The Year of Magical Thinking


Thank you all for coming last night, what a great discussion. For those of you who missed the group, this month we read The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion. I think what I love most about our group is just how honest everyone is about there feelings for the books that we read. At the beginning of every meeting I always ask, did everyone read and finish, what normally follows is a chorus of yes, no, halfway through. My favorite comments this month were Connie, when asked if she liked the book she replied URGGGGGGG the pain was relentless ... for me to read ! Followed by Lori saying how much she loved the book and the way it dealt with the topic of loss. Its so interesting to hear what everyone's view point is, especially on such a dark topic. For those of you who have not read the book here is a link to a very complimentary review from the NYC. The premise of the book is about how Didion deals with the sudden death of her husband just before their 40th anniversary. Didion fills the book with a unique way of describing how she takes the next year searching for answers and relief for the loss of her partner. Even the book jacket is used to highlight her loss, the letters JOHN are spelt out within her name in another color.

Didion talks about loss and being a widow, making the situation feel very real for many of the readers, Rose felt many similarities in her life that parallel Didion, from the places they had been to the the medical issues that arose within their families. We all felt some sort of connection with the topic of death and the way that we approach it, all commenting on how it always seems that when your not paying attention or have just walked away that it happens like they are waiting for you to leave.

Carol quoted this poem by Jane Kenyon about the feeling of waiting for loss to happen. How we go through life's routine and then one day it will not be the same any more.

We did find the book a little relentless and were left wondering if she was wallowing in self pity. She came across as quite a cold character showing no emotional break downs or pure feelings of sorrow, but perhaps this is just the way that she dealt with her loss ? The book is full of quotes and references to non-fiction titles, she even references Emily Post and the appropriate etiquette of Mourning. Perhaps she is just a very analytical person and the regimented structure helps ?

In the back of my book were a list of book club questions, one of which mentioned that she was planning on making this a broad way play, I have to admit the idea of watching this on stage sounds terrible and depressing. It made it onto the stage, and Vanessa Redgrave played Didion ! Here is the link to the performance review let me know what you think !

I'm looking forward to a brighter lighter topic next month, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.

Happy Reading,

What every one has been reading:

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold fry by Rachel Joyce
Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
Grace Notes by Brian Doyle (author of Mink River)
The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman (author of Lexus and the olive tree)
Sleeping with the Enemy by Hal Vaughn
Other Voices Other Rooms by Truman Capote
To Have and Have Not by Hemmingway
Crooked letter Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin
Bring up the Bodies by Hillary Mantel (author of Wolf Hall)
The Push Cart Prize - Short stoories collection
Elsewhere by Richard Russo
A Beautiful Blue Death by Charles Finch
The Round House by Loiuse Erdich
Light Behavior by Barbara Kinsolver
Galileo's Daughter by Dava Sobel
Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran
Fall of the Giants by Ken Follett
1491 by Charles Mann

2013 list of book club reads :

February : The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
March : The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
April : Elanor of Aquitaine by Alison Weir
May : Dancing for Degas by Kathryn Wagner
June : Lightning by Jean Echenoz
July : The Language of Flowers by Lauren Diffenburg
August : Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka
September : The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent
October : A Mountain of Crumbs by Elena Gorokhova
November : Down the Nile by Rosemary Mahoney
December : The Ghost Map by Steve Johnson
Happy Reading


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