BOOK CLUB – The Liars’ Gospel by Naomi Alderman

5256159881 7ba9c432e6 m pictureWelcome to BOOK CLUB, which I run with co-conspirator Nicole from Linus’s Blanket. Today we will be chatting about The Liars’ Gospel by Naomi Alderman, from Little, Brown. For those of you reading this post, please remember that this discussion may contain spoilers.

Here is the synopsis of the book I wrote for my review:

It has been a year since Yehoshuah, the man who would later be known throughout the world as Jesus, was crucified by the Romans. His death has changed many of those who came in contact with him during his relatively short life, but perhaps not exactly in the way that one might think.

The Liars’ Gospel is not a religious book. In fact, it really isn’t even about Jesus, either the historical figure or the religious one. The real heart of the novel is the political situation of Roman-occupied Judea. Yehoshuah’s mother, who effectively not seen her son since he began his ministry, finds herself harboring a fugitive whose town attempted to make a stand against the Romans. Ichuda finds himself lost in more ways than one – not only has he lost what faith he once had, but he has left Judea and is assumed by all there to be dead. The High Priest of the Temple, Caiaphas, admits that he is essentially a collaborator, but justifies his actions by telling himself that he simply wishes to keep peace. Finally is Bar-Avo, the man who was in mail at the same time as Yehoshuah and escaped only by manipulating Pilate and sealing Yehoshuah’s fate.

If you plan on participating in today’s BOOK CLUB, please consider subscribing to comments at the bottom of the page (please use the TOP subscription option, the second option will subscribe you only to replies of your own comments).  I will be updating this post with new questions and ideas over the course of the day.

Here we go…

  • First 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?
  • Which of the four perspectives did you you like the best?
  • Did you find the format an effective way to tell this story?
  • What, if anything, did The Liars’ Gospel change about the way you see Yehoshuah/Jesus’s story?
  • Any other questions? Anything else you want to discuss?

Copies of  The Liars’ Gospel were provided by Little, Brown in order to facilitate this discussion.

Digiprove sealCopyright protected by Digiprove © 2013

The Liars’ Gospel by Naomi Alderman – Book Review

The Liars’ Gospel by Naomi Alderman
Published by Little, Brown, an imprint of Hachette

It has been a year since Yehoshuah, the man who would later be known throughout the world as Jesus, was crucified by the Romans. His death has changed many of those who came in contact with him during his relatively short life, but perhaps not exactly in the way that one might think.

The Liars’ Gospel is not a religious book. In fact, it really isn’t even about Jesus, either the historical figure or the religious one. The real heart of the novel is the political situation of  Roman-occupied Judea. Yehoshuah’s mother, who effectively not seen her son since he began his ministry, finds herself harboring a fugitive whose town attempted to make a stand against the Romans. Ichuda finds himself lost in more ways than one – not only has he lost what faith he once had, but he has left Judea and is assumed by all there to be dead. The High Priest of the Temple, Caiaphas, admits that he is essentially a collaborator, but justifies his actions by telling himself that he simply wishes to keep peace. Finally is Bar-Avo, the man who was in mail at the same time as Yehoshuah and escaped only by manipulating Pilate and sealing Yehoshuah’s fate.

Told in four chapters, from the four points of view, The Liars’ Gospel is almost more a series of linked novellas than a proper novel, but it does not suffer from this format. By seeing 1st century AD life from the point of view of a mother, a former believer, a priest, and a freedom fighter, the reader begins to see just how oppressive the Roman rule of Judea may have been. This was a troubled period, and The Liars’ Gospel is full of the massacres of an occupying army attempting to subjugate a devoted people.

The Liars’ Gospel is crafted beautifully, a completely engrossing read that I found myself unable to put down. Very highly recommended.

Buy this book from:
Powells | Indiebound*

Source: Publisher, for BOOK CLUB.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.

