The Explanation for Everything by Lauren Grodstein – BOOK CLUB Discussion.

Welcome to BOOK CLUB, which I run with co-conspirator Nicole from Linus’s Blanket. Today we will be chatting about The Explanation for Everything by Lauren Grodstein, from Algonquin Books. For those of you reading this post, please remember that this discussion may contain spoilers.

Here is the publisher’s synopsis of the book:

theexplanationforeverything zps3ffcc907 pictureThere is nothing inherently threatening about Melissa, a young evangelist hoping to write the definitive paper on intelligent design. But when she implores Andy Waite, a biology professor and a hardcore evolutionist, to direct her independent study, she becomes the catalyst for the collapsing house of cards surrounding him. As he works with Melissa, Andy finds that everything about his world is starting to add up differently. Suddenly there is the possibility of faith. But with it come responsibility and guilt-the very things that Andy has sidestepped for years.
Professor Waite is nearing the moment when his life might settle down a bit: tenure is in sight, his daughters are starting to grow up, and he’s slowly but surely healing from the sudden loss of his wife. His life is starting to make sense again-until the scientific stance that has defined his life(and his work) is challenged by this charismatic student.

I may be updating this post with new questions and ideas over the course of the day.

Here we go:

  • 5256159881 7ba9c432e6 m pictureFirst off, what were your general impressions of the book?
  • Is this a book you would have read had you not been reading it for a book club?
  • What did you think about the following characters?
    - Andy
    - Melissa
    - Sheila
    - Lou
    - Rosenblum
  • How did you feel about how faith was handled over all throughout the book (faith in God and/or science)?
  • How did you feel about where Andy ended up on the faith continuum?
  • What did you think of the way Grodstein incorporated the Anita Kim storyline?

Copies of The Explanation for Everything were provided to facilitate this discussion.

Reviews by participants: Love at First Book; Karen White
If you have reviewed The Explanation for Everything and are participating in today’s discussion, please include a link in the comment thread below and your review will be added here.

dp seal trans 16x16 pictureCopyright protected by Digiprove © 2013

Gods and Beasts by Denise Mina – Book Thoughts

godsandbeasts zps92316153 pictureGods and Beasts by Denise Mina
Published by Reagan Arthur Books, an imprint of Hachette

I previously reviewed the first two books in this series: Still Midnight and The End of the Wasp Season. This review contains no spoilers for any of the earlier books.

Publisher’s description:

It’s the week before Christmas when a lone robber bursts into a busy Glasgow post office carrying an AK-47. An elderly man suddenly hands his young grandson to a stranger and wordlessly helps the gunman fill bags with cash, then carries them to the door. He opens the door and bows his head; the robber fires off the AK-47, tearing the grandfather in two.

DS Alex Morrow arrives on the scene and finds that the alarm system had been disabled before the robbery. Yet upon investigation, none of the employees can be linked to the gunman. And the grandfather-a life-long campaigner for social justice-is above reproach. As Morrow searches for the killer, she discovers a hidden, sinister political network. Soon it is chillingly clear: no corner of the city is safe, and her involvement will go deeper than she could ever have imagined.

So, lesson learned. Three books in three months is too many to commit to in a genre that isn’t one of my absolute favorites. I absolutely loved Mina’s Still Midnight, but my appreciation of Gods and Beasts is more after the fact. Mina did some things here that really shocked and surprised me, and in a good way. Oh, the revelations! I can appreciate now the way things came together and the intricate process the writing of these books must be. That being said, while reading I just wasn’t captivated, and I think it is largely because it was all just too much for me. Mina’s Alex Morrow series is a gritty police procedural and that is something I rarely read. The first one was a novelty for me and, because it was also extremely well-written, I found it a delight. As the novelty wore off, so did my delight (although, as I said, I can still appreciate Mina’s craft because objectively she’s really quite wonderful), so this was more of a push until the end when things coalesced.

bookclubreads zpsad8d8629 pictureSomeone remind me not to read a whole series in one of my non-dominant genres on a scheduled, okay? Still, I hope Mina is continuing with this series because once I get a little space from it, I know I’m going to be more than ready to continue on with Alex Morrow’s journey by the time the next book would come out, especially with those shockers at the end of Gods and Beasts.

For more information, please see the publisher’s page.
Source: Publisher, for BOOK CLUB.

 

dp seal trans 16x16 pictureCopyright protected by Digiprove © 2013

BOOK CLUB Giveaway – The Explanation for Everything by Lauren Grodstein

5256159881 7ba9c432e6 m pictureThis year we’ve been changing up BOOK CLUB. Gone are the rigid dates, where we announce books on the X Tuesday of the month, discuss them on the Y Tuesday, alternating whose blog the discussion happens on. Instead, Nicole and I will be co-hosting BOOK CLUBs as we find books that we are just dying to discuss with everyone. The next book in our semi-new format is going to be Lauren Grodstein’s The Explanation for Everything. I’m really thrilled about it, because I absolutely ADORED her last book, A Friend of the Family. Here is the publisher’s description of The Explanation for Everything:

theexplanationforeverything zps3ffcc907 picture

There is nothing inherently threatening about Melissa, a young evangelist hoping to write the definitive paper on intelligent design. But when she implores Andy Waite, a biology professor and a hardcore evolutionist, to direct her independent study, she becomes the catalyst for the collapsing house of cards surrounding him. As he works with Melissa, Andy finds that everything about his world is starting to add up differently. Suddenly there is the possibility of faith. But with it come responsibility and guilt the very things that Andy has sidestepped for years.

