Reading Challenge: The History of Love

My book club consists of about 10 people (all from work) who enjoy reading and want or need an incentive to read more or to branch out in the kind of things that they already read. The problem is usually we only get about 5 people to actually participate. I don't really mind that much because the people who do participate are consistent and I love talking to them about the books we read. However, to encourage more involvement we decided to change up the way we pick our books! Previously, we had been drawing from a long list of suggestions that had been submitted by our members, from the local library list and of course Oprah's book club list. In order to get our members to feel more connected we decided that instead of drawing for the book, we would draw a name from the pool of members and that person would decided which book we would read.

This was our first go at this and it seems to have been successful in getting our members to read. More people overall read this book, although we still only had about 6 at the meeting. Oh well.

The History of Love is a novel told over many voices, the most prominent of which are Leo Gursky an old man who had immigrated to America from Poland during World War 2; and Alma Singer a teenage girl who is struggling to find her way after the death of her father. All the characters in this story are connected and it's only through completing the book that you truly see the depth of all their connections. Filled with sorrow, loneliness and despair The History of Love tells the story of different generations and their struggles to be seen, to be someone.

I usually wait until the week or weekend before book club to read our chosen book because I read really fast and I read a lot of books so I want it to be fresh in my mind. With this one, I wish I had given myself a little longer. This is one that I would have enjoyed over the course of a week or two instead of cramming in to three days, never-the-less in the end I loved the story and the characters. My favorite character is Alma's younger brother Bird who believes he is one of the lamed vovniks (36 chosen people) and possibly even the Messiah. While, all the characters in this book are Jewish and much of the story revolves around their their faith; you do not have to be Jewish to understand and appreciate the message behind the story.

Great story about love and loss of all kinds.

Book 13/50

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