Monday, August 11, 2008

Book Club

My book club is meeting on Saturday and I haven't read the book yet. Actually I have read it, in high school and college—which means not for twenty years or more—but I'm not sure if I'll get the opportunity to reread before we meet. Luckily, the plot is pretty familiar to me, and I'm pretty sure I can find a Cliff's Note-like summary on the internet if I so desire.

The book, by the way, is William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. In my book club we only select books which have been made into movies, then we watch the movie at the meeting. After we eat, of course. We like to bring food that's somehow inspired by the movie—sometimes directly and obviously, sometimes in a more offbeat way. People have been known to pick their books in part based on the type of food they want to have! Our movie version will be, I understand, the Leonardo DiCaprio Romeo + Juliet. Our food—not yet determined, but I have a hankering to try my hand at recreating the tomato sauce I had at Palomino on Saturday night. Italian seems like a likely bet, and it's a very popular cuisine amongst the book club gals.

Our book club's been together for several years, and we take turns picking the books, two people at a time. We came up with this after I basically picked the first two selections, and although I would be happy to pick every book, it seemed like it would be fair to give the others an opportunity.

I pick the best books though. Here are some of my great past selections.

Bridget Jones's Diary, by Helen Fielding, and the movie is even better than the book

About a Boy, by Nick Hornby, and the movie is just as good as the book

Sense and Sensibility, by Jane Austen (another wonderful movie adaption) (and 10 points if you can figure out what these three movies have in common)

To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee (Gregory Peck is every attorney's movie idol)

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt (movie less stellar than book)

With all the books we've done, some have been more enjoyed than others, and the various movies have varied in their quality as well. I always feel that the book is more important; but on the other hand, I want a movie that entertains as well. A few of the books (in addition to mine, of course) have been quite exceptional, including...

Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
Notes on a Scandal by Zoe Heller (at least one person hated this book, but I thought it was absolutely riveting)

So my next turn to pick is coming up in a few months, and already I have been racking my mind for ideas. Here are a few ideas I've had, which can either be viewed as a joke, or a really good idea, depending on your perspective!

Book: Either Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner or 50/50: Secrets I Learned Running 50 Marathons in 50 Days by Dean Karnazes—Movie: Ultramarathon Man movie, which may come out on DVD in November, well before my next turn selecting comes up.
Pros & Cons: I loved the book and movie; movie shows Dean without shirt on. However, may be a bit of a niche selection, maybe not so fascinating to non-runners? Food theme for book club meeting: We could eat all the foods that Dean ate on his 199-mile relay in California, like pizza, chocolate espresso beans, cinnamon rolls!

Book: Don't Eat this Book! by Morgan Spurlock—Movie: Super Size MePros & Cons: Believe it or not, both the book and movie are fascinating and very entertaining, as well as educational! However, movie may show Morgan Spurlock without his shirt on. Also, book club members may feel they are being preached to (but honestly, I feel like everyone should see this movie). It would, however, prevent me from finding another Hugh Grant book/movie. Food theme for book club meeting: Well, duh, McDonald's! (Or maybe a homemade version of burgers, fries & shakes.)

Book: Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser—Movie: Fast Food NationPros & Cons: Book receives very good reviews; movie not quite so good (both a pro and a con). Movie may be sort of dark, and might turn our stomachs—not a good thing while we are eating. But it does have Greg Kinnear in it, and that is definitely a pro!—Food theme for book club meeting: Now, that's a problem. This is not a book or movie that is going to make you want to grab a burger! (At least in Super Size Me, Morgan enjoyed the McD foods, for a while.)

Well, there you have it, my top three selections for a non-fiction book club selection. I mostly meant it as a joke, since I've been threatening to pick Super Size Me for years. But you know, I'm really kind of tempted....


Deene said...

I like your club's method of selecting the books and the interesting twist with related food. i really enjoyed reading Memoirs of a Geisha and Like Water for Chocolate. I like the chocolate book esp. because of the subtitles.

Laura said...

What were the foods for the other books you guys read?

If it's not (way) too late, my vote is for Super Size Me. People can choose to agree with it or not - it's up to them! I think Fast Food Nation is too gross (I was grossed out reading it), and I agree that while the Dean Karnazes books are great, they might appeal to only a small niche.

Kristin said...

If I do pick a "healthy" book, I will go with Supersize Me because I agree, it would have the most general appeal. The other book menus, let's see, included... for BJD, English food, though I can't remember what exactly (I know we had Cadbury Milk Tray chocolates brought from England and wine); About a Boy, vegetarian (for Fiona) and red meat (for Will); To Kill a Mockingbird, Southern food (I made truly decadent mac & cheese); The Shipping News, we did a New England-style seafood boil; Under the Tuscan Sun was Italian, obviously (possibly including a recipe or 2 from the book); Notes on a Scandal also Italian because an Italian meal plays an important part in the book, and because it was a race weekend for me (I made the pasta). We really tend toward the Italian because there's such a wide variety of options there! We also read Seabiscuit and did foods (and beverages) associated with the Kentucky Derby for that. And Memoirs of a Geisha was sushi. Funny story there - my friend and I went to order the sushi, and we thought we picked out about $60 worth (though didn't exactly check the prices); another friend went (with my credit card) to pick it up, and it turned out to cost $250! We almost died. But have laughed over that story for years.