So it begins... The Batavian would like to proudly announce the start of its Summer Book Club. What does that mean? That means we gather together some recommendations from local literati, put them into a neat and tidy package, present them to you and hope that some sort of discussion ensues.
There are no requirements to join our book club — though we may raffle off a bookish prize or two for a lucky reader among those who join up and help spark some conversation. Here's how we'll do it for now:
If you're interested in reading any of the books we recommend, let us know.
Start a blog. We'll see it.
Just make sure you're registered for the site, click on the link to create content and select 'Blog entry.' Then just say what you've got say. For example: "Hey, that book So Brave, Young, and Handsome sounds great. I think I'll pick up a copy from Present Tense (on Washington Avenue here in Batavia) and get started reading it." That's all we should need from folks to get started.
In the meantime, check out these three recommendations from Erica Caldwell of Present Tense bookstore and Leslie DeLooze from the Richmond Memorial Library. We'll have three more reviews Wednesday plus more announcements about the book club.
So Brave, Young, and Handsome
By Leif Enger
Enger again explores the often transparent line between good and bad, focusing his story on characters who fall in the gray in-between. Failed novelist Monte Becket accompanies his friend, Glendon Hale, a former outlaw, to Mexico to find Hale's estranged wife. Their adventures along the way, and the surprising end of their journey, make for an exciting and thought-provoking read. —Erica Caldwell
Book excerpt: "Not to disappoint you, but my troubles are nothing—not for an author, at least. Common blots aside, I have none of the usual Big Artillery: I am not penniless, brilliant or an orphan; have never been to war, suffered starvation or lashed myself to a mast."
By Joshilyn Jackson
This hilarious story set down South tells the story of the Crabtrees and the Fretts, two feuding families. Nonny, who was born a Crabtree but raised by the Fretts, is in between in many ways. A book group favorite that inspired spirited discussion about everything from deaf-mute individuals to dieting. — Erica Caldwell
Book excerpt: "The war began thirty years, nine months, and seven days ago, when I was deaf and blind, floating silent and serene inside Hazel Crabtree. I was secreted in Hazel’s womb, which was cloaked in her pale and freckled skin, which was in turn hidden by the baggy sweatsuits she adopted so she would look fat instead of pregnant. Which was ridiculous, because who ever heard of a fat Crabtree? They were all tall and weedy, slouching around like wilting stems, red hair blooming out the top."
I Shall Not Want
by Julia Spencer-Fleming
Julia Spencer-Fleming’s sixth book in the Clare Fergusson/Russ VanAlstyne mystery series set in Millers Kill, NY won’t disappoint fans. Julia, who was the 2005 author for “A Tale for Three Counties” (the area-wide reading program), keeps the momentum going with this book. The first chapter is a cliff-hanger that sets the scene; the action then backs up to the months prior to these events. As usual, she includes an interesting contemporary issue (this time, it’s illegal aliens and farm labor) as well as characters you come to know like friends. Great for summer reading, the author will be visiting Richmond Memorial Library on Friday, August 15. After the fifth book, readers wondered where the story could go. How well do you think the author succeeded in continuing the story of Millers Kill and the relationship between Clare and Russ? —Leslie DeLooze