Monday, November 22, 2010

The Best Book Club Meeting Ever!


Way back in August I mentioned that I had attended an author talk and book signing by Ann Hood, author of The Red Thread. At that time, Ann mentioned in passing that she has been to a member of the audience's home to attend her book club meeting. After the meeting, my friend Colleen and I approached Ann and (nervously) asked her if she would be willing to come to our book club to discuss her book. And she said yes! Well, that meeting finally happened last Thursday and I am happy to report that it surpassed our wildest expectations.


Ann arrived at the restaurant a few minutes after the rest of us and immediately put us all at ease by breezing in and saying loudly and cheerfully "Hello Book Club!". At that very moment, I knew this was going to be the best book club meeting ever. I had been a little worried that we would all be tongue tied and star struck and the meeting would be stilted and awkward. It was anything but. Ann has obviously had plenty of experience with this type of thing and quite smoothly took the lead and set the tone for what turned out to be a very relaxing and informative evening.

She enthusiastically and thoughtfully answered all our questions about writing, becoming an author, her writing process and the book itself. No topic seemed to be off limits. And even though I'm sure she has answered these same questions thousands of times before in all of her various appearances, she never seemed bored by the questions or gave an answer that seemed "rehearsed". It was amazing.

The best part was learning about how she constructed The Red Thread and all the elements that went into the character and plot development. Fascinating. I came away with a much deeper understanding of the story itself. I wonder how much more I would get from all the books I read if I could only pick the author's brain over pasta and wine.


I can't say enough about what a wonderful and gracious woman Ann is. I still can't get over the fact that this best-selling, famous author, who has a very busy life would take the time to come to our book club and talk to us for over 3 1/2 hours. She lingered over dinner and never gave us the impression that she needed to leave or would only be willing to stay for a limited time. I am still shocked by her generosity, openness and kind spirit. I feel very lucky to have been able to spend time with her.

In all my gushing, let's not forget the book itself. The Red Thread is a terrific book about 6 couples who decide, for a variety of reasons, to adopt little girls from China. It is also the story of Maya, who owns the The Red Thread Adoption Agency, and has her own very personal reasons for being in this business. The story follows each couple from their orientation at the adoption agency to the day they pick up their long awaited daughters in China. Each of the characters is very well developed and each one is flawed in their own ways. What I was most impressed with was that I could see myself in or identify with each and every one of them. That really impressed me. But, I think the thing I liked most about The Red Thread is that Ann Hood not only tells the stories of the adoptive families, she also presents us with the stories of the families that give up their daughters for adoption. And, like the American couples, each one does so for a variety of reasons. It was a delightful surprise when I came to the story of the first Chinese mother. I was not expecting that and I appeciated seeing their stories as well as the stories of the adoptive mothers. Doing this added a richness and fullness to the story which made the "adoption story" fresh and new. I would give The Red Thread 4 stars - I really liked it!

I can't say enough about The Red Thread and especially about Ann Hood herself. Many of the members of our book club were buzzing about it even the next day. It was an experience I will never forget and one for which I am grateful. I'm sure this will go down as our best book club meeting ever.


11 comments:

Anita said...

I am so happily jealous about this!! I am thrilled that you and your book club had this experienced, but I just wish I was there. It sounds like a wonderful evening. I enjoyed the book just as much, it was a really great read for me too.

Jen said...

This is so awesome, Pam! Really exciting. I'm adding this book to my list now; it sounds fascinating. Thank you for sharing another great review of another great book.

LindyLouMac said...

This is the sort of opportunity I would enjoy. Another friend was talking to me recently about an author attending their Book Club meeting and this was a new concept to me. Also dare I admit prior to reading this post I had never heard of Anne Hood but I have already looked her up on Amazon UK and the paperback is to be released there next May. This has gone straight on my Wishlist. It really appeals to me, somehow even more having been to China for the first time earlier this year. Thanks Pam :)

Terra said...

what a fantastic experience! I would be so in awe!

Sandy said...

It was a great night! Thank you so much for arranging it. I think we all felt like we had a friend among us.

Andrea (ace1028) said...

That is so incredible! I love to hear about something like this! How cool for you and how great of her. Now I really want to read her book, not just because you suggested it, but because she sounds like a great woman. :>

Midlife Jobhunter said...

Always fun to discover how authors love to talk about their books. Always fun for readers to discover the intricacies in the story line, plot, and characters. Sounds like a great evening.

croneandbearit said...

How wonderful she came to your book club - yes there are authors who are amazingly kind and gracious people who simply wish to interact with their readers - now if I could just find a book club...sigh...

Star Forbis said...

The book sounds great, we had some good friends adopt their daughter from China & we waited at the airport to welcome them home. I will never forget it.

Sounds like a great Book club meeting. How special. I had an author respond to me on Twitter & offer to call my Book Club, so we could chat with her about her book, it was all set up then we had to cancel the meeting. I was heart broken. I love that authors are willing to be accessible to their readers.

Gamma Sharon said...

How wonderful! I loved The Knitting Circle by Ann Hood.

Mysoft101 said...

I run a once a month book club and I was looking for my fall book list to round out 2011. I found your site and picked up two books on your list. I just finished We need to talk about Kevin. I did not care for the style of writing and that put me off a bit, however the story pulled me. I am a teacher myself, and we all have kids we know from the start who seem off, that you just can’t get close too. I have seen parents act the same way the main character does towards her son. I found it very disturbing and sad. Still I think it will spark great debate in our book club, and I am going to put it on our list.
I am reading The Book Thief and I hope to read Little Stranger after that. I would like to recommend anything by Michelle Moran. She is an awesome writer and she spoke via telephone with us about her books

 

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