June 26, 2022

My three book clubs: Murders, magic and some symbolic bees | Books

Set in 1969 in a Brooklyn housing project, the story begins when an old church deacon, known to everyone as “Sportcoat,” shoots the neighborhood drug dealer in front of witnesses. The fallout from the shooting connects church members, police, members of an Italian mob and, yes, those ants, surprisingly. There were times when I didn’t want to let go of “Deacon King Kong” and times when I tried to finish it.

At the book club • The end was rather satisfying, but the road to get there was sometimes difficult. Like me, most of the book club members had mixed feelings. It didn’t always grab your attention, one member said. It might be a great novel, but not for me, says another. While most of us found the novel to be well crafted and at times very humorous, we struggled to connect with it. The cast of overcrowded characters, some of whom had multiple names (Sportcoat, the Elephant, Hot Sausage, Soup, etc.), didn’t help.

Bonus books

• I asked “The Midnight Library” from the library months ago after seeing it advertised as a wellness book. Diving in greedily, I was worried when this “feel good” book began with a cat hit by a car and the main character attempting to kill himself.

Between life and death, author Matt Haig creates the Midnight Library, a place where Nora Seed, who has hit rock bottom and tried to end her life, confronts her regrets and assumptions. What would have happened if Nora had made different choices in her life? Each book in the library contains different versions of his life story. Nora could be a rock star, a glaciologist, a pub owner married to the man she let escape, an Olympic medalist swimmer… the possibilities are endless. As Nora explores alternative paths, she finds the joy of living.