Celebitchy Book Club: ‘A Visit From The Goon Squad’ by Jennifer Egan


Here it, our inaugural Celebitchy Book Club post. We decided to do a Celebitchy Book Club (CBBC?) after a tabloid report regarding Gisele Bundchen’s alleged membership in a local book club in Boston, where she drinks wine and tries to keep up with the schedule. So, let’s do that. Let’s get hammered and talk about books!

Our first selection is A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan. You probably noticed our new little button which links directly to Amazon. I chose Egan’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel because I was already about 60 pages into it when we decided to do the book club. And quite honestly, if I didn’t feel “required” to read it, I might have put it down and never picked it up again at one point. It’s not that the book is boring (at all) – I think this is one of those books where you really have to pay attention (“interactive!”) or you’ll miss some of the cool connections or you’ll miss the timeline. It’s a book that you should enjoy within one week so you don’t forget anything, but I spread it out over the course of a month and I do feel like I might have missed some connections.

I came into the book not knowing anything other than “it’s about music” and “it won the Pulitzer.” I’m sort of glad I didn’t know anything about it, I think I enjoyed it more because of the little surprises along the way. It’s a sprawling ensemble and each chapter jumps characters and timelines with no chronological rhyme or reason. Rhea, the main character/narrator of one story taking place in the 1970s, ends up as a secondary character in a story taking place in the early 2000s. Sasha, the narrator of the first chapter (taking place just after 9/11) is referenced/secondary to a half-dozen other stories over the course of 30-some years.

I guess almost all of the stories relate in various ways to Sasha, Bennie and Lou. Sasha is the soulful, beautiful kleptomaniac, with a tragic backstory and a street-smart attitude. Bennie is the record executive who always manages to find a way to thrive, even when he hates the music. Lou is the record executive who rips through his life, nearly destroying everyone and everything he touches. My favorite stories tended to involve Sasha in various ways and the Lou stories were my least favorite because that man was just depressing, going through women like Kleenex. His actions and lifestyle seem to directly cause his son’s suicide.

My other favorite stories – I loved the story where Dolly the PR professional was the narrator. Dolly and her daughter Lulu (who is all grown up in the final story) were two of my favorite people. And where Lulu ends up and WHO she is engaged to is such a wonderful pleasure for those of us who enjoyed the backstory of the African tribesman in a much earlier story.

I did sort of feel like Egan’s weakest point was the last story, which takes place in the future… I think there was a reference to 20 years after 9/11? So, 2021? The view of the future is realistic, with NYC still a haven for artists and the wealthy elite, but also baby-centric and under a near-constant military presence? But it also felt… I don’t know… wrong? The idea that the whole music industry would completely forget about traditional rock & roll just seemed like a really cheesy version of “musical dystopia”. But I loved it for Lulu and for the reference to Sasha’s “sticky fingers.”

The theme, I suppose, is that “time’s a goon” so the spastic chronology seems to echo that we are all expecting A Visit from the Goon Squad. I would recommend this to people, but it’s not quite an easy beach read – it’s more of a “Christmas break” read when you can really dedicate some time to finishing it quickly.

Note by Celebitchy: I’m embarrassed to say that I didn’t finish this book yet. (I have a good excuse which we’re planning to reveal next weekend.) This is definitely a book to read on vacation, and is not something you can read when you’re busy or distracted at all. I had a hard time committing to it because the characters would change so often and the narrative seemed random at times. It was difficult to gauge what I should care about because I couldn’t tell what was relevant. For instance the long side story about the tribesman that Kaiser mentioned seemed a bit tedious to me and I didn’t get to the payoff in the conclusion yet. You have to work to figure out how the characters relate to each other. There are countless secondary characters and you don’t know if they’re going to pop up again or if you’ll be able to remember them. I felt like I should be taking notes.

The book is rich with descriptions and experiences that are beautiful and can be touching, but at times felt overwrought. There’s a lot going on and I didn’t know whether to savor it or keep reading.

Egan is very skilled at writing from different points of view. You could really sense the different characters coming through. I wanted more continuity, although I may have just needed to give it more of a chance.

Our next book club selection is…. Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter. We will discuss it on November 10th!

