Book club

Here's where you can find information about the books we're reading and what we're saying about them. We'll be featuring a new book every month (or so), and hopefully short posts from participants covering their thoughts and questions about those books. If you'd like to join the conversation (and I hope you will), send me an e-mail at


August 2015

This month, we'll be reading The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. Rather than write a little introduction to this month's book, I thought I'd let the author introduce it:

Dear readers, 
When I was a kid, two of my favorite books were by an amazing man named Remy Charlip. Fortunately and Thirteen fascinated me in part because, in both books, the very act of turning the pages plays a pivotal role in telling the story. Each turn reveals something new in a way that builds on the image on the previous page. Now that I’m an illustrator myself, I’ve often thought about this dramatic storytelling device and all of its creative possibilities. 
My new book, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, is a 550 page novel in words and pictures. But unlike most novels, the images in my new book don't just illustrate the story; they help tell it. I've used the lessons I learned from Remy Charlip and other masters of the picture book to create something that is not a exactly a novel, not quite a picture book, not really a graphic novel, or a flip book or a movie, but a combination of all these things. 
I began thinking about this book ten years ago after seeing some of the magical films of Georges Méliès, the father of science-fiction movies. But it wasn’t until I read a book called Edison's Eve: The Quest for Mechanical Life by Gaby Woods that my story began to come into focus. I discovered that Méliès had a collection of mechanical, wind-up figures (called automata) that were donated to a museum, but which were later destroyed and thrown away. Instantly, I imagined a boy discovering these broken, rusty machines in the garbage, stealing one and attempting to fix it. At that moment, Hugo Cabret was born. 
A few years ago, I had the honor of meeting Remy Charlip, and I'm proud to say that we've become friends. Last December he was asking me what I was working on, and as I was describing this book to him, I realized that Remy looks exactly like Georges Méliès. I excitedly asked him to pose as the character in my book, and fortunately, he said yes. So every time you see Méliès in The Invention of Hugo Cabret, the person you are really looking at is my dear friend Remy Charlip, who continues to inspire everyone who has the great pleasure of knowing him or seeing his work. 
Paris in the 1930's, a thief, a broken machine, a strange girl, a mean old man, and the secrets that tie them all together...Welcome to The Invention of Hugo Cabret. 

Brian Selznick

If you'd like to join the conversation in person or contribute your thoughts through the miracle of modern technology, just send me an e-mail at


May 2015

Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis

(click here to get the book, or here to get the audiobook)

I'm excited to discuss this book with everyone--a few of my most-respected friends think that this is Lewis' best book (it was also his last), and quite underrated. One of those friends actually read this for a book club, and she said that they had a really good discussion about it. 

Because this book is a re-telling of the Cupid / Eros and Psyche myth from Greco-Roman mythology, it'd be a good idea to be familiar with that story before starting the book. In some editions of the book, the original story is summarized in an appendix. Otherwise (or in addition), the Wikipedia article (here) has a pretty detailed summary, and if you'd like to read the full story (which isn't very long), you can read that online here

Be sure to keep track of which passages stand out to you, which ideas expressed in the book seem most meaningful to you, as well as what questions / problems you have with it. If you'd like some questions to get you thinking as you start reading, there are some pretty good pre-reading questions here and here.

If you'd like to join the conversation in person or contribute your thoughts through the miracle of modern technology, just send me an e-mail at


Jorinde and Jorindel (2010) by Su Blackwell