Thursday, January 24, 2013

New Year, New Book Choice

Hello Ladies,

Look at how good I am doing at blogging...are you proud?  I had such a great time at our last book club meeting.  Life is stressing me out lately and book club is always a fabulous distraction.  I love talking to all of you girls and hearing the great things that are happening for everyone.

So last month we read Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.  Surprisingly most of us had finished the book this time.  I'm not sure if that happened because the book was relatively short or because it felt like a book that you just have to read.  Either way,  I was happy to see that we had actually read this time!  Many of us didn't actually love this book.  At points I struggled following the story.  I ended up wondering if what Montag was describing was real or his imagination.  That seems about par for the course with me though.  I've read many dystopian novels and books dealing with totalitarian governments.  We've even read a few already in book club.  But I never really enjoy those novels.  It may be irrational but they always seem to make me a little nervous.  I wonder about what it would take for that to happen in our world.  Maybe that is the purpose behind books like 1984 and Brave New World.  Overall we rated the book around 3.

For our January book choice we ended up going with In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson.

 It is the story of the Dobbs family that gets sent to Germany in 1933 to be the US Ambassador.  The book jackets says that it "lends a stunning eyewitness perspective on events as they unfold in real time, revealing an era of surprising nuance and complexity."  I began reading this book last night and was surprised to find out that it is a non-fiction book.  I should have guessed but I wasn't expecting that.  Hopefully the rest of the girls still enjoy it.  I am hooked already but I also am in love with all things history related.  Can't wait!

Our next meeting is going to be at Marie's house on Feb 19th at 7:00.  See you then!

Happy Reading!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

And We're Back!

So I’m horribly bad at blogging.  Who cares…big whoop…deal with it!  I kid. I kid.  But really, I have a problem and have to apologize for the 6 month absence.  I missed our book club meeting in June and it totally threw me off my game.  Our July meeting came around and none of the ladies who made it to that meeting had actually read Playing Dead yet so we kept it for our July book choice as well.  A poor excuse to not blog in July but I ran with it.  And then I just kept on running.  Time to play catch up.  I’ll start with the different books that we have read during the second half of this year.

In August we selected Heather’s choice of The Book of 1000 Days by Shannon Hale

It was a very interesting story.  Definitely not a tough read but it kept us entertained.  It tells the story of a servant girl that is locked in a tower with her princess master for what is supposed to be three years.  They escape, find out the country has been destroyed, and head off to find the supposed love of the princess.  Good story.  If I remember it correctly we rated it around a 3 out of 5 for the enjoyment factor.

Our September choice was another light read.  We chose The Reformed Vampire Support Group by Catherine Jinks.

Personally, I struggled with this book.  I wasn't able to finish it.  I got bored with the characters and the story line didn't really interest me.  Overall, no one really loved it.  The ladies that did finish told me that it did have some amusing parts and the story got better the further into the book they read.  2.5 out of 5 stars.

The October book was probably my favorite of the last few months.  We read Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer.

Many of you might have seen the movie for this book.  It is about a boy whose father was killed in the 9-11 attacks in New York City.  A while after the death of his father, Oscar, finds a small envelope that leads him on a search across NYC to learn more about the man.  I would probably rate this book at a 4.  The only drawback was that it jumped between characters without any explanation and was, at times, hard to follow.

Phew…almost caught up.

November book choice!  This was actually kind of a scramble.  The book choices never arrived so we all just threw out books that we had been wanting to read.  We ended up with Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

I can’t really do an accurate review of this book as I didn't finish reading.  Heck, I barely started reading it.  The holidays definitely got in the way.  I did enjoy the parts that I did read and am looking forward to finishing it.  The reviews say that it is intriguing and has a lot of plot twists that keep a person interested.  Hopefully that’s true.  I’ll keep you posted if I actually get back to reading it.  Eric got me quite a few books for Christmas so I am over-loaded with reading options at the moment.

And finally…December’s book choice!  I am crazy excited about this one.  We chose Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.

Amazon says that “Fahrenheit 451 is a masterwork of twentieth-century literature set in a bleak, dystopian future.  Sounds great, right?  For some reason I never read this while I was in middle or high school.  You’d think it would have been required in most English Lit classes or something.  I’m excited to read it now.  I want to see what all of the fuss is about.

