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Book interview:Conversation Starters

 

From what I know of book clubs, I would wager that no two are exactly alike. There are the groups who take their books very seriously and frown on regulars who have failed to read that month’s selection. Then there are the ones where members might be more interested in sharing the latest gossip than discussing the book.

Still, people who join book clubs usually do like to read, and they are always looking for that perfect book that will please everyone or, at the very least, get both the very rigorous and the somewhat frivolous on the same page. Here are five fascinating books that will be sure to catalyze serious and lively conversation.

This is a book that reveals itself gradually. You think you know what it’s about, only to realize you’ve been mistaken — just like the narrator. What’s curious is that you’d think he would know. After all, it’s his life you’re reading about. The narrator, Tony Webster, has led an ordinary life. He had a group of friends back in his school days who seemed to mean a lot to him. And he had a serious girlfriend while in university. But he moved on, got married, had a child. Now divorced, he’s on good terms with both his wife and daughter. Suddenly, an unexpected inheritance forces him to reinvestigate his life. Along the way he finds that his memory has betrayed him. Or did he simply fail to remember what he wanted to forget?

“Did you read this book?” my friend asked. “I can’t stop thinking about it.” That about sums it up. The Sense of an Ending is the kind of book that when you finish, you want to read again just to sort out what clues you missed the first time around. And it makes you think: If one man can get his life so wrong, can shape his memories to fit his own self-satisfied image of himself, doesn’t that open the possibility that we all do the same thing to some degree? Oh, this is a great book to talk about.