Beautiful Ruins Book Club Discussion

Come join us for coffee and snacks at Saladelia to discuss Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter.

Adriana Trigiani Reviews Beautiful Ruins

Beautiful Ruinsis a glorious read for book lovers. From the moment you pick up the novel, it conjures a world that you long to enter. The teal-blue Ligurian Sea laps against a jagged coastline filled with candy-colored houses and open windows. At first glance, you’re dying to get inside those houses and find out what’s going on.

You needn’t worry. Jess Walter has written a sumptuous epic about the real people who make art, spinning illusion for fun, profit, and meaning. There are screen actors, a novelist, and Pasquale, an innkeeper, who keeps his patrons fed and watered on homemade wine and dreams. Among all the shimmer and hope are the lost souls who long to create something, anything. And just as Jess Walter introduces us to these characters, he follows them for fifty years. The journey will delight and captivate you.

If you love the ancient charms of the Italian coast on the Ligurian Sea, if you long for Edinburgh and its cold rain and distant hot sun, and if you love stories of the dream factory that is Hollywood, you will not be able to part from this book until you are finished reading it. Even then, for months afterward, you’ll keep it close so you can reread a passage here and there that moved you.

It’s all here, the illusion and reality, the joy and the shame of the creative life, of life itself. The ingenue Dee, the producer Michael, and the D-girl Claire take you into the world of making movies, the expectations and disappointments, and in an ingenious turn, the author pins the hem of the action with real Hollywood stars, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, who are engaging in a drama of their own in Rome.

Jess Walter has quietly and expertly built a career over six novels that puts him at the forefront of great American writers. Beautiful Ruins is the emerald among the pearls.

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  • Monika

    great, we couldn't stop talking! But due to time constraints, had to leave....

    June 29

  • Jennifer

    Another enjoyable and excellent discussion!

    June 28

  • Jennifer

    Another enjoyable discussion! Thanks to everyone who participated, it was great fun. So sorry I won't be able to join next month. I've already begun the book...

    June 25

  • Lynne

    Great to get together with the "old" crew and enjoyed the "new" crew.

    June 24

  • Lynette

    As always, great discussion today! Thanks for coming. Here is the link to the Jess Walter interview from GoodReads:­

    1 · June 22

  • Christy

    Here's an event of possible interest to our book group. When we read Americanah, several people said that they'd liked Adichie's novel Half of a Yellow Sun even more. There's a free showing of the movie version of that novel at Nasher on Thursday, July 24. I'm not sure if I'll be able to make it, but someone might want to post it as a regular meetup.

    Half of a Yellow Sun (Biyi Bandele, 2013, 111 min). 5 PM dinner, 7 PM movie. Savor a two-course dinner special at the Nasher Museum Café before a free film. We encourage you to make a reservation, either online or by calling[masked]

    June 21

  • Abbi

    What a fabulous book. And I've been looking forward to the discussion about it. The woman I'm writing a book with is coming into town Sunday afternoon instead of Monday morning and staying with me for a marathon 3-day writing binge before our first deadline with the publisher, and so I'm not going to be able to come to group.

    June 19

  • Lynette

    Hello readers. Please make sure that you sign-up and RSVP if you want to attend our book discussion Meetups. We like to have a good idea of how many people will show up to an event so we know how many chairs to save and whether or not to wait for you. Thanks for making things easier on the host!

    June 16

  • Elena m.

    I will be there this time, promise!!!! It has been a rough year, but it's getting better. :-)

    May 28

  • Mark F.

    Darn it -- I'll be missing two times in a row. Today my only excuse was that I hadn't read the book (and in the end it looked like y'all had a pretty good crowd without me). But I'll be away on vacation on the 22nd. So I'll look forward to the next one.

    May 18

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