Time to Write Now By Julaina Kleist-Corwin

About Writing Plus

Two Reading Group Book Choices

The Dept of Speculation book coverThe book selection for August in our reading group was Jenny Offill’s Dept. of Speculation. Vogue’s praise for the novel: “Piercingly honest. . . . A series of wry vignettes that deepen movingly.”

I don’t think I would call her assorted paragraphs vignettes.

The Guardian (London) wrote: “Dept. of Speculation is a riposte to the notion that domestic fiction is humdrum and unambitious. . . . A shattered novel that stabs and sparkles at the same time.”

I agree that the novel is shattered and that it stabs and sparkles. It’s an excellent way to describe how I felt when I read it and when I think about it now.

 

The Guardian (London) goes on to say, “It is the kind of book that you will be quoting over and over to friends who don’t quite understand until they give in and read it too. . . . A book this sad shouldn’t be so much fun to read.”

I won’t be quoting from the book, but yes, friends couldn’t understand a description of the style until they read it. The last statement is true. It’s sad, yet fun to read.

Sam Lipsyte’s quote in the front of the book says it well: “Gorgeous, funny, a profound and profoundly moving work of art. Jenny Offill is a master of form and feeling, and she gets life on the page in new, startling ways.”

Yes, a work of art. Yes, she gets life on the page in new, startling ways. I was inspired to try the form, but I know it would take a long time to get it right with a huge learning curve. For September, our reading group member chose The Melody Lingers On by Mary Higgins Clark who has written thirty-four suspense novels among many other books in different genres. She’s called the “Queen of Suspense” and this book is described as “A breathtaking tale of deception, missing billions, and those determined to learn the truth at any cost.” I’m looking forward to reading it. I haven’t read a suspense story in quite a while.

 

The Melody Lingers On

 

 

 

For September, our reading group member chose The Melody Lingers On by Mary Higgins Clark who has written thirty-four suspense novels among many other books in different genres. She’s called the “Queen of Suspense” and this book is described as “A breathtaking tale of deception, missing billions, and those determined to learn the truth at any cost.” I’m looking forward to reading it. I haven’t read a suspense story in quite a while.

At our meeting we agreed that the benefit of a reading group is we read books we wouldn’t choose on our own, but when we have a month to read them, then discuss them, it broadens our reading experience.

Are you in a reading group? You could start one. We presently have five people and two absentees, which is a good size. Our meetings once a month last for about two hours. The member who chooses the book writes ten questions for the other members to answer and everyone has a chance to read their answers in the group.

 

Have you read the two books above?

 

Comments

  1. Hi Julaina – Thanks for writing about our club and this book. Both are fantastic. We’ve been at it for about 4 years, during which we have read classics, writing how-to books, mysteries, romance, historical fiction, non-fiction, short story collections, and memoirs. I met my favorite mystery writer, Michael Connelly through the club and discovered the horrible trajectory of the modern computer science in Eggers, The Circle. I certainly read many books I wouldn’t have considered, without the club. We seldom agree about the books we read, but do value everyone of our thoughts and reactions about the selections. I glad you decided to join us. You add so much to the group and its discussions.

  2. It’s been quite some time since I’ve read Mary Higgins Clark (read tons while younger). Maybe it is time to rev up my reading with the latest.

    • Actually, this first Clark book I read is one of the most recent one of hers, and it reads like she hasn’t changed her style in all the years she’s been writing. I tend to prefer writers’ work from the last ten to fifteen years.

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