The Rory Gilmore Book Club discussion

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message 1: by Meghan (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:52PM) (new)

Meghan I didn't know where to put this and didn't want to detract from the other thread topics. But I have been enjoying listening to all of your opinions and I like what you say. So I was just wondering what people would recommend for other reading? (Other than for this club.)

I also wanted to recommend the graphic novel Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. It's an autobiographical account of her childhood during the Islamic Revolution in Iran. The artwork is amazing but the story is really well told. I mention this because she directed an animated movie of this book and it's being released on Dec. 25.

I highly recommend this (this is NOT a 'comic' book). It compliments well with "Reading Lolita in Tehran" and is a great voice to the women who endured so much there.


message 2: by Tiffany (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:52PM) (new)

Tiffany | 59 comments I very highly recommend the book Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. It is such a magical story. I went into it not knowing what to expect and I was very pleasantly surprised that it was such a fantastic read. A definite all time fave of mine.


message 3: by Sera (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:52PM) (new)

Sera I agree with Tiffany; I loved Water for Elephants. A Shadow of the Wind by Carolos Ruiz Zafron and The Meaning of Night: A Confession by Michael Cox are two really good ones that I read this year. If you like historical fiction, Jean Plaidy is excellent. She covers many eras so there is much from which to choose. Over the last two years, I've read many of her books about Henry VIII and his wives. If you like Marilyn Monroe and Joyce Carol Oates, her book Blonde is excellent, but it's a very different type of read. It has graphic language and sex, which may turn off some people.


message 4: by Sarah (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:52PM) (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) I recommend A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving and A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. Also, I'm not sure if this is on Rory's list or not but I just finished The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho and loved it.

Also, The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde. It's the first of a series and it's funny, witty, and great for bibliophiles like us.


message 5: by Alison, the guru of grace (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:52PM) (new)

Alison | 1282 comments Mod
Ditto Water for Elephants, and Blonde (fantastic, but looooooooong). I also just read Breakfast at Tiffany's for the first time. It can be read in a couple of hours.


message 6: by Sarah (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:52PM) (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) I've had Water for Elephants sitting on my shelf for months. I guess I really need to get to it!


message 7: by Meghan (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:54PM) (new)

Meghan Yay Sarah! I LOVE The Alchemist. It's No. 3 on my all time favorites list.

I guess I'm going to have to purchase WFE as so many people have raved about it.

What about personal favorites? Like, my all time favorite top 5 list is:

1. Little Women
2. The Pillars of the Earth
3. The Alchemist
4. Shogun
5. Freakonomics (it's the best book I read this year but #5 probably changes annually)


message 8: by Sera (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:54PM) (new)

Sera I'm going to have to get The Alchemist soon! As of today, here is my top 5 list:

1. East of Eden
2. The Kite Runner
3. To Kill a Mockingbird
4. A Million Little Pieces/My Friend Leonard
5. Russia

I really believe that Frey's story isn't complete without reading My Friend Leonard, which is as great as the first Frey semi-memoir. I don't have a #5 right now, but I have sneaky suspicion that reading The Pillars of the Earth might change that. Meghan, I also love Shogun, but that book was a beast to get through.

Happy Holidays!

Updated to insert Russia by Edward Rutherford as #5 (11/24/07)


message 9: by Beth (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:54PM) (new)

Beth | 173 comments Persepolis is awesome! I also recommend it. I didn't know there will be a movie. Another great graphic novel is Maus by Art Spiegelman, along with its sequel Maus II.

More must-reads for me:
1. The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem
2. Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem
3. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
4. American Pastoral by Philip Roth
5. Fay by Larry Brown

My favorite holiday read is A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote. An absolute gem! A reader's theater group in my city does a performance of this every Christmas, and I never miss it. I am normally not a sentimental person, but this story is so beautiful, it totally destroys me emotionally.


message 10: by Sarah (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:54PM) (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) Another one I'm going to be reading is this season In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash by Jean Shepard. It's the book the movie A Christmas Story was based on.


message 11: by Meghan (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:55PM) (new)

Meghan Oh Sera, I'm so glad you're reading The Pillars of the Earth! Little Women I read every year and TPOTE I read every other. I just love the story and the characters and the settings. It's romance and longing and greed and action and religion and everything all rolled up into one! There's a second set 200 years later with similar themes. I bought the book but am saving it for when I can I just sit down and read. I have a feeling I won't be able to put it down!

