What makes your book group unique?
For more than A Thousand Splendid Suns, our book club has been A Moveable Feast of food and literature. Since its inception in October 1988, we have shared a monthly meal and discussed more than 250 books that span a myriad of genres and cultures, from nonfiction such as Genome: The Autobiography of the Human Species in 23 Chapters by Matt Ridley and Robbing the Bees by Holley Bishop to fiction such as Waiting by Ha Jin and Tarzan by Edgar Rice Bur-roughs. While we have three original members, our group has changed over the years because of moves, retirements, and illnesses. Currently, our members range in age from 18 to 65. Five of us are grandmothers with a total of 29 grandchildren. Amazingly, three of us are grandparents of twins. Three of us are retired, three are still working, and one is attending college in Ohio. We limit our group to eight members, although we do invite guests from time to time and have had a guest author once.
What books have you enjoyed the most?
With an abundance of books our members have already read, choosing a few favorites was a monumental task. However, here are some novels that rose to the top of our list. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston is a poetically written novel that paints the plight of a black woman in the 1930s South. Another group favorite was Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry, which sets the reader on a horse and transports him or her across the plains on a cattle drive. Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi, The Master Butcher's Singing Club by Louise Edrich, Waiting for Snow in Havana by Carlos Eire, and Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner are all worthy, wonderful reads, too.
What books didn't your group like?
After reading so many talented authors, the following books didn't measure up to our standards. Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks (a Pulitzer Prize winner) had an incongruent ending that felt as if it had come out of a dime store romance novel. We decided Bridges of Madison County (a very early career read) played on middle-aged women's fantasies. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom, while a sympathetic read, was not particularly well-written. Finally, One Thousand White...