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Book Club Party – One Summer: America 1927

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We know it’s already November and we’re wrapping up our October select a little late, but the end of last month got a little zany with tricking and treating, so we hope you’ll forgive us! We got together last week to touch base about our latest read, Bill Bryson’s One Summer: America 1927.

For many of us in book club, it was a first foray into nonfiction, and it was very successful! We sat down with some on-theme snacks (flavored popcorn for the baseball fans; sparkling ciders as a nod to our French partners in aviation) and discussed the ins and outs of a summer we didn’t know too much about!

  • We loved Bryson’s ability to weave all the story lines together. Just when it felt like he was closing the door on a story, it would make a graceful appearance in another anecdote. We particularly enjoyed the masterful mention of Ruth Snyder, long after Bryson had finished telling us about her.
  • Beyond his ability to inform, or re-inform, us about past events, we really liked Bryson’s snippets of trivia that popped in and out (Lindbergh should’ve been a Månsson had his father kept his name! Henry Ford was the inventor of the 40-hour work week!)
  • The Book of the Month Club was introduced in 1926! It was introduced as a mail-order book program but helped shape modern book clubs as we know them.
  • We were torn on Bryson’s turns of phrase to describe upcoming events. Some of us found the “but as he’ll soon find out…” method engaging, but others thought it a little heavy-handed.
  • Not everyone finished! For the first time since we started, people struggled to complete the book in a month. Lesson learned: Some readers need more time to process and read through such a dense, fact-based text.

Did you get a chance to pick up a copy? Let us know what you thought in the comments below, and check back in tomorrow to find out what we’ll be  reading this holiday season!

Paulie Dibner is the assistant managing editor of Martha Stewart Living. She has perfected her oatmeal-chocolate-chip cookie, but is on the hunt for a puff-pastry recipe to knock her socks off. Follow her on Instagram @matinauxsaules.

 

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