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Evening in Paradise


"Berlin's new book is a marvel, filled with deeply touching stories about lives ...
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Discuss Evening in Paradise by Lucia Berlin:
Have you discussed short stories in a book club setting before?

Created: 11/04/19

Replies: 21

Posted Nov. 04, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 2032

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Have you discussed short stories in a book club setting before?

This is the first time BookBrowse's Book Club has discussed a short story collection, but we know of many book clubs that do, such as a group that meets weekly and discusses just one story at each meeting, working their way through a collection; a number of groups that read and discuss a handful of short stories or a novella at busy times of year; and others that mix in discussing short story collections as part of their discussion repertoire on a regular basis.

Have you discussed short stories in a book club setting before?

If yes, do you have any advice for book clubs interested in doing so?

If no, now that you have had an experience of doing so, do you think you might recommend short stories to your book club?


Posted Nov. 30, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Lole

Join Date: 11/30/19

Posts: 25

RE: Have you discussed short stories in a book club setting before?

The only short stories my book clubs have discussed was Olive Kitteridge where stories are more closely linked than the stories in Evening in Paradise. I like the idea here about choosing a favorite/a least favorite, as well as questions that pertain to specific stories.


Posted Nov. 30, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
peggyt

Join Date: 08/10/17

Posts: 120

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RE: Have you discussed short stories in a book club setting before?

No and it seems problematic because although I generally like short stories, some people just don’t enjoy them.


Posted Nov. 30, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
djcminor

Join Date: 03/14/19

Posts: 46

RE: Have you discussed short stories in a book club setting before?

I started a long-running book club and we have discussed short stories on several occasions. For those books, I have asked specific people to respond to certain stories; of course, everyone joins in, but I have found it helps if each story has a champion, so to speak. Our most successful short story discussions were on Jhumpa Lahiri's Interpreter of Maladies and Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club. Years ago, we also read Maeve Binchy's The Lilac Bus; the loosely connected short stories gave us much to discuss.


Posted Nov. 30, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
lesleyf

Join Date: 05/14/11

Posts: 89

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RE: Have you discussed short stories in a book club setting before?

We have talked about the possibility but we haven't done it and I like the idea of sharing the "championing" of one!


Posted Nov. 30, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Maggie

Join Date: 01/01/16

Posts: 200

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RE: Have you discussed short stories in a book club setting before?

No we have not. One member once suggested a book of short stories and it did not get enough votes.


Posted Dec. 01, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
gwenc

Join Date: 07/14/12

Posts: 44

RE: Have you discussed short stories in a book club setting before?

No, but we are considering the book Gutsy...and this thread gives some helpful techniques to handle so many vignettes.


Posted Dec. 03, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
MarieA

Join Date: 10/12/11

Posts: 224

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RE: Have you discussed short stories in a book club setting before?

No, I have not discussed short stories in a book club setting before. I think discussing a group of short stories such as these in EVENING IN PARADISE would be difficult. Perhaps a good way might be to select just a few for discussion based on theme, character, or setting.


Posted Dec. 03, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
caroler

Join Date: 01/12/16

Posts: 24

RE: Have you discussed short stories in a book club setting before?

My book club did Olive Kitteridge. I think because the stories were connected by a common character helped. I wish I could remember some other titles we did, including poetry. It became a running joke if there was even a hint of short stories. So no, my book club would tackle the longest stories but sneak in a collection and they rebelled.


Posted Dec. 03, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
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patriciag

Join Date: 07/11/14

Posts: 26

RE: Have you discussed short stories in a book club setting before?

No. I have to say that I haven't read many books of short stories so my experience is limited. I signed on to read Evening in Paradise primarily to have that experience, and I wasn't sure what to expect. I, of course, have read many outstanding short stories--high school and college anthologies!! I wanted to find threads and connections knitting the stories together--and I think there are some, but the theme of loss (that last day in Paradise) seems to repeat for me. But I think trying to discuss the stories individually outside that theme is difficult since each seems to be unique and stand-alone.


Posted Dec. 03, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
KelHydra

Join Date: 08/05/19

Posts: 12

RE: Have you discussed short stories in a book club setting before?

I just started a book club in June and we haven't read any short story collections yet, but I'd like to try. I think my concern would be finding a small enough collection so that it would be feasible to discuss. Also, I think finding a collection that has some overarching themes would also facilitate discussion.


