The Next Best Book Club discussion

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Author/Reader Discussions > SKINNY author/reader discussion

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message 1: by Lori, Super Mod (last edited Aug 02, 2011 05:20AM) (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10106 comments Mod
Hi Everyone!

I am pleased to announce that our August author/reader novel will be Skinny: A Novel by Diana Spechler.


message 2: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10106 comments Mod
If you were a winner, I will see you here August 1st. If you didn't win, you still have plenty of time to grab a copy and join us!

We want you to join us :)


message 3: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10106 comments Mod
Hey everyone, it's time to start discussing SKINNY!!!!!


message 4: by Melissa (new)

Melissa (chicklitcentral) | 3 comments I'm a little over halfway through. I don't want to give spoilers though. I really like it so far. It's so easy to get into right away and follow along the entire time. I love how it makes me want to eat a lot and diet at the same time. Her descriptions of eating are spot on!


message 5: by Laura (new)

Laura  (laurajhanson) | 9 comments I can't wait to get further into it! I finished another book last night and picked up Skinny and meant to only read the first paragraph and next thing I knew I was 15 pages into it. Very effortless seeming writing!

Melissa wrote: "I'm a little over halfway through. I don't want to give spoilers though. I really like it so far. It's so easy to get into right away and follow along the entire time. I love how it makes me want t..."


message 6: by Natalie (new)

Natalie (nataliejean) | 4 comments Hi Im Natalie, I have just started the book as well, so far I like it. I as well like the writing, it flows well. :) Thanks for having me here.
Natalie


message 7: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Downing (jenjendownyahoocom) Hi, Im Jenn...I finished the book last week. As someone who has been struggling with weight loss as of late, I really took to this book. Gray's battle of course is more then just weight loss.
I thought the book had some very memorable characters, many whom I really liked. Excpet for Louis, he creeped me out.


message 8: by Diana (new)

Diana (dianaspechler) Hi everybody!
I'm so excited to talk about SKINNY with you. Ask me anything. :)
Diana


message 9: by Megan (new)

Megan (bookbrats) | 3 comments Hi everyone! I finished the book last month and really liked it. I especially loved the random Carolina Hurricanes references, LOL.


message 10: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Downing (jenjendownyahoocom) Diana wrote: "Hi everybody!
I'm so excited to talk about SKINNY with you. Ask me anything. :)
Diana"


What gave you the inspiration to write this book?


message 11: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10106 comments Mod
Hey guys, thanks so much for popping in! I am excited to see how the discussion goes this month. Feel free to ask Diana questions about the book, the writing process...

Hi Diana, I am so happy to have you here! Thanks for participating!


message 12: by Diana (new)

Diana (dianaspechler) Jennifer wrote: "Diana wrote: "Hi everybody!
I'm so excited to talk about SKINNY with you. Ask me anything. :)
Diana"

What gave you the inspiration to write this book?"


I've always struggled with body image. I really wanted to explore that, and weight-loss camp seemed like a good place to start. I worked at one for ten weeks and wrote SKINNY based in part on my experience that summer.


message 13: by Diana (new)

Diana (dianaspechler) Lori wrote: "Hey guys, thanks so much for popping in! I am excited to see how the discussion goes this month. Feel free to ask Diana questions about the book, the writing process...

Hi Diana, I am so happy to ..."


So happy to be here!


message 14: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10106 comments Mod
I'm convinced body image is one of the worst evils of the world. Our current culture is one that is obsessed with skin and bones, tall and lanky, so it's no wonder people become obsessed with their own.


message 15: by Laura (new)

Laura  (laurajhanson) | 9 comments Lori wrote: "I'm convinced body image is one of the worst evils of the world. Our current culture is one that is obsessed with skin and bones, tall and lanky, so it's no wonder people become obsessed with their..."

