Category Archives: Being Bookie
Good morning! Happy Wednesday… yes my friends, we are at the half way mark for the week!
Last night was our May book club meeting. We were meeting at a restaurant and we had a plan. One of our lovely members had just shared with us a couple weeks ago that she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Last Wednesday she underwent surgery… last night… we all went Pink for her.
Mmmm hmmmm… love these gals!
The book we reviewed? The Light Between Oceans was a “wow oh wow” discussion. That review will be up later today.
So… I am out of town all day today, meeting at 7:30 am and car pooling to another get together and will be back tonight around 10 pm. L O N G D A Y. I need to take a book….
Warsaw 1939, a young boy, no more than 8 years old wanders the streets alone, stealing food to survive and sleeping wherever he can feel safe for the night. He knows not who he is or where he came from, and when is asked what he is called honestly replies, “Stopthief” as that is all anyone has ever called him.
When he meets a group of boys who are much like him, they hie our at night in a bombed out barber shop, stealing food by day. People ask him, “Are you a Jew? A Gypsy? A filthy son of Abraham?” He eventually is given a name by the boys he hangs out with, “Misha”. He likes it and the story they gave him as well about his family. The boys watch out for the “Jackboots.” the Nazi’s who come to town to gather up the Jews, and destroy any happiness. Misha would like to be a Jackboot with their shiny boots and big tanks. When he grows up, that’s what he wants to be.
Misha makes a friend with a little girl in town names Janina. She is 6 years old and has lovely things and Misha enjoys visiting her. When Janina and her family are forced to move into the newly created ghetto, Misha thinks it is a game and goes along. When a wall is built high around the ghetto so no one can get out, Misha finds a hole in the wall that he is the only one small enough to use, and he goes out and steels food as he pleases and brings it back in to Janina and her family. But times are changing and the bread shelves are empty, and the ladies with the fox fur who used to be easy to rob with their large boxes of sweets are no longer able to be found.
As Misha leans more about his surroundings and what is really happening, he no longer wishes to be a Jackboot. Not at all.
We chose this book for our Bookies book club read for March. Our plan was to choose a YA book to read as a group. This is the book that was nominated and I found myself thinking this is not what I was considering for YA. Yet, having never read Spinelli before I had no idea what an experience I was in for.
MILKWEED is YA like Book Thief is YA. They are written with a younger reader in mind, yet they are written on important and powerful topics. There is no paranormal activity, no witches or werewolves, or vampires in MILKWEED. Instead, there is young, dirty boy.
MILKWEED is a young orphaned boys view of the Holocaust and the innocence of not knowing what is happening, and never really fully understanding until many years later the full impact of what he had been through. Living in a world where you were shot at, called “filthy pig” and seen friends die, was the only world Misha knew.
Even as I type this I am still in awe of the power of this little book. AT 208 pages, you do not need a lot of time to read it, but I do recommend that you do read it. I will definitely be looking for more of Spinelli.
The Bookies had a good discussion over this book. It definitely left us with quite a bit of things to think about as the book focused around the Holocaust, Jewish people, hunger, and the crippling effects of having no hope. For all of us, this was our first Spinelli (speaking for myself, it will not be my last).
We discussed the value of a Holocaust book being written and marketed to 5th – 9th grade. We appreciated the value of a book to this age group on this topic but felt for the younger end they would need a follow-up with a parent to have questions answered as it does not go into much about the reason for the Holocaust or explain much about why people died. Of course this same line of discussion led to the wondering if a generation that has grown up surrounded by violence on tv, at the movies, and in video games would get the book and understand this was reality.
Overall the Bookies gave it an average rating. Some found the ending to be not to their liking. And of course, we had food… and lots of choices from the book as in the beginning Misha and the boys he hung around with stole from stores, gardens, and people’s homes, and food was plentiful.
Delaware in 1955 was experiencing a drought like no other. Crops were crispy dry, and farmers feared an entire loss for the harvest season. When hurricane Connie and Diane were in the area farmers had hope that the rains they would bring would save the crops. And at first… that’s what seemed to be happening.
Then on August 18th the rain storm took a turn for the worse. The two hurricanes brought down record rainfall over the next three days, causing some parts of the river to raise 30 feet within 15 minutes. Homes were torn from their foundations, vehicles overturned, resorts were washed away and 400 children were to be rescued from a camp ground by helicopter.
When all was done, nearly 100 people were killed, some of the bodies undiscovered until 30 years later and some still, have never been found.
Devastation On The Delaware is both fascinating and devastating at the same time. There were times while reading this I held my breath, feeling was about to happen as the pages turned and there was nothing I could do to stop….