Shogun is TERRIBLY long, but I read it in probably a week. I could NOT put it down. I was just fascinated by it and loved the history and characters and mini-stories within the main story. I have the next book, but I intend on getting all 5 of the books in the series (the Noble House series).

If you love historical fiction these two are a MUST read!!


message 12: by Meghan (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:55PM) (new)

Meghan If you're looking for a quick, uplifting story, I recommend "The Miracles of Santo Fico" by D.L. Smith. I'm reading it for another book club and have just been pleasantly surprised by how lovely and charming this book really is. It's perfect for this season of thankfulness and giving (especially since I braved my first "Black Friday" and hit the mall at 7:30 am!) This just puts life in its proper perspective without being preachy. Plus, it reads fast which is always nice when you have limited time to read!


message 13: by Arielle (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:55PM) (new)

Arielle | 120 comments Ok, I love Little Women too, it's a mainstay for me. Also, I recently read the Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. It was a very enlightening real look at the lives of missionaries in the Congo in the 50's I think. It's written from five different perspectives, but they're all beautifully distinct and totally absorbing. I could not put it down. It isn't exactly a quick read though, but totally worth the time.
Oh yeah, and A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. It looks at the middle eastern nations and customs and history in ways I've never thought about before. Maybe a good book to read post Thanksgiving-y, because it sure reminds you of all of your little blessings in life.


message 14: by Sera (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:55PM) (new)

Sera Meghan, you are first person with whom I've spoken that has read Shogun. I loved it, too, and then rented the movie with Richard Chamberlain, which is also excellent. I also read the second book Taipan, which was pretty good. I stopped after that one, but if you finish the series, let me know how it goes, but you may inspire me to go back and finish them off as well.

I think that I am going to read TPOTE during Christmas when I have larger blocks of time to read. When I purchased it a couple of weeks ago, the book clerk told me that I was in for a real treat. I also purchased a copy for my stepmother, who is an avid reader. I've been reading reviews about the sequel, and from what I've read, it's supposed to be just as good as the original.

IMHO, historical fiction is one of the greatest literary inventions, simply because it combines two of my favorite interests in life.


message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

Hi Arielle:

I am a huge Kinsolver fan. Love all of her books. You should check some of the others out. Prodigal Summer, Small Wonder, Bean Trees, Animal Dreams...just to name a few.


message 16: by Meghan (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:56PM) (new)

Meghan Sera, if you can believe it, Shogun was chosen as one of our books in my other book club! That club tends to pick some of the best books I've ever read. But I will definitely keep you posted on the rest of the books and if they're worth taking the time to read (I know they're uber long).

I've never seen the movie but I've read that it's not bad. I'm putting it on my Christmas list!

PLEASE let me know how you like TPOTE. I was at Barnes and Noble the other day looking at their games and they actually created a GAME from this book! I couldn't believe it. I want to get it but honestly I do not know ANYONE who would be all that thrilled to play with me. heh

But it sounds like you're my kind of reader! Any other historical fiction you enjoy?


message 17: by Meghan (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:56PM) (new)

Meghan Oh and I also toot my horn for the Poisonwood Bible. I thought it was just wonderful. I have yet to read any of her other books yet. I saw that she has a non-fiction one out. It's suppose to be pretty good, from what I've read.


message 18: by Sera (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:56PM) (new)

Sera Meghan, I will definitely let you how I like TPOTE when I read it. I will also start a thread for discussion. The game sounds very interesting :) I would play, but I'm a World of Warcraft junkie. Between that, reading and trying to spend time with my husband and dog, and oh, yeah - working - not much time left but to sleep - LOL. I also like to squeeze some GG DVDs in, although I have a long way to go.

I can't believe that your book club chose Shogun! My book club would never choose that, because of the length. It's very cool that your did.

Edward Rutherford writes some excellent historical fiction, but his books are super long reads. Russia is one of my favorites - ooh, I just found my #5 for my top 5 list - and Sarum is excellent, too. I have London, but I haven't read it, yet. Also, Jean Plaidy has some great historical fiction series. I've read most of the Henry VIII ones. Carolyn Erickson and Allison Weir also write about Henry VIII. I have some books by the former, which I intend to read soon. I read Weir's An Innocent Traitor, which is a very good book, as well.

Do you have good historical fiction books to recommend?

