Saturday, December 24, 2011

December Book Club Meeting

The book selection for December was Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome. It was selected because it's short and easy reading, appropriate for the holiday season. Some claim it's the funniest book ever written. I agree. I also think it's one of the most enjoyable travel books ever written. The humor has held up remarkably well considering it's a Victorian novel. The key features of the book are the funny perspectives of ordinary events (think Bill Bryson) and the fact that it wasn't written in the high falutin' style practised by novelists of the time. The Victorian literati thought the state of the novel had gone to hell in a hand basket when this book became a best seller. It's never been out of print.

Another bonus: the book can be downloaded free from the fabulous site: Even an illustrated version is available and it can be downloaded to a multitude of devices.

 Roz hosted our meeting and a goodly groaning spread was enjoyed including bounty from gardens still putting out in December, one of the benefits we get from living here in Fallbrook. Fresh greens from Barbara's garden, a squash dish from Lori's garden and candy-sweet tangerines from Lori's and Rozs' trees. Roz made a pot of delicious chicken soup, a venerable recipe from her mother-in-law which includes as one of the critical components, precisely 12 peppercorns. Cookies and candies, irresistible, finished off the feast.

Next month we read the Julian Barnes novel, "The Sense of an Ending", this year's Man Booker prize winner. Critics say there "is more to get each time you read it". I like to have a book like this around - one that becomes familiar but still surprises.

For those of us interested in story telling whatever the medium, in this week's New York Times Book Review, there's an essay by Craig Fehrman on the "Channeling of the Novel".  As the state of film  deteriorates at a rapid pace and our beloved movies become little more than a string of dangerously loud and obnoxious sound effects enhancing car chases and explosions, cable TV is morphing into the preferred venue for serious and excellent story telling. He comments about the writers creating original cable series such as Solomon Rushdie -  "The Next People", Michael Chabon and Jonathan Franzen - "The Corrections". Jennifer Egan's Pulitzer Prize winning novel "A Visit from the Good Squad" is being made into a pilot.

A footnote about sound effects: my friend's son was an intern on the newly released silent film, "The Artist". We're anxiously waiting for it to open locally so we can enjoy a theatre experience without ear plugs for a change.

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