Sadly, this is one of those world events that I had never heard of prior to my book club choosing to read this book for our February review. I have read many true stories on disasters through my life and this one in the beginning drew me in as it felt a little like the movie Twister, where the people had little to no warning before the waters went from the lake to encompassing the city.
While a book of this topic could seem a heavy read, Mary Shafer expertly keeps the reader engaged with stories from survivors that are both at times lite and funny, and yes, of course sometimes bring tears to your eyes. The book is also filled with engaging pictures of the flood and maps of the areas affected by this horrific storm. While Mary talks about weather pattern and other storm related data but not in a way that it goes over this readers head. She speaks in terms that I could certainly comprehend and imagine what the storm had to be like.
Mary brings a lot of people into the telling of the disaster and that is my only real struggle with the book is that I like to know the people being written about and many people are hard to follow who is who and usually sends me (and did) back paging to find the person again and go “oh yeah, that’s the one that….”. This is truly a “me” thing and others may have no trouble navigating the stories and those within each one.
Written in such a way that I felt I could have been there watching that water rise, Mary’s book is one not to be missed by those who like to read about history and events that changed our world and the people who experienced it forever. I was truly appreciative of the book and this will be one I will certainly keep on my shelf and refer to in the years to come.
You can find this book by following this link here.
Bookies Thoughts on this book:
My book club (all hail The Bookies!) read this as a group and reviewed it. As a whole we found Devastation On The Delaware to be be very interesting. While many of us needed much of the month to get through it because of the size and the topic, others had trouble putting it down once they opened it up.
We were fascinated by the stories (a particular one that comes to mind is about a horse) and the pictures. Living in Minnesota and near the Mississippi makes up familiar with water, but none of us had ever experienced anything as frightening as a dangerous flood.
We were lucky to have author Mary Shafer SKYPE in with us and showed us a slideshow of her research of the book and pictures of before, during, and after, the major flood. Her presentation was engaging and she would stop for our questions and comments. It was a wonderful addition to have her be a part of our review. She knew her facts, but she was funny too… and it was a fun evening of learning and laughing.
Of course… we had food
You can find out more about this flood and others at:
Liv Bergen lives a small quiet life of managing a limestone mine in Colorado. It may not be the life that many women would seek out, but Liv enjoys what she does and would have it no other way.
Then a young female employee of the mine is found murdered and suddenly Liv’s life is anything but quiet. The mine soon becomes a part of the crime scene and police and FBI are coming around with questions. Then Liv’s former classmate, now FBI Profiler, Lisa comes into town and takes residence at Liv’s home when all the hotels are full. Soon Liv discovers that the crimes are too close to home and she can either sit back and wait to see what will happen next or she can work on being part of the solution.
As Liv starts looking at clues, she discovers she has a sort of knack for putting things together and the murdered may soon find that Liv Bergen is his worst nightmare.
I first met author Sandra Brannon in New York in 2010 at the Book Expo. It was a short time before this, her first book was about to be released and Sandra was a little nervous and I instantly took a liking to her. As Jill at Rhapsody In Books recently said in a review, “You can not meet this author and not like her immediately”.
In The Belly Of Jonah was a good solid mystery. I love it when fiction teaches me something and I learned a little bit about mining, and even a little about forensics. This book is a great fast paced read that is never over the top out there (and that can be scary!) but feels like a good level mystery with awesome good guys, and of course the notorious bad guy.
I enjoyed the book so much and like it when a book takes me from the pages to my laptop to look at words and scenes more closely. While In The Belly Of Jonah is written as a series, it is just as easily a stand alone read. I for one enjoyed it so much I want to jump into the second book now – and it may please you to know that three books in the series are currently available: Lots Return To Sodom, and Widow’s Might.
The Bookies Review…
I was thrilled when my book club chose In The Belly Of Jonah for our January 2013 read . I was also thrilled when Sandra offered to SKYPE with us! It was out first SKYPE with an author and it was a lot of fun! The girls really enjoyed talking with Sandra. It was fun to hear about her back ground in mining and her characters and who they may be designed after.
Sandra had sent us a goodie box:
and in it was chocolate rocks for each of us (ahhhhhhh!!!!) and she sent us ingredients to make a drink:
This is the makings of a “hairy buffalo” which Sandra says is like a Colorado Bulldog but with chocolate milk. When Sandra was in the cities in September I went out to dinner with her and a girl from my book club and introduced her to the Colorado Bulldog. This was a fun gift that we will try next month. Thanks Sandra – you are funny and amazing!
