Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I don't need your stinkin' book club!

When I first got back to Juneau, I tried to find a book club to join. I’ve never been part of a book club, but it sounded fun and I thought it would be easy to find a group in Juneau.

Wrong. The first group I tried to join actually said no. I’ve never heard of an exclusive book club before and honestly, I doubt I’d fit in with that kind of group. Pretentious book snobs can keep their elite clubs all to themselves.

I remember taking a Hemingway class my senior year of college that was filled with English majors. I was in it because I needed 3 more credits and I like Hemingway when he’s not writing about bull fighting. Anyway, the entire class was all about proving how snooty English majors must be before they can graduate.

Sample discussion:

Student A: “This passage reminded me of War and Peace. Tolstoy’s unique combination of naive objectivity and detailed realism really sets the stage for future war stories. Hemingway’s most notable literary accomplishments can be traced back to Russian influences.”

Student B: “While I respect your opinion, I must disagree. I find Hemingway’s prose more succinct; more along the lines of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s writing. Hemingway embodied symbolism and bordered on surrealism in his writing.”

I hated that class. The one time I actually contributed to the discussion was when I got so fed up one day that I actually said:

“This story reminded me of the classic short story, Green Eggs and Ham. Dr. Seuss’ mastery of subtle imagery is the evolution of Hemingway’s sparse dialogue and meager structure. Dr. Seuss embodies all that Hemingway hoped writing would become.”

No one laughed.

Anyway, my point is that the most wonderful thing happened at the library the other day. Every month, I have to help out with a ‘Family Night’ event, which means I try to keep anywhere from 20 – 75 preschoolers from screaming and rubbing peanut butter into the carpet. I consider it my monthly birth control and I usually dread it. But at this last event, the librarian in charge of the young adult section asked me if I wanted to be part of the libraries book reviewers. I asked her what that was and she showed me a back room of the library where they keep all the advanced copies of books they get from publishers. And the book reviews can just take as many of them as they want as long as they bring them back and tell the library what they thought. She asked if I wanted to be part of the young adult book reviewers.

Anyone who has seen me devour the Twilight, Harry Potter, Uglies and Mortal Instruments series knows that young adult fiction is like black tar heroin to me. And I don’t have to read a specific book by a specific date. I can read 30 books one month and 2 the next. The reviewers don’t read the same books, we just talk about which books we did read and whether or not we liked them and think younger readers would like them too.

I felt like a kid in a candy store and left the library with, like 12 books. My first book, Bones of Faerie was pretty good too. It was nice to have a heroine not mesmerized by a sparkly vampire for a change. I loved the plot of this book. I think it's geared towards the younger end of the 'young adult' genre, but Simner doesn't skimp on danger or violence and the result is an enjoyable read for all ages. Sure, there are a few places that felt a bit rushed, and then a few passages that seemed to drag on a bit, but the plot makes up for that. I would love to see this book turned into a series. I don't know why I'm such a fan of series books. Probably because they rock. 'Nuf said.


Michael5000 said...

Congratulations on finding an unlimited source of black tar heroin! Ought to keep you busy.

By why does a library need books reviewed?

moondog said...

i'd like to know how you found a book club that doesn't take new members? i mean, if they're advertising that they exist that means they want people to show up right? or did you have to run a mental obstacle course and didn't make a very good time?

Kadonkadonk said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kadonkadonk said...

5000 - The libraries in Juneau are small and there aren't enough books to go around. The 'reviewers' help determine if they should buy multiple copies of a book.

Moon - what can I say? It was a bunch of legislative a-holes. I doubt I would have liked it much anyway...

samantha said...

Yep, that's EXACTLY why I quit being an English major, it was ridiculous! And yes, northern WI does have it's hidden beauty, but your commute still beats mine hands down!