Our Little Book Club – Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter – 2014 Book of the Year

Our Little Book Club – Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter – 2014 Book of the Year

This year sees the 8-year anniversary of our little book club.

It began one night when a friend and I had a wonderful discussion about a book we both happened to be reading – Tully by Paullina Simons. Our review was mixed … we certainly had different opinions … but we ultimately agreed it was a compelling read.

A couple of drinks later and the idea to start our own book club was formed.Our Little Book Club - Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter - 2014 Book of the Year
We recruited our flat mates and a couple of friends, and have been going strong ever since. So … for the last 8 years we have meet regularly to drink wine, eat chocolate, catch up on gossip, oh … and discuss a book.

For me personally, our little book club has meant I have stayed in contact with friends who I might have otherwise have lost touch with as our lives take different twists and turns. To finish off a fabulous year of reading, we meet at a restaurant for our annual Christmas celebration. We also take this opportunity to choose our favourite book club Book of the Year.

This year we read a truly fabulous collection of books. Choosing one which stood out was difficult. So what have we read?

  • Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist
  • Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
  • An Equal Music by Vikram Seth
  • The Secret History by Donna Tartt
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  • Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
  • The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
  • The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Our Little Book Club - Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter - 2014 Book of the YearLet the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist

A 2004 vampire fiction novel by Swedish writer John Ajvide Lindqvist. The story centers on the relationship between a 12-year-old boy, Oskar, and a centuries-old vampire child, Eli.

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

On a rocky patch of the sun-drenched Italian coastline, a young innkeeper daydreams over the Ligurian Sea and spies a tall, thin woman approaching on a boat. She is an actress, he soon learns, an American starlet, who is dying.

And the story begins again today, half a world away, when an elderly Italian man shows up on a movie studio’s back lot – searching for the mysterious woman he last saw at his hotel decades earlier.

An Equal Music by Vikram Seth

Michael Holme is a violinist, a member of the successful Maggiore Quartet. He is haunted by memories of the pianist he loved and left ten years earlier – Julia McNicholl. Now married and the mother of a small child, Julie unexpectedly re-enters his life.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

Richard Papen arrived at Hampden College in New England and is quickly seduced by an elite group of five students, all Greek scholars, worldly, self-assured and, at first glance, highly unapproachable. As Richard is drawn into their inner circle, he learns a terrifying secret that binds them to one another.

Our Little Book Club - Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter - 2014 Book of the YearThe Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Dorian is a good natured man until he discovers the power of his own exceptional beauty. As he gradually sinks into the frivolous and glamorous world of selfish luxury, he apparently remains physically unchanged by age or the stress of his corrupt lifestyle. Up in his attic, his portrait tells a different story.

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

Set in 1829 against Iceland’s stark landscape, Agnes – charged with the brutal murder of her former master – is sent to an isolated farm to await execution. Horrified at the prospect of housing a convicted murderer, the family avoids Agnes. Only Tóti, a priest Agnes has mysteriously chosen to be her spiritual guardian, seeks to understand her.

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

Enzo knows he is different from other dogs – a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs). He has educated himself by watching television extensively and listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver. Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn’t simply about going fast.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Aibileen is a black maid in 1962 Jackson, Mississippi, who’s always taken orders quietly, but lately she’s unable to hold her bitterness back. Her friend Minny has never held her tongue but now must somehow keep secrets about her employer that leave her speechless. White socialite Skeeter just graduated college. She’s full of ambition, but without a husband, she’s considered a failure. Together, these seemingly different women join together to write a tell-all book about work as a black maid in the South.

And this year … which one did we choose as our favourite read? Drum roll please …

Tied at number 3:

The Art of Running in the Rain by Garth Stein

A Secret History by Donna Tartt

Number 2:

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

And the winner of our little book club Book of the Year…

Number 1: Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

(337 pages, first published June 4th 2012 by Harper)

Our Little Book Club - Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter - 2014 Book of the YearI’m so pleased Beautiful Ruins won this year. Walter’s novel, spanning from the Second World War to present day, is a great holiday read.  I particularly enjoyed his view of the seedier side of 1960s Hollywood, lifting the veil a little to show a morally corrupt side to the glamorous façade.  Walter’s easy style of writing grabbed my attention from the very beginning and I couldn’t put it down.

I hope our little book club list provides you with some ideas for your holiday reading.

What are you reading at the moment?

Do you have any holiday reads to recommend?

5 responses

  1. Nice choice, but I wish Oscar Wilde’s classic The Picture of Dorian Gray had a place in your top three. It’s an enduring metaphor for the corrupting power of vanity and indulgence … and as good a commentary on the present age as we’re likely to find. And to think it was written in 1890!

    Like

  2. Pingback: Our Little Book Club Reviewed – The Pearl that Broke its Shell by Nadia Hashimi | Honey & Roses

The Curators Collection

... Making Broken Beautiful

The Vintage Nest

Making life sweeter one project at a time

Lost & Found

I'm a DIY blogger. I love flipping furniture, working with fusion mineral paint, milk paint, and chalk paint, and sharing the treasures I find while being an antique dealer.

Start at Home

Making life sweeter one project at a time

ShayRenovation

Making life sweeter one project at a time

The Chelsea Project

Creating A Classic Southern Home

City Farmhouse

Living a Modern Country Life One Project at a Time

{nifty thrifty things}

[:en]creating nifty, thrifty and creative things[:de]schöne Dinge & mehr..[:]

Dandelion Patina

Making life sweeter one project at a time

Maison de Pax

Making life sweeter one project at a time

Knick of Time

Vintage Farmhouse Living

Littlegreenshed | UK Lifestyle & Travel Blog, featuring food, interiors, travel and family fun.

A lifestyle & travel blog written by Lou Archell, a writer, photographer and mum-of-two. Littlegreenshed features; travel & adventure both near and far, botanical inspiration and practical advice on simple living.

Faded Charm

Making life sweeter one project at a time

FARMHOUSE 40

Making life sweeter one project at a time

%d bloggers like this: