Thursday, April 28, 2011
The Heliconian had Katherine Govier talking about The Ghost Brush, which I'd just finished and absolutely loved! I was all set to go when I realized the Book Babes were meeting that same night.
I needed my BB fix, so went to Liz C's, where we discussed Too Much Happiness and Loving Frank.
I read Loving Frank and blogged about it back in March. I enjoyed the book, and was surprised when the discussion became somewhat heated. Many couldn't get past Frank's self-centred, somewhat sociopathic reputation. Christina kept saying, "But the book isn't about him. It's about her." There was also a faction that strongly felt Mamah had no business leaving her young children to pursue a life as 'the other woman'. Others maintained she was brave, courageous and true to her ideals. It's great to hear such divergent opinions and I'm glad we don't need to politely agree on everything!
Next up was Too Much Happiness, which I'd read cover-to-cover a few years ago. I re-read a few of the stories to refresh my memory. No one argued about Alice Munro's genius for the short story form, although someone observed she forgot the stories about one minute after closing the bookcover. Personally, I've always admired the author's ability to play with nonlinear timelines, reveal characters in a simple gesture, capture those moments in life that have the power to change destiny. If you haven't read the story Dimensions, do, it is brilliant! I also quite liked the title story, a dip into historical fiction. It contains this great line: "She was learning, quite late, what many people around her appeared to have known since childhood - that life can be perfectly satisfying without major achievements." (p. 283)
We also talked about the upcoming AGM - end of May. There will be a full house at Nicki's in Haliburton this year. Each year we bring forward 2 or 3 titles and then vote on which one of those will be the selection. I'm mulling! I think I might go for a broad category, like autobiography, and have everyone read a different title & share their insights. Or maybe suggest the short story collection by David Foster Wallace, Girl with the Curious Hair. That would certainly generate some heated discussion! Then again, there is always more Munro, a classic like Lives of Girls and Women.