Books & Beyond

Books & Beyond

Our downtown group tries to go beyond books in many ways, including reading titles that represent a diverse range of genres. Occasionally our meeting is extended with an event such as seeing the movie versions of "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" and "Water for Elephants."

Author we would like to have met: Bram Stoker, so we could ask what prompted him to study vampires and how he came up with "Dracula."

Worst excuse for not reading a book: "My car ran over my Kindle."

During our discussions, we rate the assigned work on a 10-point scale and talk about the essence of the book: the writing, the characters, the plot and the overall appeal. The more to debate, the better.

"The Glass Castle," by Jeannette Walls, earned high marks and inspired a heated debate about child abuse, nurture versus nature, mental illness and adult responsibility toward children.

Bram Stoker's "Dracula" received polarized opinions from the group, including compliments on the intelligent prose and criticism of the verbose, boring writing style.

Some books we liked: "The Shadow of the Wind," by Carlos Ruiz Zafon; "City of Thieves," by David Benioff; "Empress Orchid," by Anchee Min; and "A Thread of Grace," by Mary Doria Russell.

The selection of our next book is a revelation each month. We all look forward to the end of the night when that month's hostess reveals our next title.

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