Book Club- Moonglow
Welcome to book club! This month we read Moonglow by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon. It’s part memoir, part fantastical fictional tale based on interviews he did with his grandfather on his deathbed. After hearing so many great things about this author, I was pretty psyched to read this book, but I just could not get into it. Chabon is an amazing writer, but the story moves back and forth in time and that sort of took me out of it. The character’s names were not used a lot also, which made it especially confusing (for me) when several generations were in a scene. The book tells the story of his grandfather’s life, including fighting in WW2, how he met his wife and then dating later in life as a widower. I enjoyed the parts of the grandfather’s later years and found myself wishing the whole book was in that time period. The other ladies felt similarly about the book in that the writing was amazing but the flipping between eras was a bit jarring.
I appreciated the great discussion this book brought about with the book club ladies, though. It made us all wish we’d had more time with our grandparents to learn about family histories and how they grew up. This book definitely made me wish that I had taken more time as an adolescent to sit with my grandparents and ask them these kinds of questions. I think that as kids we often don’t appreciate the eldlerly for the wealth of knowledge and experiences they have. So we don’t take the time to really hear them, to really talk to them.
While this book wasn’t what I’d hoped, I am glad for the discussion surrounding and do still plan to read some of Chabon’s other books. Derek tells me The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay is quite good, so I think that will be the next Chabon book I try.
The ladies and I all agreed that we might recommend this book, but not universally.
Book rating: great writing but couldn’t get into it (6/10)
Because Chabon’s family is Jewish, I chose a menu with Jewish elements. Here’s what we had:
- Pastrami sandwiches, both Kosher-ish (no dairy) and non-Kosher (grilled in butter with melted Swiss cheese)
- Cherries- You know I can’t get enough of them right now!
- Matzo Toffee with hazelnuts
I thought a Pinot Noir would pair nicely with the pastrami, so I chose one that we had in our wine fridge from a winery we visited in Sonoma called Cartograph. We were in the Cartograph wine club for a bit and got this 2014 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. The neat thing about the Cartograph wines is the label on the back of the bottles. It shows all kinds of interesting info about the wine, like the type of soil the grapes were grown in, how many cases were produced, the timeline of the wine (from grapes being picked to when bottled), alcohol content, and other elements. It’s pretty neat if you’re a wine geek and it’s excellent way to hone in on what kinds of wines you like and why.
If you’re looking for a wine club, I would recommend this winery. The prices aren’t insane and the personal attention we received was amazing. We happened upon the tasting room in Sonoma almost by accidents and were happy we did. We didn’t decide until after we got home from our trip to join the wine club. The guy that helped us actually remembered us and sent a nice handwritten card welcoming us to the club. We also received a handwritten note from the owners, Alan and Serena. Each wine is sent with pairing ideas, and there’s a monthly newsletter. The other nice things about the Cartograph wine club is that there are multiple options. While they only ship wines twice per year, it’s nice because that means the smallest option is 6 bottles in a year. That seemed manageable so we chose that one. There are 3 other options, with the max being 48 bottles in a year.
If you’ve read Moonglow, I’d love to hear what you thought in the comments. Do you have a favorite Michael Chabon book?