>Last Sunday was book group, and we had a great meeting! The book we discussed was Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen. Everyone seemed to enjoy it greatly, although there was some disagreement about whether the ending was a little too contrived. (I can live with it because I think there might be another twist or turn in the road for Jacob. I’m definitely rooting for him, but I also know how these things go.)
BOOKLEAVES just gets better and better. If you’ll forgive the NewAge-y talk, it’s a group with a lot of positive energy. New people are starting to show up every time — like Amy from Connecticut, who’s really gutsy. She reads on the subway! I have a fear of it because I’m afraid I’ll get so engrossed I’ll miss my stop. Also, Amy says that even when she is cram-jammed into the subway like one of many sardines, (a typical daily experience in Seoul — people pour in and out of those trains like blood from an unstanched wound) she’ll still grab the oppoutunity to read. The girl is definitely all right!
Not only do new people join, but people come back again after months of absence, like Kasia and Bernadette. Kasia was most kind. I asked her to recommend some Australian literature, and she suggested He Died With A Felafel In His Hand. Unfortunately, I didn’t write it down. Fortunately, my brain cells tenaciously hung onto the word felafel, and when I wrote and asked Lazy Cow to help me refresh my memory, she was also kind and got me sorted out.
Aaron and Catherine seem to be intrigued by The Canadian Book Challenge, Eh? They’re trying to help me come up with authors. When we were on the subway headed for Gangnam, they were rapping out provinces and territories and authors for every one of them with great authority and velocity. Since we were on the move, I didn’t have my little notebook at the ready. Out of all those literary riches emitting from their Canadian lips, I only came home with one title: Wild Geese by Martha Ostenso. Didn’t catch the province or territory. Shit.
There’s a kind of mysterious guy that’s relatively new to BOOKLEAVES. Kenneth. He’s very nice, very pleasant, and I know he likes to read, but it’s difficult to pry information out of him. On the rare occasions that he speaks at a meeting (after Aaron and I prod him) he’s got insightful comments. Then he gets quiet again. Also, he seems hesitant to offer opinions on what we should read in the upcoming months. Since I’m slightly shy myself, I understand, but damn! These are books! I’m completely convinced that Kenneth knows about hundreds of really great books that I’d love to read if I only knew about them. The dude’s holding out on me! Do I have to get all teacher-ish on his ass and make him hand in a reading diary each month? Mr. Bybee, my own pathologically shy sweetheart, warned me not to focus too much attention on Kenneth or force him to talk, because it could backfire and embarrassment could quickly turn to anger. I definitely don’t want to cause any unpleasant feelings. I just want Kenneth to slip me some book titles from time to time the way CanadaBoy slips Ollie (his corgi) a bite of whatever he’s eating.
Veronica looked so tired. Her workplace (she teaches English at a learning academy) drives her relentlessly. (This is the land where students, driven by parents and teachers and society at large, are still in the thick of the day’s studying well past midnight.) In spite of her hellish schedule, Veronica always manages to keep us all coordinated on meeting times and what we’re reading next. She always brings her laptop to meetings, so she can immediately enter the information at Facebook. Big respect, Veronica! I could never never never never never be so pulled together; that level of organization is beyond my ken.
The meeting Sunday was especially fun because we had to figure out which books to read in the upcoming months. We did a little shuffling because not everyone has been able to easily locate a copy of You Suck: A Love Story by Christopher Moore.
If you find yourself in these parts in the next few weeks, here’s what’s on tap:
January 20 – The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
February 3 – You Suck: A Love Story – Christopher Moore
February 17 – Into Thin Air – Jon Krakauer
March 9 – Suite Francaise – Irene Nemirovsky
At 7:40 pm on January 18th, my winter vacation officially begins and it doesn’t stop until March 3rd, when classes resume. That’s a lot of reading time. I’m designating several days in advance as pajama days. Sigh. Long hours of silence, broken only by the crackle of pages turning…
Wake up, Bybee. You’ve still got one more week of serving up grammar and other useful language skills.