Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Book Clubzilla?

You guys catch the story in the New York Times about book clubs? I'm a little appalled by, well, everything in it. Some choice passages ...

From a woman who was too good for Oprah books and "pop-lit":
“It was bad enough that they wanted to read ‘Da Vinci Code’ in the first place,” Ms. Bowie said, “but then they wanted to talk about it.”
Okay, I admit it: I liked "The Da Vinci Code." I got it before it became a sensation after hearing the author on "The Diane Rehm Show." But I'd like to think I wouldn't force the club to read it ...

The thesis of the article:
Yes, it’s a nice, high-minded idea to join a book group, a way to make friends and read books that might otherwise sit untouched. But what happens when you wind up hating all the literary selections — or the other members?
Oh, jeez. That's when you leave the club! If it hasn't been clear before, I'll state it again: Lazy Book Club is meant to be pressure-free. That includes a no-worries opt-out clause: If you don't want to get the invites anymore, just say the word, no offense taken.

Then there is the article's description of Esther Bushell, "a professional book-group facilitator who leads a dozen suburban New York groups and charges $250 to $300 a member annually for her services. ... Like other facilitators, she is hired for the express purpose of bringing long-winded types in line." Holy crap!

On a book group called the IlluminaTea:
“When it was your month to host a meeting, you would do your interpretation of a tea, and the teas got very competitive,” Ms. Farewell said. Homemade scones and Devonshire cream were par for the course, and Ms. Farewell recalls spending the day before her hostess stint making watercress and smoked salmon sandwiches.
Actually, I was thinking of making the next meeting a competition for best smoke salmon sandwich.

If our group ever becomes anything like the ones in this story, y'all have my permission to do an intervention.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Hot Chocolatella!

So our December meeting was book-free but by no means fun-free. Vibha, Jenny, Kendra and I dropped off donations at Books for America and then headed to Crepes-a-Go-Go down the street. Despite all the seemingly draconian restrictions on the Books for America Web site, dropping off all our books, CDs and DVDs was easy-peasy. I expected a thorough inspection for dog-eared covers and yellowed pages. Instead the guy just was like, Dump 'em in this bin, thanks! (Special props to Doris for donating in absentia.)

Then it was off to the creperie and, more important, four yummy cups of ... wait for it ... Nutella hot chocolate. How is this not the next big thing? It inspired my idea for an all-Nutella shop: shakes, cookies, cakes, candy -- someone needs to put this in action and then pay me for thinking of it. (By the way, I didn't intend for that Nutella picture to be so huge. But now that it's there, I kind of love it.)

Anyway, thanks for a fun meeting, gals! If we can keep the book club going for another year, I think I might copy this end-of-year strategy: No book for December, but assign a book in early November for the January meeting, so we have plenty of time to read over the crazy holidays. Let me know your thoughts on this -- open to any and all ideas!

Hope folks can make it next month to discuss "Dreams From My Father." I just started and am really enjoying it. Dude can write.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Catching Up and Looking Ahead

I'm giving Kendra the prize for Best Book Choices of the Year. "Blindness" back in June was unusual and gripping, and "The Year of Living Biblically" is hilarious and unexpectedly informative. She, Doris, Jenny and I had fun going over all the crazy things A.J. Jacobs (that's him in those pics) did on his religious journey (Hasidic rave, anyone?).

As for the coming month, let's skip a book and get in the holiday spirit with a book-donation gathering. Books for America is a local group whose mission is "Building and improving libraries in Washington, DC area schools, shelters, hospitals and more; supporting reading programs; and providing children in the Nation's Capital with their first take-home books!" It accepts certain books, CDs and DVDs. Here are the donation parameters. I thought we could meet at a coffee or yogurt shop near the store (west of Dupont Circle), then drop off the stuff after. See the Evite for details.

And looking ahead to January: I'll be hosting, and I've chosen Barack Obama's "Dreams From My Father." Why? Well, I guess partly to ease my election withdrawal, and partly to get to know our new prez. The town's gonna have inauguration fever, anyway -- might as well dive right in!

I know folks are swamped during these holiday months, but I'm hoping the longer lead time will help us get to the book -- and possibly even finish before the meeting (or Inauguration Day).

Thursday, October 9, 2008

November's Book: "The Year of Living Biblically"

After reading the first seven pages of this book, I decided it should be our choice for the November meeting. It looks to be hilarious.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

An Evening With Nick and Norah

I deem the second book club moving outing ... a success! Doris, Jenny, Kendra and Angie made it to the Sunday matinee of "Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist." Cute movie! I really enjoyed it. And we all agreed the music is great. Tempted to get the soundtrack, though when I asked if anyone was curious to read the book, the response was a resounding "No." I might check it out from the library one of these days.

I found both the leads real and charming, and there were plenty of hilarious scenes ("12 Gays of Christmas," just about anything involving Norah's drunk best friend). Just one warning: You might not think of chewing gum the same way after seeing this.

Next month: Kendra is hosting at her new place in Mount Pleasant! Book TBA. See ya then!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Our fun September meeting

As my last act as host of the September meeting of the Lazy Woman's Book Club, I thought I would write a short summary of our meeting on Sunday. Four of us met up at Peregrine espresso and chatted about "The Jane Austen Book Club."

We spent time trying to figure out which characters were supposed to be Austen characters. Obviously, Jocelyn and Grigg played out the Elizabeth and Darcy story from "Pride and Prejudice." Jocelyn also seem to be a little bit like Emma Woodhouse in that she was constantly trying to matchmake. Allegra seemed very like Marianne from "Sense and Sensibility." Bernadette subbed in for the many kind but overly talkative characters that the protagonists had to despise before learning to value.

We also discussed the movie that was made based on the book. Jenny was the only person who had seen it and said that a lot of the story had been left out. I don't really know if I want to see it now, since I would probably be sad to see the story gutted.

We spent time chatting about the difficulties involved in Angie's hunt for a reasonably priced yet lovely wedding dress. That was a lot of fun, and I'm not just saying that because I got to use my new toy to look at various dresses she had tried on at store Web sites.

The host and book for the October meeting is still unknown. Volunteers should contact Angie.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

An open casting call

I love books. I might love movies more. (What?) This morning my blog reader informed me of this little tidbit: Fox 2000 beat out Warner Bros., Paramount and Universal to adapt one of our past books, Water for Elephants, into a movie.

Fun! Francis Lawrence is signed to direct; the interesting thing is that he last did I Am Legend. Makes me curious to see what he does with this book. Can you imagine some post-apocalyptic circus? Hee.

So. Your picks for the cast? I'm sticking with Ryan Gosling as the lead. I think he could still pull off the young-man-on-a-journey-of-self-discovery look.

The girl? Maybe Rachel McAdams. That could be because I love them together. Keira Knightley if she can pull off the American accent? What about the girl's moody, volatile hubby?

OR. What about the worst casting choices? Shia! Lindsey Lohan!

Who are your choices?