E-Z Readers book club likes contemporary mood

Latest item on list is Anne Tyler's `Grownups'

May 09, 2002

An interview with Cindi Alvey, founding member of the E-Z Readers book club.

What book are members reading this month? Back When We Were Grownups by Anne Tyler.

Does your group read a certain kind of books? Fiction only? Mostly we read fiction. We try to do contemporary [fiction] as well as classics, but we don't do half and half. I would say we do about two classics a year. We meet every four to six weeks, depending on the length of the book and the time of the year. Also by waiting six weeks, it allows members to read other books in addition to our book.

Does your group have any favorite authors? We've read three Barbara Kingsolver books, so she would have to be a favorite. ... Her character development is really good, and a lot of the time she has quirky characters in [her books] that have comic relief that we enjoy. Also, [her books] usually have political undertones to them that bring good possibilities for book club discussions.

Is there a book that the group has overwhelmingly liked? Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi. ... It was about a female dwarf growing up during Nazi Germany and what it was like seeing the Nazis coming into power as someone that was a minority. ... [The book] wasn't as depressing as we thought it might be.

What kept it from being depressing? Because [the protagonist] was so positive. You know, it was told from her point of view, and she always kept such a positive outlook and made the most of it. I mean, terrible things happened to people around her, but nothing was so awful that happened to her that she couldn't overcome it. And, of course, history gives it a good ending, that Germany loses.

Is there a book none of the members liked? Oh yeah, there was one book that we all hated: Beach Music by Pat Conroy. We couldn't stand that book. The writing was bad. The situations were way too extreme to be believable. You didn't like the characters. One of the characters grew up in Nazi Germany with similar kind of scenarios as Stones from the River, and just the contrast between the two [books] ... Stones from the River was so much better.

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