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Book Club - November

Tuesday, 28 November 2006


Today is our November  bookclub. The Bookclub will be reviewing "The Glass Room" by Kate Holmquist, and choosing the option for January's book club.

Maria Dickenson, Book Club Chair
Maria Dickenson has always been a keen book lover. She started out in the world of books as a librarian, but is now working for Easons where she is a buyer in head office. She is a committee member of the Bookseller's Association and the Society of Publishers in Ireland, and is a member of a bookclub herself.  Her favourite reads include Audrey Niffenegger's 'The Time Traveller's Wife', Ian McEwan's 'Atonement' and Alice Sebold's 'The Lovely Bones'.

Other professionally-related jobs include
- committee member of the Society of Publishers in Ireland
- some work reading manuscripts for the literary agent Marianne Gunn O'Connor
- contributions to Reader's Days for Dublin City Libraries

Reviewers (All from the bookclub at De Valera Library, Ennis)
Francis O Gorman
Mary Kenneally
Delores Meaney
Mona Rice

Book being reviewed today on the show
"The Glass Room" by Kate Holmquist  (Penguin ISBN: 1-844-88092-3)

The Glass Room is a book about women and their search for identity.  It follows the fortunes of Louisa Stone, an American photographer who has fled from a terrible event in her past into a relationship with an unfaithful but charming film producer. She finds comfort in her studio, in her two children and in her close relationships with her children and two best friends, Becca and Mary.  The two women encourage her to leave him, and on her 37th birthday, she finds the courage to do so. The main body of the book is concerned with Louisa's attempts to reconcile the past that has come back to haunt her, and to find love on her own terms.

About the author: Kate Holmquist
Born in Vermont, Kate Holmquist followed her heart to Dublin at twenty, landing on her feet, eventually, as staff journalist with the Irish Times. She has also written for radio and theatre and has worked as an actress and dancer in Paris. She lives with her rock musician husband, three children, three dogs, four cats, assorted fish, a gecko and a tarantula. Her previous book, "A Good Daughter", was published by Raven Arts Press in 1991.

What the reviewers thought of the book:
Mary Kenneally: The novel has many strong "Female" characters throughout.  Her two close friends are very supportive even though they have issues in their own lives.  Louise manages to cope with a hectic lifestyle , work and most of all being a mother to her two children trying to give them what lacked in her childhood. With each chapter something new evolves, I feel she has drawn much from her own life experiences. The story is beautifully told and very moving
Frances O Gorman: The book begins at an easy pace, giving glimpses of life in Celtic Tiger Ireland - there is a funny scene in the opening chapters when Louisa has a photographic assignment at a "no expenses spared" wedding. We are introduced to Louisa's friends, Mary and Becca, who are interesting characters in their own right and whose lives, I suspect, would supply enough material for a follow-up book. On another level, there is a darker side to the story. As a teenager on holiday at her Aunt Alice's home in the Hampton's Louisa suffered a severely traumatic event. This secret, which Louisa has tried to ignore and which has affected her entire life, finally surfaces as she is gradually forced to deal with it.The book is full of interesting characters, mostly painted either black or white. Amanda and Alice are larger than life. Ben has absolutely no redeeming features. Certain aspects of the story are a bit unreal but if the reader can "go with the flow" without analysing too deeply, then this book as a light, relaxing read, perfect for Christmas or holiday reading. The story is easy to follow and it flows along in a relaxed style. The dialogue is good and I can easily imagine it as a play or a film. It also has the vital happy-ending for a "feel-good" read.
Delores Meaney: I thought it was a very modern book.  The main character, Louisa, decides to divorce her errant husband on her 37th birthday.  I enjoyed the descriptions of modern Ireland - the wedding she photographed; party at the Four Seasons and the holy communion girl with expensive dress. Ben, her husband, was completely unlikable whereas Gill is the perfect man - humanitarian worker in Africa, childminder and great cook.   The woman were all strong characters, all forced to make decisions - Mary finding love again at a later age, Becca confronting cancer and Louisa with her divorce. I would have liked more detail on her relationship with her mother, it was an interesting childhood.  Similarly, I thought her aunt's character could have been delved into a bit more; both sisters were independent, creative free spirits if not ideal parents. Overall, I enjoyed the book.  It was an easy read and moved along quickly. 

Books For January's Bookclub
Book A : "Perfume" by Patrick Suskind ( Penguin ISBN: 014012083)
Book B : "The book of lost things" by John Connolly (Hodder and Stoughton  ISBN: 034093290)
Book C : "One More Day" by Mitch Albom (Little Brown ISBN:1401303277)

"Perfume" by Patrick Suskind ( Penguin ISBN: 014012083)
Soon to be released as a film due shortly starring Dustin Hoffman and Alan Rickman this is  a murder story with a difference. It tells the story of a Paris perfumier who must kill to find the perfect scent. The novel is narrated by the perfumier, and is unique in that much of it is filtered through descriptions of smell, rather than the visuals we are used to. This novel really is unlike anything you have read before!

"The book of lost things" by John Connolly (Hodder and Stoughton  ISBN: 034093290)
A fairy-tale for adults, about a disturbed young boy drawn into a fantasy world of strange monsters and beasts through his books.  John Connolly is known for his work in horror and crime but this is more of a literary novel. Thoroughly enjoyable and definitely different, it makes an interesting read.

"One More Day" by Mitch Albom (Little Brown ISBN:1401303277)
This is a new novel from the author of Tuesdays with Morrie. It's a sorrowful story about a man who was on the brink of taking his own life, when his deceased mother returns to him to show how and why life is worth living.  Sentimental it may be but even the most hardened cynic has been softened up by Albom's books!

Price of books: Book prices may vary from shop to shop.

"The Glass Room" by Kate Holmquist provided Penguin (ISBN: 1-844-88092-3)Price: €13.99

Books For Nov Book Club
(All books provided courtesy of Borders Bookstore, West End Retail Park, Blanchardstown)

"Perfume" by Patrick Suskind ( Penguin ISBN: 014012083) Price:€11.95

"The book of lost things" by John Connolly (Hodder and Stoughton  ISBN: 034093290)
Price:€19.40 (Border's special €14.99)

"One More Day" by Mitch Albom (Little Brown ISBN:1401303277)Price:€17.90 (Border's special €12.99)

How to vote for November's Bookclub
You can call 1512 71 70 71 and follow the instructions.
Calls cost 25cent
Or you can text BOOK A, BOOK B or BOOK C to 53555.
Texts cost 25cent.

Book A : Book A : "Perfume" by Patrick Suskind ( Penguin ISBN: 014012083)
Book B : Book B : "The book of lost things" by John Connolly (Hodder and Stoughton  ISBN: 034093290)
Book C : "One More Day" by Mitch Albom (Little Brown ISBN:1401303277)

For more information
Ennis Book Club Festival