Past Reads

* These turned out to be great books for discussion for our group.

2018
November 2018: 
The Case of the Missing Servant by Tarquin Hall (130)
October 2018:
 All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (129)
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (130)
A Train in Winter by Caroline Moorehead (131)
September 2018: Four Seasons in Rome by Anthony Doerr (128)
*August 2018: Alone in Antarctica by Felicity Aston (127)
July 2018: A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra (126)
*June 2018:
State of Wonder by Ann Patchett (125)
*May 2018: 
The Promise by Chaim Potok (124)
*April 2018
: A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea by Dina Nayeri (123)
*March 2018: Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty (122)
*February 2018: Burial Rites by Hannah Kent (121)
January 2018: Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne (120)

2017
*November 2017: At Home in the World by Tsh Oxenreider (119)
October 2017: 
(1) Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (118)
(2) Charlotte Bronte: a Fiery Heart by Claire Harman (117)
(3) The Mad Woman Upstairs by Catherine Lowell (116)
September 2017: Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen (115)
*August 2017: Lost in Shangri-la by Mitchell Zuckoff (114)
July 2017: A Midsummer Nights Dream by Shakespeare (113)
June 2017: Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer (112)
*May 2017: My Antonia by Willa Cather (111)
*April 2017: A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles (110)
March 2017: And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie (109)
*February 2017: The Year Of Living Danishly by Helen Russell (108)
*January 2017: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (107)

2016
December 2016: The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett (106)
November 2016: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (105)
October 2016: Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling (98-104)
September 2016: My Life in France by Julia Child and Alex Prud’Homme (97)
August 2016: Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman (96)
July 2016: Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin (95)
June 2016: The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis (94)
May 2016: A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson (93)
*April 2016: A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute(92)
*March 2016: Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (91)
*February 2016: Boys in the Boat by Daniel James (90)
*January 2016: The Lake House by Kate Morton (89)

2015
December 2015: 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff (88)
*November 2015: The Martian by Andy Weir (87)
October 2015: Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen (86)
September 2015: (Book Flight)
The Great Bridge by David McCullough (85)
*Rules of Civility by Amor Towles (84)
When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead (83)
August 2015: The Princess Bride by William Goldman (82)
July 2015: Possession by A. S. Byatt (81)
June 2015: Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand (80)
May 2015: Heidi by Johanna Spyri (79)
April 2015: Friday The Rabbi Slept Late by Harry Kemelman (78)
*March 2015: The Road from Coorain by Jill Ker Conway (77)
February 2015: A Prayer for Owen Meaney by John Irving (76)
*January 2015: Parnassus on Wheels by Christopher Morley (75)

2014
December 2014: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley (74)
*November 2014: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (73)
October 2014: (Book Flight)
Eiffel’s Tower by Jill Jonnes (72)
The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry by Kathleen Flinn (71) and
Hunchback of Notre Dame, World at Night, Missing Italian Girl, or Paris Wife (70)
September 2014: Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl (69)
*August 2014: A Tree Grows In Brooklyn by Betty Smith (68)
July 2014: The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester (67)
*June 2014: Crossing to Safety by Wallace Earle Stegner (66)
May 2014: The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum (65)
April 2014: The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton (64)
March 2014: The War of Art & Do the Work by Steven Pressfield (63)
February 2014: The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas (62)
*January 2014: What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty (61)

2013
December 2013: Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson (60)
November 2013: It’s Not About the Tapas by Polly Evans (59)
October 2013: The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton (58)
*September 2013: Bread & Wine by Shanna Niquest (57)
August 2013: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (56)
July 2013: Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss (55)
*June 2013: A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg (54)
May 2013: The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (53)
*April 2013: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (52)
March 2013: Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie (51)
*February 2013: Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (50)
January 2013: The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens (49)

2012
December 2012: The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson (48)
November 2012: A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway (47)
October 2012: The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith (46)
September 2012: Ivanhoe by Walter Scott (45)
*August 2012: A Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom (44)
July 2012: Nature by Emerson & Walking by Thoreau (43)
*June 2012: Les Mis by Victor Hugo (42)
May 2012: A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle (41)
*April 2012: The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck (40)
*March 2012: Emma by Jane Austen (39)
February 2012:  Happy To Be Here by Garrison Keillor (38)
*January 2012:  The Help by Kathryn Stockett (37)

