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I'm the author of the novels OBJECTS OF MY AFFECTION, THE NEXT THING ON MY LIST and FLIP-FLOPPED. I live in Los Angeles. Visit me at jillsmolinski.com Join me on Facebook

Monday, July 18, 2011

What My Book Club Is Reading

Since I call in to so many book clubs, I'm often asked what my book club is reading.   By popular demand, here it is: the 20-plus-year freshly updated list of what "the chicks" have read.   We've had some real winners (recently The Help, The Dragon Tattoo series, those books by that wonderful author Jill Smolinski)...some that tanked (Greg Lougainis's autobiography was universally despised, even by the person who suggested it)...and a few that were loved by some and hated by others and therefore made for lively - even heated -  discussion (Twilight springs to mind).  

Any of these on your reading list?

Currently reading:  The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot
A Visit from the Goon Squad, Jennifer Egan
The Help, Kathryn Stockettt
Love and Other Near Death Experiences, Mil Millington
Wolf Hall, Hilary Mantel

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
The Girl Who Played with Fire
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, Stieg Larsson
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, Aimee Bender
How to Escape from a Leper Colony, Tiphanie Yanique
Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro

Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell
New Bedlam , Bill Flanagan
Out , Natsuo Kirino
Choke , Chuck Palahniuck
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Diaz

The World Without Us , Alan Weisman
Consider the Lobster/ A Supposedly
Fun thing I’ll Never Do Again ,David Foster Wallace
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, David Wroblewski
Dear American Airlines, Jonathan Miles
The Girls , Lori Lansens
Twilight , Stephanie Meyers
Golden Compass/Subtle Knife , Philip Pullman

The Winner of the National Book Award, Jincy Willett
The Accidental , Ali Smith
The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency ,Alexander McCall Smith
The Dead Beat: Lost Souls, Lucky Stiffs, and the Perverse Pleasures of Obituaries , Marilyn Johnson
Special Topics in Calamity Physics , Marisha Pessl
The Next Thing on My List , Jill Smolinski
The Professor and the Madman ,Simon Winchester
The True Believer , Eric Hoffer
The End of Faith , Sam Harris 

Di & I , Peter Lefcourt
Literacy & Longing in LA , Jennifer Kaufman/Karen Mack
The Omnivore’s Dilemma , Michael Pollan
Prague , Arthur Phillips
Devil in the White City , Erik Larson

Kite Runner , Khaled Hosseini 
Sister of my Heart , Chitra Divakaruni
Freakonomics , Stephen Leavitt
Extremely Close and Incredibly Loud, Jonathan Safran Foer
Motherless Brooklyn, Johnathan Lethem

Dress Your Family in Corduroy & Denim , David Sedaris
Gilligan’s Wake , Tom Carson
The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown
My Year of Meats , Ruth Ozeki
Absolute Friends , John Le Carre
A Tribe Apart , Patricia Hersch

A Tribe Apart , Patricia Hersch
East of Eden , John Steinbeck
The Eyre Affair , Jasper Fforde
Bel Canto , Ann Patchett
Winesburg Ohio , Sherwood Anderson
The Orchid Thief , Susan Orlean
Wicked: The Life & Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, Gregory Macguire

Jenny and the Jaws of Life , Jincy Willett
The Lovely Bones , Alice Sebold
Paris to the Moon , Adam Gopnik
Flip Flopped , Jill Smolinski
The Botany of Desire: a Plant's Eye View of the World . Michael Pollan
Personal History , Katherine Graham
Ravelstein , Saul Bellow
Kitchen Confidential , Anthony Bourdain
An Invisible Sign of My Own, Aimee Bender

White Teeth , Zadie Smith
The Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Michael Chabon
The Gospel According to Jesus Christ , Jose Saramago
The Red Tent , Anita Diamant
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, David Eggers
Norwegian Wood , Haruki Murakami
Girl with Pearl Earring ,Tracy Chevalier
Slut! , Leora Tanenbaum

Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone , JK Rowling
Ahab’s Wife , Sena Jeter Naslund
Bee Season , Myla Goldberg
My Old Sweetheart , Susanna Moore
No News at Throat Lake , Lawrence Donegan
Ordinary Resurrections , Jonathan Kozol
The Last Lovely City , Alice Adams
Time on my Hands, Peter Delacorte
The Last Thing He Wanted , Joan Didion
The Heart of the Matter , Graham Greene
The Poisonwood Bible , Barbara Kingsolver

The Girls Guide to Hunting & Fishing ,Melissa Bank
Audrey Hepburn's Neck , Alan Brown
Oscar & Lucinda , Peter Carrey
The Sixteen Pleasures , Robert Hellenga
Charming Billy , Alice McDermott
Into the Wild/ Into Thin Air/ The Perfect Storm , Krakauer/Junger
Dreams of my Russian Summers ,Andrei Makine 
The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, Ann Fadiman

The Tetherballs of Bouganville , Mark Leyner
Tortilla Curtain , T.C. Boyle
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie ,Muriel Sparks
A Sport and a Pastime , James Salter
Purple America , Rick Moody
Memoirs of a Geisha , Arthur Golden
Brothers and Sisters , Bebe Moore Campbell
The Day of the Locust , Nathaniel West
The God of Small Things , Arundhati Roy

Cold Mountain , Charles Frazier
The Giant’s House , Elizabeth McCracken
Sophie’s World (100) , Jostein Gaarder
Angela’s Ashes , Frank McCourt
Animal Dreams , Barbara Kingsolver
Coyote Blue , Christopher Moore
Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot ,Al Franken
Behind the Scenes at the Museum ,Kate Atkinson

