Book Club

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Seaside Book Club –
April Meeting

Anita Rau Badami is a Canadian author, born and educated in India. It is easy to assume that the story that she tells in A Hero’s Walk is informed by her own experience of moving to a new country and adjusting to the differences. As readers though, we shouldn’t assume: in this case, Badami’s story places little focus on the contrast between countries, instead rooting itself very firmly in the fictional town of Toturpuram and the larger-than-life characters living in the Big House. It’s a book about relationships: between father and daughter, mother and son, husband and wife – and also about the ideas of duty, honour and expectation. The section of the book based in Canada (in Vancouver) is almost an aside to the main narrative: it is briefly sketched and little dwelled on. Yet the impetus for the story is the death of the main character’s daughter, who had moved to Canada, and the need to bring the Canadian-born grandchild to live in Toturpuram.

Our Book Club response was a little underwhelming this month. Everyone had read the book, some several years ago as it is an older title, but there weren’t many who had a lot of enthusiasm for it. There was a consensus that the story could have been more, or gone further. There were unexplored storylines and underdeveloped characters that left us feeling unsatisfied.

Readers came to the meeting with questions though: “which character evoked your sympathy?”; “Did you have a stand out chuckle?”; “Do good authours only want to write tragic tales, or is it that critics favour tragic tales?”

The Hero’s Walk is an award winner and perhaps as such we had high expectations. There is no doubt that the writing is beautiful, and the flavour of a chaotic world very different from our everyday experience left a lasting impression, but at the centre it seemed that the lack of sympathetic characters was a deterrent for readers to get really attached.

It’s good to take the time to reflect on books we’ve read, and hear the opinions of others. Maybe the book won’t always be a hit, but the company of other readers is ever rewarding! Thanks to all who came along and to Sidney/North Saanich Library for their continued support. Thanks also to Sidney’s Quince Café for providing the refreshments to fuel our conversation.

Book Club Q & A

Q How do you choose the books?

A The book selection is a little down to luck – each month the Sidney/North Saanich Library tries to get hold of a book club set for us to use. Availability is based on demand. So far we have had a choice between several titles each month, and have voted which one to use. Generally this will mean that people can leave the meeting with a copy of next month’s read. Book Club members can suggest titles they would be interested in reading from the VIRL book club sets list:

https://virl.bibliocommons.com/search?display_quantity=25&q=Book%20Club%20Collection&search_category=keyword&t=keyword&utf8=%E2%9C%93&formats=BOOK_CLUB_KIT

Q How do you structure the meeting?

A Members bring questions or discussion points with them, written down. These are put in a “hat” and drawn from to keep the discussion going. It leads to diverse questions and no need for anyone to feel self-conscious. The meeting is facilitated by Seaside Magazine’s Deborah and Sidney/North Saanich Library’s Virginia.


Q How do I stay up to date with Book Club happenings?

A Sign up for our mailing list and you’ll get meeting reminders by email. And follow us on Facebook to see everything that’s happening at Seaside Magazine!

May Meeting

The Book Club selection for our May meeting is Little Failure – A Memoir by Gary Sheyngart. The meeting will be held on May 17, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Nell Horth Room, Sidney North Saanich Library, Resthaven Drive

The Book Club selection for our May meeting is Little Failure – A Memoir by Gary Sheyngart. The meeting will be held on May 17, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Nell Horth Room, Sidney North Saanich Library, Resthaven Drive.