A friend from work mentioned a few months back that she missed being in a book club. So did I. As we got to talking about what makes a book club great, we decided to try our hand at starting one. Rather than reading NY Times bestsellers or all chick lit or some other common topic, we thought it would be fun to read books by Louisiana authors.
For our first book, we wanted something that was not too heavy, that was a good New Orleans read, and that lent itself to easy conversation over a potluck supper. Neither of us had read it, but we knew enough about Julia Reed's The House on First Street: My New Orleans Story to know that it fit the bill. It was a story about a journalist's coming of age in the city we both loved. It was a story about building both a home and a life here. It was a story of how one storm had the power to change everything and how that storm gave people the power to change as well.
The book, like its author, is not without its flaws. Julia's Katrina story is personal and sincere and unique. And I imagine if I was from Omaha or Tacoma or Virginia Beach or some other part of our country where I did not have my own Katrina story, I would find empathy for her. But I have my own story, and at times when reading hers, I couldn't help but feel like she was slightly out of touch with those of us who lost so much.
I did find that Julia has a way of capturing the essence of life in the Big Easy. From her tales of days spent strolling through the French Quarter to long Friday lunches at Galatoire's, she perfectly describes all of the things that made rising from Katrina's ashes worthwhile. I have no doubt that she, like all of us with a New Orleans story, believes that life should be lived surrounded by the company of good family, good friends, and good food.
I can't wait to hear what everyone else thought this evening when we meet!!
Has anyone out there read the book yet?