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Review: The Book of Speculation

December 20, 2016


Someone sends librarian Simon Watson an old book that turns out to be the journal of a traveling circus from the 1700s.  Simon is fascinated by the book, especially when he discovers old family member’s names in it.  When he starts to see a pattern of female members of his family drowning, he begins to worry about his sister who just happens to show up on a break from her job as a circus mermaid.

I read THE BOOK OF SPECULATION by Erika Swyler for my book club in November.  The point of view shifts back and forth from Simon in the present day and the journal in the past and, while I didn’t love either thread,  I did find the present day story more appealing.  I had some trouble following parts of the journal so the story dragged for me.  I thought Swyler’s writing was fine and I did enjoy some of the characters – particularly Simon’s sister and her boyfriend – but, overall, the book wasn’t for me.

My book club managed to have a pretty good discussion even though only one person enjoyed the book.  Several people gave up on it, but most felt the way I did.

Review copy provided by St. Martin’s Press.   I am an Indiebound Affiliate.

18 Comments leave one →
  1. December 20, 2016 7:11 am

    I’ve wondered about this title so thanks for sharing your thoughts on it as well as your book club’s take.

  2. December 20, 2016 7:20 am

    Glad you managed to have a good discussion anyway.

  3. December 20, 2016 8:04 am

    At least you found some of the characters interesting. I was drawn in by the cover, but I’ll likely skip this one.

  4. Patty permalink
    December 20, 2016 10:18 am

    That is so fascinating that only one person loved the book.

  5. December 20, 2016 10:20 am

    It looks fascinating, but I would probably slog through it….especially since it dragged for you. Thanks for sharing.

  6. December 20, 2016 10:23 am

    I am sorry to hear you didn’t care for this one in the end, Kathy. I have been really wanting to read it myself. I actually got myself a copy for my stocking this year–so hopefully I will like it!.

  7. December 20, 2016 10:34 am

    I typically like books with old-timey letters thrown in – like Goodnight June. But it looks like this one wasn’t done so well. And which book club member was responsible for picking it?!

  8. December 20, 2016 10:38 am

    I was thinking about reading this but after reading your review I think I’ll pass.

  9. December 20, 2016 12:57 pm

    If I don’t like both threads of a story, it falls flat for me.

  10. December 20, 2016 1:20 pm

    I love the cover. It’s a shame the book didn’t work for you.

  11. December 20, 2016 3:13 pm

    I like the cover too, but the contents seemed to need some more spice.

  12. December 20, 2016 4:30 pm

    I liked it cos it was strange, but I can sure see why others would not

  13. December 20, 2016 4:32 pm

    The cover pulled me in, but I didn’t like this book at all. In fact, I didn’t even finish it. Too odd.

    Thanks for sharing your review and your thoughts.

  14. December 20, 2016 6:51 pm

    Kathy, thanks for your honest review. I am glad one member of your book club liked it.

  15. bookingmama permalink
    December 21, 2016 9:08 am

    I’m sorry that this one didn’t work out for you.

  16. December 21, 2016 8:36 pm

    At first glance this book falls into my kind of book but after reading your review and your mention that only one person in your book club liked it, I’ll pass.

  17. December 27, 2016 9:32 pm

    But the cover is so wonderful!

  18. The Cue Card permalink
    January 1, 2017 5:07 pm

    I remember seeing this one, but too bad it’s just so-so.

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