Hopewell members reading `Lolita'

Book club

May 30, 2002

An interview with Jane Parrish, 26-year member of Hopewell Book Club, named after a neighborhood in Columbia where the club is based.

What book are members reading this month? Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. One of the members brought a list of the 100 most fascinating literary characters to a meeting, and both Lolita and the older man that was fascinated by her were on the list.

Does your group read a certain kind of books? We jump all over. We do fiction, nonfiction, self-help, historical fiction. Sometimes you feel like "that's enough of this dysfunctional family literature," and we read something else. Like we read a few things like Angela's Ashes, and that's all you can stand.

How did Angela's Ashes go over? Oh, we enjoyed it. I thought one interesting thing was that those that had a Catholic school background saw more of the humor in it. With that book if you didn't see the humor in it, it could really be depressing because so much of it was sad.

Does your club have a format for its meetings? Oh, it's just a very loose discussion. We do not use a facilitator. ... Some books can be very good, but they just don't lend themselves to discussion. It's like the author has said it and said it well. One of the best ones we had for discussion was Katharine Graham's autobiography. She covered such a wide span of history and had been involved with so many interesting people.

What book stands out as one of the club's favorites? One of my favorites was Their Eyes Were Watching God. I think Zora Neale Hurston wrote that in the 1930s. We all liked that. The unusual experience of the woman and how she handled her husband's hydrophobia. It gave a good sense of the time, that Depression era. I thought the whole thing was a marvelous education.

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