Last night I finished Richard Russo's Bridge of Sighs (sigh). The Bumble Book Club meets to discuss it on Monday night, so I made it to page 528 in the nick of time.
Most of you are rolling your eyes and snickering because you think "Book Club" is code for "drinks and gossip under a pretense of cultural and intellectual pursuit." But my book club is a real one--we always discuss the book--good discussions about character and plot and theme and metaphor--and at every meeting nearly every member has read the book in question. But in the interest of full disclosure, almost all the members of The Bumble Book Club also belong to a "Book Club." They claim they like ours better.
Anyway, Russo is one of those authors I'd have skipped at this time in life because his books are long and his prose is dense, but I'm glad we read him because I LOVED Bridge of Sighs and Empire Falls (which we read 2 summers ago). Left to my own devices these days I'd read only Chick Lit and Cozies with the occasional classic novel thrown in to enrich me, so the Bumble Book Club really pushes me. AND I'm happy to have shelled out $25.00 for this book in hardcover because when I apply Melonomics to it (cost per hour), each hour of pleasure I got reading Bridge of Sighs cost $1.25 (less than eating Halloween candy, but considerably more than my husband's Sudoku habit which only costs a dime per hour).
To sum up: Give Russo a try if you haven't.