Thursday, January 9, 2014

January High School Reading Club:
Beautiful Ruins

High School reading club met this afternoon in Joanna's room to discuss, with great enthusiasm, Jess Walter's novel Beautiful Ruins. It was a unanimous hit!

We opened with sharing our idea of main themes or takeaways in the novel.
  • life isn't what you want or expect it to be
  • you can't distill a life into one statement - it's always changing -- "it is what it is"
  • you can have a perfect moment, but that's only true for the moment and it might change
  • doing the right thing is its own reward
Much of our spirited discussion kept reflecting one or more of these ideas.  The structure of the book, that the reader can't forsee the direction it will take next, was exciting and everyone like that -- it wasn't what the reader expected it to be (like life).  The characters you think are going to be the most important, turn out to be on the side, or co-important, but not the very most.  The plot twists were satisfying, but not sappy or obvious.



Brief interview with Jess Walter by Author magazine

Review in The New York Times

Review in The Los Angeles Times

Review from Maureen Corrigan, Fresh Air on NPR (transcript)     Listen

"How I Write": Author interview in The Daily Beast

Jess Walter answers questions posed by Goodreads members (30 minute video on YouTube)


Richard Burton as Marc Antony in Cleopatra


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