The Portsmouth Book Club May - Hotel Pastis

**VENUE CHANGE!  The Dolphin Striker has graciously agreed to host our book club.  Our first meeting there on May 13th will be a test run.  The back room is large enough for a max of 35 people.  Hopefully, we will enjoy this new venue.  If it doesn't work out, there are plenty of other places to try.  Make sure to bring your appetite - they have some GREAT food!**

Our book selection for this month is Hotel Pastis: A Novel of Provence by Peter Mayle.  Here is the synopsis from Amazon:

Having delighted millions of Americans with A Year in Provence and Toujours Provence, Peter Mayle treats us to a wonderfully entertaining novel of escape, romance and adventure. played in the landscape he has made so irresistible.

Simon Shaw, a forty-two-year-old advertising tycoon, worn down by insatiable clients and a rapacious ex-wife, wants to get away from it all. On impulse he drives to the south of France. When an accident leaves him stranded in a small village in the Luberon, an enchanting Frenchwoman, who is between husbands, comes to his rescue and soon lures him into buying the local gendarmerie. Together they transform it into a little jewel of a hotel. And life seems idyllic. 

But at the same time, a crook, recently released from the Marseilles prison, is plotting to rob the bank in the nearby town. Paths cross. schemes go awry -- and through it all Peter Mayle delights us with the intrigues of the haut monde that descends on the Hotel Pastis and the machinations of the bad guys, as everything conspires to threaten the heaven on earth that Simon Shaw has envisioned.

And a review from Publisher's Weekly:

As fans of A Year in Provence and Toujours Provence may have suspected, Mayle's skills as a writer translate well into fiction. His first novel is as adroit, funny and charming as his previous works, and again it is set in his favorite region of France. Newly divorced, disenchanted and bored with his job as a director of a prestigious British ad agency, Simon Shaw is delighted when beautiful Frenchwoman Nicole Bouvier suggests that he rescue from bankruptcy a half-finished hotel in the drolly named town of Brassiere-les-Deux-Eglises. Taking a huge risk, Simon resigns from his agency and becomes patron of the new establishment in the picturesque Luberon region. In counterpoint, Mayle crosscuts to the escapades of a lovable band of criminals who are conspiring to break into the vault of a bank in the neighboring village of Isle-sur-Sorges. As the threads of the plot begin to converge, Mayle displays his satiric eye for social foibles by skewering advertising execs in England and the U.S.; he is equally adept at evoking typical Provencal villagers. Wickedly sharp and sympathetic at the same time, his characterizations are accurate down to nuances of class differences, voice, accent and vocabulary. The novel is as smooth as a sip of pastis, and one hopes that Mayle will find his segue into fiction equally addictive. 100,000 first printing. 

The other nominations for book club were:

1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas by John Scalzi

Thanks to everyone who participated this evening in our loud and boisterous conversation.  We certainly had a lot of varying opinions.  My review for Wild by Cheryl Strayed can be found here.  

As soon as I find our new venue, I will let you all know.

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  • Darien L.

    Hi Rebecca,
    Once again based on your leadership, we had a good meeting. Thanks, also, for your finding us another fine venue. I'm sure that took a lot of calling and work.

    May 15, 2014

  • Debbie H.

    Good point, I'm sure it's challenging to find a room. It's a good restaurant and I didn't mean to sound so negative. I'll show up wherever we go!

    May 14, 2014

    • Rebecca

      No, no! You didn't sound negative. :-) I want to hear the honest feedback on the new venue! I've heard the same from someone else as well. I definitely want everyone to hear each other so I'll work on a solution. I'm really glad you spoke up!

      May 14, 2014

  • Debbie H.

    The room was a little tight for our size group and noisy from the regular restaurant. I had a hard time hearing and when we talked in smaller groups, I could not hear a thing. Good food though!

    May 14, 2014

    • Rebecca

      Hi Debbie. Thanks for your feedback regarding the new venue. It's hard to find a large enough room that will accommodate a free group, but we try our best! If more comment negatively on the new venue, I will try to find a new place for us. Again, thanks for your feedback.

      May 14, 2014

  • Tammy

    Hi, I'm new to the group... I was just wondering, is the timing of the meeting formal - a set end time?

    May 12, 2014

    • Rebecca

      Hi Tammy, it isn't very formal. We go for as long as the book provides thoughtful discussion. Sometimes we stay for a drink or two afterward. It very often depends on how the book is!

      May 12, 2014

  • Ann B.

    Sorry I won't be able to make it this month, I also think the new venue is great and they always have great music downstairs for post discussions!!

    1 · May 7, 2014

    • Rebecca

      We'll miss you, Ann!

      1 · May 8, 2014

  • Rich W.

    Rebecca, wonderful job with the new venue! And for afterward one of my favorite watering holes is downstairs at the Spring Hill Tavern!!

    3 · April 18, 2014

    • Rebecca

      Thank you! I am quite excited to try it. Let me know your thoughts afterward!

      April 18, 2014

  • Susan M.

    Barnes & Noble Newington put in a short order for the book when they learned I was in a book club with 25 people. Just an FYI.

    1 · April 15, 2014

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