January 22, 2011

Strange & Norrell: Book Club Edition

I guess I read this back before I started blogging.  For some reason this was a book club pick.  Maybe because we didn't have a December meeting and some bold dude decided this was the time to tackle it.  I must have missed that meeting...

Since I'd already read it I went with The Magicians just to keep with the theme.

I loved J.S. &Mr. N., but I was a literature major and had already read plenty of Henry Fielding, Dickens, Austen, etc.  I got the whole thing and enjoyed the whole experience.  There was only one other guy in the group that enjoyed it that much and only two or three that even finished it.  For them, I recommended The Magicians or Neil Gaiman instead.  (Oh, someone told me there might be a sequal to The Magicians.)

One fun thing was the comparison of formats.  This is a big book and runs to around 850 pages.  I own the trade sized paperback.  One guy had the hardcover (ouch).  One guy had a mass market sized paperback.  Dudem the print was way too small and the footnotes? Forget about it!  But then who reads all those footnotes anyway?  And finally, one guy had a three-volume trade paperback set.  He seemed the happiest since he was just toting the third volume to the meeting.  Nowadays I'd get it on my Kindle. That thing always weighs only 8.5 oz. no matter what I stuff into it!

Have I told you about my all-guy book club?  It's awesome.  We're all connected to a certain bookstore where we meet up, then head over to a nearby pub.  So it's really a book and excellent beer and food club (though we embrace tea-totalers as well).  We have only two ironclad rules: The chosen book must be in paperback and Oprah can't have picked it.  Other than that: anything goes.  We read fiction, non-fiction, kid's books, YA, graphic novels, male writers, female writers, classics, genre, whatever.  Once we were even blessed with a visit by the man himself, Christopher Moore, when we had our A Dirty Job meeting.  We've even had a few females join the group now and then.  I've been in other book groups, but this has been my favorite because it's very laid back and intellectually stimulating.

How about you?  You ever try a book club or do you prefer to go it alone?

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

The Magicians: A Novel

A Dirty Job: A Novel