My two younger sisters are voracious readers, like my mom and dad were, but alas, I am not.
I attribute this to the fact that my dad made me look up every unfamiliar word when I was in grade school. It was an exasperating exercise, since I didn’t know lots of words. I paid more attention to learning definitions than to the content of what I was reading. Now I have a fine vocabulary, but reading isn’t “my thing.”
Besides doing lots of required reading in high school and college, I did read consistently when I and a group of friends formed a book group in the 90s, which lasted for a few years. Once a month we’d gather at my apartment for dinner, wine (lots of it), and book talk. It was great fun. The structure of the group gave me the incentive to read, and it was wonderful to get lost in great books, and excitedly discuss them with great women. When the book group lost its energy, so did my interest in reading!
Now, I think it’s high time I start reading regularly again, and I hope you’ll join me, whether, like me, you need a push to pick up a book, or reading is a religion to you.
The idea to launch a FOForum for Books hit me when I ran across a post from Goodreads.com announcing its Goodreads Choice Awards of 2016, the “only major book awards decided by readers,” versus self-anointed ‘book reviewers’. When Breath Becomes Air, by Paul Kalanithi, took first place in Memoir and Autobiography, and it happened to be one of the few books I read this year, the truly extraordinary account of a 36-year-old neurosurgeon, written while he was losing his life to rare lung cancer.
So, without further ado, here’s how I imagine the FOForum for Books will work:
Truly Madly Guilty
“In her latest page-turner, New York Times bestseller Moriarty (The Husband’s Secret, Little Big Lies, What Alice Forgot) explores how one small moment can destroy everything. Best friends Erika and Clementine gather with pals for a casual backyard barbecue, right before a tragedy changes their lives forever, and puts everything they thought they knew about themselves and each other into question. A fast-paced, nonlinear narrative that will have you puzzling together the before, the after, and the in between.” –Barnes & Noble Reads
All the Ugly and Wonderful Things
“As the daughter of a meth dealer, Wavy knows not to trust people, not even her own parents. Struggling to raise her little brother, eight-year-old Wavy is the only responsible “adult” around. She finds peace in the starry Midwestern night sky above the fields behind her house. One night everything changes when she witnesses one of her father’s thugs, Kellen, a tattooed ex-con with a heart of gold, wreck his motorcycle. What follows is a powerful and shocking love story between two unlikely people that asks tough questions, reminding us of all the ugly and wonderful things that life has to offer.”– Barnes & Noble Review
“A lonely teenage girl, her last summer at home before boarding school, an intriguing gang of older, louche (disreputable) girls in a local park. It’s northern California at the end of the 1960s, and these girls are coming of age at the edge of unspeakable violence. Written in seductive, luminous prose, Emma Cline’s haunting novel, The Girls, captures the experience of crossing between adolescence and adulthood, questioning what we’re willing to do to belong and to be seen.”– Barnes & Noble Review
“The irresistible story of a New York family whose four adult siblings are still struggling to grow up (as they await a watershed inheritance that may never materialize), The Nest is filled with humor, warmth, and dishy behind-the-scenes gossip on the machinations of the publishing world, a trifecta that makes it nearly impossible to put down. An insightful, beautifully drawn portrait of a family on the brink of crisis, The Nest also perfectly captures the legendary (if sometimes elusive) charm of New York City.”– Barnes & Noble Reads
Small Great Things
“With richly layered characters and a gripping moral dilemma that will lead readers to question everything they know about privilege, power, and race, Small Great Things is the stunning new page-turner from Jodi Picoult. [Picoult] offers a thought-provoking examination of racism in America today, both overt and subtle. Her many readers will find much to discuss in the pages of this topical, moving book.” –Booklist (starred review)