Well, then, I ask you: did a giant alligator show up to your last book club?
This is why my book club rocks:
That's right! In honor of our book Swamplandia!, Jeanie came as a gator.
My neighborhood book club's December read was Swamplandia! by Karen Russell, listed as a NYTimes top ten book of the 2011.
It is about a troubled family of gator wrestlers in Florida, and how they deal with their mom's death. Thirteen year old Ava is left to fend for herself when her father disappears, her brother leaves for work on the mainland, and her sister falls in love with a ghost. The swamps were beautifully described and the chapters in Kiwi's pov were hilarious, which (personally) I needed to counteract Ava's heartbreaking story.
I read as an e-book, which means I did not see this gorgeous cover-- though this makes the story appear deceptively whimsical, in my opinion. It's got some painfully dark moments.
The book club was split on the book-- there were some depressing themes, and several people said they had trouble getting into it.
I thought it was beautifully written, but Russell really sucker-punches you at times (which says so much for her ability as a writer, but it is tough on the reader). As a group we had a GREAT time, though, which is really the point.
Our January neighborhood pick is The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, and I'm lobbying for The Hunger Games as the February book.
My Middle Grade book club at the neighborhood elementary school is also rocking. Our pick for the semester is MT Anderson's Whales on Stilts.
I'm a huge fan of Anderson's dystopian YA Feed, and as I read WoS I revel in his talent.
This book is hilarious, and I don't mean in a middle-school only kind of way. It's irreverent and madly ingenious.
It is so awesome that I am having A LOT of trouble waiting to read it with the group.
We're reading slowly, so we will finish it in a couple of months. Look for a full review in the future!