Monday, September 10, 2012

Bel I Can't-Oh!

WARNING!!!!  Blogger is playing tricks on me again, and you might see some words highlighted and underlined.  clicking on them may take you to sites I have not dropped into this poast.  I will be working to figure out why this is happening.  It's probably best not to clkick on them.

For the first time in years, I have not been able to finish our book discussion title.  I know this has happened to others over the past few months and, ironicallyy, the titles others have not finished have been my selections - Vanity Fair and The Family Fang.  No offense to the wonderful women in our group, but they're just silly.  How could they not have become devotees of the aforementioned titles?  Just the same, I will forgive their underdeveloped taste for the quirky, the edgy, the off the beaten path titles that I suggest.  They are among the best people I know, and I look forward to our intellectual gab fests each month.

But Bel Canto...oh goodness.  Ann  Patchett and I just do not get along.  I totally understand why she has won awards, and why she is so esteemed in literary circles.  I did read the first 100 pages before I just couldn't any more, so my assessment of this book is limited.  However, I can say that her language is lyrical and biting at the same time.   Her characters have incredibly deep, developed internal lives and that makes her storytelling heavy. 

Bel Canto is about a multi-month hostage situation in South America, and the heaviness of the narrative simulates real-time - a brilliant choice on Patchett's  part.  But the density of the novel bogs me down, and the international/opera/Stockholm syndrome plots just don't appeal to me.  Well, like I always say there's a right book for everyone and this one just isn't for me. 

Some people would criticize my dislike of this book over others, but you know what, we all fill our time doing and reading what makes us happy.  Differing taste makes for spirited discussion...and so I try not judge other people's reading preferences  too much.  I may have been a bit hard on the "50 Shades" lovers in my recent HTR column.  I guess we should have seen that pendulum swing, though.  After years of the safe, comfortable Jane austen, Lousia May Alcott love fest revival, it stand to reason that we were in for a change.  So, we should look forward to three or four years of whips and chains.

Furthermore, I'm not even going  to try to fake having read Bel Canto at our next meeting, but BEWARE, book discussion compatriots, I am putting The French Lieutenant's Woman back into the suggestion rotation!

Other stuff..........
Teachers and students, have a great 2012-13 school year.  The teachers I know are good people and will do what is right for their students despite the current challenges facing them. 

A theme has been chosen for Heart-A-Rama 2013 and skit writing will start soon.   Check our blog for periodic updates .  We have a great, hard working team of committee chairs  and directors who organize this event each year.  Their creativity, energy, and positive attitudes can't be beat.  Tom and Diane,  our general co-chairs are working hard to get things lined up early this year; and I can't think of anyone I'd rather co-produce with than my friend, Brad.  I'm feeling very grateful!

The line-up of authors who will be speaking, mingling, and signing at my October trade show is sure to make you drool...beginning with Garrison Keillor, Mike Perry, Lois Ehlert, and Maggie Stiefvater.  This total list is over 60 deep so I am looking forward to three exciting days.

Thanks for stopping by and for continuing to turn pages.