Another fun moment of the evening was when one of the girls n out book club decided to reveal a little secret by making her own book cover:
Very creative! Laura is pregnant and she announced it to out book club with this cover… Sandra loved this!
and finally, we had a great group picture that we took for Sandra but really – I like it too
ps… if you are wondering about the doll… we reenacted a crime. Enough said.
Good morning! My second day off of the New Year and I am chilling this morning with a great cup of coffee and the laptop.
Yesterday was full but in good ways. I helped the Library take down their Christmas decorations and put the new window up about the Winter Book Club program where we are featuring different book clubs in the area and their favorite reads in the window. Ir was fun to do the first three. I forgot to take a picture but I will get one when I stop in today. After the Library I had coffee with my friend Connie where we brainstormed our winter retreat coming up in February, a 5K I will be working on setting up in June, and the Wine and Words Literacy event being planned for August.
Last night I watched the city council meeting on tv and was voted in as a Library Board Member.
I think, it’s going to be a fun year.
Today I am anticipating tonight’s Bookies Book Club meeting and review of In The Belly Of Jonah by Sandra Brannan. Sandra will be skyping with us tonight. Usually I am working on Tuesdays and I run from work to prepping dinner for my hubby to book club, but today being a bonus day off – I am excited to take my time planning what I will be bringing for food and who really knows what else could be up my sleeve…
My question(s) to you this morning (as I seem to be in full Book Club mode) is… are you in a book club or have you ever been? What do you read as a group? How do you choose your books? Do you do anything besides reviews – ie… travel together, go to movies or other events….
You probably know the story… (I hope you know the story!) There’s this chick named Dorothy who is kind of ungrateful living on a farm with her aunt and uncle with her dog Toto. Then one day a tornado hits (in my book it was a cyclone) and Dorothy winds up flying in her home to another place called – yup you guessed it … Oz, where she works hard (and this is the big plot line) to find her way home AND in the mean time makes some friends with a Tin Man, a Scarecrow and a Lion – but not a scary lion because he really is rather skid-dish.
Toss in a spooky green witch who wants Dorothy and her little dog too… a crazy Oz man who liked to refer to himself as the “Great and Powerful Oz” (I know like mid life crisis or what? Why doesn’t he just get a sports car?) and you have quite a little story going here….
So… this was out October Classic read for Bookies book club. When we chose it back in July we thought we were brilliant because although we knew about the Wizard Of Oz from the movie… none of us had read the book. Well, seriously – what a blast we had… the food the awesome and the discussion was fun.
There are so many differences between the book and the movie it was kind of fun because of course – the book was more detailed. For instance, did you know that in the book Dorothy’s shoes are silver and not red? They were made red for the movie because red stood out more. AND originally the yellow brick road was supposed to be red?
SO many more details! The book has a chapter where there are people made of China – yes, china like the plates! It was interesting to think that this book was so forward thinking for a book written in 1900.
Oh, and another fun fact – Judy Garland was originally supposed to be in the movie Gone With The Wind but bowed out of that role to play Dorothy! At the time the movies were made, there was no way of knowing the hits they both would come to be!
Our book review consisted of a little trivia and a lot of good food… just see for yourself:
Over all our group rating was 3.8 out of a 5 possibility. A few preferred the movie, I as well as a few others enjoyed the book more because it introduced things that were not in the movie. I highly recommend the Wizard of Oz for a fun book discussion. We really had a great time!
Violet Parry is bored. She is bored with what her life has become. Once vibrant and full of life (her rock and roll manager husband David used to call her “Ultra Violet”) Violet is now a stay at home mom. Sure, life is good, she hand-picked the house they live in and money is certainly not an issue, but Violet has lost her zip. Their toddler Dot has become an anchor holding her back from living, and she still has not lost the baby weight around her middle… and possibly her thighs… and for sure her rump… and David? Well David is busy being David. Closing deals, running around the country…..
So when Violet meets Teddy, small time rock and roller with a bad boy image who seems to take an interest in Violet, she suddenly recalls a bit of her old spark…
Then there is Sally, David’s sister who is determined to land the perfect husband on her schedule. When her eyes land on Jeremy who she foresees hitting the big time soon, she sets her plan in motion. FAST motion… as in she has given herself a few weeks to meet (yeah, did I mention they had not met yet?), fall in love and
get the ring… er, I mean get married.
Both women throw caution to the wind and disaster awaits around every corner.
