Tag Archives: Book Club

How The Story Ends

Leaflets

At dusk they pour from the sky. They blow across the ramparts, turn cartwheels over rooftops, flutter into the ravines between houses. Entire streets swirl with them, flashing white against the cobbles.

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Despite the many awards and accolades, I don’t know that I would have read this book if it hadn’t been on the Book Club list. Blind girl and young German soldier meet in WWII, nothing automatically compelling in this boiled down description. (But isn’t it completely unfair to reduce any story down to so little?) What I’m trying to say is that I am grateful to Book Club for encouraging me to read this because I enjoyed it immensely.

The story that is told and the structure of how it is told are both mesmerizing.

I have a sense that Mr. Doerr’s characters came to life for him and told him how their story ended. As I read the final page there were parts I wanted to change, just a few minor revisions so this character or that character had a different outcome. But life doesn’t work that way, bad/sad things happen to decent people who don’t deserve those endings. I think it is a testament to writing skill that it feels as though the author didn’t give himself permission to rewrite his characters’ story so that all the good guys had happy endings, he wrote it the way it happened. Or the way it would have happened if these people had existed outside of his imagination.

This is the book we will be discussing Sunday and I’m so looking forward to it!

 

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Filed under Book Club Reading List, Writing

March Book: Mink River by Brian Doyle

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As host for the March Brooklyn Book Club meeting I had to make a choice that morning – finish reading the book or clean house. Unable to commit, when people arrived I was still 50 pages from the end – and I had to steer people away from the kitchen.

Refreshments: The wine, Crow Canyon, was rather good for an inexpensive bottle chosen strictly for the label. I also made a smoked salmon spread. Berries would have been a great choice, but they aren’t in season.

The agreement in our Book Club is that you don’t have to have finished (or even started) reading the book to attend – but no one has to warn “spoiler alert” or avoid talking about the end of the book. So I knew – mostly – what was going to happen in those last 50 pages. (No spoiler alert necessary, I’m not saying!)

It is testament to the importance of the story TELLING, the words, that knowing the major plot points in no way took away from finishing the book. To the contrary, it was as though having let go of the storyline I was free to simply enjoy the words.

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Filed under Book Club Meetings, Food and Drink With a Literary Theme