Friends, how are we are the beginning of another month? At least this means another book, am I right?! Before we dive into My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman, we have a couple of Book Club updates. Sarah has been busy behind the scenes, so shout out to Sarah on the first two announcements.
Thank you to all who participated in the Book Club survey. Ninety-eight of you answered the questions and helped us (you included) to have a sense of who is here and why Book Club is a special place. Sarah compiled all of the data and put together a summary you will enjoy looking through. Read through the survey here.
Several of you mentioned in the survey how you would like to read past discussions linked to the books we have read, but it can be confusing to find them. We agree and this was the nudge I needed. I contacted our web designer explaining what I thought might work but said since he’s the web expert any way he could bring this vision to life would be great. People! He exceeded all expectations. If you will click here and go to the Book Club page, you will see the bookshelf that has always been there, what is new is that under every book are the blog posts related to that book.
When I first saw the updated page after Sarah had added 239 posts—I was curious how many Book Club posts we’ve had and am a bit shocked at the number and that Sarah got them added so quickly—anyway, when I first saw the page I was sitting by a lake with my sisters. We were watching the girls (my nieces) out on the water. I could not believe how amazing the Book Club page and archive looked and thrust my phone into their faces. I might have squealed. Needless to say, as wonderful as my sisters are, they did not respond with incredible ooh and ahhs. It was more, “Oh that’s nice.” Nice?! No, it is incredible.
So, thank you for nudging us to improve, to Ted for designing it, and to Sarah for doing the legwork. Enjoy :)!
Short announcement #3 we have chosen our fall book! You might have noticed it last week at the bottom of the post. Officially we will be reading Liturgy of the Ordinary by Tish Harrison Warren. So good!
Whew, lots going on! And now we get to discuss Chapters 1-8 in My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman. If you recall we read another Backman book last August: A Man Called Ove: A Novel. (In case you missed it, you can easily read through the discussion! Still excited.) While I’m not quite ready to say we will read a Backman every August, I’m loving reading another one and have thought it would be fun to read Brit Marie next summer.
I love the similarities:
- Shout outs to cars
- An animal that exudes personality (I hope we get to see Our Friend!)
- A hospital
- The interaction between a child and an older person
- The story involves a community of interesting people
But this story stands on its own. I am aching that Elsa is experiencing bullying at school and that her main advocate has died. I’m so curious to find out if the secret language between Elsa and Granny is an actual language. I’m guessing it is based on the fact that The Monster spoke it.
Granny is a character, isn’t she? In the first chapter, I wondered, “Do we have another cranky Ove on our hands?” But then I read, “‘I’m not stupid, Granny. I know you did all that stuff tonight to make me forget about what happened at school.’ Granny kicks at some gravel and clears her throat. ‘I didn’t want you to remember this day because of the scarf. So I thought instead you could remember it as the day your Granny broke into a zoo—'”
And now she’s dead.
- Between superheroes, the secret langauge, and the Land-of-Almost-Awake there is a fairy-tale element to this story.
- I’m hoping Elsa’s parents get more plugged into what is happening at school with Elsa.
- I love that Granny knew she was dying and did the best she could to help Elsa by giving her a mission. This reminded me of a movie, but the name escapes me. Anyone know what I”m talking about? The main character has autism and his dad died in the World Trade Center on 9/11. Ring any bells?
- We don’t know the name of three key characters: Our Friend, The Monster, and the girl.
- I had to laugh when Elsa said this about the girl who could quote stuff about Harry Potter from the movies but hadn’t actually read the books, “And while Elsa didn’t want to be elitist or anything, how could one be expected to reason with a person like that?” Ha! I know I’ve felt that way about other books.
Are you thinking about Ove too as you read? What lines have stood out to you? Again, I’m impressed with the translator!
See you in the comments,
- August 7th: Chapters 1-8
- August 14th: Chapters 9-17
- August 21st: Chapters 18-26
- August 28th: Chapters 27-the end
September—Monique and the Mango Rains: Two Years with a Midwife in Mali by Kris Holloway (we’ve got something fun up our sleeves for you!)
October/November—Liturgy of the Ordinary by Tish Harrison Warren