The Bookies met today to discuss J.D. Vance's memoir Hillbilly Elegy. The book has been increasingly popular in the past few months, so many of us had trouble getting a copy. Vance was nominated for the Kirkus Prize and has received praise from all corners of the world for his memoir which relates the story of the author's family and their struggles as an upwardly mobile family in an increasingly hardscrabble part of the world - rural Appalachia.
At this morning's discussion many readers compared his work to Rick Bragg's book Ava's Man.
Another book group member noted that the author was interviewed on CSPAN's show Q&A on Sunday evening. That episode can be found here!
We discussed the differences in culture and upbringing that were related in the book. Many of us could identify with some of what was related in the memoir. Mrs. P, one of our Bookies, said that she liked the way Vance incorporated research and data to support the story without being pedantic. Later, the same Bookies member recommended John Grisham's Gray Mountain, which, although fiction, relates some of the same kind of story. The main characters in the book are coal miners recently laid off who have to contend with lack of insurance and jobs while battling illnesses brought on by their work in the mines. Mrs. P. said she enjoyed the book and learned a lot!
In other news, Mrs. L. recommended a Martin Cruz Smith novel called Red Square which she said seemed to "pick up" where last month's book, A Gentlaman In Moscow, left off.
Our meeting rounded out with calls for next month's book Commonwealth by Ann Patchett.