A to Z Challenge: Day Twenty-Two – “V”

‘V’ is for ‘Volume.’

‘V’ is for ‘volume’ – not of noise produced or of food or drink consumed. Instead, volume (or volumes) refers to the books read in Book Club (although noise, food, and drink have a definite place here).

I am part of two Book Groups that each meet monthly. One of these groups is meeting today and will discuss ‘Bone and Bread’ by Canadian author, Saleema Nawaz. Winner of the ‘Quebec Writers’ Federation Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction,’ and shortlisted for the ‘2016 CBC Canada Reads,’ Bone and Bread has received much acclamation.

Book Club
Bread and Bone by Saleema Nawaz

This is not likely a book that I would have picked up on my own. This is one of the leading strengths of Book Club – it pushes me outside of my comfort zone. The other main draw of reading and discussing a shared book is how members’ ideas combine to provoke deeper thinking and enhance understanding.

Nawaz has created vivid descriptions of the complex nature of family relationships. Her portrayals ache with despair. Although she frequently leaves the reader in discomfort, Nawaz ultimately offers hope, compassion, and resolution. More suited to females, and not a light beach read, I do recommend this book as a poignant tale that brims with yearning, tenderness and wisdom.

Coming up next in my Book Clubs will be Empress of the Night (Eva Stachniak) and Who Has Seen the Wind (W. O. Mitchell). What have you read lately? What book would you most recommend?

Book Club
I  refer to my Reading Groups as ‘Book Club #1’ and ‘Book Club #2’ (creative, I know )! Here’s a past photo with Book Club #1.

44 Replies to “A to Z Challenge: Day Twenty-Two – “V””

  1. I have never belonged to a book club. Maybe that is something in the future I should do. Bone and Bread sounds like one I would enjoy reading and will add it to my list. Right now I am reading Panchinko by Min Jin Lee. Its about an immigrant Korean family who are exiled to Japan during WWII. It is a worthy read as well!

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    1. Hi, Leanne – I’m impressed that you are reading anything at all while working part-time and blogging daily for this Challenge. I finished ‘Bone and Bread’ on the flight to Boston and haven’t picked up another book since. ‘I will begin Who Has Seen the Wind’ as soon as ‘A to Z’ ends!

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  2. Book clubs sound like fun, especially when you can attend in person. I don’t know whether that will ever be in my future as a perpetual nomad. 🙂 I’m a member of a book club online, but can’t keep up with the one book every other month (pathetic, I know) and I’d rather read the books I already have myself or want to read, since I have little time for that hobby anyway. Currently, I’m rereading two travel memoirs I carry with me. It’s all about the craft. And, I enjoy non-fiction books. That being said, it would be nice to read a book just for relaxation one day! 🙂

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  3. Hi, Liesbet – I agree that reading a book purely for relaxation is the best….and is often very hard (if not impossible) to do when working full-time. When I lived in Beijing, I was a member of on-line book club (hosted for free by Real Simple Magazine). I absolutely LOVED it. Unfortunately, Real Simple then went in a different direction and ended the book club. How did you discover your on-line book club?

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  4. I’ve contemplated joining a book club a few times…it’s on my bucket list (like learn to play chess). My issue is I tend to like the “beach reads”. I’ve struggled to get through so many of the book-club books folks have recommended; many are on my read pile or on my “buy list”. Yes, even Goldfinch is still at the 30% read point sitting on my side table.

    I know it’s about pushing beyond the comfort zone but reading is my comfort zone place! I pick up the easy-to-read books whenever I’m in that mode… hence a lot of the book-club books still on the read pile, so I’ve made myself stop buying them for now.

    Maybe a book club discussion would help me work though the out-of-comfort-zone reads? I’m keeping “join a book club” on my possibilities list for that very reason!

    Great “V”!

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    1. Hi, Pat – We really need to live next door to each other! We could learn to play chess together…and form a ‘Beach Reads Book Club!’ All of the reasons that you have listed for not joining a Reading Group make sense to me. Still, I’m glad that you are keeping this on your bucket list, just in case the perfect Club comes along!

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    1. Hi, Jill – Shamelessly, both of my Book Clubs meet mid-day, and mid-week. That is a key advantage of being retired in a town bursting with many other retirees. There are numerous disadvantages to this too…getting through the aisles in our local grocery store is not quick any day of the week!

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  5. I used to belong to a book club but was not mad about the choice of books. Other members were not mad about my book choices either! I finished Anita Brookner’s ‘Hotel du Lac’ last night … she’s wonderful; prior to that ‘Look at Me’ also by her. Actually they were re-reads. I’m re-reading Patrick Harpur ‘Mercurius The Marriage of Heaven & Earth’ last read about 10 years ago) but have had to put it aside during the A-Z … nearly there thank the Pope!

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  6. I have been in a book club for many years and yes, it challenges you out of your comfort zone. I was stuck in a rut of murder mysteries, but there is so much more out there, I’m happy for the opportunity to read something recommended by someone I respect. Our last book “The Secret Keeper” by Kate Morton, was one of those books that has stuck with me. It was a beautiful story and beautifully written. Book clubs are the best!

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  7. I am a member of a book club and really enjoy reading books that I wouldn’t have ordinarily. Ours meets monthly at a member’s house or at a restaurant (the host picks the book and provides the meal and drink). Nice group of women and always lively discussions. We are reading An American Marriage now and will read The Great Alone next month.

