On Book Club Choices and Having an Open Mind

Labor DayRegular readers of this blog will know that I don’t particularly care for romances.  Having said that, you are challenged to find a review of a romance novel in this blog!  Nonetheless, I offered no complaint when my book club decided to read Labor Day by Joyce Maynard and then go to the movie when it opens in late January.  This is not an unusual practice for my book club which also read the book Julie & Julia and then went to the movie based on the novel a few years ago.  The book Julie & Julia was enjoyable and attending the movie as a group was great fun, so an open mind is what is called for with regard to Labor Day.

As with most book clubs, we try to serve something in keeping with the theme of the book when we meet.  My personal best effort at this was in serving a Bailey’s Irish Creme cheesecake purchased at a local bakery when we read The Gathering by Anne Enright (a book I enjoyed very much, but the rest of my book club did not particularly care for).  This time the task is not going to be easy since the book takes place in the late summer, and it is the dead of winter.  However, the film trailer features a peach pie, so that seems a good choice since peaches can be bought canned!  We are located in the southeast, so peach cobbler it is.  As a treat for my readers, here is an easy peach cobbler recipe for a cold winter day:

1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
Dash of salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup milk
1 stick butter
1 large (or two regular) cans peaches in syrup

Preheat the oven to 350F and spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish (or 12-inch cast iron skillet) with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon. Melt the stick of butter and pour it into the prepared baking dish. Mix the milk into the dry ingredients, whisk until the lumps are gone (the batter will be very thin), and then pour this batter over top of the melted butter in the prepared dish.

Pour can(s) of peaches over top of the batter, syrup and all. Do NOT stir this! Bake the cobbler for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown and almost set. Serve warm with a big scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.

I hope you enjoy the peach cobbler and the book, but most of all read Labor Day and then look forward to the movie.  After all, Kate Winslet is starring as Adele Wheeler and she was absolutely great in the movie adaptation of Little Children.

Life After the Rapture

The Booklover’s Rating:  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Tom Perotta’s newest book is not a typical choice for me.  I saw the movie Little Children starring Kate Winslet, so I was curious when this book came out.  The fact that life after The Rapture was central to the story made me that much more curious.  I was not disappointed.

In The Leftovers, Tom Perotta explores what would happen if The Rapture actually took place.  The book opens just a short time after millions of people have  just disappeared from the earth. Perotta’s characters show a variety of emotions, including indifference, avoidance, and depression.  Two of the main characters even join strange cults that spring up after The Rapture. 

Perotta’s novel is ordinary in the sense that Justin Cronin’s novel The Passage is extraordinary.  Both follow apocalyptic events, yet the way life goes on after the events in the two novels could not be more different.  Perotta leaves the reader feeling that even after an apocalyptic event,  life would go on in a strangely normal fashion.  That left me pondering the story long after it was over.

Book Details:  Published by St. Martin’s Press (August 30, 2011), 368 pages, ISBN: 0312358342.