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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Beach Club Book Club Annual Meeting

Every year the Beach Club Book Club holds an annual meeting at the beach. We meet periodically during the year, but the beach club meeting is our favorite one, where we review many of the books we read during the year.

This year's meeting took place on a perfect summer day. The sky was bright blue, and the sun was shining. We grabbed our beach chairs, ate our delicious deli sandwiches and tasty Italian cookies and got down to business.
The Beach Club Book Club Annual Meeting

The books we talked about were:

  • Marisa de los Santos' The Precious One
  • Robin Antalek's The Grown Ups
  • Jane Shemilt's The Daughter
  • Ellen Herrick's The Sparrow Sisters
  • Laura Lippman's Every Secret Thing
  • Dorothea Benton Frank's The Hurricane Sisters
We noticed a theme here- many of the books were about sisters. The Sparrow Sisters was enjoyable for many of us because we have sisters whom we are close to, like in the book, and many of us grew up in a small town like the setting of the book. 

We understood the closeness of the sisters and the blessings and curses of living in a town where everyone knows everything about you. There were comments about how quickly the town was to turn on Patience when a tragic event occurs. It was noted that the men in the town turned against her more quickly. The women in the town supported her. 

Some of us felt that the doctor, Patience's new boyfriend and newcomer to the town, was little wimpy. He claimed to love Patience, but when she needed him most, he was more than willing to allow her sisters to care for her while he stayed away.

One character we liked was Charlotte, who could have been a stock wealthy, self-involved woman out to keep a rival away from her husband, but she had a lot of depth to her and was very supportive of her husband.

The Precious One also revolved around sisters- Taisy, writer whose father deserted the family when she was teenager, and Willow, her father's teenage daughter with the woman her left his family for years ago.

Taisy and Willow get to know each warily, and we liked both characters, feeling that Taisy could be a character in one of Adriana Trigiani's books. One of our group has twins- a boy and a girl- and she loved the fact that Taisy has a twin brother whom she is close to.

Dorothea Benton Frank's The Hurricane Sisters was another good read. We like Frank's writing style, especially the sense of humor she injects into her stories. There is a more serious side to this story, with a young woman dating an older man who is very controlling, and this sparked some conversation in the group about women we know in a similar situation. 

Every Secret Thing sparked a lot of conversation. Alice and Ronnie were young girls when they are accused of kidnapping a baby from a porch. The girls went to prison and when they were 18, they were released. Soon another child disappears and the girls are again suspect.

We enjoyed Lippman's way with the story, we felt that she kept the suspense all the way through. She develops her characters so well, and throws in a lot of red herrings that kept us guessing what would happen, even beyond the ending of the story.

There was one character we didn't particularly like, and that was the high-priced lawyer recruited to help. Some felt that she was weird and not fleshed out as a character. The female detective assigned to the new missing child case, Nancy, was an intriguing character. She had a connection to the original case, and Lippman had us wondering what her real story is.

We also talked about reading in general. We all love to browse in book stores and card stores. All of us have ereaders, so we compared reading on ereaders versus reading print books. There is a tendency to download many books on the ereaders that don't necessarily get read. 

Print books that we own we tend to read more. Maybe it's a case of "out of sight, out of mind"; we don't see our ebooks, but we do see our print books, beckoning us from our bookshelves.
It was also felt that we tend to skim books more on the ereaders, and we read print books more thoroughly.

We see many people reading actual books on the train, and we agreed that we like to give kids print books as gifts.

It was a terrific day and the Beach Club Book Club looks forward to meeting in the city to see the holiday displays and talk more bookish things.

Thanks to The Book Club Girl Book Club for providing books.