Thursday, March 7, 2019

Wings of Time: Breaking Darkness

Book: Wings of Time: Breaking Darkness - SD Barron

Members Present: Karin, Sharon, Christy, Lorelei, Susan, Marie

Venue: Shakers

Discussion Highlights:

We didn't discuss the book much, but we did discuss my blog on soulmates, which referenced the book. And we came up with questions for the author. Unfortunately, the most popular question was, What was the book about? Because we are a remedial book club, after all. Most of us gave it 4 stars. Sharon wouldn't commit, but I'm guessing hers was around 3 stars.

We did, however, talk about tennis, my mental breakdown, the movies that won Oscars last year, the importance of strength training, rest, and avoiding running in old age, and the memoir Educated in much more detail. So expect that book to be on the list some time this year. But you might not want to read it too soon, because by the time we get to it you might forget what it's about.

Next Book:

Our next book will be "The Winner," by David Baldacci. Marie will host.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

The Day the World Came to Town


Book: The Day the World Came to Town - Jim Defede

Members present: Marie, Sharon, Christy, Gina, Lorelei, Karin

Venue: Rodeo Grande

Discussion: Short, positive, and currently a musical on Broadway

Friday, July 20, 2018

Big Little Lies

Big Little Lies:  Liane Moriarty

Members Present:  Sue, Lorelei, Christy

Venue:  Abuelo's

Discussion Highlights:

Even though we had a small showing tonight, I still say with confidence that this is one of the best books we've read. I love the author, and "What Alice Forgot" is still my favorite book. Sue liked the book so much she is now reading "The Husband's Secret." Moriarty does such a great job of developing her characters and making them likable--except Perry. She can take a serious subject like violence against women and describe the entire spectrum of offenses, capture all the nuances and controversies in each one. Yet her stories are still also light and funny. Sue said she wanted to find out what happened but didn't want to keep reading because she didn't want the book to end. This was actually my 2nd time reading it, and even though I recognized every line, I couldn't remember what happens next, so it was just as entertaining the 2nd time around. Moriary has another book coming out later this year, and I've already pre-ordered it! If you haven't read this one, I highly recommend it. Watching the HBO series does not do it justice.

Next Book:

Our next book is "The Day the World Came to Town" by Jim Defede. Sue will be hosting. Aim to meet by end of August. Until then, happy reading!

Friday, May 25, 2018

Still Me

Book: Still Me - Jojo Moyes

Members Present: Sharon, Cindi, Christy, Lorelei

Venue: Veranda Bistro

Discussion Highlights:

Only half the people read the book, and we didn't want to ruin it for the other 2, so we talked about it  in general terms. For those of you who aren't familiar with the series, the first book in the series was Me Before You--Moyes most famous book, and one of our all-time favorites. While funny and moving, it is also bittersweet, and a happy ending seems unlikely from the start, given that it begins with an accident that leaves Will Traynor as a quadriplegic and only agreeing to live 6 more months. Still, Louisa is adorable and immensely likable, and their love story is moving. The movie follows the book closely and is also great.

After You was pretty dark--primarily about grieving and finding love again. Not nearly as funny, and Louisa doesn't have the spark she had in the first book. While it does have a happy ending, I wasn't left feeling very happy after reading it. If it were a movie, it would be pretty depressing.

Unlike the other 2 books, Still Me, is a straightforward, light, happy read. Perfect for summer reading! Louisa is in full form--sweet, loving, funny, quirky. All of the other characters are interesting, as well. While you know there is going to be a happy ending, there are enough twists and turns to avoid a conversation of what happens so that the others could enjoy the book. If you read the first one but not the 2nd, you could easily skip the second and go to this one and not miss a lot.

Sharon and I have read Moyes' The Girl You Left Behind, which is a historical novel very different from this series but is also great, if you're looking for another good read.

Lots of updates on everyone's struggle with their dependents--including me! Parenting advice welcome.

Next Book:

Our next book will be Big Little Lies, by Liane Moriarty. Another author who is a book club favorite. She also wrote What Alice Forgot--my personal favorite--and The Hypnotist's Love Story. The book is also a mini-series. Lorelei will be hosting. We'll aim for July.

Until we meet again, happy reading!

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Before We Were Yours

Book: Before We Were Yours - Lisa Wingate

Members Present: Denise, Linda, Marie, Karin, Christy

Venue: Carrabba's

Discussion Highlights:

Many of us had not been to book club in a while, so we spent a lot of time catching up on life, tennis, and gossip. Along those lines, Denise got a new job, I went to Indian Wells with Karen Marchand, and Marie and I are hitting the gym and will see who can lift the most at the end of the summer. Bought 25 lb dumbbells after our meeting!

As for the book, if you haven't read it, it's a thumbs up from the group. It is based on a true story of an orphanage in Tennessee in the 30's owned by Georgia Tann, who got away with kidnapping/stealing poor kids and selling them to rich and famous people looking to adopt. Her treatment of the kids was atrocious, and she had politicians, judges, police, and tons of other high profile people in her pocket so she essentially got away with murder until the 50's, when she died of cancer. Even then, adoption records were sealed until the 90's because many of the adoptive parents were politicians. The last chapter where Wingate talks about some of the history of the orphanage is worth the read alone.

In the novel there are 2 alternating stories--one of Rill and her 4 siblings, poor kids who lived on the river and were kidnapped in broad daylight by the police, after their parents are tricked into signing them off to the orphanage. The other story is about Avery, who is visiting her parents in Tennessee and being groomed for a possible senate seat that her ailing dad currently occupies. She meets the elderly Rill--now named May--on a PR visit to a nursing home and finds out that she is somehow related to her grandmother and wants to find out how. Both stories are highly entertaining, and you don't know how they are going to come together until the very end.