By the way, I adored The Poisonwood Bible. I hope to read Bean Trees soon and then the sequel.

so many books so little time :)


message 19: by Sarah (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:56PM) (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) I'm also going to add my vote for Sera's recommendation of East of Eden. It's one of my favorite books ever. I love the questions it brings up about good and evil, nature vs. nurture, and the power of love.


message 20: by Meghan (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:56PM) (new)

Meghan After reading Shogun, I can't believe they chose that either. But this club selects the books ahead of time. We pick the books we want to read for the whole year (although there generally are two dates left open for mid-year selections). It works well for us because it gives you plenty of time to read the books. Plus, we try to meet every 6 weeks (instead of once a month) and don't meet in December or over the summer. So generally we get about 8 or 9 books in. I think that's the only way you can fit in a book of this magnitude.

And I totally agree with you on the whole too many books and too little time. My "new to read own" pile just had to go to two piles-hard cover and soft." I need to stop going to Barnes and Noble.

Let me think on the recommendation though. I know I have some, I need to peruse my bookshelves though.


message 21: by Meghan (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:56PM) (new)

Meghan Yeah Sarah, you found another Steinbeck soul. Maybe I'll come around and actually read one of his. It's got to be better than Dickens!


message 22: by Meghan (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:56PM) (new)

Meghan Oh, Sera. Have you ever read any Michener? Hawaii is my favorite. (Although seriously, skip the first chapter. It bogs people down so they can't get past it and then they give up the book. The formation of the islands really has nothing to do with the rest of the story.)

I enjoyed Alaska too. Chesapeake and Texas were okay. South Pacific is what I think made him originally famous. I haven't read it yet.


message 23: by Sarah (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:56PM) (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) Part of why I enjoy East of Eden (and I think I've said this to you before, Meghan) is because it takes place in the Salinas valley in CA which is near(ish) me. So while some may be bored by Steinbeck's three page description of a wheat field and its rocks, I'm interested because I can really picture it. I may have seen that very field, in fact.

I can't believe I have never been to the Steinbeck museum or the Steinbeck library in Salinas. I think I feel a road trip coming on -- soon.


message 24: by Tiffany (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:56PM) (new)

Tiffany Ooh - the Steinbeck museum would be a great trip. Unfortunately I don't know anyone down here in SoCal who would be interested in making the 5 hour drive with me.


message 25: by Sera (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:56PM) (new)

Sera Meghan, I have heard about Michener, good things, too, but I've never read him. I'm going to see whether I can pick up Hawaii this week. I have a half price book store near me at work so they might have it.

Your book club is interesting. We don't read a book in December, but we do go through the summer, and even though we pick 4-5 books at a time, it's tough to get people to read anything lengthy.

I've been dawdling the last two days about what I should read next. One of the reasons that I keep so many books around is so that I have a good variety from which to choose, depending on what mood I'm in. I'm trying to reach out of my comfort zone for my next few choices before I read TPOTE. Hmmm, I think maybe I'll go with The Color of Water and then, Heartsick, which is a story about a female serial killer.


message 26: by whichwaydidshego, the sage of sass (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:57PM) (new)

whichwaydidshego | 1996 comments Mod
Over the years I have enjoyed Steinbeck, but a couple of years ago I started reading East of Eden and could not get past the coldness and violence. Granted the events in my life changed for the... colder... as well, but the violence of it was so vivid I was actually sick. Sarah, for someone who cannot stand to see blood on TV, I'm surprised you can read such vivid details about brutality and blood. To me imagination is far worse than seeing it. (That's why Hitchcock, for instance, was so good.)

I will definitely second your recommendation for The Eyre Affair and all that follows. Jasper Fforde shows genius I am exceedingly jealous of. Exceedingly.

I have to say, of modern books, one that stands out as outstanding is The English Patient. I really didn't like the movie (though the music from it is fantastic), but when living in Europe without a TV I read any book in English I laid my hands on. Thank God this one come into my possession! Wow! It's story rises like mingling smoke from a cigarette - you know, those beautiful ethereal streams - and floats up until it eventually dissipates. Fantastic read!

I may be speaking to the wrong crowd here, but when reading Bridget Jones' Diary I laughed my bootaki off!!! I read the original British version, so the weight listings were in stones and some of the vernacular was more British. To me that made it funnier. It's not great fiction, but a fun read that will make you laugh out loud! (Don't think you know everything if you've seen the movie, either - as usual, the book is far better!) As a GG person, this is a good pop-fiction book!