I agree and also see so much solace from stress being taken in food. Weather it's to escape the stress of a mundane home by trying the newest restaurant or old favorites like Texas Roadhouse. We mark time with food, and celebrate every occasion with it.

I personally tell myself I'll worry more about my eating or my weight when this particular stress is over or when I get past this stressful situation.

But those never seem to end lately.


message 16: by Natalie (new)

Natalie (nataliejean) | 4 comments Hi Diana and Lori,
Lori I totally agree with you, body image is THE worst of evils, so many people for too long have obsessed with weight, you should look a certain way or dress a certain way, I have battled with my weight all my life, when I was younger I was a skinny pretty bit of a thing, and then puberty took over and I gained a ton of weight, thus started my life long battle. Growing up the girls hated me because I was thin pretty with long brown hair and big boobs lol, then they hated me because I got fat and still had big boobs lol, I couldn't win no matter how I looked. I have just started the book and so far it's very good I am looking forward to the rest.

I too tell myself I will take better care of myself and really I try hard to and have successfully lost 80 pounds over the last year and a half, I still have about 50 more to go, but loosing weight is a very hard thing to do. Some times I find it more stressful thinking about my weight and trying to find ways to loose it than anything else stressful I have on my plate, which is very full on a good day.

I think this will be a very interesting conversation we all will be having and I am glad to be able to be apart of it. Thank you.
Natalie


message 17: by Colleen (new)

Colleen When I was 11 my doctor told my mother and I that I was obese.I was about 20 pounds overweight.So I went on a diet and lost some weight.However when I was in I thought I was too fat and went on a massive diet.I became very skinny.I lost hair and mu period stopped.I was scared!My mother sat me down and told me I needed to eat or I would die .I listened to her and I started to eat but to this day I still worry about weight


message 18: by Megan (new)

Megan (bookbrats) | 3 comments Body image has been so pushed by the media in the past few years, even on book covers (I can recall bunches of books where they made the main character, often female, look pretty and petite and the size of a twig even when the character was described as chubby or ugly or both) for instance. I've had issues with my weight after an injury that left me pretty much bedridden for two months.

My goal is health and not what the world tells me is ideal female beauty. That doesn't seem to be good enough for a lot of people these days!


message 19: by Natalie (new)

Natalie (nataliejean) | 4 comments I don't understand why weight or how a person looks has to be such a big deal, we are who we are for the person inside not what we see on the outside, society has pushed on us we have to be thin. It baffles me, all my life I was either to thin or to big, I had kids pick on me for both, I had a husband for 20 years tell me I should be grateful I had him, I was to fat and ugly nobody else would want me, when you hear it long enough you start to believe it.

When I was younger and trying to loose the weight, I wasnt making much progress so I started to binge eat and then throw it up, being bolemic wasn't the way to do it, my mother caught me and made me stop, then she helped me by getting me Richard Simmons Deal a Meal I lost 150 pounds, then I got pregnant at 19 the battle started all over again.

Its so hard even now at 41, but Im still trying :)


message 20: by Yin Chien (last edited Aug 03, 2011 03:36AM) (new)

Yin Chien 인첸 (aikchien) | 3 comments Hi, I'm Aik! :)

I don't really care if I'm fat or skinny, but I'm naturally the skinny type - can't gain any weight even though I eat a lot.

You can visit my book blog here:
http://the-bookaholics.blogspot.com


message 21: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10106 comments Mod
Like many of you, I was skin and bones through the better part of my school year. Once I had kids, in my early twenties, I struggled to lose the "baby" weight. But was happy to finally have some meat on my bones..

Aik, can I ask, do you have kids yet? Have you hit your thirties? Cause it all seemed to change for me with those two life-changes!!!

Now that I'm mid-thirties, I'm noticing the weight is not so easy to control anymore. I attempt to watch what I eat, bringing salads to work for lunch, cutting back portions at dinner time, but all in all, I end up right back to my same old eating habits before the week is out. I become frustrated that the weight doesn't just fall off and then I give in and say "this is where my body wants me to be".

