Hey FYA! Many of you lovelies have started attending our monthly, real-life book clubs, held in various cities near you*!! These book clubs run from old-fashioned meetups at bookstore cafes to drunken (loud) conversations in bars about how two chimera manage to coordinate their limbs to have sex. And normally every month I like to give a little recap of all of the different book clubs and their views on the book we discussed, but we're going to start shaking things up a little bit and feature one book club a month! This month, our superstars are the LA Book Club meeting at the historic Culver City hotel!
*Well, we hope, anyway.
Before we get started singing LA's praises, a bit of housekeeping:
December's book is Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs and the schedule will go up next Tuesday. We're moving into the realm of having Google Groups set up for each book club, so it should be much easier for everyone to find out all the info they need to know ahead of time, instead of waiting on Erin to cobble it all together after working 60 hours a week. PROGRESS!!!
Okay! Let's do this, LA!
Meet our book club of the month!
The Los Angeles Book Club actually has two chapters - one meets in Hollywood and one meets in Culver City. This is Culver City's recap of November's book, Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, straight from the mouth (er, keyboard) of Britt, their Book Club Leader:
Last weekend we were all back in action for the meeting (except Alex who missed book club TO RUN A MARATHON IN GREECE! she is so awesome). And to top that off we got two new members this month.
This book was a lot more controversial than the last one (surprisingly, considering the subject matter). We were all over the place with this one. Most of us got the pleasure of actually meeting Ms. Taylor at a book signing at Book Soup earlier this month, and we are very smitten with her (seriously, she's sooooo nice). At the signing we got to ask her some questions about her writing process and character/plot development. So we got an insider's look on Karou (and Brimstone) and how she evolved into what she is now. As someone who is dying slowly trying to finish her crappy NaNoWriMo novel (me), Laini was really an inspiration to get back in that chair and write. But I digress...
Back at book club, each member seemed to like a different part of the book. Kelly and Karen liked the beginning with Karou in Prague, but hated the Madrigal parts. I really liked the Madrigal parts and was lukewarm about the Karou in the beginning. Mae and Kerensa liked the mythology and the story of two moons, but they had some issues with tropes.
Mae and Kerensa liked the writing a lot but it bothered them that Taylor seemed to want to make strong female characters, yet at the same time most of the females in the story played into cliches (and not in a "social commentary" way). They felt that marred their reading of the story a bit. Kelly, Karen and myself (who hadn't given this much thought) agreed that we would wear our feminist hats and pay more attention to this in the future.
We all agreed that Chapter 3 ("Cranny") was our favorite chapter. There was a round of "amen, brother" when Brimstone warned of "inessential penises." And Karou's revenge against Kaz was very fitting.
We pretty much agreed that we would read the sequel to see where the story goes and (Mae and Kerensa) to see how Taylor weaves her story around tropes of femininity.
Very interesting commentary! Did any other FYA book clubs discuss the roles of female characters in the book? Did you feel that they were a bit cliched? And which parts of the book did you guys like best?
But wait, what's that? LA Culver City met Laini Taylor? Yeah, they did! Here's pictoral evidence!
I wonder if that pink hair grows from her head.
Part of the reason that LA was chosen Book Club of the Month is because they do things together outside of Book Club! Not content with author signings alone, this book club has gone to see Breaking Dawn together (while drunk, OBVS) and are usually emailing each other back and forth about inside jokes from their book club meetings. (At least I think they are inside jokes - I'm usually copied on the email and I have no idea what they're talking about.) I like to think, perhaps a little messianically, that we're not just helping adult YA fans meet up, but we're helping them make new friends. New friends who will not judge them for going to see The Hunger Games movie the day it's released, but instead will go with them and hold their hand anytime Rue comes on screen.
The LA Book Club are Space Invaders.
So now, if you want to see your Book Club featured next month as Book Club of the Month, email me (Erin.at.FYA [at] gmail [dot] com) stories and photos of your adventures! We want to get to know you guys!
(Plus I want to see if any other Book Club gets so loud and drunk at bars that the other patrons ask for the music to be turned up to drown out the conversation. That can't just be Houston, right?)
Happy Book Clubbing!