2011
December 2011 A Year In Provence (36)
*November 2011 Velma Still Cooks In Leeway (35)
*October 2011 Murder at the Vicarage (34)
September 2011 The Hobbit (33)
August 2011 A Girl Named Zippy (32)
*July 2011 Gone With The Wind (31)
May 2011 Peter Pan (30)
April 2011 Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin (29)
*March 2011 The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell (28)
*February 2011 The Chosen by Chiam Potok (27)
*January 2011 The Year of Living Biblically by A. J. Jacobs (26)

2010
December 2010 Little Women (25)
*November 2010 The Basket of Flowers (24)
*October 2010 Frankenstein (23)
*September 2010 Mansfield Park (22)
*August 2010 Cry, The Beloved Country (21)
*July 2010 Shane (20)
June 2010 The Sunny Side (19)
May 2010 Anne of Green Gables (18)
April 2010 A Tale of Two Cities (17)
March 2010 Muslims Christians & Jesus / Miniskirts, Mothers & Muslims (15, 16)
*February 2010 The Count of Monte Cristo (14)

2009
December 2009 The Code of the Woosters (13)
*November 2009 Pride and Prejudice (12)
*October 2009 The Hound of the Baskervilles (11)
*August 2009 My Name is Asher Lev (10)
June 2009 Susanna Wesley (9)
May 2009 The Shack (8)
*April 2009 Animal Vegetable Miracle (7)
*February 2009 Robinson Crusoe (6)

2008
*December 2008:  The Rest of God by Mark Buckanan (5)
*November 2008:  Persuasion by Jane Austen (4)
September 2008:  Monday the Rabbi Took Off by Harry Kemelman (3)
July 2008:  Surprised by Joy by C.S. Lewis (2)
May 2008:  Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver (1)

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party re-cap and other info

Here are a few shots Janet got throughout the evening….









Thank you all so much for coming last night! I had a wonderful time and hope you did too! Telephone-Pictionary turned out to be a great hit! For those that weren’t able to make it, don’t worry I think we should play that one again!! I can’t remember the last time I laughed that much or that hard! seriously! 🙂

I have several ideas for more fun get-togethers in 09! I actually have a list of many different kinds of activities we could do this coming year, so stay tuned! I might even throw in some “1 month” books instead of taking two months to read.
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Some of you mentioned you don’t always know when I post here… so here are some options to be sure you never miss an entry.

1. You can use the igoogle home page and sign up for this site via an RSS feed. (This isn’t as complicated as it may sound. I can give you more detailed instructions if you need them.)

2. Google Reader -similar to #1 but this doesn’t have any fancy widget options, just RSS feeds.

3. Email updates -I can add your email so your are automatically sent an email anytime I post. (This is an easy options but I have a limit of 10 ppl that I can add to receive emails.)
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The Rest of God -Restoring your Soul while Restoring the Sabbath

I still have 2 chapters to go, but this has been an awesome and informative book! If haven’t had the chance to read it yet I would really recommend it. Especially during this busy time of year! In the introduction Buchanan states that in this book he’s trying to “help us think differently about time and eternity, rest and work, food and play –to change and renew our minds about such things.”

I bought my copy of the book and a few ppl have already asked to borrow it, so let me know if you are also interested.
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February’s book is Robinson Crusoe… more to come on this soon.

Christmas Party

The Christmas Party is fast approaching!! It’s next Thursday the 11th. I realize this time of the year there are many things going on so if you aren’t able to get the book read, still come to the party!! 🙂 The party starts at 7:30. Come at 7:00 if you’d like to discuss The Rest of God. It will be a short discussion… maybe too short 🙂 I’ve gotten a good ways into it and it’s GREAT!

Please RSVP if you are able to come and let me know if you are bringing a friend. Friends are, of course, welcome!

(I’d like to get a group picture, so help me remember! Thanks!)

November’s brunch

We had a record turn out today for the book Persuasion with 6 people!!! Thank you all for coming!

Upcoming events:
December 11th: 7:00pm = December’s book club discussion on The Rest of God by Mark Buckanan. It will be a short discussion before our Christmas party

December 11th: 7:30pm = the CHRISTMAS PARTY!! 🙂 … a fondue Christmas party!! If you would like to bring something let me know.

February 21st: 10:00am (location TBA) February’s book is Robinson Cruseo by Daniel Defoe.

