Wednesday, December 12, 2007

December 9 BOOKLEAVES Meeting

Goodbye final exams, and hello long weekend! I went to Seoul on Sunday for book group, where we discussed A Thousand Splendid Suns, which everyone seemed to enjoy. Dazzled by how beautifully the author wove 40+ years of Afghanistan's history into the saga of two families, I'm recommending this book without reservation. I'm eager to read The Kite Runner as well.

Veronica was sick and couldn't make the meeting, but even though she was feeling cruddy, she must have had some sense of satisfaction that as BOOKLEAVES' founder, she's created something beautiful and viable and enduring that doesn't require her actual presence. (Although we missed her like hell!)

Speaking of creative and bookloving, this was Aaron's last meeting because he's headed back to Canada. Bummed about leaving book group but undaunted, he immediately started up a book discussion group on Facebook called Bookin' Around. Aaron's a big Douglas Coupland fan, so the first book he selected is All Families Are Psychotic. I joined his group of course, so I must find this novel and add to my dangerously tall TBR stack. Damn thing's gonna avalanche one of these nights, and I'll be a goner. Oh well. There are worse ways to go. Meanwhile: O Canada!

[I have to stop and ask myself: Why didn't I just start up a book group of my own in Gumi? Wouldn't that have been brave of me? Instead, I bleated piteously in the wilderness for nearly 2.5 frickin' years! Of course, all that bleating and waiting has resulted in a happy ending, but still...]

After book group in Gangnam, I headed back to Itaewon where Mr. Bybee was patiently waiting. After dinner at a Mexican restaurant (wonderful, but small portions) we headed up "Hooker Hill" towards What The Book?

Guess who I ran into? Aaron! (Before you exclaim, "What a small world!", I should explain that Aaron and I rode the subway together from Gangnam to Itaewon.) During the subway ride, we'd talked Canadian books and authors, and I mentioned that I wanted to read A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews, an author from Manitoba. Aaron had spotted this novel a few moments before I arrived at What The Book? and when he saw me, he plucked it from the shelves triumphantly. So that was my purchase for the evening...except a Men's Health magazine for CanadaBoy. (Are you picking up on a pattern in this post? O Canada! ...My Canada???)

The big surprise of the night came from Mr. Bybee. Get this: HE BOUGHT A NOVEL! This is decidedly untypical behavior. I never thought I'd live to see the day. He could've knocked me over with a feather...okay, enough cliches and suspense. He bought The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford by Ron Hansen. I'm sure that the selling point was the faux aged and grainy photo of Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck on the cover. I read this novel last year, and it's about as close to nonfiction as you're gonna get, but the fact remains: Mr. Bybee has crossed over! He is no longer 100% Mr. Nonfiction!

Before leaving What The Book? I ordered You Suck: A Love Story by Christopher Moore, which is the book for our January 20th meeting. I've never read any Moore, but Catherine and Aaron are enthusiastic about his writing. That's good enough for me. The book for the January 6 meeting is Water For Elephants, which I can't seem to stop referring to incorrectly as Like Water For Elephants. Whatever its title, I can't help feeling that I'm going to love this book. I'd better get busy, though. With preparing final grades and doing camps during December, tempus will be fugiting big time!


joemmama said...

Oh you lucky duck! You have some great reading ahead. Kite Runner was wonderful!! You Suck is hilarious, and Water for Elephants was my favorite read last year!!!!! Excellent choices all...Happy reading!

Anonymous said...

Hi just wanted let you know there is a typo - you meant 'A Thousand Splendid Suns' in the first line of your blog entry

kookie said...

You will enjoy 'Water for Elephants', it is wonderful. And Kudos for Mr Bybee for breaking out of his comfort zone (although it's not too far out of the zone) steps, aye? :)

raidergirl3 said...

I liked All Families.. by Coupland, but there hasn't been much by him I havne't liked.
I want to read You Suck too, or maybe anything by Moore.

I read "a boy of good breeding" by Toews and it was really cute, very Canadian.

Bybee said...

Yeah, I look at that TBR pile, and it's almost like it's glittering!

Thanks for the heads up! I fixed it.

I'm tempted to shove everything else aside and just start on Water For Elephants, everyone speaks so well of it!

Let me confess here and now I've only read a little of Generation X and nothing else by Coupland. I'm ashamed because he's a 1961 model like me (he's about three weeks younger, I think)

darkorpheus said...

"Like Water For Elephants" - I like your title better. Much much better. :)

lazy cow said...

I've been wanting to read A Complicated kindness for ages, don't know what's stopping me.
Water for elephants was tremendous fun, and though I haven't read You suck, Christopher Moore is slightly revolting yet very funny.

Kathy said...

If you haven't read any Christopher Moore and you have time, read Bloodsucking Fiends first.
You Suck is a follow up to that book. Water for Elephants is wonderful. Yay for Mr. Bybee for finally crossing that line!

jenclair said...

I loved The Kite Runner and Water for Elephants. Good for Mr. Bybee...most of the nonfiction I read when I was young was based on novel reading. If the novel was about Queen Elizabeth, it inspired nonfiction reading from that period...and before and after.

Tara said...

Water for Elephants was a great read - can't wait to hear what you think of it. My bookclub will be reading Thousand Splendid Suns in 2008 and I'm looking forward to it.

SFP said...

Tell Mr. Bybee that Ron Hansen's Desperadoes is even better than Assassination of Jesse James, okay?