Saturday, March 14, 2015

March Book Club Report

We had 19 of our 22 members in attendance at 10-12 Book Club this month, to discuss Vicious, by V. E. Schwab. This speculative fiction novel about EOs (ExtraOrdinary people, i.e., superheroes) was a big hit, garnering the highest rating so far this year, a 9.33 out of 10! Everyone liked the moral ambivalence and the fading of black and white to gray as you love the villain and hate the self-styled hero, and most noted by everyone was the wonderful characters Schwab creates.

Next month we are taking a turn for the realistic with the Alex Award-winner Tell the Wolves I’m Home, by Carol Rifka Brunt, a book about family, coming of age, and AIDS in the 1980s. And for May we will read either the paranormal romance Meet Me at the River, by Nina de Gramont, or the high fantasy book The Blue Sword, by Robin McKinley, as our last book club book of the year before the summer--we're waiting to hear the final decision from our club members!

Other books we considered:

No Safety in Numbers, by Dayna Lorentz
Ketchup Clouds, by Annabelle Pitcher
The Martian, by Andy Weir
The 5th Wave, by Rick Yancey

Thirteen of our 19 members gathered to discuss The Alchemyst, by Michael Scott, at 6+7 Book Club. The split on this book was kind of surprising: While I would not identify this particularly as a "boy book," since it has both a male and a female protagonist and is a fantasy novel, the vote really skewed, with three perfect 10s and a 9 from our guys in attendance, while the girls who read it (about half made it past the halfway mark!) gave it 7s. The final score was an 8, but that's artificially high since we don't let anyone who didn't read at least half of it vote. Those who declined to finish it would probably have brought that down to a 7.

Next month we are reading The Maze Runner, by James Dashner, a book all seem to be anticipating with enthusiasm; and the following month we will read The Cabinet of Wonders, by Marie Rutkoski.

Other books we considered:

The Candymakers, by Wendy Mass
The Apothecary, by Maile Meloy
Vampirates, by Justin Somper
Dead Girls Don't Lie, by Jennifer Shaw Wolf

The 8+9 Book Club was represented by seven of its 12 members as we talked about Seraphina, the high-concept dragon fantasy by Rachel Hartman, whose sequel (Shadow Scale) released on March 10. Here is my opinion, from 2013, of Seraphina:
This elegantly written book was instantly and completely involving. After reading the entire story (in one day) and coming up for air, I had a lot of questions about the dragons’ background and how they came to take human form when so many of them so despised humanity; but while I was in the moment, all I could do was admire the emotional and philosophical complexity of the society that Hartman created and get completely caught up in Seraphina’s story. The world-building was consistent, perfectly plausible, and more than a little fascinating. The best part about the book was its beautiful, lyrical language.
Anarda and I were nervous that some people would find the book too slow or confusing, and indeed a couple said they had some trouble getting into it, and also keeping track of all the characters. But I am delighted to say that pretty much everybody in the club liked the book quite a bit, and gave it a solid 8.5 rating. We are all looking forward to getting our hands on Shadow Scale!

Next month's book is Time Between Us, by Tamara Ireland Stone, and for May we will read Kill Me Softly, by Sarah Cross.

All book club members who didn't attend this month please remember to pick up your book! There are copies waiting for you at both libraries at the Circulation Desk.

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