Having Faith When Everything Has Changed

That was all. Nothing had changed. Mrs. Heemstra continued with her recipe for stretching the tea ration with rose leaves. And yet everything was changed. For in that instant, reality broke through the numbness that had grown in me since the invasion. At any minute, there might be a rap on this door. These children, this mother and father, might be ordered to the back of a truck.

Dr. Heemstra came back to the living room and the conversation rambled on. But under the words, a prayer was forming in my heart.

Lord Jesus, I offer myself for Your people. In any way. Any place. Any time. 

The Hiding Place, Corrie ten Boom

This passage from The Hiding Place marks a major turning point in Corrie ten Boom’s life–when nothing on the surface seems to have changed, but everything has. Shortly after she utters this prayer, Corrie becomes involved with the Dutch Resistance to the German occupation of Holland during World War II. The Hiding Place tells us a bit about Corrie’s early life but mainly focuses on her experiences during World War II. These events would go on to profoundly shape the rest of her life, in which she was known for being a prolific writer, speaker and evangelist and a model of what it looks like to practice true forgiveness.

I read The Hiding Place for the first time years ago, and one thing that I remember being struck by that first time, as well as now, is the significant role that her Christian faith played in her life and the lives of all of her family members. As you read the novel (or if you’ve finished all ready), consider all of the ways that faith in Christ influences people’s actions, decisions and responses to adversity. I think you will be impressed, too!

To get you ready for our discussion of The Hiding Place, here are some discussion questions, courtesy of the LitLovers website.

  1. Corrie’s father tells her that he pities the Nazi’s: “They have touched the apple of God’s eye.” What does he mean by that statement. Consider the strength of character it takes to feel pity for a people and a system that means to do harm to fellow beings.
  2. What are the various hiding places, real and symbolic, to which the title of this book refers? How, for instance, do fleas help lead to a “hiding place” for Corrie and Betsie while they are imprisoned?
  3. In addition to the extraordinary kindess and courage of the ten Boom family, what are some of the smaller acts of kindness shown by others in this memoir? Are people inspired to greater compassion, or less, in dire situations? What motivates acts of kindness—in other words, what makes people kind? What makes some people kinder than others?
  4. Talk about the kind of woman Corrire ten Boom and her sister Betsie were. What sustained them during their ordeal in the concentration camps? To what do you attribute Corrie’s courage and survival in the face of so much death and hardship?
  5. Stories like Corrie’s always beg comparison to ourselves and our own lives. We wonder how each of us would behave under similar horrific circumstances? How would you? What inner strengths and courage and compassion would you draw on? Would you have risked your life and the lives of your family (especially, if you have children) to help the Jews or any others subjected to brutal persecution? We know what we are called upon to do, but would many of us find the courage needed to do what is right?
  6. Comment on what Betsie said to Corrie: “I pray every day that we be allowed to do this! To show [the Nazis] that love is greater!” What do you find extraordinary in that statement?
  7. Talk about the incident after the war in which Corrie comes across one of the former SS men at Ravensbruck. How did she respond to him at first…and how did she change? What does this say about the principle of forgiveness—its difficulty and its healing power?
  8. What do you find most surprising…or inspiring in this account of the Nazi era? Did this book change you in any way? Did you come away having learned something…about history…about faith…or about yourself?

I hope you’re enjoying The Hiding Place, and we’re looking forward to seeing everyone for our discussion on Thursday, August 9 at Sheila’s house. The address is in the E-vite. If you didn’t receive it or if you need directions, please comment on this post, on our Facebook page, or get in touch with one of us personally, and we’ll be sure to help you get there.

Happy reading!

I can’t believe they kicked us out!

Well, actually, I can. We stayed about an hour after they closed! It turns out that our new “Panaradise” closes at 8pm not 9pm. Whoops.

Before you get bored with my yammering and stop reading, what you need to know is that next month we will be meeting at Shelia’s house! Her address will be in the e-vite.

