>Goodbye final exams, and hello long weekend! I went to Seoul on Sunday for book group, where we discussed A Thousand Splendid Suns, which everyone seemed to enjoy. Dazzled by how beautifully the author wove 40+ years of Afghanistan’s history into the saga of two families, I’m recommending this book without reservation. I’m eager to read The Kite Runner as well.
Veronica was sick and couldn’t make the meeting, but even though she was feeling cruddy, she must have had some sense of satisfaction that as BOOKLEAVES’ founder, she’s created something beautiful and viable and enduring that doesn’t require her actual presence. (Although we missed her like hell!)
Speaking of creative and bookloving, this was Aaron’s last meeting because he’s headed back to Canada. Bummed about leaving book group but undaunted, he immediately started up a book discussion group on Facebook called Bookin’ Around. Aaron’s a big Douglas Coupland fan, so the first book he selected is All Families Are Psychotic. I joined his group of course, so I must find this novel and add to my dangerously tall TBR stack. Damn thing’s gonna avalanche one of these nights, and I’ll be a goner. Oh well. There are worse ways to go. Meanwhile: O Canada!
[I have to stop and ask myself: Why didn’t I just start up a book group of my own in Gumi? Wouldn’t that have been brave of me? Instead, I bleated piteously in the wilderness for nearly 2.5 frickin’ years! Of course, all that bleating and waiting has resulted in a happy ending, but still…]
After book group in Gangnam, I headed back to Itaewon where Mr. Bybee was patiently waiting. After dinner at a Mexican restaurant (wonderful, but small portions) we headed up “Hooker Hill” towards What The Book?
Guess who I ran into? Aaron! (Before you exclaim, “What a small world!”, I should explain that Aaron and I rode the subway together from Gangnam to Itaewon.) During the subway ride, we’d talked Canadian books and authors, and I mentioned that I wanted to read A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews, an author from Manitoba. Aaron had spotted this novel a few moments before I arrived at What The Book? and when he saw me, he plucked it from the shelves triumphantly. So that was my purchase for the evening…except a Men’s Health magazine for CanadaBoy. (Are you picking up on a pattern in this post? O Canada! …My Canada???)
The big surprise of the night came from Mr. Bybee. Get this: HE BOUGHT A NOVEL! This is decidedly untypical behavior. I never thought I’d live to see the day. He could’ve knocked me over with a feather…okay, enough cliches and suspense. He bought The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford by Ron Hansen. I’m sure that the selling point was the faux aged and grainy photo of Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck on the cover. I read this novel last year, and it’s about as close to nonfiction as you’re gonna get, but the fact remains: Mr. Bybee has crossed over! He is no longer 100% Mr. Nonfiction!
Before leaving What The Book? I ordered You Suck: A Love Story by Christopher Moore, which is the book for our January 20th meeting. I’ve never read any Moore, but Catherine and Aaron are enthusiastic about his writing. That’s good enough for me. The book for the January 6 meeting is Water For Elephants, which I can’t seem to stop referring to incorrectly as Like Water For Elephants. Whatever its title, I can’t help feeling that I’m going to love this book. I’d better get busy, though. With preparing final grades and doing camps during December, tempus will be fugiting big time!