Sunday, November 9, 2008


It was great to see everyone at BC last week--it was a lot of fun to have everyone together again! All of us, including O.T., enjoyed the dates stuffed with cheese and drizzled with honey. After which we feasted on rack of lamb, roasted brussel sprouts and truffled mashed potatoes (hello fall) and Coldstone Creamery ice cream cake. Everything was delish!

A great turnout, a great meal, and a book that generally was liked by everyone--this night was going pretty well so far. Recall that Home had been feilded by Red's muse, J. Lee (have we mentioned she's an English professor?). As would be expected, the recommendation was a good one and the book scored about a 7 on average. But also as would be expected, it was not easy reading and despite liking the story, several people just couldn't make it though. The author's prose was beautiful but complicated and difficult to read at times, with the result that you could get stuck on a sentence or paragraph and read and re-read it several times without being able to get past. El Jefe also can't seem to get past the mental roadblock of what we discussed in relation to the book. We said Jack needed to stop beating himself up over his past, he was married to a black woman who came back to try and find him, and we revealed what happened at the end of the book. But El Jefe honestly cannot recap a single other thing we said about the book. Clearly, despite the fact that El Jefe never had that cocktail she wanted, her mind was elsewhere. Hmmm, now why would that have been the case?

So, to circle back to the point about the night going well so far, the next day things got even better. That book club will always stand out as the last day of an old era, the day before Obama's election became a reality. El Jefe has a visual image of us all sitting around the dining room table discussing the election and the propositions. As sure as we were that he was going to win, it still was remarkable and momentous when it actually happened. So, we can add history-making election to the long list of things this Book Club has experienced together. A lot has changed since 2002!

Our 6th anniversary holiday book club is coming up on Wed., Dec. 3. The Highlander is hosting, and since she ducked out early it seems like she didn't need volunteers...? Just kidding, please send us designated tasks. Just don't assign the Doctor or Blondie salad. ;)

The January book is Three Cups of Tea, by Greg Mortenson.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Felicia's Journey

Thanks to Red for hosting a great BC on Wednesday.  Red, now that Blondie and I have moved Westward you are the last east side holdout and it's definitely time to migrate!  Nonetheless, it was worth making the journey to the Dena to get together over a cheese and charcuterie platter, followed by baked penne with roasted vegetables and "Cesaresque" salad, and brownies a la mode.  Delish!  

Not sure that we actually had a quorum to rate the book given that a few people didn't make it and a few people didn't read it.  But for what it's worth, the score came in just below a 5.  The reason for this mediocre rating is unclear, because as the discussion continued, the general consensus was that the author did an excellent job of springing unexpected plot twists upon the reader, and subtley unravelling the story of poor Mr. Hilditch in a novel and clever way.  The subtlety was especially apparent in that we didn't even all agree (at first) about whether or not the girls in Mr. Hilditch's "Memory Lane" had been killed or had merely run away like Felicia.  We went back to various passages in the book several times and explored the idea that Mr. Hilditch killed his victims because of latent guilt about his "very close" relationship with his mother and his paranoia that the girls had discoverd his secret.  While the erstwhile catering manager was a complex character that generated good discussion, Felicia herself was less well received.  People found her to be too simple and annoyingly gullible, and also thought it was implausible that she would be contented to wind up homeless, as she did at the end of the story.  In short, this book had a lot for us to talk about, and the low rating belied the fact that the group found many interesting nuances to the story.  And of course, political March madness continues--Hill and Obama both got plenty of airtime over dinner, and I'm sure we'll have lots more to say about them as the saga unfolds!

El Jefe is hosting the next book club on April 2 (regular date) and then Blondie is hosting on April 30 (one week earlier than regular date).  La Mademoiselle is bringing apps and Blondie dessert.  The next 2 books are...

Heat by Bill Buford

Bill Buford's funny and engaging book Heat offers readers a rare glimpse behind the scenes in Mario Batali's kitchen. Who better to review the book for, than Anthony Bourdain, the man who first introduced readers to the wide array of lusty and colorful characters in the restaurant business? We asked Anthony Bourdain to read Heat and give us his take. We loved it. So did he. 

Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Luis Zafon

Ruiz Zafón's novel, a bestseller in his native Spain, takes the satanic touches from Angel Heart and stirs them into a bookish intrigue à la Foucault's Pendulum. The time is the 1950s; the place, Barcelona. Daniel Sempere, the son of a widowed bookstore owner, is 10 when he discovers a novel, The Shadow of the Wind, by Julián Carax. The novel is rare, the author obscure, and rumors tell of a horribly disfigured man who has been burning every copy he can find of Carax's novels. The man calls himself Laín Coubert-the name of the devil in one of Carax's novels. As he grows up, Daniel's fascination with the mysterious Carax links him to a blind femme fatale with a "porcelain gaze," Clara Barceló; another fan, a leftist jack-of-all-trades, Fermín Romero de Torres; his best friend's sister, the delectable Beatriz Aguilar; and, as he begins investigating the life and death of Carax, a cast of characters with secrets to hide. 

See you in April!