The day has arrived—it's time for our first book club discussion!

To see the full schedule of our discussions or for more information about the Reading With Hippos Book Club, click here.

Today we're discussing the first three stories in the book Almost Famous Women by Megan Mayhew Bergman. The stories are: “The Pretty, Grown-Together Children,” “The Siege at Whale Cay,” and “Norma Millay's Film Noir Period.”

Here are some questions, along with my initial impressions, to get us started. Feel free to bring up your own questions and opinions in the comments. Any and all tangents welcome!

*How do you feel about the short-story structure so far? I found the women in each of the three stories totally fascinating. I would have happily read an entire novel about any one of them. So for me the stories are absorbing, but I kinda wish they were longer and more developed.

*How much knowledge did you already have about the characters? I'm not exactly a history buff (or an old movies buff), so it took me a while to figure out that “Marlene” in “The Siege at Whale Cay” is Marlene Dietrich. I also don't know much about Edna St. Vincent Millay, other than the fact that she was a poet, so all the family drama referenced in “Norma Millay's Film Noir Period” was interesting but not very illuminating. This was another reason I found myself wishing for longer stories!

*Which story of the three was your favorite? I enjoyed all three, but if pressed I'd probably pick “The Pretty, Grown-Together Children.” It's hard to beat the fascination factor of adult conjoined twins. I thought Bergman did an effective job of capturing what it would be like to live constantly in the presence of another person. It also made me wonder how different their lives would have been if they'd been born later, when medical technology would have allowed them to be surgically separated.

Now I want to hear from you! If you're joining us in reading the book, please feel invited to join us in the discussion as well. And don't worry if you haven't read the three stories yet—comments will stay open all month long, so you can come back to this post and share your thoughts whenever you're finished reading.

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So...what did you think of the first three stories? :)

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