Sunday, 22 April 2012

Our April Selection

“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn't happen much, though.” 
-J.D. Salinger
Dear members,

We held our eleventh meeting yesterday at The Library Lounge at the Imperial Pub yesterday, and despite the weather being overcast, it didn't dampen our discussions about our previous book club pick which was Katherine Boo's "Behind the Beautiful Forevers".

(The Library Lounge at the Imperial Pub)

Reading "Behind the Beautiful Forevers" opened up a lot of eye-opening events which are a far cry from the everyday happenings that we encounter in our day-to-day life. Corruption, poverty, and death is prevalent, and hope seems nothing more than a bleak light in a very dark tunnel.
We tackled interesting questions such as discussing who had the better life, whom the book sheds light on, and memorable scenes which we remember long after we set aside the book: I can never forget the part where Abdul remarks that in Mumbai's dirty water, he wanted to be "ice".

We then turned to this month's selections, and our theme is: 

The books listed in this month's selections are all travel-themed ( you can find the rest of the other titles listed on our Facebook page) , which is perfect timing since a couple of our members are doing a bit of travelling themselves! 
So whether we're flying to exotic destinations for the first time, or sailing back to a familiar place we call our second home, one thing's for sure: there's always the delightful comfort of armchair travel, which we'll be doing together.

The members have voted and our April book club pick is:

First line: "The truth is that, to her, I was not fully human."

Lady Duff Gordon is the toast of Victorian London. But when her debilitating tuberculosis requires healthier climate, she and her lady's maid, Sally, set sail for Egypt. It is Sally who describes, with a mixture of wonder and trepidation, the odd menage marshalled by the resourceful Omar, which travels down the Nile to a new life in Luxor. When Lady Duff Gordon undoes her stays and takes to native dress, throwing herself into weekly salons, language lessons, excursions to the tombs, Sally too adapts to a new world, affording her heady and heartfelt freedoms never known before. But freedom is a luxury that a maid can ill-afford, and when Sally grasps more than her status entitles her to, she is brutally reminded that she is mistress of nothing.
In 1862, the real Lucie, Lady Duff Gordon, a well known writer and hostess, traveled to Egypt with her maid. Her letters form the basis for this historical novel.

Some interesting facts about the author, Kate Pullinger:

From her Goodreads site: 

Kate Pullinger was born in Cranbrook, British Columbia, and went to high school on Vancouver Island. She dropped out of McGill University, Montreal, after a year and a half of not studying philosophy and literature, then spent a year working in a copper mine in the Yukon, northern Canada, where she crushed rocks and saved money. She spent that money traveling and ended up in London, England, where she has been ever since.

She co-wrote the novel of the Oscar award-winning film "The Piano" with director Jane Campion, who also directed films such as Bright Star.

From 2001-2007 she was a Royal Literary Fund Fellow. She currently teaches on the MA in Creative Writing and New Media at De Montfort University, Leicester, where she is Reader in Creative Writing and New Media.


Other ideas which we have been put to the table involve doing a future book swap at our following meeting, as well as (fingers crossed) to do a possible picnic at the Toronto Islands come warmer weather!

As well, for awhile, many are excited at the prospect of our book club having our very own book bag, and I have a few ideas running about in terms of the design- I was hoping to put our logo on it as well as having each member's favourite book and/or quotes about books!

So off we go to Egypt as we dive into Kate Pullinger's "The Mistress of Nothing"- who knows what's in store for us down at the Nile. Bon voyage everybody!

Until our next meet, happy reading!


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