I think The Virgin Suicides is a compelling, if at times disturbing, read. I seriously could not put it down. Living in Florence with all there is to do and see, I only wanted to know what happened next in this book. I haven't seen the movie (so it's not been tainted for me) so I can't compare them, and it has been long enough that I don't recall it fully. I just know it gets top marks from me.

I would also recommend Smilla's Sense of Snow. I picked it up from a Goodwill for a buck-fiddy. I'd seen the movie and thought it was deep and intriguing. It is written by a Danish guy, so the style is different than maybe we are used to, but it is an incredibly fascinating thriller-type story played out within two cultures - the post-colonial Danish and Greenlandic Inuit. It's cold in some ways, reflecting both the culture, the weather, and the subject. I feel like I'm doing the opposite of selling this book, but I have to say it is really, really well done.

Okay, I suppose I could have just listed those and been done with it. Then I'd not feel so bad if I included some others... but I think I've said just about enough for one spell.

I confess, though, I will have to be back as I haven't even mentioned my top four books!!!


message 27: by whichwaydidshego, the sage of sass (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:57PM) (new)

whichwaydidshego | 1996 comments Mod
OMG!! I just realized looking at my post that all but one of my book recommendations were made into movies! I SO did not notice that as I was writing. Two of them I saw before reading, one after, and one not at all. It's a little funny.


message 28: by Abby (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:57PM) (new)

Abby | 3 comments I just happened to come across your Book Club and was excited to see some of the books that were recommended. Lots of great ones! I was wondering if any of you have read The Glass Castle? I really enjoyed this memoir. I tend to usually read fiction, but this one was a quick read for me. Well written and just an amazing story about growing up.


message 29: by Meghan (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:57PM) (new)

Meghan Sera, do I remember correctly that you like Color of Water? We had to read that for my book club and I remember just struggling to get through it. I think I have a hard time with memoirs. Just wondering what your thoughts were on it.


message 30: by Meghan (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:57PM) (new)

Meghan Michele! I LOVED The English Patient (the book). But I confess I enjoyed the movie too. Naveen Andrews is just, well, enjoyable (heh). I thought it was funny though that the love affair that the whole movie was wrapped around was only a tiny little blip in the book. What Ralph Fiennes won't do to get more screen time! LOL

But I would recommend this book too. It's excellent!


message 31: by Meghan (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:57PM) (new)

Meghan Abby - welcome to the group! I've noticed the Glass Castle at the book store lately but haven't picked it up. Can you share what it's about?


message 32: by Sarah (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:57PM) (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) Michele, I don't like to see blood but reading about it doesn't bother me so much. And I LOVED Bridget Jones' Diary! I confess - I love chick lit and I think Bridget Jones set the bar.


message 33: by Abby (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:58PM) (new)

Abby | 3 comments Meghan~ The Glass Castle is a memoir about a woman's childhood in a very eccentric family. The book is very well written and some of the stories Walls shares in her book are shocking! It makes you appreciate your own upbringing no matter how normal or crazy it was. It's worth the read. I don't usually read memoirs, I tend to read fiction but I really enjoyed the book.


message 34: by Sera (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:58PM) (new)

Sera The Glass Castle is an incredible read. Most books about child abuse are about the physical or sexual aspects of it. This book is different because it deals with the issue of neglect. I think that one of the most interesting points about the book was how the youngest child who always had people outside of the family take care of her ended up very different in later life from her siblings. I really loved this book.


message 35: by Sera (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:58PM) (new)

Sera Hi, Meghan.

I just started The Color of Water. I'll circle back with you on the topic as I get farther into it.

I'm a sucker for memoirs - I loved A Million Little Pieces and the sequel, My Friend Leonard, irrespective of the controversy. The Glass Castle is also excellent. I'm going to try to get to Borrack Obama's memoir, too, within the next couple of months.


message 36: by Sarah (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:58PM) (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) Another interesting memoir by a neglected child is Breaking the Perfect Ten by Tracey Lindsay Melchior. Her mother's new husband didn't want kids around so she rented a house for her ten- and eight-year-old daughters and left them there to fend for themselves with only dogs for company.


message 37: by Alison, the guru of grace (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:58PM) (new)

