Reading Roundup: Recent Reads by the Bealeton Book Club
The Bealeton Book Club has had some lively and interesting discussions in recent month as they discussed three recent selections – all of which were greatly enjoyed by the group.
December Discussion – The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
A. J. Fikry is a curmudgeonly bookseller on an isolated island. He owns a rare copy of “Tamerlane,” an epic poem by Edgar Allan Poe, which gets stolen early in the book. A surprise appears on his doorstep and he chooses to step out of his comfort zone and selfishness, in the process gaining purpose and a more affable personality. The novel follows his change through several years, which brings him a family, romance, and perhaps more fulfillment than he would have gained before.
The book club members enjoyed the book. There was a lively discussion about A.J.’s disgust for e-readers, which migrated to a debate about how modern technology has changed the face of communication, with a loss of letter-writing and long phone calls, but has in other ways made our lives easier. The book had hilarious, serious and poignant moments, as well as a few surprising twists that were appreciated by the members.
January Discussion – The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
Members agreed that this was one of the best books the club has read. This historical fiction novel tells the story of two sisters who take part (in different ways) in the French Resistance to Nazi occupation during World War II. The hardships they survive and the ethical choices they make resonated with the readers. Surprising twists, action-packed scenes, and beautiful narrative made this saga enjoyable and irresistible.
February Discussion – Still Alice, by Lisa Genova
This is a novel about a middle-aged woman who is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease. Alice is a professor of psychology at Harvard and struggles with the realities of losing her memories and sense of space. Her family attempts to cope with decisions about her care, genetic testing, and going on with their lives as she copes with a devastating and scary diagnosis. The book is written from Alice’s perspective, which made it feel even more real.
The readers had a very insightful discussion about the book and the effects of Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related diseases. Many had experience with either the caregiving or personal aspects of the condition. The book was thought-provoking and the subject matter was serious. The readers mostly agreed that this was a good read that generated a lot of great discussion.
The Bealeton Book Clubs meet once per month. If you would like to join us, please check our schedule for dates, times and reading selections.
Bealeton Evening Book Club, 3rd Wednesday of the month, 7:30 p.m.
Bealeton Afternoon Book Club, 3rd Thursday of the month, 2:30 p.m.
∼ Mary Sue, Adult Reference, Bealeton branch library