Sunday, January 4, 2009

2009 To Do's

It's time to pick new books for the first half of 2009 AND pick new hostesses!

Please post a comment on:

1. Which month you would like to host (January through November).
*Please let the pregnant ladies choose first.

2. One or two book nominations.
*Please submit your post no later than January 19th so that we can have a chance to review the nominations before we vote on Monday, January 26th.


Kristin said...

I am excited to finally have a place where I can host! Can I do March? That way I'll have my new couch for you all to sit on!

Are we still planning on reading the new Philippa Gregory book for Feb or should we submit that as one of our book choices?

Kellie said...

I'm open for any month except May (fingers crossed J and I will be somewhere exotic and romantic for our 10th anniversary!).

Which P.Gregory book are we talking for Feb.? I see a bunch of new ones on Amazon, the newest is The Other Queen. I'm happy with any of them.

It was really hard, but I restrained myself from recommending more than two books. Both of these were recommended by multiple people in different circles. They are a little different than anything we read last year, but both got great reviews.


This memoir is a journey into a complex world readers will find fascinating and at times repugnant. After being denied a visa to remain in the U.S., British-born Ahmed, a Muslim woman of Pakistani origin, takes advantage of an opportunity, before 9/11, to practice medicine in Saudi Arabia. She discovers her new environment is defined by schizophrenic contrasts that create an absurd clamorous clash of modern and medieval.... It never became less arresting to behold. Ahmed's introduction to her new environment is shocking. Her first patient is an elderly Bedouin woman. Though naked on the operating table, she still is required by custom to have her face concealed with a veil under which numerous hoses snake their way to hissing machines. Everyday life is laced with bizarre situations created by the rabid puritanical orthodoxy that among other requirements forbids women to wear seat belts because it results in their breasts being more defined, and oppresses Saudi men as much as women by its archaic rules. At times the narrative is burdened with Ahmed's descriptions of the physical characteristics of individuals and the luxurious adornments of their homes but this minor flaw is easily overlooked in exchange for the intimate introduction to a world most readers will never know.


This is the true story of Shackleton's amazing voyage in 1914to cross the Antarctic overland. His ship, the Endurance, was beset by ice in early 1915 and then crushed ten months later. Shackleton and his men were 1200 miles away from the nearest outpost of humanity. The fact that the crew managed to survive, once Shackleton and five others made a perilous 800-mile journey to get help, is the stuff of legend. Lansing includes the perspectives of other crew members drawn from diaries, private papers and personal interviews. It is a fantastic story, brilliantly told.

Alix said...

Yes, we discussed reading The Other Queen for February. Anyone opposed?

I'll host the month of February.

Still deciding on my nominations...

Kristin said...

Both of those sound awesome, Kel. I'm excited to read "The Other Queen" for Feb. Still deciding on my nominations, too.

Kellie said...

I'm excited to see the other nominations! I would like to see what kind of New Year Resolutions every one came up with too. Last year I didn't do any, so I need some good ideas for this year.

erin said...

Where is book club for January?? I really want to come this month as I have missed the past couple...

As far as hosting-not exactly sure when as I don't know if we will be moving (Won't know until mid march)

Alix said...

If nobody is interested in hosting for January we can meet at a restaurant!

Kellie said...

I can do January, is it the 28th?

Alix said...

My nominations are:

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent

holly said...

The Other Queen sounds great to me for Feb. I'll volunteer to host in June, unless someone else really wants that month. Also, I'm still deciding on my nominations... I'll post them soon.

Andy said...

Can I do March or maybe April so I'm not too prego??

I have heard that the book THE STORY OF EDGAR SAWTELLE is great. It got best book on amazon for June of last year. I haven't read this one either! =) Here's a synopsis:
Born mute, speaking only in sign, Edgar Sawtelle leads an idyllic life with his parents on their farm in remote northern Wisconsin. For generations, the Sawtelles have raised and trained a fictional breed of dog whose thoughtful companionship is epitomized by Almondine, Edgar's lifelong friend and ally. But with the unexpected return of Claude, Edgar's paternal uncle, turmoil consumes the Sawtelles' once peaceful home. When Edgar's father dies suddenly, Claude insinuates himself into the life of the farm--and into Edgar's mother's affections.

Grief-stricken and bewildered, Edgar tries to prove Claude played a role in his father's death, but his plan backfires--spectacularly. Forced to flee into the vast wilderness lying beyond the farm, Edgar comes of age in the wild, fighting for his survival and that of the three yearling dogs who follow him. But his need to face his father's murderer and his devotion to the Sawtelle dogs turn Edgar ever homeward.

David Wroblewski is a master storyteller, and his breathtaking scenes--the elemental north woods, the sweep of seasons, an iconic American barn, a fateful vision rendered in the falling rain--create a riveting family saga, a brilliant exploration of the limits of language, and a compulsively readable modern classic.

hk said...

I would like to volunteer to host January (if my house sells, who knows when I'll be up and able), I looked through the comments and I think this works. Agreed on Febs book. I just looked at B&N to find mine - not vouching for anything!!


Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (Kamille's reccomend)

Wise Blood by Flannery O'Conner (Kamille's)

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos

Sweet Liar by Jude Deveraux (hee hee - prolly not - just kidding)

Amy said...

