Category Archives: Being Bookie
This past Tuesday the Bookies gathered to discuss Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. This is a book that will be hard to discuss here without spoilers so I will keep this light. To see a review with more detail and a spoiler page, see my review of Me Before You here, and for another great review by our Queen (front and center in picture), see it at her blog By Book Or by Crook.
A brief synopsis of Me Before You: (Setting – London village) Louisa Clark has recently lost her day job and at 27, still living at home but trying to get moving on life – this is not cool. She applies for a temporary position at a nearby castle for a rich boy who is not wheelchair bound due to an accident. Extremely unqualified, Louisa is shocked when she is given the job. Will Trainer (ie. “Rich boy”) is a bitter 30 something. He once had the world at his finger tips; skiing with friends, trips to beaches and around the world… now confined to the limitations of movement and a chair.
Louisa (probably due to her lack of professional training for this type of work) will have none of Will’s attitude. At first she is careful and shy but soon finds she is dealing with a sort of spoiled whiny baby who’s toys have been taken away. By Louisa calling Will out on this, Will develops a respect for Louisa and a friendship slowly grows.
Louisa soon discovers why her job taking care of Will is temporary and this knowledge changes everything. Now Louisa’s drive is to show Will that this new world of wheelchairs and limited movements is worth living in – and she only has so much time to convince him.
The Bookies rated this one fairly high. We seen “5″ ratings out of people who rarely if ever give 5′s. (We rate on a scale of 1 – 5, 5 being the best). A book such as this brought out (as I had hoped) some deep discussion. We discussed choices and when do family and friends have a right to step in, and if they do – how much is permissible… how much is too much.
We were surprised to learn that we have a girl in our group who has a relative that has a similar story of living a full vibrant life and then an accident causing her to become a quadriplegic. To actually hear about someone who has gone through this was interesting and brought the book even more fully in focus.
Of course… we had food and wine with our discussion
Why is this a great book for book clubs?
There is great discussion points within this book. Hard questions come to the surface that will make for a lively and passionate discussion on both sides. If you like books that can get a rise of emotion out of your group let me say this is a book that will do just that.
Hair in my eyes, sleep pants and slip on sandals (I know… I know…), face still sleep lined but smile intact.
That’s what the night after book club looks like.
After an evening of sharing food together, discussing the book, a glass of wine (or two), choosing the next book and just hanging out with a great group of girls…I always come home spent.
BUT in such a good way.
I marvel at this motley crew of girls from different backgrounds, assorted ages… and we all gather in a room and we send a book through the process of well.. whatever we do with it… love it – hate it – in between. Together we have shared tears, laughter, anger… but the cool thing is –
we genuinely care about one another.
is the BEST part of Bookies.
We reviewed Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. I knew it would be a great discussion. And afterwards we decided to use our book in the bag money we collected (A library program where ten copies of the same book are checked out at once for groups) and purchase Me Before You so other groups can discuss this one as well.
Next up… Secret Life Of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. An older title but I do not believe any of us have read it yet.
On another completely (COMPLETELY) random note – I bought a Modern Family calendar in January. I bought is because I LOVE the show and they are so funny… I have been meaning to put the quote each day up here and I forget. I will put today’s up now – and if you do not get it – you MUST watch the show…. even if you do get it – you must watch the show. Hilarious
Claire: Nothing from the mini-bar, and no pay-per-view
Manny: Can we at least -
Claire: No, you can not send things out for pressing.
Have an AWESOME start to your day
Books. There are great books out there. As readers, we are quite familiar with these books. Perhaps they are beautifully written and each word creates a full picture in your mind of the scene, the scents, the heat (or lack there of) in a room. They can create great emotions – from joy to pain; laughter to anger. (Come on, admit it – haven’t you ever thrown a book down on a table or across a room because of the emotion it evoked? No? Just me? Well… this is awkward…. )
My question I present today is what types of books lead to great book discussions? Not all great reads make for great discussion. I know personally from my own book club experiences, some are really hard to group review other than just opening the room up to discussion. No hot topic questions come to mind… no great emotion. The book may be perfectly fine, there’s just really not much to say.
I love books that stretch us. That make us think differently. They cause a difference in opinions within the group – love or hate the protagonist; lets talk about it. Hot topics of today and/or in the past… lets discuss.
SO I toss this question out to you. Many of us are in book clubs or book discussion groups.
