Saturday, April 2, 2016

Playing Catch Up

When you live in Canada, winter weather can sometimes interfere with your plans and that is what happened in February. We were all set to meet at Heather's house for a great discussion about her book pick, The Girl on the Train, when the snow and ice ended up keeping us all at home. So this month we did double duty and discussed both our February and our March books.

The girl on the train had mixed reviews. It was agreed by most of us that the story had an impaired narrative structure. It was hard to keep the shifting time frames and narrators straight which took away from the story. The book received a 6.0 out of 10 on the low end and a 9.0 on the high end from Tony:

"I really enjoyed this book. I thought the author did a masterful job setting up the premise and pace of the story‎, using an almost diary-like mode as the day began or ended for each character. The flashbacks in time made sense, developing both story and characters. With most stories, I find the middle drags with unnecessary details or plot lines, and this has a little of that - her sexual liaison with the grieving husband makes no sense to me, for her or for him - but it finished well and all the pieces fit nicely into the puzzle. I would rate this book as 9/10. "

Overall our book club rated The Girl on the Train a 7.25 out of 10.

Our next discussion centered around our March book that was chosen by Beatrice, Water for Elephants.

Old fashioned and endearing, the author brought to life with vivid text a beautiful and engaging story of a bygone era. Filled with colorful characters and shocking realities, this book kept the interest of our group from start to finish.  An overall rating of 8.7 out of 10 puts this book near the top of our list!

Tony's thoughts:

"I also enjoyed this book, with one caveat - do we ever learn why you don't carry buckets of water to the elephant? The characters are readily visible on the page, the story line is consistent, and the flash forwards to the old man Jacob provide poignant and comic relief. The author ties a nice bow at the end of the story - you can just imagine this guy wobbling with his walker across the street to the circus! I would rate this book 9/10."

Next month's pick by Renee is When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalinithi.  Will you join us?

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto

Our January book, picked by Judy D., was a truly outstanding read! This unique and unforgettable story, narrated by the voice of Music, takes you on a journey of the life of Frankie Presto, the greatest guitarist to ever walk the earth.

The author, Mitch Albom, beautifully and believably weaves Frankie's life along with some of the great musical legends of our times, from classical to jazz to rock & roll.  It tells the tale of Frankie - rescued by a nun after his mother dies, saved by a hairless dog from a river, raised by a poor but loving man as his own son, taken in by his music teacher, sent to America at the age of 9 in the bottom of a boat, and follows his musical career that follows him through the 1940's, 50's and 60's.

Music introduces his wisdom on Page 4: “All humans are musical. Why else would the Lord give you a beating heart?" and continues to tell the story of talent, life and ultimately love. The blue strings hold mystery and magic and you soon realize that, "Those strings did indeed have lives inside them, but it was not his playing that turned them blue; it was his [Frankie's] heart."

Our wonderful hostess even had her own magic guitar...

and spoiled us with yummy cupcakes and wine!

And our meeting was held in the library of her building! How appropriate :)

A favorite quote from the book is from the only song that Frankie wrote after his beloved Aurora died, “Yesterday I saw a bird, Whose tree had disappeared. The clouds lay claim, To a moonless sky,  You are gone, I’m here.”  Aurora was Frankie's tree - his home, his shelter, his grounding. Such a sad part of the book!

This book received a high rating from our book club, 9.0 out of 10! A must-read!

Thursday, January 14, 2016