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Book Corner
Del Mar Foundation Summer Book Club

After Dark at 10 AM. Photo Bill Morris.
Click on image to enlarge.


From the stated mission of “promoting civic cohesiveness” by “sponsoring diverse cultural programs and community events” sprang the idea of an event series that would reach out to and connect summer residents with year-round Del Marians who share a passion for reading. Thus began the “Summer Book Club,” co-hosted by the Del Mar Foundation and the Del Mar Library. With the byline of “Three Books. Three Months. Three Meetings” the events consisted of monthly meetings in the Del Mar Library Community Room where discussions of Wild by Cheryl Strayed, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, and After Dark by Haruki Murakami were hosted by current and former Del Mar Foundation board members.

~ With so many good books to choose from, a worthwhile goal is to read a book BEFORE it becomes a major Hollywood film starring, say, Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern. With that in mind, the Del Mar Foundation’s summer book club kicked off on June 21 with Cheryl Strayed’s too-wild-to-be-fiction memoir, Wild, giving participants the opportunity to create their own (and certainly very vivid) mental images before the film’s release, set for December 5. Wild is Strayed’s recounting of an extended hike on the Pacific Crest Trail almost 20 years ago, which took her “from lost to found” following the emotionally-devastating death of her mother when Strayed was 22. The group’s discussion proved that the book was of equal interest to those who love hiking and those who are totally uninterested or physically unable to hike. Wild is a front-row seat to a show that is shocking, exasperating, devastating, and rewarding by turns. It’s an emotionally wrenching experience – watching a lost soul make spectacularly bad decisions (shooting heroin, for example), emerging, at long last, from a truly unhinging grief to “find” herself and create a good life. The book ends when Cheryl’s epic hike ends, but you can glimpse the “happy family” sequel when you see Cheryl’s true-life daughter play the young Cheryl in the movie.
Read the book first, though!

~ Jill MacDonald chose the second book Gone Girl because it had been on bestseller lists since it was published two years ago, and she had a copy at home. In May she stayed up late three nights in a row reading the compelling story of a couple who fall in love, marry, and then become involved in an intricate plot against each other as their marriage disintegrates. Novels often contain the voice of an “unreliable narrator,” but in this book both protagonists are equally unreliable. The author uses an alternating voice, chapter by chapter, as she reveals what lies deep beneath the surface of a relationship so full of malice that you wonder how it will end. The lively discussion at the book club meeting centered on character development and the clever plot twists and turns employed by the author to take the reader on an unexpected journey.

~ After Dark takes place in Metropolitan Tokyo over the course of one night in real time. We discussed the suspense-filled aspects of the book which included the following: a budding young relationship, a beautiful young woman asleep for two months, a man with no face that watches the sleeping woman through a television set and reports on her every movement, a young prostitute that gets beat up and robbed in a love hotel, and a daunting member of the Chinese mafia who owns the prostitute and seeks revenge on the man that beat her. For those that enjoyed the book there seemed to be a consensus that all of these people of the night possessed secrets that tied them together in some way. I think it’s fair to say that we all would have liked the book more if one of the many story lines had reached a recognizable conclusion at the end. Instead, we were all left hanging.

Contributors: Bill Morris, Betty Wheeler, Jill Weitzen MacDonald, and Steve Lutz

 

 

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