When choosing a book that you think would be great to bring to the group to read, what do you look for within that book?
Do you look for something in the synopsis that you think will work great for a group discussion, or is that not a part of it?
When you select a book for a reading discussion have you already read it?
I am excited to hear what your group does.
In past years I posted my book club book review along with my book club thoughts in one post. Starting this year I will be posting my personal review of the book club books and my book clubs thoughts separately. Click here for my review of Reconstructing Amelia.
This past Tuesday the Bookies Book Club gathered to review our January book, Reconstructing Amelia. As anticipated, the book made for a wonderful discussion.
Reconstructing Amelia is about a 15-year-old girl who joins a coveted undercover group at her Private School called the Maggie’s. If you are tapped to be a Maggie, you do not say no. The book centers around coming of age issues such as; parent/child relationships, trust, friendships, sexuality, fitting in, bullying, social media and oddly… adults in high position roles who act in the most inappropriate ways. When Amelia dies early on in the book (not a spoiler, this is part of the books synopsis on the back cover), her mother is left to figure out the pieces as to what happened. Through a series of emails, texts, and Facebook posts, things start to come together to a shocking conclusion.
Reconstructing Amelia is a tangled weave of dishonesty and rabbit trails that cause you to think things one way… only to wonder (even in the end) if it was not something completely different. This sort of writing can be both exciting and frustrating as our book club discussed.
What discussion topics can Book Clubs pull from this read?
There is so much that makes for good group discussion here.
- Peer pressure…. how hard is it at 15 to say no? How important at this age is it to fit in?
- Social media… how much worse can social media make it for teens? Now when friends disagree it can be posted for everyone’s eyes.
- In a world where we know everyone’s business… how much is too much? Where do we as parents draw the line when it comes to internet, social media, texting, emails, dating….
- Bullying is such a huge topic right now. How can we protect our children – especially when they are at the age where they do not necessarily come to us with problems.
- Single parenting is common. How does a single parent juggle maintaining a job, a home, the bills, and relationships with their children?
- What about these clubs in schools like college? The ones that include hazing. Is it a right of passage? Is there reason for concern?
- How important is it to keep communication with your teen child? Do you have a limit to what you want to know? If you do not, do you give off the impression that you do?
The Bookies had a vibrant discussion over these topics, occasionally even talking over one another. Many of us had stories of our own kids being bullied. Social media is another fire conversation. For a group of women who grew up for the most part without Facebook and cell phones and instant pictures; we are concerned as to the “where does it go from here.” So little is considered taboo now, what does the next generation have going on?
Reconstructing Amelia scored well with the Bookies overall. On a scale of 1 -5 (5 the best), Amelia landed at a solid 4 rating out of the 17 of us who rated the book. Over all the bookies found the book to be hard to put down, it kept you guessing as to what actually happened all the way to the end.
Book clubs looking for a fairly quick read (the pages of texting and Facebook posts make for some quick chapters) with great discussion topics are encouraged to choose this book. Reconstructing Amelia will leave you with some questions, and either intentional by the author or not, most of the Bookies were not bothered by this unknowing.
Recently I was reading an awesome post of Elizabeth’s at Silvers Reviews and she was talking about book club books. She was saying that her book club puts book choices for a year in to a bowl and each month they draw out of the bowl and choose their next read. She said this kept people from becoming hurt if their book was not chosen as everyone has a title in the bowl.
For us (The Bookies!) We have had a tried and true system that I really enjoy since we began in 2001. We encourage each person to bring a book suggestions with them to the group. When it is time to pick we go around and everyone who brought a suggestion gets a chance to give a little description of the book. We ask that it follows this criteria:
It should be a newer release (unless it is classic month) as there are 18 of us and we have to find copies
It can be paperback or hard cover as long as it is under $15
If you can share where to find it and at what cost that is a plus (such as “the library has 4 copies in book and also an audio version” or “Target currently has this one for $8.99 and there are about 12 copies available.”
When the nominees are in we go around the room and we each have two votes. The two votes stems back to when we were a very small group and we didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings; the two vote thing sticks to this day.
The book with the most votes is what we read for the next month. In the event of a tie, the decision goes to the Queen (oh and that is another post entirely….hee hee)
I like our system as we are not eliminating the possibility of choosing a book that just came out or to our attention.