Header photo credit: Sineu on Photocase

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129 Responses to “Celebitchy Book Club: ‘A Visit From The Goon Squad’ by Jennifer Egan”

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  1. Pers14 says:

    Yay! This is a great idea! So excited! I live in rural Quebec so it can be tougher to get Anglophone books, but next time I’m in Ottawa visiting family, I’m getting a copy! Yay x 2! 🙂

  2. I have just started it and and am excited to savor a new story with rich characters. I’ll post again. This, I think might be a week to week thing? As we read more. Need to get the Dragonflies and Cumberbiches here. They have such lovely ways of describing things ;). T.Fanty and Friends Where aaaaare youuu?

    • Kaiser says:

      It’s going to be a monthly feature! With work and everything, I’m a pretty slow reader these days and it’s hard to gauge the interest in this CB Book Club!

      • T.fanty says:

        Chiming in to show interest in the CBBC! I don’t always have time to participate, but look forward to reading the responses and joining in when I can do the reading.

      • Sixer says:

        Huzzah to a monthly feature! May we send in suggestions? It can help to be timely with choices – those of us with Kindles can take advantage of the £1/$2 offers – if you pay attention, there are some gems listed there for short periods of time.

      • Green Girl says:

        I love this idea! Thank you for getting this off the ground. I’m always looking for new books to try, too.

  3. Stephanie says:

    Great idea ladies!

  4. Tiffany says:

    I hated Lou. It was a romantic story of a all around a hole. When he had his hands on Ruth while her friend was on her knees. I would have pulled him from the hospital bed and threw him out the window. Talk about destructive and no accounting for action. I was a little lost as to why Alex was drawn to Sasha after all that time. He was married with a kid who he seemed to like. Someone help me out.

    • Kaiser says:

      I don’t think Alex was drawn to Sasha at the end, I think he was just remembering a time in his life when he was a lot younger. Time’s a goon and all.

  5. lulu1 says:

    ooooh, any excuse to read.


  6. Rhiley says:

    This is one of my all time favorite books. Egan was Steve Jobs first real love. In the 80s he made one of the first macs for her. When he gave it to her she was like, “what do I do with this?”

    • emmie_a says:

      Oh interesting! She’s a beautiful woman and sort of resembles Steve’s wife.

    • mom2two says:

      I did not know that!

      I read this book about a year ago and I enjoyed it. I thought her style was unique and the characters were compelling.
      I’ll have to see if I can get a copy of Beautiful Ruins and have it done by 11/10.
      Good idea!

  7. IceQueen says:

    Great! I love books!

  8. j.eyre says:

    I fear I did put it down. It is not that I did not like it and I probably will pick it up in the future, but I was reading two other books that did have me hooked and my schedule did not allow for reading a third.

    It is entertaining but I think it speaks a little more to those who are quite invested in music. I was one of those nerdy kids who was more invested in books growing up.

    But I love the book club idea and will make every effort to have Beautiful Ruins finished on time.

    • Kcaia says:

      I read this a couple months ago and cant barely remember it. the really good ones stick with me. Read Unbroken, that book spoke to my soul.
      Another great book is The Book Thief

    • Norman Bates' Mother says:

      Can I ask what were those two other books that have you hooked? I’m currently looking for suggestions for my new “have to read” list. I love the idea of a CB Book Blub. I’ll start with Beutiful Ruins but I want to have some backup ideas. I used to have a mini book club with my friend but she is one of those people who only read Proust, Joyce, Eco, Mann etc and now I want to read something still good but maybe more relaxing, without feeling guilty.

      • j.eyre says:

        My editor gifted me “The Ocean at the End of the Lane” by Neil Gaiman and I ate that one up. I love when the supernatural is accessible. I also appreciate when a tale is told from the innocence of a youth in a believable way.

        The second is “The Thirteenth Tale” which came highly recommended. That took me quite a while to get into and I kept putting it down to read other things (including The Purity Myth that was recommended on this site) But it is intriguing enough that I did not want to give up on it. Overall, I am glad I finished it, but I wouldn’t put it at the top of your list.

      • Tig says:

        Try Jo Jo Moyes- I couldn’t put down Me Before You, and loved her latest- The Girl He Left Behind- and Lionel Shriver is a great author as well, but her books are definitely a challenge at times. Also liked The Humans by Matt Haig.