Confession: I totally forgot to take photos. #photographerfail

Instead, here are some of my favorite quotes from Nature:

“When we speak of nature in this manner, we have a distinct but most poetical sense in the mind. We mean the integrity of impression made by manifold natural objects. It is this which distinguishes the stick of timber of the wood-cutter, from the tree of the poet. The charming landscape which I saw this morning, is indubitably made up of some twenty or thirty farms. Miller owns this field, Locke that, and Manning the woodland beyond. But none of them owns the landscape. There is a property in the horizon which no man has but he whose eye can integrate all the parts, that is, the poet.” (emphasis mine. i read on my phone and have no page numbers, but it’s an essay for crying out loud. find the page yourself. :D)

“Nature, in its ministry to man, is not only the material, but is also the process and the result. All the parts incessantly work into each other’s hands for the profit of man. The wind sows the seed; the sun evaporates the sea; the wind blows the vapor to the field; the ice, on the other side of the planet, condenses rain on this; the rain feeds the plant; the plant feeds the animal; and thus the endless circulations of the divine charity nourish man.” (again, emphasis mine. he had a habit of using lots of illustrations and then wowing me with a really poetic point at the end of the paragraph. i felt like this read a lot like poetry, actually.)

“Willingly does she follow his steps with the rose and the violet, and bend her lines of grandeur and grace to the decoration of her darling child.” (i have no recollection of what he was talking about, but the visual is stunning.)

“good thoughts are no better than good dreams, unless they be executed!” (amen.)

“What noble emotions dilate the mortal as he enters into the counsels of the creation, and feels by knowledge the privilege to BE!” (here. here.)

“Nature is made to conspire with spirit to emancipate us. Certain mechanical changes, a small alteration in our local position apprizes us of a dualism. We are strangely affected by seeing the shore from a moving ship, from a balloon, or through the tints of an unusual sky. The least change in our point of view, gives the whole world a pictorial air. A man who seldom rides, needs only to get into a coach and traverse his own town, to turn the street into a puppet-show. The men, the women, – talking, running, bartering, fighting, – the earnest mechanic, the lounger, the beggar, the boys, the dogs, are unrealized at once, or, at least, wholly detached from all relation to the observer, and seen as apparent, not substantial beings. What new thoughts are suggested by seeing a face of country quite familiar, in the rapid movement of the rail-road car! Nay, the most wonted objects, (make a very slight change in the point of vision,) please us most. In a camera obscura, the butcher’s cart , and the figure of one of our own family amuse us. So a portrait of a well-known face gratifies us. Turn the eyes upside down, by looking at the landscape through your legs, and how agreeable is the picture, though you have seen it any time these twenty years!” (great photography advice. 10 points if you know what a camera obscura is without having to look it up :D)

“The true philosopher and the true poet are one, and a beauty, which is truth, and a truth, which is beauty, is the aim of both.” (i think this is actually the origin of the phrase, “beauty is truth, truth is beauty.” agree? disagree?)

“I have no hostility to nature, but a child’s love to it. I expand and live in the warm day like corn and melons.” (fantastic. my favorite quote. hilarious, too.)

“As a plant upon the earth, so a man rests upon the bosom of God; his is nourished by unfailing fountains, and draws, at his need, inexhaustible power. Who can set bounds to the possibilities of man? Once inhale the upper air, being admitted to behold the absolute natures of justice and truth, and we learn that man has access to the entire mind of the Creator, is himself the creator in the finite.” (basically he’s yammering on about nature poetically. i love it. if you don’t like nature or poetry, this might not be the essay for you.)

Walking by Thoreau:

I found so much truth and hilarity in this essay. Yes, it does just sound like an old man yammering on about how much he loves to take walks. BUT I LOVE TAKING WALKS. If you like walking or even the idea of walking, you might like this essay. I sort of went overboard on Emerson quotes, so I’ll spare you here.

Both essays are in the public domain I believe, so there’s no reason not to track them down if you’re intrigued!

Next month is a DEFINITELY going to be a winner. It’s The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. A memoir. Rachel says it’s her all-time favorite book. But you don’t have to take our word for it. (butterfly in the sky… i can go twice as high. you’re welcome.)

2010 Book Club Christmas Party: A Recap

The fondue was ready…

The table was set..

The atmosphere at Janet’s house was just lovely…

It was December 22, and time for the Book Club Christmas Party!

Complete with our discussion about December’s book – Little Women, a classic game of Telephone Pictionary…

And our “White Elephant” Book Exchange.

We all wrapped a used book we have enjoyed, wrote a three-word description and then did our “white elephant” exchange. We didn’t unwrap our books until everyone was done exchanging, and there were definitely some surprises. Can you guess what these books were from just their three-word descriptions? (The answers are at the bottom of the post.)