High Fidelity , Nick Hornsby
The Diamond Age , Neal Stephenson
Water Music, T.C. Boyle
An Anthropologist on Mars, Oliver Sacks
Emotional Intelligence , Daniel Goleman
Moll Flanders , Daniel Defoe
Sirens of Titan Kurt Vonnegut
Cat's Cradle , Kurt Vonnegut
Breaking the Surface , Greg Louganis
The Bird Artist , Howard Norman
Snow Falling on Cedars , David Guterson

1995 Waiting to Exhale , Terry McMillan
The Wild Girls Club , Anka Radakovich
The Secret History , Donna Tartt
Laughing Boy , Oliver LaFarge
The Stone Diaries , Carole Shields
Voodoo Dreams , Jewell Parker Rhodes
Chilly Scenes of Winter , Anne Beattie
Stones from the River , Ursula Hegi
Cannery Row , John Steinbeck
Jane Eyre , Charlotte Bronte
A Severed Head , Iris Murdoch
Talk Dirty to Me , Sally Tisdale

1994 The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon ,Spanbauer
Girl, Interrupted , Kaysen
Sexual Personae , Camille Paglia
Beyond Power , Marilyn French
Becoming a Man , Paul Monette
Good Scent from a Strange Mountain , Robert Owen Butler
Having Our Say , Bessie and Sarah Delaney
All the Pretty Horses , Cormac McCarthy
City of Quartz , Mike Davis
You Just Don’t Understand: Women and Men in Conversation ,Deborah Tannen
Dakota , Kathleen Norris

Selections Prior to 1994 (60)How to Make an American Quilt, Whitney Otto
And the Band Played On , Randy Shilts
A Moveable Feast , Ernest Hemingway
Spectator Bird , Wallace Stegner
Native Son , Richard Wright
The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women , Naomi Wolf
Like Water for Chocolate ,Laura Esquivel
Chaos , James Gleick
Woman Hollering Creek , Sandra Cisneros
A Thousand Acres , Jane Smiley
Kitchen , Banana Yoshimoto
The Thin Man , Dashiel Hammett
The Remains of the Day , Ishigoro
Possession , A.S. Byatt
Ubik , Philip K. Dick
People of the Lie , M. Scott Peck
Maus I & II , Art Speigelman
Do or Die , Leon Bing
Los Gusanos , John Sayles
The True and Only Heaven , Basch
Love's Executioner, Irvin Yalom
Tools for Conviviality , Ivan Illich
Sometimes a Great Notion , Ken Kesey
Fried Green Tomatoes , Fannie Flagg
Breakfast at Tiffany’s , Truman Capote
A Christmas Memory ,Truman Capote
The Road to Los Angeles , John Fante
Love in the Ruins , Walker Percy
Generation X , Douglas Coupland
Howards End , E.M. Forster
Cold Sassy Tree , Olive Ann Burns
Marilyn , Gloria Steinem
Songlines , Bruce Chatwin
The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love ,Oscar Hijuelos
The General in His Labyrinth ,, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
First Light , Charles Baxter
The Master and Margarita ,Mikhail Bulgakov
Simbi and the Satyr , Amos Tutola
The Art of Eating , M.F.K. Fisher
The Lives & Loves of a She-Devil , Fay Weldon
The Time Falling Bodies Come to Light , Thompson
The Inheritors , William Golding
The Tao of Pooh , Benjamin Hoff
White Noise , Don Delillo
That Hideous Strength , C.S. Lewis
The True Believer , Eric Hoffer
The Spider’s House , Paul Bowles
The Storyteller , Mario Vargos Llosa
Letters to a Young Poet , Rainer Maria Rilke
The Periodic Table , Primo Levi
The Baron in the Trees , Italo Calvino
Love Medicine , Louise Erdrich
House Made of Dawn , M. Scott Momaday
Their Eyes Were Watching God ,Zora Neale Hurston
Three , Flannery O'Connor
The Old Gringo ,Carlos Fuentes
A Confederacy of Dunces ,John Kennedy Toole
The Bone People , Keri Hulme
Women , Charles Bukowski
Ask the Dust , John Fante

So what are you reading these days?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Names for Book Clubs

One of the things I've noticed since I've been calling in to "join" book clubs  reading THE NEXT THING ON MY LIST is that most of these groups have given themselves a name.

A few of my favorites:  
•  The Booked for Lunch Gals (they meet every fourth Saturday for lunch)
•  The Well Red Book Club (they meet at a winery)
•  Chapter Chat
•  WHORS (Women of Hilliard Ohio Reading Society)
•  Nerdy Birdies
•  Diva-Lit
•  Book Broads & John (he got his own mention since he wasn't a broad).  

I belong to a book club that's been together more than 20 years.  We don't have a name - although we do refer to ourselves collectively as "the chicks."  Given the fact that over the years we've gone through more bottles of wine at meetings than books, maybe we could be "the winos."

Does your book club have a name?  How did you come up with it?  Any ideas what we could name mine considering that we're disorganized, rarely all read the book, have no rules, but have nonetheless managed to hang in there for decades?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Great Sayings About the Writing Life

I thought I'd launch my little blog here with some great sayings about writing - these were lifted from the novel The Accidental Bestseller by Wendy Wax....plus one from my ex-husband.

"The cat sat on a mat is not a story.  The cat sat on another cat's mat is a story."
—John LeCarre

"Writing a novel is like driving a car at night.  You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way."
—E.L. Doctorow

"You don't write because you want to say something, you write because you've got something to say."
—F. Scott Fitzgerald

"There are three rules for writing a novel.  Unfortunately, no one knows what they are."
—W. Somerset Maugham

"Everything that doesn't kill you makes you stronger.  And later on you can use it in some story."
—Tapani Bagge

And from my ex-husband, John, trying to inspire me when I'd get stuck on a scene and couldn't seem to move forward:  "Don't polish the turd."

What sayings do you find inspirational in what you do?