Alison | 1282 comments Mod
The Glass Castle is a must read. It's not a plea for sympathy--it's just a straightforward re-telling of true events. She doesn't try to sway the reader to any kind of case or cause. She just lets you make your own judgements, or not.


message 38: by whichwaydidshego, the sage of sass (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:58PM) (new)

whichwaydidshego | 1996 comments Mod
I could have sworn The Glass Castle was on our list... that's very strange. In fact, it was the only reason I picked it up! The hardback is on sale at B&N for like $4 if you are interested. (I had already picked up the paperback a while back so was bummed I could have got it for so much less!!!)


message 39: by whichwaydidshego, the sage of sass (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:58PM) (new)

whichwaydidshego | 1996 comments Mod
Naveen Andrews is simply scrumptious. I can't get enough of his character in LOST. But as for the film The English Patient, it pales to the book and as you said only magnifies a small portion of the storyline of the book. But the music from it - so fantastic!


message 40: by Sarah (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:58PM) (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) It's good to know, because I HATED the movie with a fiery passion, and thus have been avoiding the book. But I'll have to give The English Patient a try.


message 41: by Jen Manning (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:58PM) (new)

Jen Manning | 34 comments If you like Glass Castle, I would recommend Change Me Into Zeus's Daughter by Barbara Robinette Moss.


message 42: by Alison, the guru of grace (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:58PM) (new)

Alison | 1282 comments Mod
Can't help thinking of the Seinfeld episode where Jerry and Elaine go see the English Patient...I can't remember the particulars...I think Elaine is crying and Jerry's just miserable or something...


message 43: by whichwaydidshego, the sage of sass (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:58PM) (new)

whichwaydidshego | 1996 comments Mod
"with a fiery passion..." Fantastic! I love such visceral responses! Try the book. FAR, FAR better!


message 44: by Sarah (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:58PM) (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) Yes, for me, a fiery passion is just shy of the white hot heat of a thousand suns, which is how much I hated Gangs of New York.


message 45: by Meghan (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:58PM) (new)

Meghan Just note that the English Patient (the book) can drag a bit in a lot of places. It's very slow, like molasses. But it's very good.

And generally I don't like memoirs. But I do have to say that I enjoyed Mia Farrow's (is hers a memoir or an autobiography--and what's the difference? Is there a difference?). I strongly disliked her "with a fiery passion" and thought she was ridiculous during her divorce. But after reading her book, I've come to really respect her (mainly because she owned up to her part of the circus that was her divorce). She admitted her wrongs and moved on. I respect that. So I guess I'm going to have to add White Castle now to my ever-growing to-read pile! Thanks ladies for the info!


message 46: by Sarah (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:58PM) (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) Um, Glass Castle. It's not a book about mini hamburgers. LOL


message 47: by whichwaydidshego, the sage of sass (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:58PM) (new)

whichwaydidshego | 1996 comments Mod
OMG!!! So completely hysterical! I say your last message at the top of my update feed and laughed sooo hard. I had to come and read if it was ME who'd said White Castle instead of Glass Castle! Waaaaaay too funny.


message 48: by Alison, the guru of grace (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:59PM) (new)

Alison | 1282 comments Mod
O.K., I may be the only one interested in this, but I'm going with it...

The English Patient "Seinfeld", Season 8, Episode 151.

Elaine and her boyfriend see The English Patient; she absolutely hates it and that makes her unpopular and her boyfriend dumps her. Elaine's dislike for The English Patient alienates her from everyone. She lies to Peterman and says that she hasn't seen the film, and he immediately takes steps to correct the situation. Elaine's plane to Tunisia was supposed to play the movie Sack Lunch but then was hijacked by the angry Dominicans, who are all wearing pale blue "#1 Dad" T-shirts. They demand a different movie, so The English Patient is played instead, much to Elaine's chagrin.

There is really NOTHING you can't find on the internet.


message 49: by Abby (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:59PM) (new)

Abby | 3 comments Thanks Jen, I added Change Me Into Zeus's Daughter to my must read list along w/ Sarah's recommendation of Breaking the Perfect 10. They both sound like good reads. Plus it's giving me other memoirs to read b/c I usually shy away from them. I did read Goldie Hawn's book awhile back and did enjoy it.


message 50: by Sera (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:59PM) (new)

Sera Thanks, Jen and Sarah. I've added them to my list, as well. I'm reading The Color of Water and loving it - - I love memoirs :)


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