Florence’s Book Club is back! Hooray!
You might have noticed that BC this month has a slightly different format. That’s because we’ve noticed that there seems to often be a lot of book chat on twitter when something really captures our imaginations, but sometimes not the same engagement on the blog. A good read is hard to find and can often be a really personal thing! That’s why we’re asking for your recommendations – just send them in to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll round them up.
Flight Behaviour by Barbara Kingsolver
This book was given to me by a colleague who thought I might like it after I bestowed them with The Language of Flowers – a recent favourite of mine, so I was intrigued. Set in the farming bible belt of America, it focuses on the migration of the monarch butterflies who make their home on Dellarobia’s farm, thousands of miles north of their usual home in Mexico. Initially the story is a slow burner, setting the scene of the poverty and family dynamic Dellarobia is a part of. The butterflies attract attention at first from local church going miracle seekers, then from environmentalist and scientists. The second part of the book focuses on their arrival and work with the butterflies, which Dellarobia joins.
What struck me more than the characters was the over-riding theme of despair and hopelessness, both that the butterflies would survive their unusual surroundings, the significance of that situation with respect to global warming, and Dellarobia’s own limited life experience. As I write, I’m 150 pages from the end and still curious to see how it turns out. – Rebecca
Ellis Island by Kate Kerrigan
Kate Kerrigan is an author who has had a top spot on my Amazon wishlist for a while, and had even made it onto my bookshelf, but for one reason or another was overlooked every time I chose my next book. Eventually curiosity got the better of me and I decided that I wanted to step outside my comfort zone and read a brand new author. so Ellis Island was chosen as my next book to devour, and I am so glad that it was.
Ellis Island follows the story of Ellie and her childhood sweetheart John. When John is injured in the War of Independence, Ellie travels to America to earn the funds required to pay for an operation to allow John to walk again. When she arrives Ellie discovers that Jazz Age New York is not only a million miles away physically, the lifestyles are far removed as well.
When Ellie emigrates to America the story follows her journey and her experiences, but we continue to learn of John’s plight through his letters to Ellie.
Ellis Island is an evocative and powerful love story. In parts it actually physically warmed my heart, and at times it made it ache. I was utterly captivated by the story, I warmed to Ellie’s character instantly and hoped for her to triumph, in whatever way that might be.
Ellis Island is a story about finding your place in the world and who you are destined to share it with. I adored it, and I think you might too…
Emma – Aphrodites World
Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walters – A nostalgic story of a young Italian man falling in love with a wannabe Hollywood actress who appears at his small family hotel on the Cinque Terre coast, sent there by some reckless Hollywood actor/director. The books travels between 50’s Italy and today’s America as the Italian man tries to find his long lost American beauty. The book is funny, well written, bittersweet, a great read.
Push: A Novel by Sapphire – The book inspired the movie Precious. This is the story of teenager Precious Jones as she attends “special needs” English lessons to learn to read and write. Her story is nothing but abuse, neglect, violence and negativity. It is told in her own words in broken, mis-spelt English and reading the book is like having Precious sitting in front of you telling you her story. Very real, never patronizing, a real, inspiring book to which I think the film didn’t do justice at all.
A Night Without Armor: Poems by Jewel – poetry collection by the famous singer songwriter. This is not your high school poetry book by any means! contemporary, heartfelt, Jewel’s poems are a reflection on love, society, and growing up in Alaska.
Wild: A Journey from Lost to Found by Cheryl Strayed – real story of a young American woman goes on a trail on the Pacific Coast Trail as she grieves for the loss of her mom and tries to recover from a series of failed, broken relationships.
Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock – Matthew Quick
Those of you who know me or who’ve read Florence’s Book Club before will know that I am a bit obsessive when it comes to books, and also that I read a lot and often, so when a novel stands out for me, it REALLY stands out. Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock is the latest offering from Matthew Quick, who also wrote the critically acclaimed novel-turned-awesome-film-starring-Bradley-Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook.
Leonard Peacock made me cry as well as laugh out loud, which is a tall order. And Mr C-S read it as well and enjoyed it, which is even more of a tall order (he tends to just re-read the books he likes, which is basically everything George Orwell ever wrote and the odd crime novel if it’s by a Scottish author.)
So, in a nutshell, Leonard Peacock is technically a YA novel and it’s about a teenager who, it’s safe to say, has a lot going on in his life and who is in desperate need of, well, something. I could go on, but I won’t, I’m simply going to add in the blurb from the jacket which is what said to me ‘Gemma seriously read this book.’
Today is Leonard Peacock’s birthday. It is also the day he hides a gun in his backpack. Because today is the day he will kill his former best friend, and then himself, with his grandfather’s P-38 pistol.
But first, there are four people he wants to say goodbye to. Most of the time, Leonard believes he’s weird and sad but these friends have made him think that maybe he’s not. He wants to thank them, and say goodbye.
So readers, we hope you’ll find at least one title in here you’re keen to curl up with on a rainy afternoon. We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments and hear more suggestions!
ps. I am going to buy A Night Without Armor: Poems for my husband. When we were first going out he’d never even heard of Jewel. 😉