Book Club: We need suggestions for our May book

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by kholmes, Apr 22, 2008.

  1. kholmes

    kholmes New Member

    Also, hope you're finishing up our April book, William Inge's play, PICNIC. I'll post a discussion thread on it in a few days. This won a Pulitzer, but feel free to suggest ANYTHING for May, mystery, comedy, tragedy, romance, nonfiction, etc...
    I'll post a voting thread this weekend.

    You're going to laugh, but I'm also reading War and Peace. I always wanted to have read it, I guess. Found a paperback copy and started it six weeks ago. There's no way I could ever lift the hardbound copy. The paperback is 1500 pages. I've got about 200 pages to go. It's actually a lot more readable than I expected.

    But please don't suggest it for our May book. :)

    Old Woody Allen joke: I took Evelyn Wood's speed-reading course and read War and Peace. It was about Russia.


    New members always welcome.
    [This Message was Edited on 04/22/2008]
  2. Rosiebud

    Rosiebud New Member

    great joke, I'm laughing out loud. Tried reading that many years ago but didnt make it.

    I haven't started on The Picnic yet, forgetting how far into April we now are so will start tomorrow.

    My suggestion is - The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, an Australian.

    'The novel is narrated by 'Death', it's a small story about:

    a girl

    an accordianist

    some fanatical Germans

    a Jewish fist fighter

    and quite a lot of thievery

    Death will visit the book thief three times '

    I think it will be happy, witty and sad. I've never looked on Death as an entity.

  3. rockgor

    rockgor Well-Known Member

    Well, now I have another reason to admire you. Anyone who can read War and Peace has stamina.

    I tried to read it when I was 12. Didn't get very far. Tried again when I was an adult. Didn't get any farther. Just couldn't cope w/ a book where there were lots of characters and they all had 2 or 3 names.

    I think I understood the movie tho. Which brings me to my suggestion: The Best of MGM, The Golden Years: 1928-1959.

    It's a wonderful book for our crowd. About 170 movies are discussed, and each gets two pages. No need to wear ourselves out w/ a lot of reading.

    Each movie has a picture or more; Gone /w the Wind has seven.

    And there is a synopsis of the plot; list of cast, director, etc; often a quote from the advertising; comments on the popularity and commercial success of the movie.

    (Wizard of Oz was not a commercial success originally.) And then there is background (gossip) like, X was wanted for the part, but wouldn't do it, etc.

    Authors are James Robert Parish and Gregory Mank. ("Mank" is not a typo.) I read something by Parish last year. Can't remember what. They've both turned out a lot of books. Apparently show biz is a well that never runs dry.

    "Evelyn Wood", by the way, is an anagram for "Downey Love".

  4. kholmes

    kholmes New Member

    and I only just posted this. I'm impressed.

    And I'm putting all three of these on hold, regardless of what we choose for May. Great description, Rosie, and Georgia, that's a Jack London that I've never heard of.

    Rock, I'll have to get The Best of MGM book through interlibrary loan. The Albuquerque library doesn't have it. Amazing how many stars MGM during the thirties and forties, and how you could often tell an MGM film from a picture from another studio. MGM's American in Paris has probably never been equalled for the movie musical. I've been watching old films on Turner Classic Movies. It's the only station that runs moves commercial free. And what gems. Yesterday, I watched one of my favorite comedies, The Court Jester (1955). Pretty sure this was from Paramount, though it had the liveliness, color, and spectacle of an MGM production.

    [This Message was Edited on 04/22/2008]
  5. pasara

    pasara New Member

    How about the memory keepers daughter, by kim edwards?
  6. kholmes

    kholmes New Member

    Thanks for the good suggestion. The Hallmark channel just ran a new film adaptation of it a few days ago, but I didn't get the chance to see it.

    I'll toss it in the vote!

  7. Toga

    Toga Member

    by Joshilyn Jackson. I just read it and thought of you all. I thought, "this would be a good one for a book club."

    Its about a gal who grew up in a little town between Atlanta and Athens, GA. She has a really complicated childhood including a mother born deaf who eventually went blind.

  8. rockgor

    rockgor Well-Known Member

    You know you have problems w/ any title containing the words "daughter" or "apprentice."