      • Norman Bates' Mother says:

        Thank you both – I haven’t read any of those books yet, I will gladly give them a try.

      • lucy2 says:

        j.eyre, I’ve had the Thirteenth Tale for ages and started it twice, but always get distracted. I’ll attempt to finish it one of these days!

        I second whoever mentioned the Book Thief, it was so good, and the movie is coming out soon. The audiobook of that one had the best narrator.

    • Virgilia Coriolanus says:

      Miss Jane, we need to read my favorite book–your autobiography! I have a 1912 edition.

  9. fingerbinger says:

    I haven’t finished the book,but so far it’s pretty good.

  10. LahdidahBaby says:

    Love love LOVE the idea of a celebitchy book club! I have to confess, this is the only novel of the last few years that I didn’t finish. I got about halfway through it and said, “Self? Know what? Life’s too damn short.” Since reading and writing pretty much define my life (i’m a poet and novelist), it really bothers me that I didn’t finish a novel that won the Pulitzer. Still don’t think it deserved it, but whatthehell do I know, I didn’t finish it.

    • Celebitchy says:

      I felt super guilty about not finishing the book, and like I was letting Kaiser and you guys down. Now that I know that more of you also put it down I don’t feel so bad.

      • LahdidahBaby says:

        Ditto, CB. If you found it hard to stick with, I feel better.

      • gemmaa says:

        I just couldn’t with goon squad. I found it interminable. Relieved I am not alone as well!!

      • Liberty says:

        …..me too. Glad I wasn’t the only one. Yes, probably needed to read it all at once but I was crushed by work the last few and lost the thread.

        But yay– I bought Beautiful Ruins two weeks ago and was just about to start!

      • cat1 says:

        I have to say I felt the same way. I used to work in the music business IN p.r. and that, on top of all the accolades, made me curious about it but I just didn’t find it interesting or entertaining or that well written. I’m happy there were other people who felt the same! How it got so many accolades I do not understand and feel many got swayed by the award… perhaps? That being said, why did it get the Pulitzer prize? It wasn’t *that* special. I think I did end up finishing it just to see if I could figure out why people liked it, if the ending would make it all make ‘sense’ but it did not. Kind of wish you hadn’t featured it because it just adds to the ‘hoopla.’ Oh well.

    • Cary says:

      Another person here who didn’t finish the book, and I’m also a writer.The characters just didn’t move me. I didn’t care what happened to any of them. It wasn’t just that they were unlikable (I loved Richard Ford’s The Sportswriter so I don’t have a problem with unlikable characters), it’s that the stakes were so low. The characters’ problems seemed so petty and small I just couldn’t give a shit about them.

      • Shannon1972 says:

        Agreed. This definitely fell into my “life is too short” category, but I have to admit I was attempting to read it during a crazy time and probably was working on half brain capacity. This is a book that demands full attention.

        I will give it another go, if only to be able to participate somewhat intelligently in the book discussion!

    • Dominique says:

      Crazy! I did not finish Goon Squad either and had given it full time and attention. I normally plow through a book within two to three days and had every intention of doing so with this one, but iinstead i felt i had to drag myself back to it and eventually just gave up. 🙁 I agree with Cary’s assessment above.

      Fwiw, I had no such problem getting through Beautiful Ruins. Looking forward to that discussion.

  11. Sparrow says:

    I think a book club is a great idea. Clever ladies.

    I already have the November selection, Beautiful Ruins, in my ‘to read’ pile, so that’s kinda cool!

    I read Goon Squad in 2011, and remember finding it a bit slow going. I was struck by its cleverness with the plotting and the themes, but it didn’t engage me much on an emotional level. Which is probably why I don’t remember much about the characters or story. A lot of style, but not enough substance.

    • LahdidahBaby says:

      I’m with you on that, Sparrow. Didn’t find a lot of emotional resonance there. It was a book I really wanted to like–I liked the IDEA of it a lot–but in the end, it just never grabbed me.

      It’ll be fun to see what the clever ladies here do with book reviews–can’t wait!

      • Tig says:

        So agree with both your comments- this book left me cold. Suggest skipping to Beautiful Ruins- a great read, tho gets a bit clichéd towards the end.
        One definite suggestion -Far from the Tree- non-fiction but absolutely fascinating.

