Last month, my local library, the Lansing Community Library, sponsored a new adult book club. About half a dozen people met initially to get to know each other, make book recommendations, decide on when to meet and what book to read first. Since “Banned Book Week” occurs annually at the end of September, at our request, Director, Teri Wojtalewicz, recited a list published by the ALA of the top 100 banned books. We determined that Sophie’s Choice by William Styron was a book that most of us had not read yet and thus became our first “Book of the Month” read.
On the second Thursday of October, we met again and gathered in a few new readers. We had a lively discussion, as can be expected from a book that is challenged frequently for some of its content. Those who had read it in their 20s and re-read it for the group felt like they were reading a different book from what they remembered. I’ve had that same experience many times when returning to books I read from much earlier in my life.
Other readers mentioned and appreciated the use of music for the emotional apexes and nadirs Sophie experienced. Another recurring comment involved the writing style of the author (or Stingo, whose life seemed to somewhat mirror the author’s protagonist), which involved the use of large unfamiliar words and incredibly long sentences. Since I was/am reading the ebook edition, I took occasional advantage of the built-in dictionary available at the touch of a finger.