The pressure is there to lose the pudgy gut, and jiggly thighs, and keep a close eye on those chicken wing things that appear to be developing on the underside of my arms... but all in all, I try not to let it bother me.

I'm confident in who I am, though I look in the mirror and promise myself I'm gonna shed those pesky 25 pounds to get back into "better" (not great, but better) shape. I suppose I just don't have the heart to be mean enough to myself to do it yet.

I think I am going to really enjoy this book discussion, simply for the fact that this is something everyone in some way can relate to.


message 22: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (ldk1970) Hi everyone! Diana, do you think "fat camps" are beneficial in general? I mean, do you think that most kids who attend go on to feel ok about themselves and maintain a healthy lifestyle? (I don't have the book yet so my question is kind of general.)

I can certainly relate to body image issues. I was a skinny kid, average weight adult, and then about 30 lbs overweight in my 30's. That 30 lbs has fluctuated. I'm almost at a healthy weight now, but don't want to have to track my food intake forever! Lisa


message 23: by Diana (new)

Diana (dianaspechler) Lisa wrote: "Hi everyone! Diana, do you think "fat camps" are beneficial in general? I mean, do you think that most kids who attend go on to feel ok about themselves and maintain a healthy lifestyle? (I don't h..."

Hi Lisa.
It's a great question. I think weight-loss camps, in general, are diets, and diets don't last. When I worked at weight-loss camp, everyone lost weight, but most of the kids gained it back in the fall and winter. That kind of yo-yo'ing can be so psychologically damaging.


message 24: by Natalie (new)

Natalie (nataliejean) | 4 comments Hi Diana,
When you worked at the weight-loss camp, how did the kids that were attending there feel about being there?


message 25: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (ldk1970) Yeah, Diana, I would have expected that was the case. I think as many of us know, it's not about just getting the pounds off. If there are underlying emotional issues, the kids need help for those, plus they have to have healthy foods at home and a type of exercise they enjoy.


message 26: by Laura (new)

Laura  (laurajhanson) | 9 comments I'm reading and taking note of things that strike me. So here are a few so far (I'll try to have this be no spoilers)

*Chapter 5 was brilliant!!

*Diana, I was wondering if there was a significance to having her bf be a comedian? to your life/experience.

*So far I've found Gray interestingly pulled together and self-aware on the inside and so socially awkward on the outside. Pretty much like I feel a lot of the time.

*I'm noticing (in life as well as the book) how set in thought people are. I'm referencing things like characters saying "that's just how I am I can't help it" and "it's the Only way she'll learn." Words like Cant and only...they believe that, that they can't change and that there is only one way. I don't know how to confront that.

Very very much enjoying this book, and feeling guilty now with everything I eat! LOL...(nervously)


message 27: by Yin Chien (new)

Yin Chien 인첸 (aikchien) | 3 comments Lori wrote: "Like many of you, I was skin and bones through the better part of my school year. Once I had kids, in my early twenties, I struggled to lose the "baby" weight. But was happy to finally have some me..."

Hi Lori! I don't have kids. In fact, I'm not even married yet. :D

But I have little doubt that my body will "change shape" after I have kids when I'm older. My mom's slightly bumped tummy always gives people the impression that she's pregnant. More than once, her students asked her, "Teacher, how many months already?" and she would reply, "I'm not pregnant la!"

When she related her experience to me, I couldn't help but burst out laughing.


message 28: by Diana (new)

Diana (dianaspechler) Natalie wrote: "Hi Diana,
When you worked at the weight-loss camp, how did the kids that were attending there feel about being there?"


