Book Club: What did you think of THE MONK DOWNSTAIRS?

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by kholmes, Jan 28, 2007.

  1. kholmes

    kholmes New Member

    Just finished reading the novel. I enjoyed it a lot more, I have to say than Nicholas Sparks's TRUE BELIEVER, which we read a while back. I thought it was beautifully written and the characters struck me as very believable. There was also a depth to the characters, especially Rebecca and Mike.

    I especially liked the letters of the ex-monk, Mike, to his superior at the monastery.

    Could you relate to Rebecca or Mike (or Bob, Mary Martha, or Rory? What if Mike hadn't been a monk? Did the book accurately capture what it's like for a single mom who tentatively finds romance again? In general, do the risks of love outweight the potential losses? Have you ever dated a monk? (Just kidding; thinking of thought-provoking questions isn't always easy).

    Rockgor and other people knowledgable about music: A reviewer on Amazon complained that Harrington at one point has a bride walking toward the groom to music by Mendelssohn. In reality, said the reviewer, brides march in to Wagner and OUT to Mendelssohn. Is this true? Any idea when secular music (ie Mendelssohn's Midsummer Night's Dream) became tradition in church weddings?
    [This Message was Edited on 01/28/2007]
  2. Marta608

    Marta608 Member

    Ken, as you know I liked the Monk Downstairs because it isn't a difficult read but it's ...... gentle. Is that too odd a word to give a book of fiction? Some might like Lizzie's War better.

    Before it gets too dusty waiting for me to write this post, I wanted to tell you, Ken, and anyone who's taught or hasn't, that you might like Academy X, a first novel by Andrew Trees. It seemed to take a little while to get started but then it was mildly fun in a slightly neurotic way. Trees is a teacher at a private school in NYC.

    So, sorry, this is totally off-topic for this thread but here it is anyway. I'm practicing imperfection with very good success.

  3. kholmes

    kholmes New Member

    I agree with you. The book was gentle, but without being boring. Farrington held my interest in the characters throughout. Rebecca, Mike, and the rest are people I'd like to know, even Rory, the slacker ex-husband.

    I especially liked the wedding scene at the beach and the scene with Rebecca's mother in the hospital, with Mike giving her last rites. I thought both scenes were vivid and well-written.

    In fact, I'd probably read another novel by Tim Farrington.

    I just put Academy X on hold at the library; it sounds interesting.

  4. rockgor

    rockgor Well-Known Member

    another one I started, didn't like, and moved on to something else.

    Yes, it's in to "Here's comes the bride, Big, fat and wide" from Lohengrin.

    Out to Felix Mendolsonn.

    I don't know when this started. Not before the l9th century. We know that much. See if I can find something pertinent on the net.

    I once played the organ at a wedding. I don't think I played either one of those pieces. The wedding was arranged w/ about ten minutes notice. I guess it was along the lines of a formal elopement.

  5. Cromwell

    Cromwell New Member

    I have not collected it from the library yet as it was still out. Love Annie
  6. Rafiki

    Rafiki New Member

    Hi All,
    I was wandering around trying to figure out where to put my first post when I found this thread with the tale of the persnickety reviewer (obviously someone who has recently survived their own wedding with planner!) and then, the... ARGH! What did that clever Rock guy call the elopement he played at?! Very, very funny!

    By the by, for those who do not speak swahili :) and do not have children mad for all things Lion King, Rafiki means friend.
    Peace out,
    PS "formal elopement"! [This Message was Edited on 02/14/2007]
  7. Marta608

    Marta608 Member

    It surprises me but we often don't like the same books. I do wonder, though, if you'd like Academy X...... I don't think so.

    Ken, the one of Farrington's you want is Lizzie's War. It's more manly somehow than Monk and yet Lizzie is well-represented. I think that my enjoyment of Farrington's books comes as much with his ability to speak with all voices as from his subjects.

  8. Cromwell

    Cromwell New Member

    Trying at the library tomorrow again as it still was not in. I enjoyed Lizzies War and hope I will like the MOnk book.

    Love Annie C
  9. llama

    llama New Member

    I liked the descriptive word Marta608 used..gentle.

    The book dealt with the complexities of life and its often hard/painful choices we are all faced with in a calm and reassuring manner.

    I especially enjoyed the communciation between Mike and his Monk friend. It really gave the reader an insight into the inner turmoil that Mike had been suffering from for quite awhile in his ministry.

    He ultimately was a very brave, yet humble character as he not only left the religious life but then was able to establish a romantic relationship. Two quite daunting achievements.

    I plan to read Lizzie's War...heard he's got a new book coming out in March or April (don't know the title...saw it offered as a future feature on Amazon).

    Take Care.........Jill..........