My neighborhood book club met tonight and we had a wonderful time, as usual. We discussed Nick Hornby’s A Long Way Down, and I think it averaged a score of about two and one-half stars. Not one of our favorite books, mainly because we didn’t care much for the characters . (And there’s a lesson in that, I think . . . ) Brilliant concept, though.

Next month we’ll be reading The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant. Looking forward to it–but mostly looking forward to finding some time to squeeze in some pleasure reading. I’m on such a tight deadline, plus I’ve had to go through two sets of first pages, plus I have edits coming back next week, plus I need to finish up my apologetics course . . . busy, busy.

Not to mention all the days I have marked as “out of town” on my calendar. Sigh.

Our book club has had great discussions about the following books:

First book: SNOW IN AUGUST by Pete Hamill
Date: PEACE LIKE A RIVER by Leif Enger (we loved it)
Date: THE PACT by Jodi Picoult (we loved it)
Date: PLAIN TRUTH by Jodi Picoult
Date: BIG STONE GAP by Adriana Trigiani
April 2004: “The Amateur Marriage” by Ann Tyler
May 4, 2004- “The Last Juror” by John Grisham
June 3, 2004- “Good Grief” by Lolly Winston
July 12, 2004- “The Rule of Four” by Ian Caldwell & Dustin Thomason
August 8, 2004- “Wonderful Years, Wonderful Years” by George Higgins
September 20, 2004- “Skinny Dip” by Carl Hiaasen
October 9, 2004- “The Lake of Dead Languages” by Carol Goodman
November 8, 2004- “The No.#1 Ladies Detective Agency” by Alexander Smith
December 13, 2004- “A Redbird Christmas” by Fannie Flag
January 10, 2005- “Whirlwind” by Michael Jaffee
February 7. 2005- “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini
March 7, 2005- “My Sister’s Keeper” by Jodi Picoult
April 2005: “Life Expectancy” by Dean Koontz
May 2, 2005- “The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter” by Carson McCullers
June 6, 2005- “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell
July 18, 2005- “State of Fear” by Michael Crichton
August 29, 2005- “A Long Way Down” by Nick Hornby
October 3, 2005: “The Birth of Venus” by Sarah Dunant

I’m sure there are others, but I didn’t keep records and I can’t remember them all.

Now, to explain at least one of my rules–I’ll go with the “ing thing.”

Never begin a sentence with an -ing construction that’s physically impossible to accomplish with the rest of the sentence. Example: Slamming the locker door, she grabbed her algebra book.

See the problem? You can’t simultaneously slam the door AND grab your book (without smashing your hand in the process.) Browne and King say that using too many -ing constructions is simply the mark of “unsophisticated” writing. Since I’ve become aware of them, I’ve pared them WAY down. (Twin sister to the -ing construction is to use “as” to do the same thing. Avoid it as well.)

And there you have one of Angie’s favorite rules: watch that “ing thing.”


  1. Anonymous

    I just found you. Since I enjoy reading your books, I know I’ll return often.
    May I recommend a book for your book club?
    “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” by Haddon
    Amazing writing, through the eyes of an autistic teen.
    Thanks for your writing contributions to Christian literature.
    Barbara Thompson

  2. michael snyder

    Quite a book list there. Marked a few down that I haven’t read yet. Hornby’s one of my favorites but you’re right about his recent gaggle of characters.

    And I agree with Barbara T.–Curious Incident was a lot of fun.

  3. Angela

    Oh, yes. I’ve read “Curious Incident,” and my one personal rule (my rules again!) is that I never recommend anything I’ve read before. Every week I set out a half dozen books that are as new to me as to the group, and we choose one. Sometimes we strke out (there’s a dud or two in that list), but most of the time it’s a wonderful experience.

  4. Accidental Poet

    Poets also have an “ing” thing but yours is different 🙂


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