      • LahdidahBaby says:

        Tig, thanks for the suggestion–Far from the Tree sounds intriguing (just looked it up). Based on that, I think you’d like The Reason I Jump, a book I just finished. Written by a 13-year-old autistic Japanese boy and recently translated into English by David Mitchell, whose own son is autistic, it’s a brilliantly insightful, often funny and poignant, and very moving look into that closed-off world.

    • lucy2 says:

      I felt the same way about Goon Squad – I read it last year and liked it, but remember very little about it, and that’s rare for me. The connections between the characters was interesting and I enjoyed the writing itself, but it just didn’t stick with me.

  12. Bananapants says:

    You guys just made my Sunday. I’m sick and couch bound. This is gonna be fun!!

  13. MellyBee says:

    Wonderful idea, ladies! Thanks for keeping us stocked with celebrity gossip AND good reads. Cheers!

  14. Sixer says:

    Yay! Thanks for doing this, gals.

    I enjoyed the events and the characters and the central idea of somewhat separate stories forming a kind of domino topple.

    But I’m amazed it won a Pulitzer. It thinks it’s modern by using different devices (the typography, the graphics, the reportage, etc) but for me it was gimmicky, not new. Too much style and not enough substance.

    I’m all for authors being commercial and finding a USP. But if your USP is going to be throw-the-kitchen-sink at every possible gimmick you can think of, at the expense of the whole, then I think you’ve made a mistake.

    The Pulitzer panel clearly thought differently, however. Awards panels sometimes make mistakes in their desperation to seem “relevant” and I think that might just have been what happened here.

    I haven’t read Beautiful Ruins but will if I get spare time, in time.

    • Kaiser says:

      I thought it was dense and clever, and that’s probably why it won the Pulitzer. Plus, it’s a “cool book”. Like all the hipsters would read it.

      • Sixer says:

        Yes to “cool” – that’s what I was getting at with relevant.

        I just had the feeling that it was, not so much try-hard, although there is that, but mercenary/commercial. I didn’t get any sense Egan was following a creative urge with all those bells and whistles and self-aware clevernesses. I got the feeling that she made a numbers game of faux-cool ingredients. Like a Marvel film. You know?

      • j.eyre says:

        “I didn’t get any sense Egan was following a creative urge with all those bells and whistles and self-aware clevernesses.” – this is a very good assessment and how I felt. I thought it was me who was missing something.

      • LahdidahBaby says:

        I agree with all you said about it, Kaiser. Just couldn’t seem to form enough of an attachment to stick with it, mostly because of the many shifts of narrative perspective. In the end, it was a book I liked the idea of more than I liked the actual book. Maybe I got lazy, dunno.

      • Anonymei says:

        I absolutely loved the book. I am a fan of Jennifer Egan – also great is The Invisible Circus. I think it won the Pulitzer because it is a masterpiece of storytelling. Her ability to write complex characters of many different ages, sexes and in different times is incredible. Others in my book club did not like it as much as I did. The first story was just heartbreaking and life affirming. I thought the futuristic chapter was interesting. Need to read it again.

      • Becky1 says:

        I read it about a year ago and loved it although I can understand why people could find some of the literary devices gimmicky. It’s not a perfect book and there were sections that I didn’t care for as much as others but I thought the writing was excellent and overall really liked it. The chapter that was set in the early 1990’s that focused on Sasha’s friend Rob was particularly touching.

      • Sixer says:

        Scanning through the comments, it may be that had I read other books by Egan and worked up a bank of appreciation for her work, I would have seen Goon Squad in a more favourable light – perhaps an interesting experiment that I wasn’t keen on, rather than a calculated recipe for cutting edge that didn’t come off precisely because it was calculated.

    • Lucrezia says:

      Well that’s interesting.

      I missed out on all the bells & whistles … my copy (Kindle) is a simple, consistent font the whole way through. No fancy graphical tricks.

      I wonder if they would’ve changed the way I felt about the book. (Which was basically: not too impressed.) I am a bit of a sucker for arty styling.

      Were other Kindle users in the same boat? (Mine’s from the Aussie Kindle store, with an Aussie publisher, so the rest of you could easily have a different, fancier version.)

