Milestone 1: On Wednesday I led my first book club discussion. I’d never even been to a book club meeting until December and was completely thrown when asked to choose the February book. Of all the scores of books I want to read, it should have been a cinch to name something. But all that came into my head was Possession by A.S. Byatt from my Booker prize list; which wasn’t even on my radar screen for this year. Afterwards I kept thinking I’d made a terrible mistake when one member said they’d tried it and hated it so wouldn’t read again and a few others wrinkled their noses when I described it. So I approached Wednesday with a considerable degree of nervousness, imagining that most people wouldn’t even turn up or if they did, would say they couldn’t finish the book and they hated it.
How wrong I was. Three people said instantly that they loved it (not just liked, but loved). When the scores were tallied at the end, the average put it at the second highest score for any book they’ve read in the last 3 years. Crumbs!
What was fascinating was how people enjoyed the book for different reasons – some were keen on the dual love story aspect, some enjoyed the mystery angle. Some enjoyed the poetry. All agreed that it was a highly technically accomplished book and wondered why we hadn’t read more by Byatt.
Milestone 2: Thursday saw the first anniversary of this blog. A time to reflect on how my original ideas have changed over the last 12 months and will likely change again. Here’s my post on the topic.
Milestone 3: Joined my first virtual group read. The people behind the Unputdownables blog have selected Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky for the Feb/April read. I’ve not done one of these because the reading schedule is usually faster than I can manage. But since this novel is on my Classics Club list and I’m a tad daunted by it and their reading schedule seems very manageable I thought I’d give it a go.
So three reasons to celebrate. All of which have been great antidotes to the doom and gloom of the books I’m currently reading. Crime and Punishment is a surprisingly approachable book so far but it’s topic doesn’t exactly lend much cheer. Little Dorrit is a super yarn but the shades of the prison house that surround the central character of Amy Dorrit are so deep that I’m downhearted on her behalf every time I pick up the book. I know there will be a happy ending since Dickens does so like those but there is a lot to get through before that. And the last book I read The Armies by the Colombian author Evelio Rosero (a book I read as part of my world literature challenge) was rather bleak too. (my review is here)
I must make sure the next book I pick has more light than shade……