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Month in review

Reviews
The Arcanum by Thomas Wheeler
Are These My Basoomas I See Before Me? by Louise Rennison
Athena by George O'Connor
Bagelmania by Mountain Lion Books
Bird by Zetta Elliott
Busy Woman Seeks Wife by Annie Sanders
The Clock Without a Face by Gus Twintig
The Dancing Pancake by Eileen Spinelli
Doctor Who: The Ripper by Tony Lee
Every Soul a Star by Wendy Mass
Fullmetal Alchemist 11 by Hiromu Arakawa
Going Around the Sun by Marianne Berkes
How to Survive a Killer Seance by Penny Warner
Jane Bites Back by Michael Thomas Ford
Once Upon a Starry Night by Jacqueline Mitton
The Pepins and Their Problems by Polly Horvath
Pieces for the Left Hand by J. Robert Lennon
Pining to Be Human by Richard Bowes
Polar Bear Night by Lauren Thompson
Pride and Prejudice (audio) by Jane Austen
Rampant by Diana Peterfreund
Slog's Dad by David Almond and Dave McKean
"Stand Back," Said the Elephant, "I'm Going to Sneeze!" by Patricia Thomas
Steinbeck's Ghost by Lewis Buzbee
Theodosia and the Last Pharaoh by R.L. LaFevers
The Train by Georges Simenon
Twin Spica 03 by Kou Yaginuma
Under the Night Sky by Amy Lundebrek
The Writing Circle by Corinne Demas
xxxHolic 05 by CLAMP

Misc
Mount TBR 2012 What are you reading? (November 07)
What are you reading? (November 14)
What are you reading? (November 21)
What are you reading? (November 28)

Previous month

Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8



The Writing Circle: 11/09/11

cover art

The Writing Circle by Corinne Demas sat on my wishlist exactly a year. I don't remember who recommended it to me or why I added it. It's outside my usual reading.

The book starts as the story of Nancy, a twice published author being invited to join a writing circle. Nancy's had some trouble getting published after her initial success. She's been invited by Bernard, a biographer. The first meeting though doesn't feel like a success. No one seems to want her there, except for Bernard.

With that set up I expected the book to follow how Nancy earns the trust of her group, gets the advice she needs on her book and regains her confidence to finish the book and get it published. But, this book is a little more literary. And while all those things are there in Nancy's stories, the book as a whole is a character study of the people in the circle and those immediately associated with them.

As things progress, a series of events, little mistakes or off handed choices, lead to an unexpected and tragic ending. When I first finished, I thought of Nancy's description of her first chapter, where she just says that stuff happens; the tragedy isn't anyone's fault.

But as I thought more about how one decision leads to another, clearing a path towards the unfortunate ending, I thought of a better term, hitsuzen. Instead of it being coincidences, it's meant to be, even if it seems like the result of a series of random events. That's when the rambling nature of the story clicked into place and I was able to see the bigger picture.

Three stars.

Comments (2)


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Comment #1: Thursday, November, 10, 2011 at 22:56:15

Stephanie @ Read in a Single Sitting

I quite like the sound of this one, despite your misgivings. I'll keep an eye out for it.



Comment #2: Monday, November 14, 2011 at 13:48:25

Pussreboots

It just went in a different direction than I thought it was headed. The Writing Circle would work well as a book club selection or in a lit class.