  15. RN says:

    Great idea! I just put “Beautiful Ruins” on hold at the library. I’m glad you gave us a heads-up, as I’m the 251 hold on 78 copies. There must be a lot of other Celebitchy readers in my city, ha ha.

  16. Bodhi says:

    Hooray book club!! I’ve been waiting for a CB book club for eons… even since I convinced CB to read the Sookie books 😉

    • Celebitchy says:

      You did! Bodhi did you read Dead Reckoning? That’s as far as I am in the series. I read the first couple of chapters and it was so boring I couldn’t finish it.

      • Bodhi says:

        Yup, I’ve read them all. I love Charlaine Harris but she really should have ended the series a while back.

        I’m now totally obsessed with the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. Its incredibly good

      • Celebitchy says:

        Oh I have that first book in the Outlander series! I think it was free at some point on Kindle or very cheap or something. I’ll read it once I get done with Beautiful Ruins.

    • bbb1975 says:

      Hooray for more Outlander fans! I agree I’m obsessed with them.
      Love the Book Club idea!
      I read Goon Squad, and finished it because I kept waiting for it to get better. I like how everyone was interconnected but I just didn’t know any one character enough to care what happened to them. I wish I could have gotten to know them better.

    • maplesbass says:

      Have you ever read The Hallow series by Kim Harrison?

  17. squirrelbait says:

    Yay! Book club! I’ve been sober for 7 years so I won’t be participating in the getting hammered part but I’m totally down to discover new reads. 🙂

  18. Zombie Shortcake says:

    “I have a good excuse which we’re planning to reveal next weekend.”

    Are you pregnant? Or launching a new site? Or going to start doing celebrity interviews? Or having contests with Prizes? So many possibilities…

    • Kaiser says:

      CB is redesigning the site!

      • Anna says:

        I hope the mobile version will still be really easy to use. Sidenote: the next book is a great pick

      • Nono says:

        Yay! 🙂 A fresh lick of paint’s always fun, eh? Please look into fixing the comments section’s bugs and making it a bit more sleek and functional.

      • Blair Warner says:

        Yes, please keep the mobile version so clean, crisp and easy to read! CB is my commute reading and I love the look/utility of the mobile site.

    • Peanut says:

      Lol I thought pregnant too!!

      Awesome idea for a CBBC. I’m off to buy Beautiful Ruins now. 🙂

    • Celebitchy says:

      Email me if you want to help usability test the new site. Anyone can email me, it helps! My email is info-at-celebitchy.com.

      -edit- I’m not pregnant!

  19. Cityhoney says:

    My first post on Celebitchy after being a long term reader but just wanted to say really love the idea of CBBC! I’ve read a few of Egan’s books over the last couple of years and Goon Squad is the one I liked the least. Despite wanting to love it, I found it really hard to care about the characters in the end. Really loved Look At Me by Egan though so would recommend you try that one! Am reserving Beautiful Ruins on my kindle now to be ready for next month!! Thanks guys.

    • Celebitchy says:

      Thanks Cityhoney nice to meet you!

    • LahdidahBaby says:

      Cityhoney–a big ditto there. I’ve liked Egan’s other novels more than Goon Squad, but kept feeling that my failure to attach to Goon Squad was my own fault. I’ll admit, I don’t in general love frequent switches of narrative perspective, because I find that constant shifting around makes it difficult to develop empathy for ANY of the characters. There were many brilliant aspects to Goon Squad, though, as Kaiser noted. It’s one of those books that maybe you can admire for its accomplishment more than you will truly love or identify with it.

      • Cityhoney says:

        Hi LahdidahBaby – totally agree about narrative switches. Inevitably there’s one character I end up more interested in and the constant interruption of the others starts to irritate! Really admire Egan’s ambition though.

  20. Nanz says:

    Great idea! Can’t wait to get started!

  21. Franny Days says:

    I’m so excited about this! I’ve always wanted to be in a book club.

  22. mslewis says:

    I’ll skip this one and wait for “Beautiful Ruins.”

  23. Tiffany says:

    There was no real resolution to Jules and Kitty. Jules was going to write about Scotty and his last show before attempting suicide and Kitty was with the dictator and that was it. I just did not want to take the word of Arc that Kitty was alright. The next chapter showed the story that lead to both their downfalls. That was the one story that I was really interested in.

