Book discussion groups begin in a number of ways have a variety of formats. The first group I belonged to, organized by two women new to Manitowoc who were looking for kindred spirits, had so many rules I had to review them before each meeting to avoid being excommunicated. There were to be no last names, no reference to our jobs, no personal chatter, no food or drinks, and - in attempt to show that the leaders had a sense of humor - no dogs. That group fell apart when a male transplant from a ritzy Milwaukee suburb started showing up, telling us how he had to move since "those people" were encroaching on his neighborhood, and he couldn't even attend community theatre events since the casts were all Jewish. We had no rules on how to get rid of a problem like that, so we decided to abandon the group and reform at a later date. We attempted once - but the chemistry with the potential members wasn't there, so that group tanked after one book.
A few years after that, a member of that failed group, suggested we give it another try with a new mix of people. 14+ years later, we're still together.
Book group #2 sprung up when I spent my entire piano lesson talking with my teacher about a book she had just finished. She said she had never felt like a "reader" before and was bubbling over with questions, insights, reactions. She had marked sentences that spoke loudly to her. On that night, another group was born and we are in our second strong year of discussion.
For a while I belonged to an on-line group. Although it didn't work out as I had hoped, I am up for trying another one. One person from that group and I have continued our X-country book talks. Yes, Steve and I are a book group, although we have never defined what we do as such. In December, I sent Steve a box on advance reader copies. He quickly picked one to read and comment on. Coincidentally, I had a second copy of that book and decided to read along.
If you like Gothic mysteries, The Black Painting might work for you. Now, don't confusing this with those Victoria Holt goth-roms we all read in high school. This gritty story is filled with family drama, generational secrets, a demonic Goya painting and lots of Dorian Gray creepiness. The characters kept me on my toes; just when I thought I knew who had stolen the satanic painting, someone would double cross me, sending me in a totally different direction. In addition, the storyline moved me to do some reading on Goya and his woks. Fascinating stuff. Of course I had run across him in a college art history class, but there was no mention of his dark works. Must have been too much for us sensitive, Catholic coeds to handle.
After that aggressive book, I decided something light would be perfect. Death of an Irish Diva came off the TBR pile - a cozy mystery with a theatrical theme. It seems we're selling more and more cozies these days. Maybe we all need a litter humor mixed with mayhem during the dreary months. More next week when I close the book on the murder of the Irish dance teacher.
Thanks for stopping by.