Spin Me a Yarn Literary Society

Welcome to Spin Me a Yarn Literary Society! We're so excited that you've decided to journey with us this year through books and yarn!

 

Our book for the third quarter is:

By the Book by Julia Sonneborn

This quarter, we continue our pattern of selecting a modern book that harkens back to a classic. Readers of By the Book, who are fans of Jane Austen, may recognize shades of plot and character from Austen's novel, Persuasion. However, a grand host of other, recognizable, literary-esque characters join in to round out the tableau of this book set in, of all places, a college English department. 

Below are some questions for consideration as you read the book. We will use some of these as a springboard for discussion during our Zoom meeting scheduled for Thursday, August 15 @ 7:00 pm EDT. 

1. The first man Anne introduces us to is Larry, who provides much of the comic relief in this novel. What else does he provide for Anne? How do his relationships connect her with other people? She doesn't think the acknowledgement to him in her book captures their relationship. Do you agree?

2. Dr. Russell forces Anne to evaluate her post-grad options. She bluntly states, "When I think of the advantages women of your generation have had ...I don't understand why you would throw all of it away." What hardships did women Dr. Russell's age face when trying to have a professional career? What problems have women of later generations faced? Has having had more options led to greater happiness?

3. Because Adam agrees with Dr. Russell (that Anne should go to Yale), Anne has a moment where she believes "I could have a fulfilling professional life and a fulfilling personal life. I could have it all." Why doesn't it turn out that way? How much responsibility lies with Adam? With Anne? What family and social pressures were they each dealing with?

4. Anne feels her father treated Adam poorly and looked down upon her decision to acquire a PhD and so much student debt. But by his funeral she chooses to read Robert Hayden's poem "Those Winter Sundays." Why do you think Anne chose this poem? How has her view of her father changed over the course of his illness?

5. At the beginning of the book Anne feels that her sister, Lauren, also looks down upon her lack of financial security. As their father grows ill and dies, does the dynamic of the sisters' relationship change? Why do you think sisters have such a natural inclination to compare and compete with each other?

6. Anne reconnects with Bex at Lauren's book club. That night Anne tells her she could have been a great professor. While she means it as a compliment, she realizes Bex thinks she's judging her for deferring to her husband's career. Why do women do this to themselves? And why are there some women who would judge Bex? Is there any way to have it all?

7. Anne's book is an academic novel, but even her publisher notes it ties in with the current popularity of authors like Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters. Why do you think their novels have had such staying power?

8. Anne tries to teach her students that nineteenth-century novels about marriage "weren't about love. They were about money, and power, and imperialism, and real estate." While this makes a strong academic argument, do you think Anne truly believes it? Why is her favorite novel still Persuasion?

9. Anne has never read Rick's books, so at first, she doesn't believe the accusations of plagiarism. Then she stays with him because she's worried for his mental health. But after she speaks to Emily, she cuts off all communication with Rick, going so far as to get a restraining order. What did you think of Anne's relationship with Rick prior to the plagiarism scandal? How do you feel about how Anne handled the end of their relationship? How did it compare to her break-up with Adam?

10. Anne sees Emily as the "younger, better, more hopeful version of myself," and feels terrible for introducing her to Rick. Should Anne feel so guilty? Is there any way for a college-aged woman to see relationships in the same light as a thirtysomething woman?

11. The author uses the barrage of email Anne receives to give us insight into both Anne's professional and personal life. Did you enjoy the switch from Anne's direct narration? What significance does it take on given that Anne studies authors to whom letter writing was so important?

We hope you'll join us for the Zoom Discussion Group on August 15th. The link and passcode are noted below:

***************

Olive & Two Ewe Studios is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Spin Me a Yarn Literary Society
Time: August 15th 2024 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/7625554312?pwd=QkFtaThFMzRpL3IwOFlBYUtuK2E4QT09&omn=86862684276

Meeting ID: 762 555 4312
Passcode: KnitNite

 

Our book for the second quarter is:

Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler

Ever wanted to dive into Shakespeare, but with a more modern twist? Vinegar Girl is a modern-day retelling of the classic Taming of the Shrew. If you've read or studied the original Shakespeare, you'll bring a unique perspective to our discussion. 

Below are some questions/thought prompts as you read through the book. We'll discuss some of these during our Zoom discussion group scheduled for Thursday, May 16th at 7PM eastern time. 

1. Compare and contrast Tyler’s Vinegar Girl with Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew.

2. Do you think Tyler’s Kate was less of a “shrew” than Shakespeare’s Katherine? 

In what way might it be said that the modern-day Kate brings about her own taming?

3. Discuss Kate and Pyotr’s first meeting. Did you think there was a connection or chemistry there from the beginning? 

4. Did you like how Tyler transformed the misogynistic Petruchio to the quirky Pyotr? Do you think he was a good match for her sarcastic Kate? 

5. Kate is unsatisfied with her life at home and at work, but has done nothing to change her situation. Do you think her father strong suggestion to marry Pyotr was actually what she needed to change her life? 

6. Discuss the character of Bunny and the role she plays in Kate’s life. 

7. Tyler is a master writer when it comes to depicting family relationships. Discuss the family dynamic in Vinegar Girl. Do you think all families struggle with the balance of acting selfishly and selflessly? 

8. Were you surprised when Kate was so upset when Pyotr does not show up to the church on time? 

9. Discuss Kate’s speech at the end of the novel. Do you agree with her? 

10. What was your reaction to the story’s Epilogue? Is that how you imagined Kates’ life to turn out? 

*************************************************

 

We hope you'll join us for the Zoom Discussion Group on August 15th. The link and passcode are noted below:

***************

Olive & Two Ewe Studios is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Spin Me a Yarn Literary Society
Time: August 15th 2024 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/7625554312?pwd=QkFtaThFMzRpL3IwOFlBYUtuK2E4QT09&omn=86862684276

Meeting ID: 762 555 4312
Passcode: KnitNite

***************

Our book for the first quarter is:

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. 

As you might expect from the title, we quickly learn through the pages of this novel that Eleanor Oliphant is not particularly "fine" as we delve into her inner world of precision and character. 

Below are some questions worth considering as you make your way through the book. We will discuss some of these on our Zoom Discussion scheduled for Thursday, February 15th at 7PM Eastern Time.

1.  Why do you think Eleanor leads a lonely life? What factors contribute to her unconventional personality?

2. What are some things that Eleanor has to learn that most of us take for granted? Why does she want to change her appearance?

3. Why does Eleanor feel sorry for beautiful people? Do you think there’s some truth in her reasoning? Why or why not?

4. Describe Eleanor’s relationship with her mother. Why do you think Eleanor keeps in regular contact with her?

5. Little gestures of kindness mean a lot to Eleanor. Why? Do you think most people overlook the importance of thoughtfulness?

6. Eleanor often speaks her mind. Does her forthrightness make you uncomfortable or make you cheer for her?

7. How does Eleanor and Raymond’s relationship evolve? Where do you see them in five years?

8. Raymond tells Eleanor that she deserves nice things. Why do you think he feels that way? Do you agree with him?

9. When does Eleanor start to feel hopeful about her life? What signs of positive change did you notice in her day-to-day routine?

10. How did you feel about the ending of the book? Did it change your perspective about Eleanor?

11. There appears to be an emerging fiction genre featuring characters with serious social ineptitude. Why do you think this is such a popular concept right now? Why is Eleanor’s fear of vulnerability one that seems to appeal too many?

We'd love to have you join the private Spin Me a Yarn Literary Society Facebook group where you can share chat about the book, projects and more! 

Thank you again for being part of the literary society! We truly appreciate you!