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Book Club: Julie and Julia by Julie Powell 2008-11-14 08:30:54

Buzz Book Club: Julie and Julia, Section One

Hey Buzz Book Club readers! Welcome back! I hope you were able to round up a copy of Julie and Julia to read along with me. I'm liking what I'm reading so far, but I have a couple questions on my mind about the first section that I'm looking forward to discussing with you.

First, here's a recap of how the Book Club goes if you're new: Every week I'll suggest chapters to complete by the next post (which, in this case, will go up every Friday in November). In these weekly Book Club posts, I'll posit a few questions to prompt discussion in the comments section.

Of course, you are always welcome to read beyond the weekly chapters, but please don't spoil anything in the comments! After the jump you'll find some questions that struck me as I read this section.

The next assignment: Read from the chapter titled "The Law of Diminishing Returns" through "The Proof Is in the Plumbing" (stop before the one titled "Sweet Smell of Failure"). We'll chat about this section a week from today, Nov. 21.

To discuss the first section of Julie and Julia, in which we read from the start of the book until the end of the chapter titled "Disaster/Dinner Party, Dinner Party/Disaster: A Study in Duality" (so, just before "The Law of Diminishing Returns" begins),


  1. First of all, I'm finding myself with an insane and irrepressible craving for French cuisine since starting this book. How about you? Have you actually sought out French food (or attempted any of the recipes yourself)?
  2. I really admire Julie's dedication to taking on a ridiculous project and convincing herself to stick with it even in the worst circumstances. It seems like when I've tried to do such things in my own down time (write in a journal every night, take a picture every day for a year, etc.), I give up easily. Have you ever taken on a project like this? And did you see it through to the end, or did you put it aside part of the way through?
  3. That said, I'm a little fuzzy on Julie's motivations for starting the project. It's like her husband suggested blogging and pretty soon it was an all-consuming lifestyle choice. Do you understand why she's doing the project? Is it just to shake up her normal, boring 9-to-5 routine?
  4. How are you feeling about the italicized interludes about Julia Child's life? I thought I would like them, but so far I'm finding myself skimming them. I guess at this point I'm more interested in Julie's own reactions to the project than I am in how her life might relate to Child's. How about you?
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MandyWH MandyWH 8 years
OK, I'm totally running behind on my book club reading, but I had a chance to catch up this weekend, so here goes! 1. When am I NOT craving French food? But yes, now more than usual! And it's totally making me want to attempt some more difficult Julia recipes -- I have a couple cookbooks of hers and avoid them except for special occasions, but after reading about Julie the spaz doing it, why can't I? :) 2. I'm also terrible at seeing things like this through, so I'm super impressed that Julie sticks with it, even if her dedication sometimes resembles an unhealthy obsession. 3. I agree with both Besame and Natasha -- Julie seems to have been in a place in her life where she needed something, anything to break the monotony and give her life some purpose. I've definitely been there, and I love that she chose cooking as her "thing." 4. I've actually enjoyed the interludes so far, although it sounds like I may be nerdily alone on that! I think Julia Childs was so fascinating, and I like the parallels between her life and Julie's. Also, I wanted to comment on how much I love Julie's tone. I too get frustrated to a ridiculous extent when I'm tired and attempting a difficult project, and I too have a poor husband who's often the victim of those tirades. It made me feel a little better about those crazy outbursts to know that at least someone else does that from time to time, and it also made them exponentially funnier to me.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
I'm a little late - got my copy from the library only after waiting a week and a half for it to come in. But, I quickly got bored with the interludes, and am now skipping them altogether, especially knowing that they're mostly made up. I just don't care for them at that much. That said, I'm really loving the rest of the book, and I can totally relate to occasionally having a spastic breakdown because you just can't get a recipe right. I've heard her swearing mentioned a lot so far, but honestly, she doesn't seem to curse that much to me. I wouldn't really even have noticed it if it hadn't been talked about before.
jen1975 jen1975 8 years
This isn't a fiction; it's a memoir.
Linda-McP Linda-McP 8 years
Still waiting for my copy to arrive in the mail from Amazon. Grrr. But I will get caught up for next week.
kittyhill kittyhill 8 years
At first I liked her tone--very spastic--but it & the profanity wore me out at the end of the next chapter. I had to return it to the library; it just wasn't doing it for me.
Mesayme Mesayme 8 years
I haven't gotten past three chapters of a fiction written my a female in forever... they bore me to tears. Yawning tears. This is about cooking? maybe I'll check it out.
NatashaAlexis NatashaAlexis 8 years
1.Well I haven't attempted any of the dishes yet, but I really want to. Plus I have the same cookbook she's using so it's really fun to be able to look up the recipes when there mentioned, but that quote about mayonnaise grossed me out a little (p.24). I have been craving potato salad since the last chapter. 2. I really admire Julie's dedication to her project as well, I so often start a project, and before I realize it I've completely forgot about it and moved on. However, at this point in my life I don't beat my self up about it, if it sticks good if it doesn't than it probably wasn't for me to begin with! The main inspiration to keep Julie going seems to be her readers... so perhaps the lesson there, for those of us with this problem, is to let others to know about our projects to keep us motivated. 3. The project may have been taken on by Julie as a way to get away from her life, but at this point in the book I think it has become a form of therapy. 4. I not enjoying the italicized "interludes about Julia Child's" either, I agree I too am more interested in Julie's own reactions. The best I can say about them so far is at lest their short. There are some other thing I wanted to mention... I thought that it was odd when Julie took on a permanent position that she felt she need to make excuses for her actions. This to me seemed like a normal thing to do, it wasn't as if she decided to go spend all of her saving on a red hot convertible or pair of shoes. I didn't see the need for an excuse. She mentions that she didn't think that sweaters have been sexy since the eighty, and while I could see how the nineties Crosby looking sweater would not be sexy, the book did come out in 2005, and I thought they were at lest a bit sexy between 2000 and 2005. One last thing, there were a lot of good lines that made me laugh. Like the one about her friend Nancy sounding like "a genius third grader who's skipped her Ritalin". But, there was one that got me thinking on p.75 "If it were a memory, it would be your first one, your most painful and repressed one, the one that has made you who you are."
LaLaLaurie06 LaLaLaurie06 8 years
I loved this book! I hope you all enjoy it too!
vanessasworld vanessasworld 8 years
This is the first book club discussion I've participated in since, May I think...hooray! Ok, on to the questions. 1. I don't think I've ever had any French dishes (if I have, I wouldn't know them by correct name) so I'm not particularly craving them as I read. I do have to say that by the descriptions of certain recipes I'm definitely interested in trying some French food at some point in the future! Someone else will have to make it though, I'm not the most fabulous cook in the country. 2. I get bored easily so I'm forever taking up projects and then setting them aside just because they aren't as "cool"/interesting/amusing, etc. as I thought they would be. Story of my life. My most consistent on-again, off-again projects are fitness, eating healthfully and blogging. All are currently in off-again status. LOL! 3. I feel like Julie had a lot of the same motivations in taking up her project that I do when I attempt my various ones - she seemed to be feeling stuck & a little depressed because she wasn't not doing what she set out to do with her "adult" life. I think Julie took on the blog because it was a) new, b) more creative than her boring secretary job and thus, a good hobby and c) she felt like it gave her a "purpose". Look at how attached she gets to her "faceless readers" as soon as they start commenting her blog. 4. The interludes a bit boring but I appreciate them. It's kind of cool to imagine how the lives of famous people "before they were stars"actually played out and they're a good break from the somewhat sarcastic, slightly cynical, almost thirty-something, 90s generation tone of Julie. It's like taking a minute to breath.
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