Category Archives: Being Bookie
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 )
Tuesday evening of this week was our Bookies get together around our review of The Fate Of Mercy Alban by Wendy Webb. I am not sure why – but I did forget to take pictures of the food…
So…. picture this:
French onion soup with crunchy garlic bread
chicken breast tenderloin plain, and some with orange sesame sauce served with chicken broccoli rice
a pepperoni pasta salad
cole slaw salad
Some of the foods are out of a meal they had in the book on page 85.
I will tell you more about the book review later, but for now I want to focus after the review. This is our second year doing a favorite book exchange. The rules are:
1. The book should be a favorite of yours
2. You have read the book and LOVED it
3. put a post it note in the inside cover sharing why you loved this book and if you want it back or if it is to keep
4. Wrap up the book.
Then what we did was put the wrapped books on the floor and we each took a turn choosing a book, opening it and hearing why it was the givers favorite book. (That is my favorite part, listening to the given share why they loved a particular book).
This is such a great time. Now our task is to read the book we have chosen and talk about next month at our annual Queen event and potluck celebration. SO EXCITED!
As for life… I am busy working on the 5k that we are putting on this Saturday morning. I put 10 hours in yesterday and who knows what I will do today to make sure we are ready. Its good fun though – 116 registrants at the time I left work yesterday. Today I will help assemble the swag bags – t-shirt, water bottle – and yes, a book, Every Body Matters by Gary Thomas.
Good morning! Happy Wednesday… yes my friends, we are at the half way mark for the week! :D
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. :razz: 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. :D 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….