We have been talking about books and baking for each other for nearly thirty years. I mark the time by remembering that when we began one of us was pregnant with the last of our babies, who has just finished grad school. In the fall we always come together over dinner to hear about everyone’s summer and to plan our reading for the year. Here’s our 2012-2013 list:
Nov – The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, David Mitchell
Dec – City of Thieves, David Benioff
Jan – We attended a performance of Nightwood Theatre’s The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood.
Feb – Ru, Kim Thuy
March – All Men are Liars, Alberto Manguel
April – Open City, Teju Cole
May – Love and the Mess We’re In, Stephen Marche
June – Life After Life, Kate Atkinson
Over the summer we do not meet, but often select a book for that hiatus. Right now we are reading The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, which as everyone has just noticed, no one has read since high school. Some of us are augmenting it with The Artful Edit by Susan Bell, which uses The Great Gatsby as its primary example of excellent editing.
– Schuster Gindin
I enjoyed reading about your book group experiences, which resonate for me. Our group, too, counts the years by the ages of our children, remembering the members who became pregnant and now have teenagers. Sadly, the founder of our group passed away a few years ago; we cherish her memory in our ongoing friendship and shared love of reading (and good food).
In our group we often choose contemporary works but occasionally will agree to share an old classic. A colleague from Europe said I must read the hilarious Three Men in a Boat. Written by Jerome K. Jerome in 1889, it’s a curious blend of humour and charming lyrical passages, describing a boating trip on the Thames. Reading a few passages aloud, I couldn’t contain my laughter. The best was a rumination on commonplace ornaments and how they will be valued in the future as ‘precious antiques’. It is as relevant (and funny) now as in days gone by. I recommend it!
Gwyneth Fatemi, Toronto