Something to Talk About
I've been a member of a few "in real life" book groups over the years. One group I absolutely loved, one I was significantly less enamored with, and a few just never really . . . jelled. C'est la vie! What rang true for all these groups, though, was that our book discussions tended to be more meaningful, thoughtful, and engaging when we had diverging thoughts and feelings about whatever book we happened to be reading.
I mean . . . when everyone in the group really loved a book (or really hated a book) it didn't take long for our discussions to turn into a happy-happy fan club meeting (or a series of rants about who we hated most) before we quickly switched gears to wine-and-gossip. It was nice to get together, sure, but there wasn't much depth when it came to talking books when we all felt the same way about those books. There just wasn't much THERE there to talk about . . . y'know?
So in my experience, book group discussions tend to be better when readers don't all feel the same way about a given book. Or when the book is kinda challenging. Maybe even a bit weird. It's more interesting to talk about books when we're still trying to figure out what we actually think about that book! For me, that's the best thing about book groups . . . talking out loud about a book with some friends (and probably a glass of wine).
Which brings me to our most recent Read With Us selection . . .
Matrix by Lauren Groff.
I have a feeling that this will be One Of Those Books . . . where our group will come together with divergent feelings, different opinions, complicated thoughts, and MUCH to say. Some people are gonna love it, some people are not gonna love it. It's definitely a bit weird. And kinda challenging, maybe.
Whatever you feel, it's definitely going to be discussable.
So . . . I hope you'll pick up a copy and Read With Us!
- For a good summary of what the book is about, here's Matrix's entry from Goodreads.
- For an interesting review, here's a good one from The Guardian.
- If you'd like to listen to author Lauren Groff discuss the book and her process, you can catch her interview with Mitchell Kaplan, host of The Literary Life podcast.
The book is currently available on Amazon in hardback ($17.59), Kindle ($14.99) or Audible versions (1 credit). I imagine your local bookstore (should you be fortunate enough to have one) would offer the book at similar prices. The book is currently available at my library with a short wait. (I listened to the audiobook version this go 'round and enjoyed listening.)
Our Read With Us book discussion day is Tuesday, January 11. Bonny, Carole, and I will each post a discussion question (or two) on our blogs that day, and then - later in the evening (7:00 pm Eastern time zone) - we'll be hosting a live book discussion/meet-up on Zoom.
Read With Us!
And then . . . let's talk about it.
I am *still* on the waitlist, but I am much closer in line right now that I am getting excited! I really have come to love The Read With Us Group... they are a brilliant group of readers! I have learned so much, thought about the book I read differently many times, and even loved a book that I thought I did not like so much!
Posted by: Kat | 11/09/2021 at 08:19 AM
I'm finding this to be quite true for Matrix! I'm having a little bit of difficulty making myself finish the book, and I'm not sure exactly how I feel about it. But ... I do know that I am looking forward to our book discussion, and counting on the varying opinions of the group to help me rise to the challenge of this discussable book.
Posted by: Bonny | 11/09/2021 at 09:03 AM
I have mixed feelings about this book, as you know, and I completely agree that those feelings will make for a better discussion! Nothing kills a book discussion faster than everyone agreeing that a book was terrific!
Posted by: Carole | 11/09/2021 at 10:46 AM
I have this to read! I've been 'meh' about reading ANYTHING for the past week but feeling a bit more into reading right now.
Posted by: Kim in Oregon | 11/09/2021 at 11:03 AM
I just read it and I cannot WAIT to discuss it with everyone. I have a feeling it's going to be a book that people either love or hate (I know that my mother would hate it, so I'm not recommending it to her for sure!). I thought it was pretty amazing, but I can also see that it's very much a book that will not have wide appeal.
Posted by: Sarah | 11/09/2021 at 12:21 PM
I'm in queue on the hold list at my library. I should (fingers crossed) get it in time before our discussions begin!
Posted by: Vera | 11/09/2021 at 01:18 PM
I really did enjoy the book once I got into the style of writing. Can't wait to hear the discuss.
I plan on watching "The Lion in Winter" with Katherine Hepburn as Eleanor of Aquitaine again.
Posted by: kymberly | 11/09/2021 at 04:53 PM