Along with book choice updates I’m going to include some book club member updates as well.  First a big congrats to Amy Jo who got engaged and will be getting married next week!  Wade is a lucky guy! Second, a round of applause goes to Marie for graduating from college.  I big achievement!  Next, we have baby-related congratulations to Heather for the birth of her gorgeous little girl and to Ashlee on the up-coming birth of her second adorable baby.  Lastly, I need to welcome our newest book club member, Ashley.  We love having you come!  As for the rest of us…life is pretty much status quo as far as I know.

Our next meeting will be Tuesday, January 22, 2013 at 7:00 pm.  We will be holding it at my house again.
Hope to see you there.

Happy Reading,

Saturday, June 23, 2012

June Book Choice

Hello all, This month we had a small turn out, but as always we had a good time. Last month we read Bright Young Things.  Only a few of us made it to the end, but those that did, and what was read, we all agreed was very good.  I made it through the first half and if there was more time in the day I would have never put it down.  Overall I think we agreed that this was about a 3.5 on our scale of 5.

This month, Chantelle brought the book choices.  After a little debate, we decided on Julia Heaberlin's, Playing Dead.

“Dear Tommie: Have you ever wondered about who you are?”
The letter that turns Tommie McCloud’s world upside down arrives from a stranger only days after her father’s death. The woman who wrote it claims that Tommie is her daughter—and that she was kidnapped as a baby thirty-one years ago.

Tommie wants to believe it’s all a hoax, but suddenly a girl who grew up on a Texas ranch finds herself  linked to a horrific past: the slaughter of a family in Chicago, the murder of an Oklahoma beauty queen, and the kidnapping of a little girl named Adriana. Tommie races along a twisting, nightmarish path while an unseen stalker is determined to keep old secrets locked inside the dementia-battered brain of the woman who Tommie always thought was her real mother. With everything she has ever believed in question, and no one she can trust, Tommie must discover the truth about the girl who vanished—and the very real threats that still remain. 

This looks like an exciting choice.  Our next meeting will be at Carly's on the 18th of July.

Heather I hope you can make it for July, I know you will be ready to pop, but we'd like to have you with us one more time before that little girl comes.

Happy Reading,
 Amy Jo

Saturday, May 26, 2012

May Book Choice

Hey Everyone,
This month we had a pretty small turn out, I think its a sign of summer, but it turned out to be successful.  Most of us did not get very far in the book.  Congrats to Amy Jo for getting the furthest, but we had a really good discussion.  If you don't remember, the book was based on an account of a 3-month expedition into the Amazon jungle in 2002 to learn more about the remaining native and uncontacted tribes that lived there.  Since no one had gotten through the book, Amy Jo told us some  of her favorite parts in the story and a lot about how people outside of the team on the expediditon just didn't care about the people living there and runined their life style, lands and sometimes even killed the people.  Our discussion revolved around if we thought the people should be left alone or if they should be contacted.  Most of us agreed that contact was inevetiable, but we didn't reach a conclusion of whether or not they should be contacted.  We discussed things like how medicine and technology could be brought to them, but at the same time, we would introduce diseases to them that they haven't been introduced to yet.  So can there be a balance of introducing them the latest technologies and protecting there lifestyle and culture, or should we try to protect them from the technologies so they can continue with the way they live now?  We may have a lot of technologies now, but have our technologies really improved our society, or have they hindered us and helped make a lazy, greedy society?  These are just some of the topics we discussed in this months meeting.  If you've read any of the book, or even just have an opinion, I'd like to continue the discussion on this, just so that we can all maybe look at it at a different angle and understand everyone's opinions.

Anyways, on to this month's book. 

Bright Young ThingsThe year is 1929. New York is ruled by the Bright Young Things: flappers and socialites seeking thrills and chasing dreams in the anything-goes era of the Roaring Twenties.

Letty Larkspur and Cordelia Grey escaped their small Midwestern town for New York's glittering metropolis. All Letty wants is to see her name in lights, but she quickly discovers Manhattan is filled with pretty girls who will do anything to be a star. . . .

Cordelia is searching for the father she's never known, a man as infamous for his wild parties as he is for his shadowy schemes. Overnight, she enters a world more thrilling and glamorous than she ever could have imagined—and more dangerous. It's a life anyone would kill for . . . and someone will.