  1. Murder, Modern, Motivational
  2. Comedy, Christian, Laugh
  3. Real, Like Lewis, Letters
  4. Happiness, Relationship, God
  5. Oats, Ginger, Cab
  6. Romantic, Spontaneous, Old-Fashioned
  7. Adventure, Non-Fiction, Silly
  8. Grandpa, Goats, Free Spirit
  9. 1800s, Journal Format, Fiction
  10. God, Honesty, Growth
  11. Mystery, Suspenseful, Male Author

We all left with something new to read and a lovely handmade ornament (constructed from the pages of A Christmas Carol).


And what book club event would be complete without a group photo?

The not-so-successful…

and the successful!

I know I had a great time; I hope the rest of you who attended our Christmas Party did too! We hope you can join us in January as we read The Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible by A.J. Jacobs!

We’re looking forward to some great reads in 2011!

Answers:
 1.  The Secret Life of Bees
 2.  Stuff Christians Like
 3.  Lord Foulgrin’s Letters
 4.  The Secret of Happiness
 5.  Black Beauty
 6.  The Bridges of Madison County
 7.  Round Ireland with a Fridge
 8.  Heidi
 9.  Stepping Heavenward
10. Honest to God
11. A Painted House

    About the Author: Mary Shelley

    MaryShelley.jpg
    Mary Shelley (1797-1851)

    To give a full account of Marry Shelley’s life would take a while. I had always only known her as “the author of Frankenstein,” and that was about it. While she is best known for this work, Mary Shelley was also a prolific writer, publishing several novels, letters, short stories, plays, and travel books, and she edited and published the works of her husband, Romantic philosopher and poet Percy Bysshe Shelley.

    Mary Shelley’s biography page on Wikipedia reads like a soap opera. Here are a few interesting highlights:

    • Mary’s father, William Godwin, was a liberal political philosopher, and her mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, was a philosopher and feminist. Mary Shelley was considered a political radical throughout her life.
    • Mary met Percy Shelley when he became one of her father’s political followers, and she began a relationship with him while he was still married. She had a child with him, who was born prematurely and later died. Mary and Percy didn’t marry until after Percy’s wife committed suicide and they were told that a marriage would help their chances of getting custody of Percy’s children by his wife. They got married, but were still denied custody.
    • In 1816, after spending the summer with Percy,  Lord Byron and several others, Mary got the idea for Frankenstein. It started as a short story and then was expanded and published in 1818.
    • Both Mary’s father and Percy Shelley had serious money problems and were constantly trying to avoid creditors and stay out of debtor’s prison.
    • Mary had four children, but only the fourth survived.
    • Percy and Mary had an “open marriage,” so Percy often pursued other women and is believed to have fathered several other children outside their marriage. 
    • In 1822, Percy Shelley died when his sailing boat sank in a storm off the coast of Italy.
    • In her later years, Mary devoted herself to her surviving son, to preserving her husband’s work and to writing. She died at the age of 53 from what is believed to be a brain tumor.
    And all of that just scratches the surface!

    Since she was so often surrounded by philosophers, poets and political thinkers, it’s no wonder that Shelley incorporated some strong philosophical and psychological themes into Frankenstein.

    Do any of these events in Mary Shelley’s life surprise you? How do you think some of the events in her life may have influenced the writing of Frankenstein?

    Robinson Crusoe discussion questions

    Here are a few questions I found for our meeting next month. I thought I’d send them out early so you can be thinking about then ahead of time.

    1. Is Robinson Crusoe moving or too factual and realistic or both?
    2. What techniques does the author use to make it moving? (shipwreck, footprint, cannibalism) Look at how he shows instead of telling.
    3. Do women find it interesting? Why or why not?
    4. Discuss the theological themes in the book. Providence, Conversion, Sanctification
    5. What is sin in Robinson Crusoe? Before his conversion? After his conversion?
    6. How does God Guide in Robinson Crusoe? Pay special attention to “secret hints.”
    7. Trace, using the text, Robinson Crusoe’s process of conversion and sanctification.
    9. What virtues does Robinson Crusoe learn? How does he learn them? (diligence, obedience, tolerance, gratitude, self-control, sensibility, wisdom)
    9. What Biblical allusions do you see in the text?
    10. Discuss the role of fear in the book.
    11. Discuss the book as an evangelistic work.
    12. Look at what he took with him when he left the island and its possible significance.