I got involved somewhere along the line this year in two more book clubs. One is more a social group and has all but decided to do away with the book part of the book club. I did read and discuss The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (and my regular group was reading that as well) and then we moved onto The Hunger Games, but the group decided not to meet to discuss that one.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks was fascinating. I think it changed me in some way, but I'm not entirely sure how--it probably has something to do with the subtle ways that poverty and racism have affected our lives in the U.S. We usually talk about overt situations and consequences of these problems, but this story showed a completely different manifestation. It was powerful for sure.
The Hunger Games was a much lighter read--and because it's a young adult novel, a bit emotionally tedious at times--but overall thought provoking enough that I plan to read the rest of the trilogy.
Meanwhile, back at the regular group we read Let the Great World Spin. I thought I'd hate this book, so I know I would never have read it without the book club. But this turned out to be one I'm now placing on my favorites list. A book about a high wire that is and isn't about 9/11. It explores the idea, from different angles, that one event can alter many different lives in many different ways. It demonstrates how everything we experience is part of some giant ripple effect. I enjoyed the way the author weaved the stories together. It seemed fitting for such a topic.
The next book was a book I chose because I've been told to read it for a few years by a couple I know. Case Histories is a noir from a female writer. I enjoyed the writing and a woman's take on this familiar genre. The book still haunts me and turned that familiar genre a bit on its end. I will long remember this one for its dark imagery, devastated characters, and the microscopic examination of how we just keep on no matter our experiences because what else can we do?
Then we moved on to Superfreakenomics. An OK book. I never read the original but this one was interesting enough. I liked the different approaches to looking at global warming and prostitution. It was worth reading the book for the history lesson about hospital hand washing if for no other reason.
The regular book club decided to read a lot of non-fiction in the last part of the year. I'm ok with non-fiction here and there, but four books in a row was a bit too much to muster. Being so busy, I decided to skip Gardner Heist and Lit. I'm hoping we'll be back on track with fiction by January.
The third book club is one is a spin-off of the regular one (in a way) for me. I was introduced to it by someone from my regular club. They only meet every six weeks, so the pace is a bit more relaxed. The two books I read with the group were both thoughtful, more literary pieces than what we usually read in my regular group. I liked The Gate at the Stairs and The Housekeeper and the Professor, but not enough to really spend time discussing them. The former was about coming-of-age and the second was about the meaning of love. Good reads.