It was my turn to host book group last night and thankfully the heat held off a bit (we don't have central air) so while it was a bit warm, no one was melting. I served chilled white wine and prosecco -- my favorite summer drink along with cheese (always gruyere) and crackers. To keep things light and cool, dessert was pound cake and two-bite brownies from Whole Foods served with strawberries, cherries, blueberries and grapes with freshly whipped cream to top it all off. The best thing is that there is a bit of everything left over for tonight!
We met to discuss Suite Francaise, though some of us (ok, me, due to marathon reading of Harry Potter this past weekend) hadn't finished it , but it was a really great discussion. Everyone really enjoyed the book, and was especially interested in learning more about Nemirovsky's life and loved the extra material and letters in the back of the book.
We found ourselves discussing how various countries responded to the Nazis and either did or didn't rise up against them. I remembered, from reading Beth Gutcheon's Leeway Cottage, how the people of Denmark amazingly saved 7,000 Jews from extinction.
We voted for our next book, and yes, I did stack the deck. Here were the five candidates:
The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar
The Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean
Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos
The Island by Victoria Hislop
The Maytrees by Annie Dillard
After our two rounds of voting (you get two votes in the first round and then we vote in the next round for the top two vote getters), it came down to The Space Between Us and The Island. The Island won, I think because I kept comparing it to the experience of reading The Thorn Birds, a great sweeping family epic, perfect for the beach.
You can win a copy of The Island and get reading group resources here.