Whidbey Island's 5th Annual All-book Group Gathering earlier this week was great fun. Proceeds from this year's silent auction and book buying event went to the Whidbey Island Writer's Association. Seattle writer and humorist Pat Detmer began the program with some down to earth ephemera enjoyed by all (including a very funny picture of herself at about 7 or 8, a rather fat and swarthy child, with her two blond and very slim little sisters - she said that the title of her memoir would be "They could only afford to feed one.")
Afterward came the highly anticipated part of the program where book groups share their top three titles for the year. At least 25 book groups were represented among the nearly 100 attendees, including SWELL, the South Whidbey Enthusiastic Literary League, and the 2nd Monday Book Dogs, a men's group that meets at the Dog House on, guess what, the second Monday of the month. Here are a few of the titles recommended for book groups:
Ladies coupé by Anita Nair
Pretty Birds by Scott Simon
Desert Queen: The Extraordinary Life of Gertrude Bell by Janet Wallach
History of Love by Nicole Krauss
Place of Execution by Val McDermid
Killer Angels by Jeff Shaara
Syringa Tree by Pamela Gien
Places In Between by Rory Stewart
Khaled Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns won the prize for being mentioned most often, making it two years in a row for Hosseini: last year's favorite was the Kite Runner.
All Whidbey book discussion groups were encouraged to read Midwives and meet the author, Chris Bohjalian this spring. Whidbey Reads 2008 author Bohjalian will be on Whidbey Monday, May 19, with presentations in both Langley and Oak Harbor.