The book is a quick read, and although the treatment of the children in the orphanage is shocking, there are no graphic details or traumatic accounts, so even if you don't like reading negative stuff (e.g., Marie), you'll still love it. I didn't have to take a single Ativan :).

Next Book:

Our next book is "Still Me," by Jojo Moyes. This is part 3 of the series that began with "Me Before You," our favorite book. It should be a quick read, so we'll aim for end of April to stay on track.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

I Loved My Life

Book: I Liked My Life - Abby Fabiaschi

Members present: Terrie, Cindi, Sharon, Linda, Sylvia

Venue: Sylvia's home. And Tacos! I love tacos :(.

Discussion highlights:

I wasn't there again, which is a record for me. My job is killing me. Not enough time for socialization, tennis, and working out! I will have to give a prize out to the person who makes the most meetings in 2018 to motivate me to push through. Although that's how I got in trouble in the first place.

Thanks to Terrie for sending the pic and the discussion highlights! Here are her comments:

For those who have not read the book - our suggestion is go for it. On a scale of 1-5, we all gave it a 4+

We did discuss the book Christy (and we missed our leader). Cindi brought us some questions. For those who missed think about the different relationships and which do you identify with in your own life? Did Eve and Brady’s relationship change at the same moment? Did you see how Maddie died coming? Did you like how 10 years closed the story? 

This was Abby F. First book and her second will be coming out this winter. Most likely a book club read.

Sue also took the time to type out Maddy's truths, so for those of you who didn't read the book (although I recommend that you do), here are some words of wisdom to ponder:

Make room for who you are by knowing who you’re not. Smile all the time, at everyone, without exception: when you’re happy it will be contagious, and when you’re angry it will drive the person you’re mad at bonkers. Blow-dry before lipstick. Counters before sweeping. Water before dinner. To hell with what everyone thinks about your life, but you should know what you think about it. Don’t’ stay out past one a.m.—nobody is proud of the stories born later than that. Plans contingent on perfection fail. It’s dangerous to fight who you are. The stupidest thing you can do is believe your own bullshit, but you probably will every once in a while. Flowery perfume smells like a cover-up. Don’t have a room your kids can’t play in or a couch your kids can’t sit on; it’s their house too. If you don’t know what to say, say, “I don’t know what to say.” If you mess up, say, “I messed up.” If you need help, say, “I need help.” Never count on any one thing. Don’t confuse wanting to have sex and rent movies with someone for wanting to marry him. Never buy button-fly jeans---they aren’t flattering on anyone ever. Practice love, compassion, and forgiveness. Try not to speak consecutively for more than two minutes; it’s hard to be a good listener longer than that. It’s good to have one friend who still smokes a lot of pot. It’s important to speak up even if no one will stand behind you. A home is something you create. Gatorade and greasy food cure hangovers. The impression you have of someone is most likely the impression they have of you (that’s why I’m so self-conscious around annoying people). Give yourself a break, but not a free pass. Never become a prize, possession, puppet, or toy---it’s no fun hanging on someone’s wall for any substantial amount of time. When someone gives you the creeps, don’t worry about their feelings or apologize, just get the hell away. Constantly earn the hearts of your friends and family, and expect them to earn yours back. Ask questions. Don’t give out answers you don’t have. Think before you speak. Sometimes you’ll lie, but have a person who knows both your truths and the lies you’ve told; pick someone who won’t judge you. Don’t give up on reading before you find a favorite book, and even then, I don’t recommend it. At the end of each day, acknowledge the things you wish you’d done differently so that tomorrow you will. We’re given the gift of life with the consequences of death.

Next book:

Our next book will be Before We Were Yours, by Lisa Wingate. Sylvia or Cindi will be hosting. Very generous of you to do 2 in a row, Sylvia! You may get Best New Member! I love awards. In case you've already read it or finish the book quickly, others mentioned were Winter Garden and Between Friends.

Until February, happy reading!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Behind Closed Doors

Book: Behind Closed Doors

Members present: Sylvia (new member!), Denise, Cindi, Annette, Sharon, Sue, Lorelei, Tom, Karin

Venue: Denise's house (Venue of the Year!)

Discussion Highlights:

I wasn't there, but according to Lorelei, Cindi brought book club questions, so the meeting was conducted like a normal Book Club. Tom, special guest and chef, even chimed in. A good time was had by all.

I'm guessing people talked about me, because I was at home having a nervous breakdown since I had all these emergencies working into my schedule that day. But that's OK. That's the rule.

Next Book:

Sharon informed me that the next book will be hosted by Sylvia Dill, as is customary with new members. It is I Liked My Life, by Abby Fabiaschi. We will aim for January. Thanks for a great year of reading, discussion, gossip, and eating! And we met our goal of 6 books this year. Yay!

Linda's chocolate cake:

1 stick margarine
1 cup Crisco
1 cup water
4 Tbsp cocoa
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1 half cup buttermilk
Combine first 4 ingredients in a saucepan and bring it to a boil.  Pour over combined flour and sugar.  Add eggs, buttermilk and baking soda.  Mix all well.  Pour into greased and floured 13" x 9" pan.   Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes (or until cake tests done with a toothpick)  Pour icing over hot cake.

Sharon's cranberry brie bites:

Frozen mini fillo dough cups
1 wheel of brie
I used cranberry celebration from Kroger (in deli section)

Put a small piece of brie in each cup and bake at 350 for @ 20 minutes or until brie is melted.  Top each cup with a small amount of cranberry