Why did I want to read this book? When it was nominated for book club I knew I had this one on the review shelf. This was an opportunity to not only read it, but read it with a group which is always fun. I was also in charge of dessert for this meeting and I wanted to try to make this cover so badly…
So… This One Is Mine. It has been a long long time since I have disliked a book so fully. From the very beginning I found Violet to be spoiled and selfish… yes, I agree her marriage needed work – but she never gave it the opportunity to work. Poor poor Violet *laced with sarcasm. and peas, because I really do not like peas either*
And then there was Sally. Almost more unlikable then Violet. Almost. Depends on the chapter. Selfish and determined to have her way no matter who was in her path. Sally’s actions time and again throughout the book were not funny to me, but despicable, horrifying, and just down right gross. There was nothing – NOTHING redeeming about her…. each page made me groan a little more.
Now I don’t have to like characters to enjoy a book…. but this one left so little to even hope for I just turned page after page hoping there would be something… but in the end, I found nothing. I was reading this at our cabin recently and another girl from our book club was with me… I was about 50 pages in front of her and she kept asking, “does it get better”…. it did not.
My only silver lining in the book was 3/4 of the way through when an event went terribly wrong and by this time my mind was so filled with the sick that was Violet and Sally that I evilly wanted to rejoice…. but then… even that poofed out before I was satisfied.
Now I get that this is a harsh review, but it is an honest one. I loathed this book. Now, if you look at Amazon reviews… I am in the minority, others loved this and found it hilarious. I do not get these people. Perhaps they were thinking of a different book…
Bookies Book Club Thoughts…
This was our book club read for September. Prior to the group meeting a few that could not join us that night sent in their thoughts by email. The emails were scathing. Words used to describe the book were … well, I am not going to say here.
The review itself was interesting as I thought it would be. We are such a diverse group of readers and I was curious where we would land on this one. In our eleven years of this book club, this book rated the lowest rating we have ever given as a whole (and there are 18 of us!) On a scale of 1 – 5 the highest rating for this book was a 1. Many of the ratings fell below zero, I myself gave it a goose egg because I could not rate such a book.
We marveled at the Amazon reviews. We wondered if our thoughts on the book had to do with that we were from the mid west and perhaps we were more conservative readers (but please note many in this book club have read books in all sorts of genres and situations and enjoyed them so that can’t be it…). Plus, I added to the group, through our years we have read other books in that environment and did not come out the last page with this much…. this much…. BLAH.
We did of course have food to go with our book: (HAZAH!)
Not pictured (my bad – I thought I did take this pic) was the Ultra Violet Vodka (UV) which was funny because that was Violet’s nickname.
Now all that said… this author has a new book out called Where’s You Go Bernadette that I have been hearing good things about. I have this one on my shelf and plan to read it soon. A few in the book club have started this one on their own and have said it was good.
Here are a few other opinions on this book from bloggers I trust:
Irene and Nate Live a happy life in Illinois with their two children Bliss and Shep. When Nate is offered a job as a Deputy Sheriff in Oregon, he surprises the family by jumping at the offer and moving them. Irene is angry with her husband’s decision, but the family moves and as they start to get settled into their new life,
During what appears to be a robbery of their home, 15-year-old Shep is shot and killed during this event. The Stanleys fall apart in the wake of this tragedy. The man who shot Shep, Daniel Robbin, is caught and put away for life.
Many years later, Irene receives the letter she has both waited for and dreaded, the announcement of the date that Daniel Robbins will be put to death by lethal injection. Things are not as they once were for Irene and she is not sure that she still feels that Daniel should be executed, a thought she has kept to herself through the years.. .never sharing this with her husband Nate or her daughter, Bliss.
What secrets Irene carries are heavy… but Irene is not the only one to have secrets. The result being a head on crash of emotions and explosive opinions that will leave your head spinning to the very last page.
Why did I want to read this book? My friend and fellow Bookie Angie gave me a copy of this book after she read it and loved it. Angie’s tastes in books usually are god ones that I enjoy too so I was excited to read this book that she said led to great inner thought. Shortly after it was given to me, it was also chosen as our August book club read.
The Crying Tree was a book I picked up and instantly fell into the flow of the read. Told in alternating chapters, I started to understand the flow of the “that was then” and “this is now”. The Crying Tree was a beautiful story of deep family secrets that only build on one another as the story unfolds.
The secrets that can define us is a huge theme in this book and as The Crying Tree opens, page by page secrets are revealed to you, the reader, that are both shocking and thought-provoking at the same time. The deeper you travel within this book, the more you are let in on the secrets of The Crying Tree.
