Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Book clubs are not just for old ladies

I had my first book club meeting tonight, can you believe it? Lit major and never been in a book club before. I found it through the North York Library and it was a lot of fun. We're all women, most of them are retired, and there are about four of us in our late twenties/early thirties. Like everything, there were people who could really discuss the book well, others who were too shy to talk and then some who didn't get it at all...But it was fun and I highly recommend it.

The book we read was Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress...Can't remember the author but basically it's about these two young boys during the Cultural Revolution in China in the late sixties. Their parents are academics, and Mao, threatened by people who can think, sends the children of these academics off to the country to be 're-educated' by the peasants. They soon meet four-eyes, another young boy who has hidden a suitcase full of European literature under his bed. Eventually, the two boys steal the suitcase from four-eyes and use the literature to re-educate the little seamstress (who really ends up re-educating them about love and life).

The story itself is written like a fable, but there are so many neat themes and motifs running through this book. Perhaps the most poignant for me was the power of literature to inspire change and how literature is not only a great tool to take us away from reality but also helps us understand it better. For a long time I'd sort of dismissed my studies in English Lit as something that was 'fluff' or not real...I'd forgotten how important literature is to culture, change and thought...

I had a few 'very good point' responses from the group, so I'm pleased to say I don't think my English Lit training has gone to waste!

We have two new books to read and I'm excited to get to them. I may not even turn on the tv tonight!

More later,


1 comment:

Lester said...

Canada's next Oscar entry is C.R.A.Z.Y.
C.R.A.Z.Y. has been chosen to represent Canada at the 78th annual Academy Awards in the best foreign film category.
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