Professor Waite is nearing the moment when his life might settle down a bit: tenure is in sight, his daughters are starting to grow up, and he s slowly but surely healing from the sudden loss of his wife. His life is starting to make sense again until the scientific stance that has defined his life(and his work) is challenged by this charismatic student.

Part of the new book club will include reaching out to more readers. We are now giving away books with the understanding with publishers that there will be a readerly discussion. If you are a blogger and review the book, great! If you are not a blogger, but review the book on LibraryThing or GoodReads, or talk it up on Twitter, wonderful! All we really want, though, is for you to commit to come and discuss it with us.

We will be discussing The Explanation for Everything on my blog on Tuesday, September 10th. If you would like to be entered to win one of our ten copies (US mailing addresses only, please), please fill out the form below by 11:59 pm Eastern on Thursday, August 8th. Your address WILL be required to win (but will not be used by us for anything but getting your book to you) because we want to get these books to you with quick turn around.

The Explanation for Everything will be available for sale on September 3rd, so even if you don’t win the book from us, we’d love for you to buy a copy or grab it from the library and join us to discuss it.

dp seal trans 16x16 pictureCopyright protected by Digiprove © 2013

BOOK CLUB – The End of the Wasp Season by Denise Mina

bookclubreads zpsad8d8629 pictureWelcome to BOOK CLUB, which I run with co-conspirator Nicole from Linus’s Blanket. Today we will be chatting about The End of the Wasp Season by Denise Mina, from Reagan Arthur/Back Bay Books. For those of you reading this post, please remember that this discussion may contain spoilers.

Here is the synopsis of the book from the publisher

When a notorious millionaire banker hangs himself, his death attracts no sympathy. But the legacy of a lifetime of selfishness is widespread, and the carnage most acute among those he ought to be protecting: his family.

Meanwhile, in a wealthy suburb of Glasgow, a young woman is found savagely murdered. The community is stunned by what appears to be a vicious, random attack. When Detective Inspector Alex Morrow, heavily pregnant with twins, is called in to investigate, she soon discovers that a tangled web of lies lurks behind the murder. It’s a web that will spiral through Alex’s own home, the local community, and ultimately right back to a swinging rope, hundreds of miles away.

waspseason zpsaaa89b2f picture

If you plan on participating in today’s BOOK CLUB, please consider subscribing to comments at the bottom of the page). I may be updating this post with new questions and ideas over the course of the day.

Here we go:

  1. First off, what were your general impressions of the book?
  2. s this a book you would have read had you not been reading it for a book club?
  3. If you read Still Midnight, what do you think of the differences in Alex from that book to this one? Do you like her more? Less? Did you find the transition believable?
  4. Mina continues to focus on the bonds of family in The End of the Wasp Season, how does that play out for the different characters?
  5. What do you think really happened to Sarah? How did it play out between the boys?
  6. Any other questions? Anything else you want to discuss?

12 copies of The End of the Wasp Season were provided by Hachette in order to facilitate this discussion.

dp seal trans 16x16 pictureCopyright protected by Digiprove © 2013

The End of the Wasp Season by Denise Mina – Book Review

waspseason zpsaaa89b2f pictureThe End of the Wasp Season by Denise Mina
Published by Reagan Arthur/Back Bay Books, an imprint of Hachette

She’s a young woman who misses her mother, a girl who just had to suffer through her mother’s protracted illness, attempting to pay for her care. She isn’t expecting the boys. The boys who come in, shouting about the children they are sure she has, the children she doesn’t have. The boys who are oddly unafraid and – terrifyingly – don’t seem to care whether or not she knows who they are, whether or not she can identify them.

The End of the Wasp Season presents a difficult case for Detective Alex Morrow. The facts of the case are hard enough on their own, with the brutal murder of the young woman, and the situation is complicated by her pregnancy with twins – a pregnancy that makes her particularly nervous after she lost her young son – and the tenuous situation in the office ever since Bannerman was promoted. It is all a bit of a shocking transition from Still Midnight, actually. Alex is in a very different place in this book than she is in the last, which is actually sort of disconcerting, because the reader doesn’t really see her journey, it all happens off screen.

bookclubreads zpsad8d8629 pictureFor me, this case had less immediacy than the one in Still Midnight. The victim in Still Midnight had been kidnapped and the case was time sensitive but in The End of the Wasp Season the victim is dead and it doesn’t seem that anyone else is in danger. Still, I liked to see Alex’s growth, as I became attached to her

If you’ve read The End of the Wasp Season, you can join us here tomorrow to discuss it.

For more information, please see the publisher’s page.
Source: Publisher.

 

dp seal trans 16x16 pictureCopyright protected by Digiprove © 2013

Sound Bytes Monthly Link-Up