Wednesday, March 2, 2016

10-12 Book Club Report

There were 14 members of 10-12 Book Club in attendance on Tuesday night to discuss The Song of Achilles, by Madeline Miller.

Anarda reports that most of the club thought that the author's language was beautiful--plain, but descriptive--and felt like the bit of Homer they had read in the past years in school, with the subtle repetitions and rhythms of the language. Julia marked up her copy of the book whenever she found a particularly moving passage, and commented that there were, in fact, a lot of mark ups in the book! The experience of reading the book was an immersion in the times.

All were appalled by the brutal, power-hungry men, and their treatment of the women as possessions more than as people. The consensus was that Achilles and Patroclus were the only good men! (although Odysseus wasn't that bad). Margaret talked about the revenge, death, and fate portrayed in the Greek plays, and the volatility of the gods. The battle scenes were admired, and the portrayal of girl children versus boy children was deemed terrible! Specific scenes were picked out and discussed for their depiction of social mores: Go to war and win prizes (gold, weapons, slaves) and gain glory...oh, and fulfill that oath you made years ago. There was some discomfort expressed about the love depicted between the two men, although the consensus seemed to be that the descriptions were subtle.

One book club member mentioned how she had loved so many of the books we had read as a club over the years, and virtually everyone concurred. It's nice to hear that confirmation.

The final rating of the book was an 8.5, with the spread being between 6 and 10.

For the month of April, we will read Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, by Benjamin Alire Saenz. And for May, our last month of book club this year, the club chose The Just City, by Jo Walton.

Other books we considered:

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out
          the Window and Disappeared, by Jonas Jonasson
Ripper, by Stefan Petrucha
Proxy, by Alex London
Lock In, by John Scalzi
A Darker Shade of Magic, by Victoria Schwab
The Elegance of the Hedgehog, by Muriel Barbery

Our next meeting is on Tuesday, April 5.

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