If you are in a book club or reading group, how do you choose what you will be reading? It seems like every one I talk to has a different way of doing it and I am fascinated by all the ideas out there.
Please share here how your book club picks its books
Good morning! This post was supposed to go up yesterday morning but I over slept, missed my morning work out and by the time I prepped the pictures it was time for me to get read for work.
Ahhhh… the best laid plans…
Tuesday was our Annual Christmas party for the Bookies. Along with our review of The Christmas Grandma Ran Away From Home by Nancy Warren, we had a fun home made gift exchange.
Review first…. “meh”. I will not be doing a full review here as I did not read it. We accidentally chose a book that was an e read only and when I heard it was only 45 pages I thought I would read it a few days before our meeting… and then…. life happened, busy with other things and I did not get it done. Shortest book in Bookies 12 year history and I do not finish. :shock: For those that did read it they said it had many holes and felt unfinished. It wasn’t a bad read, just not great although those with busy loves like me were grateful that it was such a quick book.
The gift exchange was a lot of fun. We have always done a gift exchange but this year we added the twist of it having to be homemade. Insert *gulp* here. While not a crafty person really, I did come through in a inch with the Christmas bulbs filled with snowflakes from the Same Sweet Girls book and my first attempt at homemade caramels which came out AWESOME!
Below you will see what everyone wound up with:
The pic of me is me wearing my gift (SCORE!) It is a nice thick knitted head band that covers my head and ears – great for outdoors. LOVE IT!!!!
IN fact… I love it so much…. I wore it to work on Wednesday:
In the later 1800′s, Norwegian settlers took to the Great Plains to find for themselves a better life. Dreams of great farm lands and prosper propelled them forward and Per Hansa, was not an exception.
Per Hansa, his wife, Beret, and their two sons head out into the wide open space hoping to catch up with the group they had started out with and begin to build their dreams. While Per Hansa almost vibrates with his desire for something to call his own, Beret keeps quiet to her dreams of staying where they were with, with family and friends and all she ever knew of as home.
When they do meet up with the others and stake their land the whole family experiences first hand what it is like to start with nothing. A house built out of sod, and their cow living under this same sod roof. The planting of food to eat and to sell and the hope and prayer each season that the crops will prosper and drought, weather or plagues do not take what they have put blood, sweat and tears into.
The land is hard and the life style to match but Per Hansa thrives in the environment of working from before sun up to after sun down. As other settlers pass through and the native Americans come calling, Per Hansa comes across many situations he was not prepared for…. yet onward he goes, trusting in God and the land.
We read Giants In The Land for our classic read. Around page 11 I thought I was in trouble… when our author started explaining the sound of the grass I thought “oh oh…. I have over 500 pages of this?” Yet I settled into the book to get through it, and found that I was enjoying it in no time.
Per Hansa is a go getter. At times to the point of ripping your hair out, but it seems like everything he tries and touches turns out for the better. Beret, is another character all together. Left mainly to tend to the house and the children, the time alone only wears on her. Although their are other women near by, Beret is far too sheltered within herself to go out and make the relationships she needs to keep her going.
The real beauty in Giants In The Earth is that the land and the weather is just as much a character as Per Hansa, Beret and the other settlers. The land and weathers role is a bit one. It can give, and it can just as quickly take away. Everything in this environment depends on both.
I flew through this read. It was so far different from anything I had read and I could imagine what the times had to feel like, make it or break it, you had to keep moving forward day after day. It is a book that will remain on my shelf to be referred to again.
Bookies thoughts and fun:
We had a blast being able to have our review in an 1851 cabin that is on the property of one of our book club gals. (Thanks Brenda!). We dressed the time period and ate the food that they ate: lefsa, potatoes, cider, stew, goat cheese… It was a great time.
What a great time! The Bookies over all rated it a high 3 (almost 4!) out of 5. Most of us enjoyed the time period and the idea of the early settlers. A few of us struggled getting into the book and found it too dry.
Good morning! I didn’t meant to drop off the face of the blog there!
