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Good news for readers of classics! The Davis-Kidd Classics Club reformed last fall here at Parnassus Books! We will meet several times over this year to talk about important, older books (generally published before 1960) that we either missed or want to revisit. Scroll down for upcoming dates and book selections!
"It's all about the book."
My favorite question in author interviews on Shelf Awareness or the New York Times Book Review is "What books are on your bedside table?" I think it reveals something about a person - not sure exactly what - but I find it fascinating to see what people "intend" to read. Taking a look at mine reveals what? A jumbled mess of hope-to-reads and carefully chosen titles awaiting.....
The Last Bookaneer - Matthew Pearl
3 bookaneers (literary pirates who steal writers' manuscripts) sail to Samoa to steal Robert Louis Stevenson's latest work and make a fortune for themselves. I loved Pearl's The Dante Club and The Poe Shadow.
Dark Places - Gillian Flynn
Last month I read Flynn's Sharp Objects. This one shows how she has continued to evolve as a writer, eventually hitting it big with Gone Girl. Here, the young survivor of her family's murder tries to find the real killer 25 years later, hoping to free her imprisoned brother who was convicted long ago. I'm half-done and can't put it down, and yes, it is very dark.
Deep South - Paul Theroux
The acclaimed travel writer turns his eye on our own region, but not on Nashville, Charlotte or Atlanta. Over 4 years, he makes road trips to small towns and rural areas of Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama and other states in the South, talking to people of all types, races, and social standing to give an outsider's picture of the southern states today. Fascinating, and sure to be controversial, especially "down here". (out Sept.29)
The American Heiress - Daisy Goodwin
The Gilded Age, Edith Wharton novels, Downton Abbey - I love all that. So I look forward to reading this story inspired by the unhappy marriage of Consuelo Vanderbilt near the turn of the last century when rich young women often were sent to England to marry aristocracy there.
Oh, the Glory of It All - Sean Wilsey
I lived in the Bay Area during the time of this memoir, the 1970s. Being at home with 2 babies, I guess I lived vicariously through the society pages of the San Francisco Chronicle and Herb Caen's daily columns. This memoir by the son of one of that city's society mavens (herself a thinly-veiled character in Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City) promises to be an "exhilarating tour of life in the strangest, wealthiest and most grandiose of families." I lucked in to this one for $1 at a library sale 7 years ago, and still looking forward to reading it.
The Signature of All Things - Elizabeth Gilbert
This one has all the elements of books I like - strong women, exotic settings, important historical discoveries. Plus, it has just been optioned for development by PBS Masterpiece. WGBH referred to the main character as "the rare heroine of literature whose fortunes are neither rescued nor ruined by a man." The author is Ann's dear friend - what can I say? I'm anxious to give this one a try.
No telling when I will get to all these books with my book club reading schedule. In the meantime they occupy space, and seeing them on my nightstand is comforting to me. I doubt I'll ever run out of anything to read.
Parnassus Book Club Selections
May - Prayers for the Stolen, by Jennifer Clement
June - Euphoria, by Lily King
Parnassus Classics Club - For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway
Parnassus book club meetings are free and open to anyone. Buy the book, read the book and join the discussion!
Kathy Schultenover, Book Club Coordinator