18 July 2008

The Black Rose and Reading Stupid Books for a Book Club

So, I read this book by Thomas B. Costain for my book group. There is no way I would have started it, much less finished it, if not for that. More about that at the end.

It's set in the late 1200s and follows our hero Walter as he troops around Europe and Asia, ending up in China. It was published in 1945 and is completely typical of historical fiction written at that time- overwrought, unbelievable, sappy, and inaccurate. Still, it was quick to read and required absolutely no brain power, so it would be a good read if you're spending the day at home with the flu. I did watch half of the movie based on the book the other day. It was even worse.

So what do you do when you're reading a book not worth your time for a book club? There are too many good books out there to read to waste time on books like The Black Rose, but I do enjoy my book group enough that I want to have read whatever book we're discussing. I've only almost had this problem once, when my last book group chose Gone with the Wind, but I moved before the discussion took place. Whew.

But what can I say about this book when we meet? Even if I had liked it, there's really not all that much to discuss. It's a plot-driven book. And the woman who choose it LOVES it. Just loves it. So I can't say what I really think about there. It might be interesting to discuss historical fiction in general. It's much nicer when I don't like the book we're discussing if the one who chose it hasn't read it before (as will be the case with Three Cups of Tea).

I suppose I'll just have to go and enjoy the food and the company. How sad. :)


  1. Be grateful you have only come across a dippy book twice for book club. I have had far less good luck in book clubs. I just stay home with my family on the dippy nights. =)

  2. Hmm. I suppose you can draw out the person who loves this book into a discussion of why it works so well for her. Your comments can go from there (and pull in other books you've read with similar elements.)

    Good luck!

  3. I have been lucky, you're right. But I try to avoid book groups that would choose lots of sorry books.

  4. Thanks for the good suggestions, Nyura. I'll be sure to do that.