    You ever read Miss Read? I've been reading her books for half a century. Just discovered there are one or two new ones I haven't read yet. Read one last night. It's easy to read a book in one night if you don't sleep...and I seldom do.

    I ordered another book from the world of show biz. It's about character actors. My favorite was Charles Lane. If you look him up on the net you will immediately recognize him. He was also in some Lucy episodes. I think he was the clerk at the passport office.

    Have to go finish the dishes. Maid didn't show up today. Now that I think about it, no maid has every shown up here.


  9. rockgor

    rockgor Well-Known Member

    Interesting name. Beryl, of course, is a mineral used as a gemstone. Emeralds and aquamarines are both made of beryl. (I have several such rings. Made of the finest lab-created stones. I never worry about having them stolen.)

    Beryl (Reid)is also the name of the English actor in The Killing of Sister George.

    Anyhoo I never heard of Beryl Markham so I looked her up. Fascinating life. One of her biographers said she didn't write the book in question. Her third husband, a journalist named Schumacher, was the real author.

    Another biographer says she did write the book. Antoine de Saint Exupery may also have been involved. You remember him; wrote "The Little Prince." Like Markham he was a pilot. Also said to be "one of her lovers".

    When she wasn't setting flying records or writing or otherwise occupied, Beryl was training horses in Africa. Fascinating lady.

    Her book was a best seller in the 40s and again decades later. Will see if I can get a copy from the library.

    Thanks for the tip, Jean.

  10. kholmes

    kholmes New Member

    Jean: Terrific suggestion. Whether written by a ghostwriter or Beryl Markham herself (which I believe was actually the case), West with the Night has to have some of the finest prose I've ever read. I had heard about it through Outside Magazine's top 100 Outdoor/Adventure books, and got it through interlibrary loan. I read it last summer, but I'd happily read it again. Each chapter just kept getting better and better. What a gem this little-heard-of book is.

    Rock: You're right about my having trouble with the words, "daughter" and "apprentice" in the titles. LOL. I liked your joke about the maid that never shows up. Reminds me of the old joke, If I had some ham, I'd have some ham and eggs, if I had some eggs. Probably came from the depression era.

    Hadn't heard of Charles Lane, but checked him out on IMDB. I recognized his ornery face instantly. He played a nosey newsman in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, an IRS agent in You Can't Take it With You, and the rent collector in It's a Wonderful Life. He acted in 342 movies and TV shows, the last being in 2006. He died last summer of natural causes, age 98.

    Have you ever seen any of the 1930s Andy Hardy films with Mickey Rooney? The actor who played Judge Hardy was Lewis Stone, who was born in 1879. Hard to believe you can turn on the TV and see someone who lived for over 20 years of his life in the 19th century. There is something very 19th century about his manner, too. My goal is to find an actor in a sound film (post 1927) who was born before the Civil War. There's got to be one.

    Will look into reading your Miss Read. Any suggestions on where to begin? Looks like she started writing in the sixties?


    [This Message was Edited on 04/24/2008]
  11. rockgor

    rockgor Well-Known Member

    Uff-da! Just got back from the bonecracker, the market and the music store. Bought a recording of an obscure opera by Donizetti. "Fausta". Nothing to do w/ the legend of Faust.

    Driving in Los Angeles traffic takes about ten years off one's life. Unless, of course, it kills you sooner. And breathing the smog takes off another 5 years. And the general stress and...never mind.

    The first time I read about ham and eggs was in something written by Carl Sandberg. (I think. I'm losing a lot of stuff that I've known for decades. Yesterday I ladled soup onto a plate!)

    Yes, I've seen 3 or 4 Andy Hardy movies. I didn't think they were very good, but as Gordon points out, we don't see old movies in their time period. I can't believe Mickey Rooney was once box office champ. He can't act worth a hoot. He just mugs like that ...Gary Coleman?...kid on the Silver Spoons show? Different Strokes?

    My brain is like the wicked witch; melting before your eyes.

    Miss Read's first book was Village School, 1955. The same characters appear in several books, but the books can be read in any order.

    Her books seem to me to take place in the time of my youth. After WWII, but never going much beyond. Nothing too important ever happens. People sometimes die, but they do it off stage. Her books are very restful, and there's a bit of sly humor excuse me, humour here and there.

