My attendance at book club this year has been, for a variety of reasons involving schedules and mishaps and mayhem, spotty. But! those things have all cleared up, and now I am good to ride again, and so very happy about it, too. This month was an extra-special one that I didn’t want to miss for anything, either. We had the author as a guest!

Elle is a terrific host, always baking up a batch of what we refer to now as “crack bread” for us to feast on in her incredible kitchen. She covers her large island in edibles, and it is the perfect gathering spot for sitting around and chatting, creating a wonderfully relaxed and intimate atmosphere, even with an august +1 in attendance.

It was a new form of book club, with the opportunity to ask questions, and kept us talking about the book for longer than usual, which was especially interesting, as I think we all loved the book. Tanis was very easy to talk to, and had lots of details about how decisions were made that gave a fascinating inside view of the shaping of the novel, yet she was without an ounce of pretension, and fit in perfectly with the group for the casual chatting part of book club, too, even though she knew only one of us. She was a perfect fit, and it was great fun, but even better is this book, which I found hard to put down.

above all things cvr.jpgAbove All Things
by Tanis Rideout

McClelland & Stewart
ISBN: 978 0 771 07635 0

Historical fiction, adventure story, romance, and quest, this is a work with different facets, yet manages to stay tightly cohesive, with the various plots and characters complementing each other rather than competing or distracting. While we read about George Mallory’s final attempt to scale Everest, we are also reading about the experiences and feelings of one of his climbing companions, as well as his wife’s feelings about his absence and her own struggles to keep herself together even as she worries and misses him terribly. 

The stories are all compelling, and kept me turning pages, unwilling to put the book down at the same time that I didn’t want it to end, because all endings were possible as long as I was still reading. I was, let;s say, feeling invested in the characters, who are painted as real people in such a way that there are times when you feel for each of them, and equally, times when you are angry with them. It all draws you further in, as does the suspense about George’s success or failure, if you are not already familiar with the history, as I was not. 
This all makes for a great read, but what made this book really wonderful for me was that the writing is lovely, and wonderfully evocative, without feeling showy. It’s a pleasure to read phrases that you want to stop and roll around in your head or on your tongue. This one, I will be recommending to everyone I have occasion to talk books with – including all of you. 

Also available as an ebook.

  • Alice

    It really is the best book club. One of us said her husband refers to it as “wine club.”

  • Tracey

    I wanna join that book club too! And Kath, have you read “The Paris Wife” yet by Paula McLain? GOLDEN.

  • Kath

    Having just finished The Help (yes, FINALLY) I am looking for another good read. May pick this one up to help fill the wonderful, warm and blissfully empty days of summer (being a teacher is such a sweet job!). Thanks for the reco and can I just say I want to join your book club?

  • Tracey

    Wow, this one sounds terrific – perhaps it will be one of my August reads! Thanks, Alice!!

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