Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Laura's Book Club #1

My best friends and I have a monthly book club. For our first official meeting we all read an old, but somewhat classic book called The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera. Or, at least we were supposed to. As it turned out, my one friend (Angela) was the only person to actually finish the book! We just weren't that into it! Despite this, we managed to hold a successful book-chat, however we decide that we should change the format of Book Club.

Book Club, now in its current state, involves each of us bringing two or more book recommendations to our group and then reading whichever of these we'd like for the next month's meeting. This way we don't get bogged down reading something we're not that into and, no matter what, we know there's at least one other person in the group to book-chat with.

Our next meeting is this Sunday but I thought, perhaps, I'd share my recommendations from last month here, in case any of you were looking for something to read. However, beware, because not all of my friends are into YA and children's literature (Some have actually grown up and moved on to adult books!) these books will run age-level gamut, as well as the genre gamut. Check your library, if you're unsure about whether or not you should read any of these recommendations.

And without further adieu, here's my recommendations for last month:

The Lost Girls: Three Friends, Four Continents, One Unconventional Detour Around the World by Jennifer Baggett, Holly C. Corbett, and Amanda Pressner

This book opens up with Jennifer, Holly and Amanda, three close friends in their late-20’s, who are on vacation in at Iguassu Falls in Brazil, discussing all the dreaded work that they have to face once they return to NYC. Jokingly, they discuss what it would be like to take off of work for a whole year and just travel around the world.

Then…they do it!

Not long after their vacation in Brazil, the three of them meet up to discuss turning their year-long dream trip into a reality. They save up for a year, sketching out an itinerary of all the places they want to visit, including how much time and money they’ll spend at each location and how much this trip will cost them regarding their careers and personal relationships as well. Not really knowing what’s in store they find themselves heading to their first stop- Peru.

In chapters that rotate between the three of their perspectives, Jennifer, Amanada, and Holly cover foreign bugs, bathrooms, people, language barriers, miscommunications, exercise, food, scenery, boys/dating, self-discovery, and pretty much EVERYTHING I like to read about. From the people they meet, to the new things they try, to the arguments and laughs that they have with each other, I think it’s the self-reflection that really makes this book so relatable for women in their 20’s and 30’s (like us!). This is the kind of book that sticks with you for a long time after you put it down. A warning, however– this book will cause extreme travelust.

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

It's the late 1970's, and Miranda (who’s 12-years-old and living in New York [I’m sorry, I’m a children’s librarian but I swear this book is AMAZING]) loves A Wrinkle in Time. Except for the fact that her mom is preparing to be a guest on $20,000 Pyramid, life’s pretty normal for Miranda. But then there are a few weirdish events. For instance, first, her best friend Sal, for what seems like no reason at all, is punched in the face and then decides he doesn’t want to be her friend anymore. Then, she starts getting a series of mysterious notes. As they arrive, Miranda realizes that the sender seems to know things before they happen. They are found in weird places and they are all strange, cryptic, and seeming to allude to future. For example, one note says "I am coming to save your friend's live, and my own."

The book is a quick read but also a page turner. It reads like realistic/historical fiction, but then teases you with a bit mystery too! It’s like a puzzle, the kind of book where every single word is a clue until you get to the end.

Additionally, here are a few of the books recommended by my friends at Book Club last month:

A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
The Keep by Jennifer Egan
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
Milkrun by Sarah Mlynowski
A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore
Birds of a Lesser Paradise by Megan Mayhew Bergman
Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer

If you're interested in reading or recommending any books from/for my book club (and you're an adult!), leave me a comment. We can book-chat online!

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