Digiprove sealCopyright protected by Digiprove © 2013

BOOK CLUB Giveaway – The Liars’ Gospel by Naomi Alderman

We’re 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 third book in our semi-new format is going to be Naomi Alderman’s The Liars’ Gospel from Little, Brown and Company. Here is the publisher’s description:

This is the story of Yehoshuah, who wandered Roman-occupied Judea giving sermons and healing the sick. Now, a year after his death, four people tell their stories. His mother grieves, his friend Iehuda loses his faith, the High Priest of the Temple tries to keep the peace, and a rebel named Bar-Avo strives to bring that peace tumbling down.

It was a time of political power-play and brutal tyranny. Men and women took to the streets to protest. Dictators put them down with iron force. In the midst of it all, one inconsequential preacher died. And either something miraculous happened, or someone lied.

Viscerally powerful in its depictions of the period – massacres and riots, animal sacrifice and human betrayal – The Liars’ Gospel makes the oldest story entirely new.

5256159881 7ba9c432e6 m picturePart 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 Liars’ Gospel on my blog on Tuesday, April 9th. 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 Tuesday, March 5th. 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.

Digiprove sealCopyright protected by Digiprove © 2013

BOOK CLUB Giveaway – The Promise of Stardust by Priscille Sibley

We’re 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 second book in our semi-new format is going to be Priscille Sibley’s debut novel The Promise of Stardust from William Morrow Paperbacks. Here is, in part, the publisher’s description:

Matt Beaulieu has loved Elle McClure since he was two years old. Now married and expecting their first child, Elle suffers a fatal accident. To keep the baby alive, Matt goes against his wife’s wishes and keeps his wife on life support. But Matt’s mother thinks that Elle should be euthanized, and she’s ready to fight for what she believes is the right thing.

5256159881 7ba9c432e6 m picturePart 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 Promise of Stardust on Tuesday, February 12th. 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, January 10th. 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.

Digiprove sealCopyright protected by Digiprove © 2013

BOOK CLUB – The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe

5256159881 7ba9c432e6 m pictureWelcome to BOOK CLUB, which I run with co-conspirator Nicole from Linus’s Blanket. Today we will be chatting about The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe, from Knopf. For those of you reading this post, please remember that this discussion may contain spoilers.

Here is the synopsis of the book I wrote for my review:

For as long as he can remember, Will Schwalbe’s mother has been almost a super-human figure. She was Harvard’s first female director of admissions, then later the founding director of International Rescue Committee’s Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children. Nothing could slow Mary Anne Schwalbe down, except stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Even cancer didn’t slow Will’s mother down as much as it would most people. Still, though, there were those periods of enforced rest, the doctor appointments, the chemotherapy treatments. Will is lucky enough to have the flexibility and proximity to attend many of his mother’s appointments with her. When they are together, the conversation frequently defaults to the same thing it has throughout their lives: books.

The End of Your Life Book Club is as much – or more – about Mary Anne’s life with and death from cancer than about the books that the two read together. It is a chronicle of the last months of her life, a testament to her strength, and Will’s coming to terms with the way his family’s life will be forever changed./blockquote>

If you plan on participating in today’s BOOK CLUB, please consider subscribing to comments at the bottom of the page (please use the TOP subscription option, the second option will subscribe you only to replies of your own comments).  I will be updating this post with new questions and ideas over the course of the day.

Here we go…

  • First 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?
  • Were you able to connect with the Schwalbes and their loss?
  • Had you read any of the books that Will and his mother read? Do you think this affected your enjoyment of/connection to The End of Your Life Book Club in any way?
  • Did the frame of the books and the book club work well for you as a way to access Will and Mary Anne’s story?
  • What do you think of Will’s revelation that he had basically had his mother’s name wrong his entire life?
  • Any other questions? Anything else you want to discuss?

12  copies of The End of Your Life Book Club were provided by Knopft in order to facilitate this discussion.  Below are reviews from some of this conversation’s participants:

Books Speak Volumes | Devourer of Books | Read Lately

Digiprove sealCopyright protected by Digiprove © 2012