Women talking about books.

Arthur Lismer – My Wife at Sackville River

What I love about our women’s book group at church is how, over the course of the year, so many different women participate, and yet, each gathering is a totally different mix of women; the literary conversation is unique and fascinating in its range of genres, and even more so in the literary lives of each woman present. Those who met this week wear a variety of “hats” in their daily life, including those of mom, wife, schoolteacher, iconographer, farmer, marriage and family counselor, librarian, and screenwriter.

Our recent meeting — our first in-person meeting in over a year! — was after a non-reading break for Pascha, and it was a short get-together solely for the purpose of picking our next book. We were all supposed to bring an idea, and then we would vote. At the end of Lent when we met on Zoom, we had planned to return to the group’s original focus on women authors, and we also hoped to read something “summery” next, not in the “spiritual reading” category.

But of the six women at the table in the church hall Sunday afternoon, half weren’t aware of those parameters. The books that were suggested were:

1 – Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

2 – The Italian by Ann Radcliffe

3 – The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene

4 – My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier

5 – Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives by Elder Thaddeus

6 – The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho

Each of us told a little something about the book she was nominating, and then the informal and public voting began. Several of us lobbied for someone else’s suggestion. We had to choose a date for our discussion, also, which was harder, because for sure someone will have to miss that fun. People go on vacation.

Which book would YOU choose? Would you want to read a few, as we wanted? I came home and perused book covers to display here, and it was not easy to decide even among them.  If I were a graphic artist, I would think it the loveliest thing to do book covers.

I will tell you later what books we agreed upon, if I manage to read one or both of them. In the meantime, please tell me if any of these pique your interest or reaction for any reason. And I hope your own summer reading is satisfying in the best ways.

by Katie Harnett

8 thoughts on “Women talking about books.

  1. I just listened to “My Cousin Rachel”! I thought it was quite good. “The Power and the Glory” – well, just recommended it to some new friends recently, and can’t even find the words to describe the impact this truly great book has had on me. “Frankenstein” – oh yes. Talk about insightful and prescient – not to mention its being the first sci-fi novel!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The Book Club I belong to has not met for well over a year now, so hats off to your group for being able to meet in person. I read ‘Frankenstein’ years ago because I thought I should; although I have not read this one, I have enjoyed Graham Greene’s books in the past; both ‘My Cousin Rachel’ and ‘The Alchemist’ were enjoyable reads too … I think I would then choose to read ‘The Italian’ out of curiosity.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. If I were judging a book by its cover, I’d pick “The Power and the Glory.” And that Lismer painting is wonderful — He is one of the Canadian Group of Seven and I’ve always admired his work.


  4. Guy here. I never learned about “the genre of the female gothic, which is distinguished by the use of the explained supernatural.”
    So when I found out that ” Radcliffe’s visual and descriptive language . . . allow[s] the reader to almost see, feel and experience the events on the Mediterranean alongside the characters,” I decided to get it from the library, hoping to see Radcliffe’s visions for myself and then hear the group’s insights.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Albert, did you get very far in The Italian? I bought it with strong intentions, but when our group chose Frankenstein, I read that, which seems to be considered at least somewhat Gothic…? That was enough Gothic for me!


  5. The only author I recognize among these is Daphne du Maurier. It’s definitely a varied list. I wonder which one will get chosen.


  6. What a varied list! “The Power and the Glory” and “My Cousin Rachel” are the top choices for me. I am especially drawn to that vintage cover of “My Cousin Rachel.”


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