No! I Don’t Want to Join a Book Club (Plume, 240 pp., $14, paperback) isn’t as funny or polished as Bridget Jones’s Diary or the masterpiece from which it descends, Diary of a Provincial Lady. But Virginia Ironside bravely assaults fashionable clichés of old age in this comic novel, subtitled Diary of a 60th Year, which has just come out in paperback. Among the ideas scorned by her diarist, Marie Sharp, are that people help their heirs by planning their own funerals and that a funeral shouldn’t be funeral but rather “a celebration” of a life. Marie is also bold enough to question the motives of book club members: “I think they feel that by reading and analyzing books, they’re keeping their brains lively. But either you’ve got a lively brain or you haven’t.” A review of and reading group guide to No! I Don’t Want to Join a Book Clubwww.oneminutebookreviews.wordpress.com/2007/05/29/ appeared on One-Minute Book Reviews on May 29, 2007
(c) 2008 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.
“The biographer’s problem is that he never knows enough. The autobiographer’s problem is that he knows too much.”
Russell Baker as quoted by William Zinsser in Inventing the Truth: The Art and Craft of Memoir: Russell Baker / Annie Dillard / Alfred Kazin / Toni Morrison / Lewis Thomas. Edited and with a memoir and an introduction by William Zinsser (Houghton Miffin, 1987). Inventing the Truth began as a series of talks conceived by the Book-of-the-Month Club and held at the New York Public Library in 1986.
© 2008 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.
Every Friday One-Minute Book Reviews hands out a new Gusher Award for Achievement in Hyperbole in Book Reviewing in addition to any other posts that appear that day. The awards honor over-the-top praise for fiction, nonfiction and poetry, generally in major magazines and newspapers (including influential specialized publications, such as Library Journal and School Library Journal). To nominate an overheated review for a Gusher, please leave a comment or use the e-mail address on the “Contact” page on this site.