Hi Natalie. There were kids who had wanted to come, and others who had been pressured by their parents. Once they were there, they all had mixed feelings. They liked losing weight, but they wanted to go home and eat "normal food." They liked making friends at camp, but they missed home. I guess all kids, overweight or not, would feel the same spending a summer away from their families and friends.


message 29: by Diana (new)

Diana (dianaspechler) Laura (The Shabby Rabbit) wrote: "I'm reading and taking note of things that strike me. So here are a few so far (I'll try to have this be no spoilers)

*Chapter 5 was brilliant!!

*Diana, I was wondering if there was a significanc..."


Thanks, Laura! Chapter 5 actually allowed me into the novel, if that makes sense. Before I wrote it, I was having trouble dealing honestly with body image. It's so uncomfortable to write about. Once I wrote chapter 5, I felt free to say whatever I wanted. It was that feeling that led me to start my site, BodyConfessions.com, where people can anonymously post their feelings about their bodies.

I did have a comedian boyfriend. I was also a comedy barker. I recommend neither experience. :)

So glad you're liking SKINNY!


message 31: by Yin Chien (new)

Yin Chien 인첸 (aikchien) | 3 comments Hi Natalie. There were kids who had wanted to come, and other..."

Hi Diana, I agree with what you say. Surely the kids have a good time, but deep inside, they still want to go home and enjoy their normal portion of food. I would feel so too, if I were sent to a summer camp.


message 32: by Dacoroman (new)

Dacoroman | 182 comments my book will arrive between 13th august and 6th of september...


message 33: by ♥Meagan♥ (new)

♥Meagan♥ (fadedrainbows) Diana, why did you choose to make Gray an "unlikeable protagonist"?

That made it harder for me to get into because I found myself not really caring about Gray because she was kind of awful. She's not exactly a person I want to hang out with or anything. On the plus side, she is very much like a real person. Plenty of people are just as selfish and unpopular as her.

I did enjoy the novel. I found that I couldn't stop reading and wanted to know what was happening.

Also, what was your inspiration for the character of Sheena? Have you known real people like her?


message 34: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Downing (jenjendownyahoocom) ♥Meagan♥ wrote: "Diana, why did you choose to make Gray an "unlikeable protagonist"?

That made it harder for me to get into because I found myself not really caring about Gray because she was kind of awful. She's ..."


great questions Meagan! I found Gray very unlikeable, and yet very relatable.
And I too, would love to know where the inspiration came from for Sheena. She was such an interesting character.


message 35: by Diana (new)

Diana (dianaspechler) Jennifer wrote: "♥Meagan♥ wrote: "Diana, why did you choose to make Gray an "unlikeable protagonist"?

That made it harder for me to get into because I found myself not really caring about Gray because she was ki..."


It's a great question. Being consumed by anything (in Gray's case, an eating disorder) makes a person selfish. That's not a judgment, just the truth as a I see it. How can you think of others when you're obsessed with something, i.e. your own body, your food intake, counting calories, etc? I wanted to write Gray authentically, so here she is, consumed by her eating disorder and grief. She's not in a very good place. If you met her in a few years, you might like her better. :)

As for Sheena, she's a composite character of many people I've known. I'm fascinated by diabolical people with crazy charisma. I've always wanted to get that (apparent) contradiction on the page. And so Sheena was born.


message 36: by ♥Meagan♥ (new)

♥Meagan♥ (fadedrainbows) Ahhh. I feel like I understand both characters better now :)


message 37: by Laura (new)

Laura  (laurajhanson) | 9 comments It is scary just how relatable I find Gray. It's like she personifies the fears I have about myself. And her loss of affection for her boyfriend is so real. As are her interests in Bennet and how THAT attention changes her self esteem.

I see that in myself (and in my friends) that no matter how much we say that we are strong and our self esteem comes from within, guys do and can make me feel different about myself.... and I'm OLD!

The disturbing elements still (and I'm not done yet) for me are the lack of qualification and inefficient leadership of the camp itself. Seems like the inmates are totally running the asylum.