WOW. Oh WOW. That’s my take and I am sticking with it. What I thought I knew about The Crying Tree in the early part of the book was nothing compared to what was revealed as I became a part of the book. Sometimes I don’t know why I do not see what is going to happen next but int his book I did not see it coming and I am so glad I didn’t because the tight grip I had on this book as my mouth hung open in shock…
SO WORTH IT.
The Crying Tree is not a book for everyone, it does deal with hard subject matter, however… I think it is a book that should be read by everyone because it does make you think and look at yourself honestly and say “what would I have done?” A powerful read that will remain on my bookshelves as a reminder to myself as to how powerful the written word is.
The Bookies book club gathered in my home in August 2012 to review this book. I had twenty questions prepared for discussion and our questions brought up such good thoughtful discussion that I had to eliminate about half the questions or we probably would still be reviewing this book.
The discussion was phenomenal… it was hard, truthful, and passionate. We really wrapped ourselves around the idea of forgiveness and how much (if anything) is too big to forgive. Do you need faith in God to forgive? (This was a question due to the fact that Irene starts out as a strong Christian woman but as the book unfolds and a very poor example of a pastor is her “go to for faith” guy… she walks away from her faith.
We also spent time discussing how well in today’s world we know our kids… at the time the book was written (in the 80′s), Irene admits that she did not always know what her children were up too when she was at work or out running errands. She believed they came right home after school, but if she was honest… she did not know that for sure. Those of us in the discussion feel that even with the addition of cell phones, we still can not be sure we know what our kids are doing all the time – and lives if anything, have just become more cluttered with activity.
The overall thoughts from our book club was on a scale of 1-5 ( 5 being the highest), The Crying Tree rated a 4 average.
Of course… we brought food:
Not pictured: Our main dish – “Last Meal” Chicken Yellow Squash hotdish and The chocolate mint pie.
I received this book from my friend Angie
Tuesday was our 6th annual Queen Event for our book club. In July, we usually have a free read month – not making any book mandatory reading because honestly, July is a super busy month for people in Minnesota. As it was, 6 of our members were unable to attend due to commitments with work, and kids sports, and one was even out sick with pink eye.
This year we did things a little differently, at our June meeting we each wrapped up a beloved book and then took turns choosing a book that another Bookie had loved. The results were amazing, almost everyone loved the book they picked that was another bookies favorite. It was a lot of fun as we went around the room and discussed from out first reaction about the book we chose, to how we felt after reading the book.
The food as always was fantastic – lots of good fruits salads and vegies, and Sharon’s hubby grilled burgers and hotdogs for us.
Of course, the best part of the Queen Event is the speeches, we each get up and sing, or show a talent, or read a poem.. or really whatever…
But the best pic of the evening was…
And I will possibly post a few more speeches but here is the end of Kaydi’s (our new Queen) and then Amy’s which cracked me up…
I am out most of this weekend, be back Saturday afternoon!
Good morning! I did not mean to start with that picture but half asleep this morning… I guess that is what I did and I am leaving it.
Last night was our Annual Queen Event for our Book Club. Once a year we dress in formal wear and get together for a potluck and book sharing experience. We discussed what we read this past month which was fun because for one, we do not assign a book to read as a group in July, and for two, some of us did do that book exchange last month which turned out fantastic, almost everybody loved the book that another Bookie picked out for them so that was pretty cool.
A big part of our annual event is choosing a New Queen. This is a tradition started 6 years ago now (wow!) where we dress up and all make a bid for Queen of the Bookies for one year… it’s a lot of fun, we sing, we do whatever, and then we vote. The Queen takes care of all book ties (if we can not decide on what to read next) and she decides where we will meet the next month.
She also becomes the proud owner for a year of the scepter, the crown – and the royal throne which is a toilet that I found many years ago when our local State Hospital shut down and I cleaned it up painted it, and now all past Queens have signed it.
We had a blast but it started at 6 pm and we left her house at 9:30. SO much fun! I have many more pics but got home late and need to get ready for work so will post them soon.
In other notes, I feel like I have not been around much. Summer is definitely upon us and I feel like I am flying in a hundred different directions. Tonight after work I am hoping to catch a bike ride, I think there is a chance we may be rescuing another dog (another story), I need to pack and get ready for tomorrow after work when I leave until Saturday with my friend Heidi to our cabin. And I am pretty sure I am not going to take laptop with me because we do not have internet access there anyway.
Tonight I need to sit down and get my posts written up for while I am away. I am just starting to listen to Looking For Alaska by John Green and reading The Crying Game which turns out to also be our Book Club pick for August!
Hows your July going? Big plans? Enjoying your weather? What book is in your hand right now?