    Sarah Bernhardt was born before the Civil War and made some movies. I saw a picture of her as Joan of Arc or somebody. She was wearing a long dress, but according to the caption there was a wooden leg underneath. Can't remember. Was she the one who was said to sleep in her coffin? Sounds pretty uncomfortable to me.

    Time to go nap.



  12. Cromwell

    Cromwell New Member what do you see on a clear day in Los Angeles?


    Sorry got that from the Readers Digest!!! (doctor office)

    Well I know of Beryl Markham and what a popular name that was around the 1940's too.

    BTW I always suspected Anne Tylers husband co wrote her better novels as since he is not in the picture the work has slumped. Her ex was a shrink and many of the books had semi nutty people in them (cases?)

    Well I am going to divert off the worn path here and suggest a really very laugh aloud funny book I recently read by Jeanne Ray(e). She is an RN and writer.

    It is called "Eat Cake"

    It has some very funny characters and moments in and is about an oddball family in the USA. Some of her descriptions had me really laughing very hard.

    I would suggest this book to anyone who needs cheering up and it would appeal to both sexes for sure.

    Love Annie
  13. rockgor

    rockgor Well-Known Member

    The opera wasn't Fausta, after all. It was Gemma Di Vergy; same composer. Oh well...

    Ok, Annie, I put Eat Cake on hold.

    I got a book from the library w/ Inge's 4 big plays from the 50s, so I reread them all.

    Come Back, Little Sheba

    Bus Stop


    The Dark at the Top of the Stairs

    Can you imagine it?! All four sold to the movie folks. Inge must have been basking in applause and rolling in money.

    Aren't books a great invention? I'd hate to try and read a scroll in the bathtub.


  14. Cromwell

    Cromwell New Member

    I love the Dark at the Top of the Stairs. Annie
  15. kholmes

    kholmes New Member

    Anne: I put EAT CAKE on hold, too. But the Albuquerque library only had it in large print. I've never actually read a book in large print before.

    Rock, you not only finished a Book Club book, but read the other three as well? That is a first! :) I'm proud of you. Are you up for being guest discussion leader in a few days, just for fun? I'm sure people get tired of me always asking the questions.
  16. fight4acure

    fight4acure Member

    Audacity of Hope... :)

    I'm starting it now, and it's great so far!

  17. bct

    bct Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the tip on the MGM book; I told R. about it and he wanted it, and lo and be hole, the library had it and it was accordingly requested for him! He isn't half pleased. He's a movie maven, so we watch a lot of TCM. Last night: Some came Running.

    Have you read any of Michael Innes books? He wrote so many, all are mellow mysteries (British). Also wrote under the name J.I.M. Stewart (I think).

    Oh yeah, I've been listening to a little opera. Unfortunately my tastes seem to run only to Puccini: Tosca, Turandot, etc. Cannot hack Wagner, etc. Must be my Roman blood.

    Sorry I'm not in the book club; my mind wanders, and small town library, restricted hours, slashed budgets, and general malaise and neurasthenia keep me on my own. I sure enjoy READING this thread though. Just wish I could participate more...

    Regards/Good Reading to All,
    [This Message was Edited on 04/25/2008]
  18. kholmes

    kholmes New Member

    Fight: Thanks for the suggestion. I'll put it in the vote as well.

    Barry: Feel free to jump in any time, even if you haven't read the book!

  19. mollystwin

    mollystwin New Member

    Hi. Just checking in to see the suggestions. I don't have any, but will vote when it is time.

    I finished The Picnic on Wednesday. Cute story!!

  20. rockgor

    rockgor Well-Known Member

    Ken. Sure thing. (I responded on your other post.)

    Hi, Barry. Come and chat anytime. You can talk about the book we are reading or some other book or something else all together. Always happy to see you.

    Some Came Running is discussed in the MGM book Richard ordered.

    Actually there are some shared themes in Some Came and Picnic.
    Small town life, Midwest, alcoholism, disillusionment and desperation, dating-sex.

    Or take Picnic and Turandot. Handsome stranger comes to town and stirs things up.

    And here's something I found amazing: Paul Newman was in the original Broadway cast and did NOT play the handsome stranger. How bizarre is that?!

    You get some sleep too.