Friday, January 28, 2011

Dixie Diva Book Club January Meeting

The Dixie Divas met at Janice's house on Tuesday night and discussed Pat Conroy's My Reading Life. Janice is such a sweet hostess because she fed 16 of us shrimp and grits.  It was delicious!  Meg's pound cake was a hit for dessert, too.  I was going to take lots of pictures, but I was too busy socializing.  I did take a couple of pictures of Janice's dining room table:


I think her flower arrangement is absolutely perfect for a shrimp dinner, don't you!


We had a special guest from Sweden named Karin.  So many of us have read Stieg Larsson's trilogy, and we asked Karin if she could recommend any other Swedish writers, and she suggested that we read Vilhelm Moberg.


I enjoyed reading My Reading Life even though I have only read two of Pat Conroy's novels. The discussion was great (as usual).  There are several Dixie Divas who are huge Pat Conroy fans, and they have encouraged me to read a few more of his books, like The Prince of Tides.  What impressed the Divas about Conroy is the amount of books he has read over the course of his life. He has read at least 200 pages everyday.  In one of the chapters he describes this "city of books" he can visit anytime he wants constructed of all the books he has ever read.  I think that Conroy has a fantastic memory for what he has read; he is amazing.  I also enjoyed reading about his High School English teacher who had a profound impact on Pat and his reading and writing. This teacher even took Pat to meet successful writers as a way to encourage Pat.  Another chapter that many liked was the one about Thomas Wolfe.  Conroy gives a strong defense of Wolfe's importance in American letters, and if I were a critic, I would not want to verbally spar with Conroy about Wolfe.

My favorite part of the book was how Conroy's mother encourage his reading. They shared their "reading lives" with each other, and I think it was a way to escape the abuse of his father. I loved the fact that Pat's mother, Peg, re-read Gone With the Wind every year.  In My Reading Life, Pat shares many titles that have influenced him, and he (almost) makes me want to read War and Peace.

Janice asked us to reflect on our reading influences in preparation for the meeting: who influences us in our choices in books,  and what books have impacted our lives.  It was a great discussion with a lively group.

The Dixie Divas meet the fourth Tuesday of every month, and February's selection is Room by Emma Donoghue.

Until next time...

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill


  1. Our book club read room. It was fun, we met in a small room in my friend's garage. It was an intense read, but on the whole we liked it. I've been lost in the Mitford sisters for a couple of weeks, but I am putting My Reading Life on my list.

  2. Your reading club sounds like fun. I also read the Stieg Larsson trilogy. My friends have not:( I might have to read Pat Conroy's My Reading Life it sounds very interesting. Today I finished "The Man Who Made List" by Joshua Kendall. It's a biography of Peter Roget, the man who wrote the Thesaurus. Many readers gave it a poor rating but I liked it. (I'm a nerd!:). I thought about reading "Room" but I have several books on my reading list right now. My next read is “The Dark Lantern.” Happy Reading!

  3. How lovely. I have always wanted to join a book club. You southern gals have it going on.

  4. This is so great!!! I am just about to read, Room, so anxious to hear your comments on the book. I wish I could be part of a book club but since I life in a unilingual French community and prefer reading novels in English it is impossible. But, by following your blog maybe I will be part of a virtual club!!


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