I emailed about my dates, so here are my nominations:

Outliers: The Story of Success
Malcolm Gladwell

Now that he's gotten us talking about the viral life of ideas and the power of gut reactions, Malcolm Gladwell poses a more provocative question in Outliers: why do some people succeed, living remarkably productive and impactful lives, while so many more never reach their potential? Challenging our cherished belief of the "self-made man," he makes the democratic assertion that superstars don't arise out of nowhere, propelled by genius and talent: "they are invariably the beneficiaries of hidden advantages and extraordinary opportunities and cultural legacies that allow them to learn and work hard and make sense of the world in ways others cannot." Examining the lives of outliers from Mozart to Bill Gates, he builds a convincing case for how successful people rise on a tide of advantages, "some deserved, some not, some earned, some just plain lucky."

Outliers can be enjoyed for its bits of trivia, like why most pro hockey players were born in January, how many hours of practice it takes to master a skill, why the descendents of Jewish immigrant garment workers became the most powerful lawyers in New York, how a pilots' culture impacts their crash record, how a centuries-old culture of rice farming helps Asian kids master math. But there's more to it than that. Throughout all of these examples--and in more that delve into the social benefits of lighter skin color, and the reasons for school achievement gaps--Gladwell invites conversations about the complex ways privilege manifests in our culture. He leaves us pondering the gifts of our own history, and how the world could benefit if more of our kids were granted the opportunities to fulfill their remarkable potential.

I read this book and LOVED it and think it would be an awesome book to discuss.

The Lazarus Project
Aleksander Hemon

America has a richer literary landscape since Aleksandar Hemon, stranded in the United States in 1992 after war broke out in his native Sarajevo, adopted Chicago as his new home. He completed his first short story within three years of learning to write in English, and since then his work has appeared in The New Yorker, Esquire, and The Paris Review and in two acclaimed books, The Question of Bruno and Nowhere Man. In The Lazarus Project, his most ambitious and imaginative work yet, Hemon brings to life an epic narrative born from a historical event: the 1908 killing of Lazarus Averbuch, a 19-year-old Jewish immigrant who was shot dead by George Shippy, the chief of Chicago police, after being admitted into his home to deliver an important letter. The mystery of what really happened that day remains unsolved (Shippy claimed Averbuch was an anarchist with ill intent) and from this opening set piece Hemon springs a century ahead to tell the story of Vladimir Brik, a Bosnian-American writer living in Chicago who gets funding to travel to Eastern Europe and unearth what really happened. The Lazarus Project deftly weaves the two stories together, cross-cutting the aftermath of Lazarus's death with Brik's journey and the tales from his traveling partner, Rora, a Bosnian war photographer. And while the novel will remind readers of many great books before it--Ragtime, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Everything Is Illuminated--it is a masterful literary adventure that manages to be grand in scope and intimate in detail. It's an incredibly rewarding reading experience that's not to be missed.

Kristin said...

My nominations are:

The History of Love
by Nicole Krauss

"Nicole Krauss's The History of Love is a hauntingly beautiful novel about two characters whose lives are woven together in such complex ways that even after the last page is turned, the reader is left to wonder what really happened. In the hands of a less gifted writer, unraveling this tangled web could easily give way to complete chaos. However, under Krauss's watchful eye, these twists and turns only strengthen the impact of this enchanting book.

The History of Love spans of period of over 60 years and takes readers from Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe to present day Brighton Beach. At the center of each main character's psyche is the issue of loneliness, and the need to fill a void left empty by lost love. Leo Gursky is a retired locksmith who immigrates to New York after escaping SS officers in his native Poland, only to spend the last stage of his life terrified that no one will notice when he dies. ("I try to make a point of being seen. Sometimes when I'm out, I'll buy a juice even though I'm not thirsty.") Fourteen-year-old Alma Singer vacillates between wanting to memorialize her dead father and finding a way to lift her mother's veil of depression. At the same time, she's trying to save her brother Bird, who is convinced he may be the Messiah, from becoming a 10-year-old social pariah. As the connection between Leo and Alma is slowly unmasked, the desperation, along with the potential for salvation, of this unique pair is also revealed.

The poetry of her prose, along with an uncanny ability to embody two completely original characters, is what makes Krauss an expert at her craft. But in the end, it's the absolute belief in the uninteruption of love that makes this novel a pleasure, and a wonder to behold."

I have heard GREAT things about this book and really want to read it.

Jane Eyre
by Charlotte Brontë

"I go back to [Jane Eyre] so often and it was one of the first books that made me think, ‘This is me, in some deep way.’

A novel of intense power and intrigue, Jane Eyre has dazzled generations of readers with its depiction of a woman’s quest for freedom.

Having grown up an orphan in the home of her cruel aunt and at a harsh charity school, Jane Eyre becomes an independent and spirited survivor—qualities that serve her well as governess at Thornfield Hall. But when she finds love with her sardonic employer, Rochester, the discovery of his terrible secret forces her to make a choice. Should she stay with him whatever the consequences or follow her convictions, even if it means leaving her beloved?"

I love classics and I have always wanted to read this one. I have heard it isn't a boring classic but a really fun read. It's been described to me as slightly darker, more dimensional Jane Austin. I recently saw the movie and loved it!