  24. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    What a great idea! I love it. I’ll be ready for Beautiful Ruins – already have it. Thanks for doing this!

  25. mia girl says:

    I’m definitely starting with the next selection. This is a great idea.

    But I’m now very intrigued by the “big announcement” next weekend that CB mentioned. Sounds exciting and that even bigger and better things are on the horizon for Celebitchy. That’s great, CB, Kaiser & Bedhead you deserve it!!

  26. Circe says:

    Yay to the book club idea


    Boy, did I hate this one. I thought all the characters were insufferable and it didn’t appeal to me at all, even though it’s the sort of book I’d normally love. It’s been a while since I last read it, but I remember I only finished it because I kept waiting for some grandiose plot reveal that would somehow magically bring the whole together. When it didn’t happen I felt seriously cheated.

    I’ll make an exception for the powerpoint story, which was touching and truly original.

  27. Aqua says:

    I’s love to do this but hopefully the books won’t be to expensive.I’m on a budget and so far at Chapters the book is $30-$35 dollars and Chapters online you have to have a minimum so that the shopping will be free or their is a charge on top of that.That’s a lot of money for a book that is just O.K. any suggestions? maybe I’ll do every second or third book.

    • LahdidahBaby says:

      It’s out as an ebook, Aqua–don’t know the e price off the top of my head, but it should be about a third of that.

    • Sachi says:

      If you want it in print, you can always buy it “used” although you’d have to wait 2-3 weeks. I’ve bought a lot of used paperback novels from Amazon and I always received books in very good condition.

      Most e-books cost less than $15, too. This book is around $13 on Amazon right now.

      • Aqua says:

        Thank for the suggestion and I did try to buy them used but the shipping and handling was more than the cost of the two books combined.But I’m not giving up yet.Where their’s a will,their’s a way!

      • Aqua says:

        UPDATE! I bought both books online at a discount and they had free shipping and handling for this weekend only.Don’t think I’ll be able to read the first one on time because it takes 2 weeks to deliver but I’ll still read book one with the readers comments in mind and quickly catch up with the second.Thanks for your help.I do appreciate when people respond to my questions.I can hardly wait to start!Jumping up and down in the middle of my kitchen!

    • Hi, You can get a free Kindle App. You don’t need to have a Kindle, just either a smart phone or a computer. And you can borrow books from the local library or other Kindle users for free.

    • Jaxx says:

      Do you not have a library where you live? Even if you have a very small one, many have a service called Interlibrary Loan, which will order the book for you from a larger library. Mine charges $1.00 to help with postage costs.

  28. Sachi says:

    This is on my “Next to Read” list on Kindle. I’m still reading a couple of Kate Morton books, but I hope to start this book before Xmas.

    I’ve read a lot of great reviews about this so I’m definitely intrigued and looking forward to reading it.

    I love the idea of a CB Book Club, mainly so I can discover more books that other people read. I’m afraid I’m not that adventurous with the books I’ve read so far, so discovering something new is always nice. 😀

  29. Tania says:

    I’m SO excited for this!! There are so many intelligent, articulate women here, I think it’s going to be great!

    • LahdidahBaby says:

      Gotta say, Tania, I’m with you on that. The wit and savvy, the generally sophisticated worldview, and the level of discourse on the Celebitchy site are why I pop by here several times a day. My husband SHH and can’t believe it whenever he finds me cruising this site (“Oh, c’mon, a gossip site?” he said once, and I told him it’s often more like a conversation at the Cafe Deux Magots). Considering that my work life is nothing but the printed word, it does take a lot to get me pumped for any other occasion that requires MORE of that.

  30. Miss M says:

    I could not devote to thid one. but i will try to read beautiful ruins! yay to CBBC!

  31. Kaiser says:

    Full disclosure: I’m currently reading Sue Grafton’s W is for Wasted and I probably won’t start Beautiful Ruins until next week. No spoilers! PS… I love Grafton and I don’t care who knows.

  32. MichBB says:

    Yeah! I am in the middle of reading Beautiful Ruins right now. I needed motivation to finish it, so thank you CBBC.

