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My Reviews

 
Informative, Adventurous, Interesting
THE CAMEL CLUB

Although it is an exciting espionage read, it does not lend itself to a group discussion. Some of the characters are superficial as you would expect in a book which is primarily about the plot. The underlying themes can be discussed, but without charc. study, the discussion is not extensive. We also thought the ending was too quickly "wrapped up".

Moloka'i: A Novel by Alan Brennert
 
Informative, Inspiring, Interesting
MOLOKAI

This was very informative about the deplorable way in which lepers were treated initially at Molokai and how they were viewed in Hawaii as a whole. He has beautiful descriptiions of the island but these can't make up for shallow, predictable characterization. Rachel as a young girl right through the end of her life was predictable. All her interactions with other characters could be predicted. I think the author should have spent as much time making his characters real as he did researching the setting. I felt the ending was wrapped up in a bow. Way too quick given the length of the novel and too sweet.

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Dramatic, Interesting
CUTTING FOR STONE

The novel is sweeping in it's range of location, information on the Ethiopian culture and insights even into medicine/hospitals in the US. We did not delve deeply into the character interaction and just speculated about what was wrong with Dr. Stone and his relationships with key characters. The book is well written although moved a bit slowly in the beginning. He has sweeping descriptions of Ethiopia etc. as well as very detailed medical descriptions. Some of us felt that this slowed the novel. On the whole it was worth a read, although a slow one.

The Piana Teacher by Janice Y. K. Lee
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Dramatic
The Piano Teacher

One of our group thought the title was "unfortunate". The title refers to Clair and the book begins and ends with her. We discussed if she is the core character or is Trudy or Will. Trudy is initially a shallow character but we do see her develop into a complicated figure. Her relationship with Will both reveals her make-up and allows her to grow. We see her self-assurance mask her vulnerability. She is an opportunist, but also capable of loyalty. Some of our group thought Will's inability to forget Trudy is a flaw in his character and others thought it was a strength. Claire goes from naive to a realist. Her opinion of Will changes and some of us thought she was stronger than Will. Contrasting Claire and Trudy was fasinating--also their surprising similarities. On the whole we thought the book was thought- provoking with themes of betrayal and survival, and an interesting character study.

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