Can't wait to get back to it!


message 38: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Downing (jenjendownyahoocom) I would love to know what other people's thoughts were on the deteriation of the camp, that wasnt really a camp. I found it fascinating how quickly the camp fell apart.


message 39: by Laura (new)

Laura  (laurajhanson) | 9 comments Finished this tonight. Wow I really enjoyed this book!! Diana your writing is amazing! And so is your ability to describe and isolate the emotions that make us do the dysfunctional things we do with such precise insight.

I'll look forward to the rest of this discussion. Then the writing tips!


message 40: by Megan (new)

Megan (bookbrats) | 3 comments Yeah, I have to agree with what Jennifer and Meagan said about Gray being somewhat unlikeable. She made everything about her, even things like her father's death automatically became her fault. At the same time, though, that really pulled me along, wondering if she would ever get over that and realize that there was more to life than blaming herself for things that weren't her fault.


message 41: by Diana (new)

Diana (dianaspechler) Laura (The Shabby Rabbit) wrote: "Finished this tonight. Wow I really enjoyed this book!! Diana your writing is amazing! And so is your ability to describe and isolate the emotions that make us do the dysfunctional things we do wit..."

Thank you so much!


message 42: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10106 comments Mod
Diana,

I saw on twitter that you are teaching a writing class. How is that going? Where do you teach?


message 43: by Diana (new)

Diana (dianaspechler) Lori wrote: "Diana,

I saw on twitter that you are teaching a writing class. How is that going? Where do you teach?"


I teach private students, as well as college classes, and I teach adult ed through the Gotham Writers' Workshop.


message 44: by Diana (new)

Diana (dianaspechler) Diana wrote: "Lori wrote: "Diana,

I saw on twitter that you are teaching a writing class. How is that going? Where do you teach?"

I teach private students, as well as college classes, and I teach adult ed thr..."


And it's going well! I love my adult students particularly. They're so committed, and sometimes they wind up taking my classes again and again, studying with me for a year or two.


message 45: by Laura (new)

Laura  (laurajhanson) | 9 comments Did you have a certain writing schedule you tried to keep while you were writing Skinny? Did you outline?

Your dialog seemed very natural and very contemporary!! Are you, like some writers have claimed they are, a talented eavesdropper or do you just know when it sounds right.

Are you working on anything new?


message 46: by ILoveBooks (new)

ILoveBooks | 85 comments I thought this book was really interesting-I loved the characters, the author really gave them depth.


message 47: by Diana (new)

Diana (dianaspechler) Laura (The Shabby Rabbit) wrote: "Did you have a certain writing schedule you tried to keep while you were writing Skinny? Did you outline?

Your dialog seemed very natural and very contemporary!! Are you, like some writers have c..."


Thank you! I'm always working on something new, but what I'm working on now is so new, it exists only in my brain. I'm hoping to start making a paper trail soon!

I use neither schedules nor outlines. I wish! I would like to get my shit together one day, Laura. :)


message 48: by Diana (new)

Diana (dianaspechler) Krystal wrote: "I thought this book was really interesting-I loved the characters, the author really gave them depth."

Thanks, Krystal!


message 49: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10106 comments Mod
Where is everyone at with the book?

Diana, how is your summer wrapping up? Are you finding time to read and relax while teaching? What are you currently reading?


message 50: by Melissa (new)

Melissa (chicklitcentral) | 3 comments i agree about gray being unlikable, but maybe because i can see elements of myself in her and those elements scare me. like i used to be able to pack away food the way she did. however, this book kept me inspired to stick with my diet. i also rebelled against my mom when she didn't like a guy i was dating a long time ago and then i ended up not liking him much either. funny how that works. :P

spoiler alert....i really liked the twist with the story about how gray's dad was really connected to eden. i didn't see that coming at all. it was sad how one's life could get ruined in such a boomerang effect. (the dad ruining eden's dad's life as part of his job and then it ruined the dad too.)

diana, my book club decided to read "who by fire." i'll touch base with you about that soon. :)


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