Posted Dec. 03, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
katherinep

Join Date: 07/16/14

Posts: 180

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RE: Have you discussed short stories in a book club setting before?

no---they aren't terribly popular for discussion in our groups


Posted Dec. 03, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
acstrine

Join Date: 02/06/17

Posts: 162

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RE: Have you discussed short stories in a book club setting before?

Discussed them in a Book Club? No way- -and usually I avoid reading short story collections altogether! Evening in Paradise has me asking myself "what have I been missing?" I see a lot of potential for incredible discussion based on the fact that, well, these stories are short. My immediate reaction when I came to the end of one was "wait, what happens next?" I would love to hear what members of my book club answer to that question compared to what I am thinking. The writing is incredibly powerful- -and it has to be, as the author wraps up her ideas more quickly than if she were writing a novel. Berlin almost teases the reader with complex topics in a few pages. Powerful issues and circumstances are covered in fewer pages, and I believe that they are worthy of investigation and discussion.

I think the discussion would center more on theme, author's style, etc. or require multiple meetings. That is the problem. When a club finds a great collection of stories, ALL of them seemingly deserve quality time.


Posted Dec. 06, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
josephinej

Join Date: 05/11/15

Posts: 72

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RE: Have you discussed short stories in a book club setting before?

Years ago we read an Alice Munro collection; while we all enjoyed it, there seemed to be either too much or too little to talk about. We haven't tried since (but I'd be up for it!).


Posted Dec. 06, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
nancyl

Join Date: 04/21/14

Posts: 31

RE: Have you discussed short stories in a book club setting before?

We discussed John Grisham's "Ford County" despite some initial pushback. Everyone loved it once they read it!


Posted Dec. 10, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
viquig

Join Date: 06/25/14

Posts: 35

RE: Have you discussed short stories in a book club setting before?

Our Book Club members generally read novels and occasionally nonfiction. No one has suggested reading short stories as a book for discussion, however, we have no rules about this. A discussion about short stories might be an interesting departure from our usual analysis.


Posted Dec. 12, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
dianaps

Join Date: 05/29/15

Posts: 379

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RE: Have you discussed short stories in a book club setting before?

Yes, but the short stories all had a common theme which was easy to follow. I do not think my book group would want to read this one.


Posted Dec. 16, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Marcia S

Join Date: 02/08/16

Posts: 254

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RE: Have you discussed short stories in a book club setting before?

We've only done Olive Kitteridge, which involved short stories touching on the same character. I loved the book but I was in the minority. (Also loved Olive Again!) Our group of older ladies really prefer a continual story.


Posted Dec. 17, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
juliaa

Join Date: 12/03/11

Posts: 209

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RE: Have you discussed short stories in a book club setting before?

My long running book club recently discussed its first short story collection "The Stories of Eva Luna" by Isabel Allende. It isn't easy to discuss short stories in a book club; one is left with either discussing a story or two in depth, or striving to discuss common themes in the stories. In fact, two of our members didn't read the short stories at all, but read instead the novel "Eva Luna" by the same author, that featured some of the same characters as the stories. I don't think we'll be discussing short stories again any time soon. The club members didn't really enjoy it.


Posted Dec. 18, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
rivkahh

Join Date: 05/04/15

Posts: 22

RE: Have you discussed short stories in a book club setting before?

No, and I haven't changed my mind after this book: I don't really enjoy them most of the time. I like stories in which the characters have plenty of time to change and develop.


Posted Dec. 26, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
jennie r

Join Date: 08/06/17

Posts: 29

RE: Have you discussed short stories in a book club setting before?

I have not discussed a collection of short stories in a book club. I think it might prove challenging because not all members would find the same stories resonant...they may not recall them all in enough detail to discuss. Perhaps as one other commenter here suggested, if just a few of the stories were earmarked ahead of time to discuss at the meeting.


Posted Jan. 15, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
rebeccar

Join Date: 03/13/12

Posts: 408

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RE: Have you discussed short stories in a book club setting before?

No, I have never been in a book club that selected short stories for discussion. As a teacher, there were occasional stories that I thought were excellent and memorable and had a lot to discuss. (Sometimes students liked them as well.) Often I was disappointed in the stories in textbooks. I've also been disappointed with the majority of short story collections that I've purchased at the last minute in book stores. I


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