    • Apsutter says:

      Just read that this summer and I loved it! That and Cheryl Strayed’s book “wild” were my favorite of the summer

      • Celebitchy says:

        I read “Wild” this summer too! I really liked how Strayed was kind of humble and matter-of-fact about everything. You could really tell how losing her mother shaped her, and how she grew by challenging herself. She didn’t seem self-congratulatory about all she accomplished though. I enjoyed it a lot.

  33. T. Fanty Fan says:

    Finished the book last night, and while I too was bothered by all the shifting stories and time, it was the little gifts she placed in the story-I loved Lulu as a child and found her interesting as an adult. As someone who works in IT I found the last chapter to be VERY interesting about the children wanting to use the devices/smartphones/whatever. It was interesting and something I would not have picked up on my own.

  34. Jane says:

    Outlander by Diana Gabaldon is a great book series. It is being filmed for a TV series for Starz.

    • Celebitchy says:

      Bodhi just mentioned that upthread!

    • Ginger says:

      I adore the series but I had no idea it was being turned into a show! I might have to buy Starz to see it! How on earth are they going to cast Jamie?

      • bbb1975 says:

        @Ginger, the actor they have picked for Jamie is Sam Heughan, I’m not sure. My husband (yes, I got my husband addicted to the series also!) thinks he is perfect. Let me know what you think.

    • bbb1975 says:

      @ Jane, How do you feel about the casting?
      I’m not sure if I love the guy they picked for Jamie, But I think they got Claire right.
      I hope they do these books justice.

  35. O'Angie says:

    I just wanted to chime in to say great idea too! I’ll grab Beautiful Ruins right now so I’m ready for November.

  36. Apsutter says:

    Book Club! All I have to say about this is “YEEEEEEEEEEEES!!!!” Fist pump, fist pump!

  37. Just Me says:

    LOOOOVE this idea!! I will have to pass on Goon Squad as I am in the middle of something major these next 2 weeks & a rambling something is not something I will be able to get into. Thanks for the heads up on that. However, I’m going to order “Beautiful Ruins” now and read it on the plane next week. Maybe once things are slower I’ll come back to Goon Squad.

    Edited to add: I meant to request for you guys to please, please, please continue to choose books with the Kindle option.

  38. Cary says:

    Good on you for choosing this book even though I didn’t like it. You could just as easily have gone for a Jennifer Weiner book instead (God help us) so I’m glad you’re setting the bar higher!

    • LahdidahBaby says:

      Lol, Cary. I so agree.

    • lucy2 says:

      Those Jennifer Weiner books are SO predictable! I read a few before I realized it’s the same story every time, just a few details changed. Even the main character is always described the same physically. Weird.

  39. Maggie says:

    A Fine Balance….one of those books that stays with you long after putting it down. I highly recommmend it! Beautifully written and a great story.

  40. Used☩oBeLulu says:

    I love Jennifer Egan! Been wanting to read this for some time…

  41. Ginger says:

    I love this idea and will download it to my Kindle. I’m just finishing up one of my paranormal romances (Katie MacAlister) and looking for a new book to read. I like to go back and forth between something popular, something intellectual and something pulpy and fun. So, thanks for the suggestion!

  42. Aqua says:

    I think this CBBC is going to be great!I love the interaction and the book recomendations that everyone is bring to this thread already.

  43. Simmo says:

    Hi Everyone!

    I am a long time reader of the site but this is my first ever comment as I am so excited about CBC. I have beautiful ruins as one of my holiday reads already so look forward to discussing that. I agree with other posters that the book thief is amazing, should seining let give that a try if you haven’t already 🙂

    • Celebitchy says:

      Hi Simmo, welcome! I have been meaning to read Book Thief, I have heard a lot of good things about it.

      • Simmo says:

        Yes definitley give it a try, although it did make me well up a little bit so you have been warned :). Another really good one is A Thousand Splendid Suns, although again it did make me a bit teary (notice a theme here ha ha).

  44. Sparkly says:

    Sad to be missing out on the inaugural book! I couldn’t get it at our teeny weeny library.

  45. TheyPromisedMeBeer says:

    Question about the book club selections: If we have something to suggest, can it be non-fiction? Like a fun biography or pop history read?

    I’ve never been in a book club before – this sounds like fun!

