Tuesday, January 31, 2012

You think your book club rocks?

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!


  1. Is this a book club or theater troop? lol Very cool group of book nerds you hang with! (TOTAL complement, btw.)

    I need to put Swamplandia on my TBR. Read an interview with the author in Poets and Writers last year, and came away very impressed.


  2. Well, my book club activities all occur online, so, sadly, there are no alligators involved. (I may or may not be a wee bit jealous about that...)

    <3 Gina Blechman

    P.S. I think I'm one of the few people who did not like M.T. Anderson's Feed...

  3. That. Is. Awesome.

    I'm adding Swamplandia to my list!

  4. Okay, I'm so jealous of your book club!!

  5. Oh my God, that's amazing. And I MUST check out MT Anderson's Whales on Stilts -- it looks like a riot!

  6. I love that someone came as a gator. That is brilliant!

  7. That is an awesome alligator. It makes me wish I could belong to a book club.

  8. I'm not in a book club but yours sound fun! Love the alligator suit.

    The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian is a really great book. Enjoy!

  9. OH my Lord, your book club does rock. I shall have to move to where you live. Oh wait...you have those pesky power outages! That doesn't really happen so much in Chicago.

  10. Both your book clubs are full of win, for the costumes and the amazing MG book choices!


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