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Posts from the ‘BookSnob Book Group’ Category

Brooklyn: The First Look At April’s Pick

[To remind you, Brooklyn is the April BookSnob book group pick…]

This story comes to you with a kind of shyness.

It’s quiet. Undramatic. Has a slow cadence. Its words are measured, cautioned.

But you guess there is a lot more there. You can sense it, but also, frankly, the back cover tips you off: news is coming to the main character, Eilis.  Devastating news.

The first hundred pages (95 in fact) that we cover here–that bad news is beyond the horizon. We can’t see it yet. We are following Eilis from Enniscorthy, Ireland to Brooklyn, New York where it has been decided that this young 20-ish woman will travel to begin her life anew.

On her own.

“Eilis would have given anything to be able to say plainly that she did not want to go, that Rose could go instead, that she would happily stay here and take care of her mother and they would manage somehow and maybe she would find other work.”

This is nothing Eilis says out loud. She does what she is told, connects with a local priest on her arrival, stays in a respectable boarding house with Mrs. Kehoe, successfully lands employment at the Brooklyn department store Bartocci’s.

If it sounds like a breathtaking adventure for Eilis, it is not.

She is doing as she was told to do. Making the ‘right choices’. All the while pushing further below the surface her profound feelings of homesickness and loss.

“…she had thought of course of her mother and Rose, but also her own life in Enniscorthy, the life she had lost and would never have again, she had kept it out of her mind…All this came to her like a terrible weight and she felt for a second that she was going to cry. It was as though an ache in her chest was trying to force tears down her cheeks despite her enormous effort to keep them back. She did not give in to whatever it was.”

This quietness is apparently Colm Toibin’s amazing ability to deal with ‘submerged emotions’.

Uh, okay.

I’m willing to agree that there must be a talent there (a deep magnificent talent) because by page 95, this book has even me feeling repressed.

Every critic seemed to love this book–god, the pressure! Maybe I can’t even imagine a day that my emotions were that submerged. Repression is not a characteristic I generally subscribe to. So mea culpa, people.

But if truth be told…at this point, I can’t but help feeling I want Eilis to buy a first-class ticket home. Or go postal at the annual church Christmas dinner. Or get hopelessly drunk and have a lesbian relationship with a boarding house roommate.

Anything. Really. I don’t care how bizarre.

But watching her sit on her feelings in a 1950s kind of way is making my eye twitch.

I know I am likely not convincing you to join me to read this April read. But if you have read Brooklyn, can you help add some color here?


One more thing.
I have already decided on May’s book group selection.
Yep. Tinkers, by Paul Harding.
The Fiction Pulitzer.
I have given you plenty of warning, so will you join me in May????



Friday’s Popcorn, Served on Monday

I typically round out every week with some fun popcorn for the weekend.
I was busy preparing for my guest spot over at Motherese today, where we are launching her book group with Raising Happiness. Check it out.

It’s raining here. Still.
And it’s Monday.
So why not send it today?

1. Carolyn Kellogg at the Los Angeles Times has a much more positive view than I did on the iPad as an e-reader.

2. Break out the Lily Pulitzer, whale corduroys, and Bermuda bags! The Preppy Handbook is back! Not really my style (admittedly: anymore), but still worth a good laugh.

3. The 2010 Pulitzer Prize winners were announced today.

Fiction: Tinkers by Paul Harding.
Non-Fiction:  The Dead Hand by David E. Hoffman

4. Finally, My kids got an email this weekend from a former babysitter who is now a teacher. She sent this video to them with a note: Gotta Keep Readin’! They thought this set of middle schoolers recreating a Flash Mob in Florida was pretty darn cool.


For more juicy little tidbits like these, follow me on Twitter.

Reminder: on Wednesday, I will be reviewing the first 100 pages of BrooklynOur April BookSnob selection.


BookSnob in April: Brooklyn by Colm Toibin

Hello, my friends.
It’s time, once again, to get on the same page.

I have a nifty, slender April selection for you.

Brooklyn, by Colm Toibin.

Named a best book of 2009 by The New Yorker, SF Chronicle, and The Seattle Times.
The Sunday Times called it the novel of the year.

Plus, you have me strongly encouraging you.
What more do you need?

As a hat tip to Kristen at Motherese (where I am partnering on her book group in April), here’s a bit more structure to keep you on track:

Part I and Part II will be discussed April 14th.
(A scant 100 pages of reading!)

Part III and IV April 28th.

Grab the book, join us, and let me know below if you are in.

Oh, and I have some goodies in store for those who do…


I know how you BookSnobs love mind candy.
So here is your quiz for this week, courtesy of Sporcle.


And finally, I am well aware that the iPad’s big day is tomorrow.
(Good lord, how can you miss it? Even I am growing weary of the press…)

All I can say is
Isn’t it my BookSnob duty to get this thing in my hot little hands and review it???
Stay tuned.

Enjoy your weekend.