  46. Nimbolicious says:

    I lurk on CB every day but have never put in my two cents until now. Great idea, this. Gonna read both books!

  47. Nanea says:

    CBBC is a great idea and I will have read Beautiful Ruins by Nov. 10 if Real Life™ doesn’t intervene.

    I just couldn’t with Goon Squad and didn’t finish it. Life is too short for finishing books that don’t agree with me. Happens ~ once a year out of ~ 100 books I read, job-related reading excluded.

  48. hanah says:

    This is an awesome idea!!!!

  49. CaribbeanLaura says:

    Gah, I planned to read this book but didn’t even buy it. I am not a big fan of literary fiction. Give me fantasy or scifi and I’m there but literary fiction not so much. I however will make an exception for CBBC and step out of my comfort zone. Beautiful Ruins it is.

  50. Claudia says:

    Ah! I missed this one, and by the looks of the discussion– probably for the best :). I will definitely be checking out Beautiful Ruins for next month’s book club. Will it always be featured on a Sunday?

  51. Gabriella says:

    I loved this book, and I’m loving the decision to read female authors. Read on!

  52. LeBarron says:

    Count me in! I travel a lot of work, so I’m always looking for something to help pass the time on planes. And right now I’m completely stuck on Candy Crush. Damn you, Level 140!

  53. LouLou says:

    This is the smartest gossip site ever. That book has been on my list for a while. I have to start it, but there is always so much to read! I love it.

  54. the other Kate says:

    I love this idea 🙂
    I just hope you’ll forgive – I will read it in polish language. I would love to participate in CBBC, but I don’t feel so good in english, to read such book as this one in original(I only read simple crime novels and thillers in english ;))

  55. Lucrezia says:

    I had a lot of … I guess I’ll call them “cross-cultural translation issues” with this book. It’s not like I’m a 90 year old from outer Mongolia or something, I’m in my 30’s and Australian, you’d think it’d translate well enough. But it simply felt like a lot of references were flying over my head, just because it’s not my era, not my music, not my country.

    I read mostly sci-fi/fantasy. I’m used to grasping new worlds that function in peculiar ways. But sci-fi/fantasy authors KNOW that their reader doesn’t know their world, so they explain it. Egan doesn’t.

    Really, it’s odd. It’s like she’s only trying to be evocative, only catering to those who share her memories of that zeitgeist. She’s not explaining it to those of us who weren’t there.

    That said, she doesn’t HAVE to write for me. It would be a totally different book if she had to outright explain things rather than simply evoke memories. So I’m not going to write the book off as worthless … it’s simply not designed for me. Not fair for me to judge it.

  56. curlsunited says:

    LOL, the idea of a book club has been in the air for some time, what with all the Shakespeare and our intriguing scenario of two British actors (whose names I shall not disclose) lounging by the fireplace, sipping expensive scotch and discussing their latest reads.

    That said: I absolutly love the idea of the CBBC book club, although every now and then I might get stuck in the “she drinks wine” stage because I didn’t get round to reading or finishing your pick of the month (I have to do a lot of reading at and for work). But I’ll try my best.

  57. Lexie says:

    I have to speak up for Egan. Guys, please give Goon a chance! It might be gimmicky, but the more I thought about the PowerPoint (yeah, I know, but still) and the speech about songs with pauses, the more profound the book became to me. So very much more than Beautiful Ruins, which felt predictable and waaay more gimmicky with its silly Hollywood historical fiction. My book club comrades disagree with me re: both books, but I stay firm. Egan, I got you girl.

  58. Esmom says:

    Gah, sorry I missed this. I loved the book although I read it over a year ago so I’m more than a little sketchy on many details.

    So glad you chose Beautiful Ruins! I had a hard time settling into it but once I did I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s one of my own book club’s current features and i am hosting so I found a really good discussion guide online and typed up about two pages of notes because I was afraid of forgetting things over the course of just a couple of weeks! But it’s the kind of story that really sticks with you. Me, anyway.

  59. Sanaa says:

    Longtime reader, first time commenter…I love the book club idea! Seriously am so excited for this, and can’t wait to download this and catch up with you!

  60. anon says:

    I read this two years ago for an English class. Won’t be participating, but it’s a great read!