I recently joined a second book club, sponsored by one of our local yarn shops (Woven Arts). The idea was to read fiber-related fiction. We started with Women of the Silk, by Gail Tsukiyama, and then did The Lady and the Unicorn, by Tracy Chevalier. Both were excellent choices. But then we decided to expand our theme to include fiction that dealt with the artistic and/or creative process in general. This gives us a lot more choices. Today, we discussed The Passion of Artemesia, by Susan Vreeland (also the author of The Girl in Hyacinth Blue.)
What an interesting discussion this book provoked. We were fortunate to have a woman present who is an art historian, and she provided a lot of technical details for us. I had read this book previously, and enjoyed it at the time, but my appreciation was enhanced greatly by the wide-ranging discussion. It's always a special treat to enjoy a book twice...once when I read it, and again when I get to share it with others. I definitely recommend this particular book to any book clubs looking for good titles. Our book for next month is Spending, by Mary Gordon, another one that I've read previously and very much enjoyed. I look forward to re-reading it.
In the comments of the last entry, Jenika asks about the depression factor of reading My Sister's Keeper. I'm almost done with the book, and I do have to admit that it touches a lot of the "parenthood" buttons. From the moment I first knew I was pregnant the first time, there is a low level of anxiety that never leaves me. The list of worries for our children grows longer daily. And it doesn't change when they grow up and leave home. A whole new set of worries start occurring to me. Fortunately, it stays low-level, and coming from a long line of Jewish mothers, I firmly believe that if I take the time to worry about it, I am protecting my children. It's the things I never think to worry about that I worry about. (Convoluted thinking, I am well aware.)
Anyway, the point is that yes, the story has moments where it hits too close to home, and I have to take a breather. But Picoult's writing is compelling. Her books usually end on a forward-looking note, so I am counting on this one to do the same. I'll let you know.