9 American Athletes + 1 Madman with Minions = 2 Books

February 24, 2015 @ Liz’s House – but Katie Hosting (Thx, Liz!)
missing: Shelley (eye), Sue (Sadie), Karen C (kids), Kitty (life)

PreGame: passport issues (Viv/Venezuela; Katie’s sis/ill friend in US); eye ickiness & other medical maladies war stories (can you say ‘glioblastoma?’ …some of us cannot); Travolta (revolt-a or just goofy? Scientology = not cool); Oscar chatter (Big Hollywood was missing…did snubbed Unbroken director Angelina tell the minions to stay away, too? Or is the event too freakin’ long to attend unless you’re nominated?); Best a la Liz: The Theory of Everything or Imitation Game (but not at Landmark Bethesda – fire evac protocol is a hot mess); Marie’s girl is happy-in-love in Venice, CA…GREs soon; her son’s Persian Gulf tour is OFF (amen); Angelika’s mom’s arm surgery/hard to support from afar (but mom is ok); Men & Plastic Surgery (Oscars again) – what’s up with that???; Note: Liz went to Malaysia once (Bootleg is tasked with helping her recall this factoid); canned peas v. flash frozen or fresh (it’s a new world of yummy, sorry Le Sueur)

Reminder: Karen S & her Mom hosting book talk this Sunday (March 1)

SEGUE:  Karen S. picked The Boys in the Boat by DJ Brown because:
1. neighbor’s suggestions were too sad, dark or 500+ pages
2. Amazon’s ‘if you like X, then try Y’ function

Warning: If Boys in the Boatyou identify too closely with any of the negative comments about BiB then don’t let Mary know; she just won’t have it. #BiBFanClub-AllIN

What we liked (esp. Mary!): Joe Ratz’s biography was so compelling; the rowing details esp. the tough races; the build up of the last 1/3 of the book & ending; real and readable like “The Glass Castle”; the coaches were well-portrayed as were some of the sports/news writers

What was so-so or polarizing for the group: shifting from Seattle to Berlin meant fewer pages for the Seattle/rowers’ stories; more bio info/insight for the ~6 boys in the boat that weren’t well-developed was needed (after all, Hitler wasn’t rowing); so much history intertwined gave context & connected it to the world stage, but to some it was distracting (E.g. ‘We already knew about the Dust Bowl

for cryin’ out loud’ vs. ‘It was so cool to see the details of these people’s lives in the context of bigger moments like the Dust Bowl.’); to be fair, Joe did tell the author that he wanted this book to be much, much bigger than just his story (perhaps author/Joe skipped straight to the World Stage & didn’t give us enough of his co-rowers’ lives); Joyce = true gem, 110%!!!

We all liked the idea… (thx, Viviane!)
Daniel James Brown should have or at least could have written two excellent and separate books.

Title: We don’t really get to know all 9 boys in the boat. Maybe a better title would’ve been ‘Mind in Boat’ since unity was the point. Plus, something related to WWII with ‘the boat /das boat’ in the title is too much like that war story.

CASTING:
Joe Ratz- the elder Hemsworth
Pocock – so much discussion, nothing write-able
Ky E (CA coach) – ditto
Utbrickson – Alex Skaarsgard
Harry (Dad) Ratz – and again, we deliberated…
Thula – Ellen Page (with a late surge for Amber Heard)
Joyce – Mia Wusilowski
Royal Brougham (reporter) – JK Simmons
Some of the boys in the boat:  Ansel Elgort, Max Kasch, Miles Teller (yes, they have to be tall!)

THEME SONG – discussion on if this new element to our book talk means assigning who’s responsible for an original soundtrack vs. picking an existing song; the latter was the intent of Katie’s original suggestion, but for this book the former held sway: Hozier is to write & sing (a non-offensively worded) song in his beautiful style

MARCH BOOK (Katie’s pick):  The Colour by Rose Tremain

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