Wednesday, October 22, 2008

We Are Gathered Here

Today I finished Micah Perks We Are Gathered Here, just in time for our Community Book Group tomorrow night. Perks wrote this book some years ago, but she is a local author and thus the book gets a revisit. As you can see, it is extremely appropriate for this blog.

This reading will be taking place under the auspices of the bookstore I work for, Bookshop Santa Cruz. This blog is in no way a vehicle for that business, but it's easy enough to check out with Google should you be so inclined. This is the second Community Book Group I'll be attending. What I can say about them is that they are very different from author readings and signings because the audience has already read the book. From my brief observation, this is tremendously gratifying for the author, who is no longer in the position of selling the book, but of simply discussing their thoughts about it with people who have thought about it as well.

We Are Gathered Here is a fascinating book and well worth anyone's time. I had my doubts about this at first. I always understood it to be well written, but there was an uncomfortable quality to the early part of the book that made it difficult to go on. Let us just say that it is Little Women written, not as Louia Mae Alcott would have, but maybe as the subtext of that book might be written if it could be. I think on reflection that the reason the book has a rough beginning is that we want the nineteenth century to conform to our preconceptions. When it doesn't, we feel a little shaky. But this is such an interesting book that it wins us over by degrees.

I hope I'll get to the discussion tomorrow night. If I do, I'll try to post about others' reactions as well. I realize that I've said very little about the content of the book, but think I will let that stand for now.