Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The books of wine club

Though my book group really does seem to be more of a wine-and-food group, we do read and talk about books, however briefly. The book we read for this last meeting was Per Petterson's "Out Stealing Horses," a novel that combines the experiences of a Norwegian man who has retreated to a secluded cabin after a family tragedy, and his reminiscences about summers spent as a youth at a similar cabin with his father. It's a very contemplative book, at times on the slow side (I found myself skimming over some of the longer descriptions), and with a few surprises. It reminded me a little of Marilynne Robinson's "Gilead" in form and feeling, though her book is vastly better. I enjoyed reading "Out Stealing Horses," but in the end, I can't remember much of its details, just its feeling.

It was up to me as host to offer up a handful of titles to vote on for our next book. It can't be a book anyone's read yet. I suggested "Black Swan Green" by David Mitchell, "Origin" by Diana Abu-Jabber and "The Man Who Loved China" by Simon Winchester. Another member also suggested Tana French's "In the Woods."

But the winner was my final suggestion: ""Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex" by Mary Roach.

The group read Roach's "Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers" a few years ago and loved it. It's a super-funny book, which of course isn't what you'd expect, but if you want to know more about what happens to bodies ... in anatomy labs, at the FBI's body farm, at funeral homes, well, this is the book to read. Yeah, you'll be grossed out, but you'll laugh while grimacing.

So you can guess that when I brought out "Bonk," which combines Roach's funny and informative writing with a topic near and dear to, well, many people, the consensus was, "We're reading that."

Let's hope it lives up to our expectations!


  1. Oooh! I wanna know how that book is. :) I read Stiff too at the recommendation of my friend and really liked it. I heard Spook (her second book) was good too but since it dealt with the supernatural, it wasn't as scientific/hard-evidence based.

    As a side note, there's a book club here that tries to find wines from the region(s) discussed in the book they're reading-you know, 'cuz then it's officially related. ;) heehee.

  2. Oh, Bonk is great. I think your group will have a lot of fun with it.

    You gain great respect for her husband, let me say.

  3. Oh, I loved "Stiff"! I didn't know she had this book out. I'm going to put it near the top of my must-read list.

  4. I really liked Out Stealing Horses. I'm going to have to go to the library and check out Bonk and Stiff!

  5. This made me so excited to go to my library tonight! Unfortunately, Bonk was checked out, but I did bring home Stiff! I can't wait to read it! :) Thanks for posting this.

  6. "Stiff" is definitely an entertaining read. I haven't read "Spook" yet, but it's also on my list. "Bonk" promises to be quite entertaining!