Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Beartown; Fredrik Backman and Moonglow; Michael Chabon

 Beartown; Fredrik Backman
Atria - 2017

Beartown is a small close-knit community in Sweden, surrounded by forests.  The town doesn't have much going for it, except that it's residents are believers that a better day is coming.  The town has an ice rink and the junior teen ice hockey team are excited about competing in the semi-finals. Ice hockey and competition becomes all consuming.

There are a lot of characters in this story, each with their own story or personal issues.  The pass for the sport is felt throughout this novel, but, there are also some tough issues that surface and the execution of these difficulties is beautifully done. Bear town may be a small town but, they still must deal with many of the issues larger cities face:  Sexual assault, homophobia, bullying, peer pressure and the need to belong.

The story starts out a bit slow but once it gets going, it was hard not to become a little emotionally invested in the lives of Beartown residents. I started listening to the audio (beautifully done) and I also had the luxury of reading the print version as well. Recommended

Rating - 4/5 stars

Moonglow; Michael Chabon
Harper - 2016

Moonglow was our July book group read and of the 14 group members, only (1) liked the book (I did not like it).

The book was nearly 500 pages and touted as fictional, non fiction, as well as an autobiography wrapped in a novel, disguised as a memoir. The story unfolds as a deathbed confession of sorts of a man referred to only as "my grandfather".  Over the course of a week the reader hears tales of war, marriage, sex, the space program and more.

Here's what some of our book group members had to say -
  • the story seemed to lack focus and was hard to follow and confusing
  • oftentimes, the players were unnamed and you didn't know who was being written about
  • couldn't connect to the characters
  • the story switched back and forth in time too often, it was not put together well.
  • some really didn't care what happened to the grandfather as he came across as a mean child who grew into a mean man.

19 comments:

  1. Interesting to hear about Moonglow! I remember kind of toying with it when it first came out, but that was when I refused to read a 500 page book. By the way - aggressive page count for a book club pick!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sarah, yes, most of our bookclub picks are around 300 pages. Most participants didn't even finish this one.

      Delete
  2. I bet you guys had a good discussion regardless. We rarely have a book that everyone dislikes, but sometimes (Gone Girl springs to mind). So, I think I can safely skip that one. LOL

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The librarian takes suggestions but, generally picks our books so that she can get enough LP copies and audios etc so that participants don't have to buy the book. She was the only one that liked Moonglow.

      Delete
  3. I've kind of avoided Chabon because I figure his work is too literary for me. It sounds like I made the right decision.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't mind literary, this was more about poor organization and style.

      Delete
  4. I'm like Kathy... I've been avoiding Chabon for years, too.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Well we are on opposite sides here. I disliked Beartown and loved Moonglow. I admire your reading group for taking a chance on Moonglow. It is certainly a challenging book.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bear town wasn't may favorite but, I did like it but, I really had a tough time with Moonglow - glad it worked for you.

      Delete
  6. I loved Beartown. Don't think Moonglow is for me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Vicki, I remember your review, I now want to try the sequel to Beartown.

      Delete
  7. Well, sometimes a slow start is okay...especially mornings!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I have Beartown in my stack. Somewhere.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Beartown seems like the kind of book I might like. I'll check it out.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I've never read Chabon, but I did like the movie version of Wonder Boys. At least I think I liked it. It's been years...

    I have Beartown in my stacks and my mom really liked it, but said it took a long time to get interested. I'll have to remember that when I start in on it.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I had problems with Bear Town, and I also found Moonglow confusing. I think I tried it on audio and put it down. Glad to know I wasn't alone on this one. I so wanted to get into it but never did.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I think Backman might be the king of emotional reads these days!

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for taking the time to visit and double thanks for any comments. If you ask a question in your comments, I will try to reply to it here, or by email if your settings allow me to do so. Thank again for visiting.

(I apologize for the word verification, spammers spoil it for all sadly.)