I picked up Anne Tyler's "A Spool of Blue Thread" at the bookstore today and then checked out its performance in the 2016 Morning News Tournament of Books. While it did not advance to the semifinals, this comment from John Warner caught my eye:
Anne Tyler isn’t a particularly flashy writer, but if you ask a bunch of regular readers, I think you’re likely to have a fair number telling you that she’s one of their favorite authors.
Anne Tyler is a writer I love to read, and I do consider myself a "regular reader," which to me is someone who reads a book, maybe chats about it with a friend, recommends it to a couple other friends, and then moves on with her life. As a regular reader, I know a writer succeeds if I want to keep reading. I'm not looking for flashy or trendy. I don't worry too much about themes or subtext or even context; I want a good story well told. The end.
Except that's not even close to the end, because we're going to have a Very Casual Book Club this summer right here at the newly reborn Litwit. That is, a book club for regular readers who want to talk about what they've read: no degree needed, no study required. There are no rules; I'll post some stuff that you may want to consider as you read, but it's all optional. All I want to do is talk about books with friends on this blog, and on the designated meeting date I'll post my thoughts and you can post yours.
In June we'll be reading "The Ladies of Missalonghi" by Colleen McCullough, as decided by me. I hope you'll join us.*
From the Publisher's Weekly liner notes:
"Like a box of chocolates, this short novel by McCullough is seductive and satisfying; readers will want to devour it in one sitting. Set in the early 1900s in the tiny town of Byron, nestled in the Australia's Blue Mountains, it tells of the blossoming of Missy Wright, 33-year-old spinster and poor relation of the town's ruling family, the Hurlingfords. Missy, her widowed mother and crippled aunt live in genteel poverty, victims of the Hurlingford inheritance policy that gives riches and power to the male members of the family, who heartlessly abuse the women they dominate. Plain, painfully thin and doomed to dress always in serviceable brown, shockingly dark-haired in a clan of luminous blondes, Missy seems fated for a dreary future until a distant cousin, a divorcee, arrives from Sydney."
*Well, that summary was almost as long as the book, which was written in 1988 and which I have not read since college. It is only 189 pages. Maybe it's terrible! Who knows, only time will tell. You should be able to find it at your local library, and then you have until June 27 to wrap it up and start talking. If you have any questions or suggestions in the meantime, just leave them in the comments.
Looking forward to reading with you, friends!