The only person Cordelia can trust is ­Astrid Donal, a flapper who seems to have it all: money, looks, and the love of Cordelia's brother, Charlie. But Astrid's perfect veneer hides a score of family secrets.
Across the vast lawns of Long Island, in the ­illicit speakeasies of Manhattan, and on the blindingly lit stages of Broadway, the three girls' fortunes will rise and fall—together and apart. From the New York Times bestselling author of The Luxe comes an epic new series set in the dizzying last summer of the Jazz Age.

It sounds like a pretty intiguing book, and might be able to entertain all of us.  So lets get started.  We have until June 20th at 7 pm to read this one.  We'll be meeting again at Carly's new place.  Hope to see everyone there.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

April Book Choice

Hello Ladies,

Another month passed and we had yet another successful book club meeting.  It was actually the first meeting in my new house!  It was great actually feeling like I had room to host the dinner instead of cramming us into the living room.  Anyway, thank you to Sabra for the amazing dinner.  Personally, I think it was one of my favorite meals.  And thanks to Heather for the dessert.  One can never go wrong with Creamies!  

So as Amy Jo just posted we selected “The Night Circus” as our March book choice and it was a hit.  There was romance, deceit, magic, wonderful imagery, and a unique story.  The author did a fantastic job of helping the reader feel as though they were actually in the middle of this bizarre circus he had created.  The characters he created were just as unique and interesting as the circus itself.  And the relationship between Marco and Celia seemed doomed from the very beginning of the book but I found myself rooting for them anyway.  Those of us who finished the book rated it between 4 and 5 stars.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. 
Amy Jo was brought our book choices for April.  She prefaced her choices by saying there was really only one that she actually wanted to read…the rest were just fillers.  Luckily, the rest of the group agreed with her and we ended up picking her first choice.  This month we will be reading “The Unconquered” by Scott Wallace.
It is a first-hand account of a 3-month expedition into the Amazon jungle in 2002 to learn more about the remaining native and uncontacted tribes that lived there.   I love reading true, inspirational stories and I am really excited about bolstering my pathetically-limited knowledge of the Amazon.   My kindle says that I have read 5% of the book so far and I am already hooked.  It seems like Amy Jo picked another winner this time!   

Our next meeting will be on May 16th at 7:00.  A big thank you in advance to Amy Jo and Marie for taking care of dinner, to Rachel for dessert, and to Ashlee for bringing our book choices.  Can’t wait to see you all next month.

Happy Reading!


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

March Book Choice

Hello Everyone,
It's Amy this time. So I have to apologize to Carly. I gave her such a hard time about not updating the blog that one time that she outsmarted me and asked me to do it this month... and guess what, April's meeting it tonight... my bad.

Last month (Feb) we read Defending Jacob. Again I was the only one that didn't finish. I was about 30 pages until the end... but I did finish it that night after book club. I think this ended up being one of our favorite books. The book brought up a few ethical dilemmas and gave us plenty to talk about. Good Choice Sabra.

March was back to Carly for the book choices. We decided on The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des RĂªves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

Once again, I will not finish this book before the meeting. Way too much homework this month. What I did get to read I loved. It is such a fast read and I didn't want to put it down. I made it about 5 chapters in and had to go back to studying. I'm excited to hear what everyone else thinks about this one.

Tonight is my turn to bring the book choices. We've had some good ones lately, so I have big shoes to fill. Sabra is in charge of the main course and Heather will be bringing dessert.

As a reminder, we will be at Carly and Eric's new home in Centerville. Please text her for the address if you don't know where it is. See you all tonight at 7!

Happy Reading,
Amy Jo

Friday, March 16, 2012

Recipe Request

Hey ladies,

So I am hearing good things about this book so far.  I absolutely loved it and can't wait to talk about it next week.  I also got a request for the chicken salad recipe I used for dinner last night.

I got the recipe from here but I have to start by saying that I changed almost everything about the ingredients.

2 chicken breasts, cooked (grilled or boiled) and cut up in bite size pieces
1 apple chopped in bite size pieces. We prefer Fuji or Pink Lady apples.
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup walnut pieces

1 tsp dijon mustard
3/4 cup plain yogurt
pepper to taste

1. Mix chopped chicken, apple, celery, and walnuts
2. Mix dijon, yogurt, and pepper
3. Toss dressing with chicken mixture and serve on wheat toast, or on a bed of lettuce 

So when I made this I switched out the walnuts for pecans and the celery for grapes (I can't stand celery in my salads).  We also added about 1.5 - 2 tsp of mustard.  I thought it needed just a little more zing.  That's all there was.  Nothing too special.  I'm glad you all liked it though!