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Monday, October 12, 2015

Book Groups

Over the years, I’ve belonged to several book groups, usually part of a newcomers’ group. When we moved two years ago, the book group was the first one I joined. Why? Because I knew it would introduce me to books I didn’t normally read. I tend to read in genres I like. So a book group would challenge me.

This group is different from other book clubs I’ve belonged to. The local library provides books to reader groups. That’s turned out to be good and not-so-good. Not-so-good in that the participants don’t get to choose the books. Good in that we don’t have to buy the books. Which is doubly good because then I don’t feel guilty when I don’t finish a book.

I know many people always finish the book they started. Not me. I have too many books (free or otherwise) on my Kindle to waste time on a book I don’t like. And there have been several since I joined this book group.

Last month, I mentioned we’re reading Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee. Since there’s a lot of controversy over this book, I decided it was high time I read To Kill a Mockingbird. I finished it last week and really enjoyed it. I had to get past the frequent use of the N-word. I know it was written in a different time—time when that word was commonly used. Still, I cringed.

Another thing that bothered me—and probably only bothers a writer—was the point of view. Scout, from ages six to nine, tells the story. Most of the time the story reflects the thoughts of a child. That was good because viewing the events through the eyes of an innocent made the story much more powerful. Yet some of the vocabulary is that of an adult. I know, a nit-picky thing, but it yanked me out of the story.

Now I'm eager to read Go Set a Watchman. If only to see her writing style. Did it change with Mockingbird?

 Have you read a classic--a prize-winning book--with elements that bothered you?


  1. Hi Diane. In TKAM, the grown up Scout wrote it when she was 23, looking back on her childhood experiences, so yes, much adult vocab. It's a tricky novel in that it ends at the beginning and everything is then a recount on the night the children almost died.

    I don't get bothered by the N word as it was written in the 1960s about the 1930s, so that was the word, even though it sounds ugly today. I'm too busy reading what I like to join a book club at this stage. I'm with you. I toss a book if I don't like it, but I usually give it a fair go. :-)

    1. Thanks, Denise. I didn't realize Scout was 23. Her vocab makes more sense now. Usually I give a book 3 chapters. If I'm not hooked, then so long and welcome to another book. Thanks for stopping by.


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