Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Choose Your Own Adventure Book Club (Adventure 2)

Month two of my book club's Choose Your Own Adventure theme has come and gone and we are loving the change. (Click here to read the original post about what we're doing differently if you missed it the first time).  We've only met using this system twice now, but I honestly feel like it's going to be a lasting change.  At each meeting we're all logged into Goodreads on whatever device is handy, adding books to our TBR.  I think that's exactly what we were all looking for when we started and it's a great way to expand your horizons, especially since some of us have such varying tastes. 

April's theme was "Not A Novel", meaning you could read non-fiction, short stories, graphic novels, comics, poetry, memoir, etc.  I'm going to save my list for last this time, because I am on a huge non-fiction kick, which means my list is a bit on the lengthy side.  

Rachel read Beyond Heaving Bosoms by Sarah Wendell and Cindy Tan.  The authors run the site Smart Bitches, Trashy Books and collaborated on this non-fiction analysis of the romance genre with their trademark combination of deep literary analysis and laugh out loud humor.  Hearing Rachel described it left us all lined up on the book club hold list we've started amongst ourselves. 

Halina read My Life With the Walter Boys by Ali Novak.  While it's technically a novel now, Halina first encountered it as a series of posts on the author's Wattpad page.  (Also, it's the Choose Your Own Adventure Club, so even if it were just straight up not with the theme, we don't care.  It's Choose Your OWN Adventure and going against the rules can be its own adventure).  Anyway, it's a YA romance about a girl whose parents die, sending her across the country to live with a family that has twelve sons and a totally different lifestyle.  It earned five stars from Halina, and three from another book clubber, Stephanie, who has also read it.

Stephanie read Everything That Rises Must Converge by Flannery O'Connor.  This one has been on my TBR for quite a while and although I've read a few of he stories in it, I really need to sit down and finish it up.  Stephanie loved it and it led to a great discussion of Southern Literature and how we each relate to O'Connor's stories.  AND it led to some good Southern short story recommendations (Jamie Quattro and Eudora Welty).  

Since Courtney couldn't make it, that just leaves me.  My list is fairly long and spans a fairly broad range - comics, humor, short stories, and memoir are all included.

  • Lumberjanes, Volume One by Noelle Stephenson, Grace Ellis, and Brooke Allison: a comic book series about a group of female campers who band together to fight the supernatural.  Very girl-power and friendship-themed and lots of fun to read.
  • Rex Libris, Volume 2 by James Turner: Rex Libris is another comic book series, this one based on the immortal librarian Rex Libris who saves the world from supernatural creatures on a daily basis while on the clock at Middleton Public Library.
  • I Work At a Public Library by Gina Sheridan: A collection of funny and inspiring anecdotes from public librarians across the country about their funniest and craziest experiences in working with the general public.
  • Change of Heart by Jeanne Bishop: Primarily a memoir of the author's experience of the murder of her sister, brother-in-law, and their unborn child and how she confronts and forgives the killer.  It's also about Christianity and the Christian response to both the death penalty and the sentence of life without parole, particularly for minors.  I found it to be both fascinating and challenging.
  • Get In Trouble by Kelly Link: A short story collection that is set in a skewed version of reality, where fantasy is entwined with the every day.  I'll be reviewing this later this week and can't wait to rave about it.
  • Rejoicing in Lament by J. Todd Billings: Another title that I'd put in the memoir category, although it really fits into the broader categories of Christian non-fiction and literary musings on grief and loss.  The author is diagnosed with incurable cancer at a young age and delves into studies of the Psalms of lament in order to better understand his grief.
Also, briefly, here's a short list of other titles we discussed and added to our various TBRs outside of our book club choices.  I'll try to keep a better list next time, as I'm sure we discussed more:
Next month our theme is going to be "Frienemies and BFFs".  I'd love to hear from you about any books you've read lately that fit into the "Not a Novel" theme and any recommendations you have for me to check out for next month!