Olive and My Book Club

Belonging to a Book Club can sometimes be a challenge. Take for instance this month. Our January selection was "Olive Kitteridge" by Elizabeth Strout © 2008 Random House.

Olive Kitterage by Elizabeth Strout, 2009 Pulitzer for Fiction

No wonder Olive Kitterage nabbed a Pulitzer!

Before Christmas I went to the Loveland Library but their copy was already gone; I didn't have any road trips planned, no Denver outings, so a book on tape wouldn't work this month. Next I checked the Poudre Library District online and all of their 4 copies were out.

Finally I chose Prospector (inter-library loan) and hoped for the best. After all, I was early and most people have time off work over the holidays. Surely they must read then?

When the calendar announced our Book Club meeting last Tuesday I was still bookless. Since I did have a business meeting that would make me late for the Book Club discussion, I opted out with regrets.

The book arrived Wednesday. Go figure.

But since "Olive" had traveled all the way from Greeley, and inter-library loans are usually short with no renewals, I dug right in.

It jazzes me to experience a story unfolding - I simply love it when I have no idea what a book or movie is about.† It's hard in this age of information to maintain such an innocence, but when it does happen, I am enthralled.

Kitterage and Pulitzer vaguely connected, but I did not know anything about the story.†† I purposely did not look at the back-of-the-book blurbs. Did not read online reviews. Nothing.

Reading a book this way is truly like taking the author's hand and allowing myself to be led around unfamiliar territory.† This book is unfamiliar Ö in style and content. Olive Kitteridge is odd, quirky and thoroughly engaging.

Thanks to the savvy readers in my Book Club for yet again launching me on a worthwhile journey.

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3 Responses to “Olive and My Book Club”

  1. Phyllis Kennemer says:

    I identify with what you are saying. I have read a great number of good books that I would not have picked up (or in some cases finished) if they had not been for book club discussions. I just got back from having lunch with some of my former library media collegues and our book discussion of "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society." It is written entirely as letters -- with a few telegrams -- as it is an historical piece set soon after WWII. Most of the members of the group were put off by the letter format at the beginning, but the character development was so interesting that we all got sucked in and really enjoyed the book.

  2. Koreen says:

    Hi Maryjo--

    I liked this book, too. Hopefully we'll see you at the next book club. This is a great site for your critique group, such a nice way to keep a blog going without all of the time commitments attached. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Cheryl Courtney says:

    I like the part about no reviews, just let the author lead you by the hand. Too many times we have the whole tale described and rated before we risk it...you done good. Thanks.

    PKK I am reading the "potato pie' book. I love the style and the characters emerging in the letters. Hurray Books and Book Clubs everywhere!

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