Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Read With Us: Matrix Wrap-Up (plus a new book!)

Today it's time for a wrap-up of our most recent Read With Us book group selection — Matrix by Lauren Groff.

Kym, Carole, and I each posted questions on our blogs last week and then had a lovely Zoom discussion that evening. If you click on those links, you can read the discussions that went on in the comments. We were lucky to have lots of participants, both on our blogs and the Zoom discussion. The group was pretty equally divided between those who felt like the book was a bit of a slog and those who enjoyed it. But, I can also say with some confidence that those of us who didn't enjoy the book very much developed a better appreciation of the language, setting, story, and what the author was able to accomplish in writing this book.

I meant to take notes during the discussion because I knew I was writing the wrap-up, but you know that saying about paving and good intentions. I do have two pages of scribbled notes, but I can't seem to find anything I wrote that might be useful.

We all had questions about Marie herself, had she gone off the rails (to quote Kat, "Absolute power corrupts absolutely."), and we wondered the reasons Tilde might have had for burning Marie's journal at the end. Some wondered if we might have known more about Marie as a real person if more of her writings aside from her poetry existed. Keep in mind that while Marie de France was a real person, who she really was is disputed and Lauren Groff used this to her advantage in writing Matrix

Previous Zoom discussions have enlightened me, enriched my reading experience, and given me a new appreciation for many of the books we've chosen in the past. I had hoped the same things would happen from discussing Matrix, and I can say that they have for me. I still might classify the book as a bit of a slog, and I don't know that I would recommend the book to other readers, but I truly do have an appreciation for the exquisite, descriptive language Groff uses and the story she was able to put together with just the notion that Marie de France existed as a person. 


We announced our next book at the end of the Matrix discussion, and I'll do it here in case you weren't able to join us. It's Agatha of Little Neon by Claire Luchette. Yes, it's another book about nuns, but do not be afraid, no matter what you thought of Matrix. I just finished it a few days ago, loved it, didn't find it a slog at all but full of interesting ideas. This is from the publisher: 

"Agatha has lived every day of the last nine years with her sisters: they work together, laugh together, pray together. Their world is contained within the little house they share. The four of them are devoted to Mother Roberta and to their quiet, purposeful life. But when the parish goes broke, the sisters are forced to move. Agatha is forced to venture out into the world alone, to teach math at a local all-girls high school, where for the first time in years she will have to reckon with what she sees and feels all on her own. Who will she be if she isn't with her sisters? These women, the church, have been her home--or has she just been hiding?"

I am very much looking forward to comparing and contrasting the sisters of Matrix with Agatha and her sisters. This is not a long book, and I found it an easy read, but I think it is rich with topics for discussion. We'll each do promotional posts in February and discuss Agatha on March 15th.

I thank you for reading along with us, even if you gave Matrix your best effort but just couldn't finish it. We appreciate your efforts and participation, and hope you'll Read Agatha With Us!


  1. I think Agatha provides an interesting contrast to Marie, and I can't wait to read it with everyone! :-)

  2. I think the best part of Read With Us is the discussion, and I think the discussion is always best when the group is split in its opinion of the book being discussed. I just bought Agatha and am looking forward to reading and discussing!

  3. I just got Agatha on my kindle and I will read it after I finish the book I'm reading now. I'm looking forward to an enjoyable story about nuns, hahahaha!

  4. I am on the wait list... but I think I might have to purchase this book to read it in time for our discussion! (It is a greater than 12 week wait... sigh)

    I agree about Matrix. I have much thought about our discussion as well, it has changed my thoughts on several things!

  5. Replies
    1. I think Agatha is a pretty good nun book, so I hope you'll consider reading it!

  6. My library hold for Agatha came in today and I hope to start it later this week.
    I enjoy our discussions, especially hearing all of the different thoughts and opinions about the books we read.

    1. I hope you like Agatha as much as I did, Debbie. Our Read With Us discussions have really helped me gain a new appreciation and understanding of many of our books, and I'm looking forward to discussing Agatha.

  7. Not sure why the comment I left the other day didn't "take." Anyhoo... love your summary of Matrix (I could have written that). It was definitely a slog book for me and not one I would recommend...BUT, I definitely have a greater appreciation for it after our Zoom discussion. I managed to get Agatha from the library and am about 30 pages in - so different from Matrix...really enjoying.


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