioned that I’ve personally read them, each one several times. These are books which are near and dear to me, although their genres differ. I’m so looking forward to what the films will be like in comparison to the original text. Hopefully, they won’t disappoint.)
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46 comments

  1. This is why I want a book club of my own!! Le sigh. Very envious. Me, I'd go for Anna Karenina because I loved it but Gatsby could be fun. I'm not sure I'd ever really read Tolkein. Regardless, whatever pick is picked, I hope you enjoy it!

  2. I so wish I was a part of this book club! Really wishing I could have one where I am. Unfortunately, unless it is closely associated with my work environment, I really don't know too many people who enjoy reading as much as I do. This type of socialization is right up my alley:)

  3. Your book club sounds fab! Wish I were in a book club. As far as your choices go, they are all great for book club discussions. I'd go with Gatsby – for some reason the cigarettes and smudged lipstick made me think this book would be more fun to discuss. Either way, I'm sure you and your group will have a great time discussing any book.

  4. Gatsby; and skip the film. Every time I read it I find something new, something that surprises and awes me. It's time to read it again. It's been a few years.
    Do I understand correctly that you are now in your mother's old group? If so, it makes me so happy. What a wonderful, wonderful thing. Oh. Just love it.

  5. I think I'd go with Gatsby too. I read it in high school and have not read it since. I need to. Anna Karenina is awfully long, but isn't that a lovely cover? The Hobbit is one I've read twice (at my husband's insistence) and we look forward to the movie in December.

  6. When I was in college, I ran out of time to take Russian, and all I could fit in was a class called “Russian for Reading” (in which we learned just enough grammar and vocab to be able to read with the aid of a dictionary. Our final exam was to do a very literal translation of a text in Russian, and I was always proud that I “read” the first chapter of Anna Karenina in Russian. I've always meant to read the rest of it … but Jude Law? Yes, please. The movie might just have to come first!

  7. I'm sure you'll end up reading all of these before their film adaptations come out. Since now Great Gatsby for some reason has been pushed into the back burner so to speak, Anna K. may be the more immediate one? And, I hope we're still in it together for the read-along even if your book club choose another title? ;)

  8. Great choices! What I'd choose depends a bit on your book club – I used to belong to one and they nearly ate me when I chose 'Middlemarch' – too long, too nineteenth century etc. etc. So if, as it sounds, your group is a bunch of die-hard book-lovers, I'd go for AK as it's a book people are always 'meaning' to read and there's lots there. Otherwise Gatsby.

    Let us know what is chosen!

  9. I've read 2.6 of these.
    I think I'd choose The Great Gatsby. I really liked that novel and of all the recent movies based on books it is the one I look forward to the most. I'm shocked to see Keira Knightley and Jude Law as Anna and Vronsky… Not so much about her, I like her but Jude Law. They don't go together well. ean Bean and Sophie marceau were already a huge mismatch.

  10. It's interesting how I'm more in tune with my Mother's friends; many of them are in their late 70's, but they're so well read that we have fascinating discussions. The only other place that comes close to that is on our book blogs, certainly not with my peers in my day to day life.

  11. I don't know many people who like reading as much as I do, either. Isn't it good we have our blogs? You should have seen the looks I got when I told people I was studying Dostoevsky this summer! I don't care; it made me happy!

  12. Don't you just love Anna Karenina?! I've read it several times, even writing a paper on it in college whIch my professor disdained. (I titled it The Plight of the Russian Noble Woman, and she though it quite wrong of my to compare Anna to other Russian women.) I think it will lead to fabulous discussion if the women are willing to work through it.

  13. I'm never sure why The Hobbit seems to come after The Lord of The Rings, both in the attention the novels and the films received. It's foundational to the story! Anyway, I'm excited about the possibility that each of these novels offer. I loved the Anna Karenina poster, too!

  14. Natalie, you should read Anna Karenina with Arti and I when we pick it up this October! We're planning on posting at the end of the month in order to finish before the film's release. It would be great to have you join in!

  15. Audrey, I'm so impressed that you can read and write Russian! Or, could at one time! I took a lot of Russian literature and Russian History courses in college, but believe me, they were in English! :) The most I can boast about is The Little Prince (and Candide) in French. Still, French doesn't even have the same alphabet!

  16. Arti, of course we're in! Part of the reason I'm suggested Anna Karenina is so I don't have to read something new one month (I seem to fill up my schedule with my own choices). I'm assuming we're still on for a review at the end of October; when it gets closer to the beginning of that month let's post about it, okay? And, hopefully this book club will choose it, too.

  17. Yeah, well, Middlemarch…not one of my favorites. ;) Somehow, that book seemed to have no ending, although there were parts I enjoyed quite a bit. I think I'll have to give it a go again sometime when I have uninterrupted months ahead of me. You should read Anna Karenina (join Arti and I in October?). It's wonderful!

  18. Your book club experience makes me want to join one too! I mean, one where you actually meet in person, instead of online. Anyway, I didn't even know that Anna Karenina and The Great Gatsby were being adapted for films! I think I'd choose Anna Karenina, as I remember not being very impressed by The Great Gatsby. The Hobbit would come in as a close second.

  19. I've read all three and I think while I loved Anna Karenina, it might be too long for your group. The Hobbit, unfortunately, bored me to tears. I loved watching Lord of the Rings, but The Hobbit was such a struggle to finish. And, well, I know a lot of readers just love The Great Gatsby, and I've read it a couple of times, but it isn't a favorite. So… I guess I'd have to choose Anna Karenina and hope that the others don't mind the length. How's that for indecisive? ;)

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