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Monday, October 27, 2008

Tonight's Discussion ... THE STORY OF EDGAR SAWTELLE

Monday night in the store (10/27 @ 6:30) we discuss THE STORY OF EDGAR SAWTELLE, which was our October book club pick. It is quite a long book at over 500 pages. All are welcome.

As is always the case, I am up against the wall and rushing to finish the book in time for the discussion. And this is why I struggle with book clubs in general … I rarely choose to read a book that large groups are interested in reading, perhaps because I am, in no small measure, obstinate. So when compelled—shall we say—to read a book as part of a group "project" I fall woefully behind. I always have three to four books going at once and somehow manage to move the required reading to the bottom of the stack. All of which makes me a very, very bad candidate for book club leader … I fully admit this. So after this month Deirdre takes over book club duties and I'm happy to hand it over to her; and I'm quite sure everyone will be much happier with her as leader/organizer as opposed to me. I'll likely participate in discussions, but I think (I know) she is much more congenially suited to a book club than me.

With all of that said, I think Deirdre does have some good ones in the queue for the coming months, including:

* LOVING FRANK (November)

* HANNAH'S DREAM (December, with author Diane Hammond joining the discussion)

* CHURCH OF THE DOG (early 2009, with author Kaya McLaren visiting the store on May 28!)

But back to THE STORY OF EDGAR SAWTELLE. So many people have read the book, and any and all are welcome to join in the discussion. Don't get me wrong ... I am not panning the book. I'm just being a grump who wishes the book was perhaps 100+ pages shorter. It's a very ambitious first novel, and one that deserves much of the attention it is receiving. The supernatural and suspenseful elements of the book make me think it is well suited to people who liked THE LIFE OF PI. Very different books, but there's something there that connects the two somehow. If you can pull through the first 100 pages, you will undoubtedly go on to finish the book ... but in my opinion it's getting through those first 100 that provides the challenge. Some editing could have been done. It was likely a skilled editor that once said something along the lines of "in every fat book there is a thin book trying to get out." THE STORY OF EDGAR SAWTELLE is a good read that could have been made even better if that thinner book had been allowed to come through.

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