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  8. I should do this, even though I am so overextended! Maybe an audiobook book club. I love the word volume. It sounds so rolling and full just like a book should be. And tome, I love the word tome for no particular reason.

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    1. Thanks, Nancy – When my husband asked what I was going to write about for “V”, I looked at the calendar and said “book club”. The word “volume” suddenly came to me. I was incredibly relieved. Otherwise, “Very Nice Book Club” would have been an incredibly boring title! 🙂
      PS – I love the sounds of an Audiobook Club. That could add an extra element of interest and critique!

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  9. I’ve never been in a book club but would enjoy doing so. It’s on my list, ready for a time when I want to return to obligations and deadlines.

    Fran and I seem to be on the same kind of book right now. I just finished Forgotten Country about a Korean family in both Korea and America. It’s a debut novel from a few years ago – very well written but quite heavy and sad in the second half so you have to be in the mood for that.

    I’m also reading a collection of lectures by mythologist Joseph Campbell. The book is called Pathways to Bliss. It’s really good and very thought-provoking, but it’s heavy slogging so I usually just do a few pages at a time.

    Oh, and I did just finish That Old Cape Magic by Richard Russo. I love Richard Russo. He never disappoints. It’s the perfect blend of a beach book in terms of setting and pleasure in reading, plus some ‘literary’ qualities that come with a well-written book.

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    1. Hi, Karen – You and Fran should form a book club! It would be an awesome excuse to get together. And if slightly long drives are not a problem, Joanne (My Life Lived Full) and Deb (The Widow Bad Ass) could join in too! I would LOVE to read posts from that group!
      Thank you for the recommendations. The depth and breadth of books that you read puts my list to shame!

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  10. WordPress hates me tonight! Every time I try to comment on a blog it signs me out. Trying again…

    I go to a Book Group at my local library – we choose books from a long list and they supply them. The most successful book in recent months was Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche – it prompted me to read two more of her books, she’s an excellent writer.

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    1. Hi, Anabel – That is a wonderful idea to hold your Book Club at your local library. It is an incredible time (and cash) saver that the library supplies the books. Thank you for recommending Americanah. I now have a great list of books to choose from.
      My apologies about WordPress – I hope that I haven’t added to your frustrations. I’ve been experimenting with a new plugin so that readers can be notified when someone replies directly to their comment. For a simple thing (that is standard with the free version of WordPress) it is amazing how hard it is to find for the paid version of the same site!

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  11. I love reading Donna and can get lost in a book for hours. I don’t belong to a book club but that is on my list to do when we finally settle where we are going to live. Book clubs are great because as you say, they select books that sometimes you wouldn’t normally read and they can be a surprise and a learning experience. Enjoy your two book clubs, my friend xx

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    1. Thanks, Sue – I think that you would love book club, and you would definitely be a wonderful bonus to any group. Good luck with your decision on where to settle.
      And…three more letters of the alphabet to go for you (and four for me). We’re almost there!!

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  12. Very good V word, Donna. I’ve never been to a book club. Currently I read online travel guides, and sometimes get off track into the history of the places and past people, not only for the destinations where I’m going but also destinations that I haven’t even thought about going! I’m sure I’ll return to books as I seem to go through phases. BTW, I received error messages since your new plug-in but I just clicked a few times and it seemed to let me post my comment. Will see if this one works. I prefer your previous setup.

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  13. HI, Natalie – Thank you for this wonderful feedback. I’m off to kill that new plugin right now. Sadly, it didn’t work well on my site.
    I love how your passion for travel. That is the very first thing that totally hooked me about your blog! (Now it is several different things that have me hooked).

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  14. That’s the best thing about book clubs, you often read books you would never normally have picked up! I love my book club ladies, there’s always noise and food and drink…and sometimes even talk about the book we’ve read. I’m off to Movie Club tonight – it’s a once a month ‘surprise’ movie and dinner combination in our local cafe/cinema – it’s great fun to catch up with all my friends and chat about the movie afterwards.

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    1. Hi Donna! The movie is chosen by the owner of the cafe and is usually something art house or different and something not many have seen before. Last night’s movie was a sort of depressing drama called The Florida Project – more like a reality show but there were moments of joy in it and I chose to focus on those parts rather than the depressing reality of the situation. It was definitely something I wouldn’t have chosen to see and some people actually walked out half way through but we had a gritty discussion afterwards then went home to our comfortable warm houses to bed thanking our lucky stars for our situation.

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  15. I used to belong to a book club here in the neighborhood. It was a difficult group because most members refused to read anything that challenged them emotionally, then criticized any pick IF it was too light. Kind of a Goldie Locks approach to a book club. Not surprisingly the group disbanded for lack of interest.

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    1. Wow, that’s a narrow (and contradictory) approach to book selection. I’m sorry it folded though. Despite any occasional frustrations (like recently needing to read TWO Catherine the Great Historical Fictions in a row), I greatly appreciate both of my Reading Groups.

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  16. I have been reading the books that were shortlisted for Canada Reads 2018. First I read “The Boat People” by Sharon Bala, about Sri Lankan refugees who were imprisoned upon reaching Canadian waters. It is based on true events. The other day I finished reading “Precious Cargo,” a memoir by Craig Davidson about a period in his life when he was flat broke and feeling very discouraged as a writer. He took a job driving a school bus for a year, and this story is about the special needs students on the bus, as well as about how his perspectives changed over the year. I have heard from the library that two more of the books are in (five in total were shortlisted).

    Jude

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