Tuesday was our Book Club coronation of the new Queen and I have been so busy this week – home late Tuesday, home late yesterday…. I just didn’t get back here. Now however, late but here… I can give you a bit of low down on the event… As always…. we had to prepare speeches of why we should be Queen… I prepped a power point… here are a couple of samples of that:
Anyhoo… it was fun…
Above is a little sample…. and below another sample of the night…
in the end… we had a new Queen
and we are all set for another year…
It was a great night with a great group of girls who I adore. I love this event. I wish I could tell you all the fun speeches of singing, stories, speeches, games, audio, and more. I can’t express how utterly cool I think it is that we all do get into this the way we do – dressing up, planning what we will say….
Ok work today, maybe a movie later, somewhere in between we are serving the homeless in our community the next few days and with me out of town this weekend I am working to make sure that is all secured into place with volunteers and back up
SQQQQQQUUUUEEEEEE! Yes it has been a long time since I have done that and yes…. this post calls for it. It is Bookies Coronation day and I think a few of us in the book group feel a little like it is prom night. Seriously – it is so fun to watch out Facebook page fill with such messages as:
I got my dress all picked out!
I finally finished my speech!
I am seriously pumped and I suspect, as it is now later after noon and we meet in less than two hours that everyone id probably much like I am at this point…
- Rushing home from work after picking up my salad for tonight
- picked up my dress for its “upper adjustment” turns out… I do not have the chest of an 16 year old.
- Just loaded the throne and scepter into the car
- Can not find my princess crown….
- need to shower….
- cooking Al’s supper… I will be out late
- need to find a book to nominate for next month
- really really need to stop procrastinating
- need to check speech one more time…
You should have seen the sales ladies when Amy and I found our dresses in the cities this weekend (LOVE prom clearance!) As Amy and I both proudly marched into the dressing room with our arms full of six dresses each they asked, “What are the dresses for?” When we told them book club they looked at us like we were nuts.
Maybe we are.
We each bought two dresses and Amy said that we were good for next year too. I laughed… who are we kidding, shopping for the dresses is half the fun!
I think what I love the most is that all the girls get into it. We love to dress up and say our speech of why we should be Queen… We love hanging out together. I love my book club.
Well, I had better get moving… shower, make up, hair…. oh my!
Pictures will be up in the morning!
Grace Alban left the large mansion like home on Lake Superior in Duluth Minnesota 20 years ago and had not looked back. But when her mother suddenly dies leaving Grace the sole heir of the family property and a staff with some spooky insight into the last two decades, Grace reluctantly travels back to her childhood home this her teenage daughter.
Long buried family secrets, love letters, and a mysterious unpublished book by a famous author are just a few of the things Grace discovers shortly after her arrival. As Grace soon learns, a secret around a death that took place at the house during a party many years ago was about to be relieved by her mother to a reporter on the day that Grace’s mother had a heart attack and died. It was an event that no one in the family had discussed – ever.
What really was the story behind the girl in white dancing in the yard that people have claimed to have seen through the years? And what of the hidden tunnels within the walls that look as though they have been traveled recently…. why is someone trying so hard to frighten Grace and her daughter away?
The Bookies chose this book for two reasons. 1.Wendy Webb is an author that is going to be at our fall Wine and Words event in Brainerd MN. 2. The book is written around an actual mansion in Duluth called the Glensheen Mansion which does actually have a real murder story.
My thoughts: Honestly, The Fate Of Mercy Alban was better than I had anticipated. I read this one on the plane on my way to New York and found myself thoroughly engaged in the writing. The characters were nicely developed and I lived the thought of hidden tunnels in the walls (how very Nancy Drew!), and I wondered in the Glensheen Mansion which I have toured many times, did indeed have secret walls and tunnels.
Wendy Webb mixes a good old-fashioned mystery in with the paranormal which was surprising in content, and I liked that twist of expecting one thing out of a book and getting a little bonus! The book had me guessing on what happened to Mrs Alban, what had really happened to the famous author who had died on the property years ago, and who was the girl in white….
Did the butler do it?
You will have to just read this one to find out!
As this was our book club read for June 2013, the overall census was fairly high ratings. The Bookies really enjoyed the mystery around a place that we were all aware of. While we had some different thoughts on the ending (I was bummed – found it unnecessary) other really liked the way it ended.
As a result of this read, we are planning a Bookies road trip this late fall to the Glensheen Mansion, about half of us have toured it before – but we all would like to go through it again now, seeing it through the Alban families eyes and Wendy Webb’s too!
* note – the Alban family and the events in the book are fictitious as are the hidden tunnels in the home (at least according to Wendy Webb )