The Sunny Side – a recap

“Reading enlarges my vision of the world; it helps me understand
someone who is different from me. It makes me bigger on the inside.
We tend to see the world from our own perspective;
it is good to see it from the eyes of others.”
Gladys Hunt, Honey for a Child’s Heart.

This is a great explanation of the purpose of our book club. It’s also the reason we choose a book of short stories for this month. Broadening our Horizons. Seeing the world from the eyes of someone else.

None of us are men, none of us have just lived through WWII, and none of us are from England. (that I know of) All of these factors made this book a bit of a challenge for me.

I’ve heard short stories described as “delicious bites of reading for busy people.” I’m so used to reading novels, full of detail and developed characters. This gave me a new taste of a completely different writing style. (I did take a Short Story class back in college, but that’s been some years ago now.) The many cultural and linguistic differences, did make this less of a favorite for a few.

I did find a few “delicious bites ” quite humorous…

The Long Way Down – flippity, flippity flippity. Finding amusement in the small things. Living on the 5th floor is, oh, so much better than a lower level!

Enter Bingo – Oh, the process of naming a dog properly!

Sisterly Assistance – Not being understood is frustrating when it happens to me, hilarious when it happens to someone else!

The Obvious and A Warm Half Hour – husbands think and do things not.like.wives. 🙂

These all came from the section entitled “Home Notes,” a favorite section of the five of us who made it on Monday night. I really enjoyed the small size of our meeting. We even did some reading aloud! Don’t you just love being read to!

In the end I think some would much rather read Milne’s classic Winnie The Pooh stories, but for now I think this book will stay in my collection.

If you were one of those who will not be keeping the book in your collection… maybe you’ve already disposed of it in your choice fashion… good! There are WAY TOO MANY books in the world to finish reading one that you don’t want to! 🙂


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Discussion Questions for The Sunny Side

Well, the due date for The Sunny Side is quickly approaching.  It is about this time you need to start cramming or finding Cliff Notes to pass the oral test on Monday night.  Unlike repeating “watermelon” to feign a knowledge of the words in a song . . . The Sunny Side requires a bit of page turning combined with reading.  Due to the shortness of the chapters consider reading while you brush your teeth, grind some grain, or sit on the porcelain bowl. 

To wake you your brain, here are a few questions to ponder before we meet next week.

  1. What was your favorite story or poem?
  2. What attracted you to you favorite story or poem?
  3. What did you learn about the author and the time period from these stories?
  4. Would you recommend this book to a friend? Who in particular? Why?
  5. Where did you read this book?
  6. Which would you rather read:  The Sunny Side or Winnie the Pooh?
  7. Do the characters seem real and believable? Can you relate to their predicaments? To what extent do they remind you of yourself or someone you know?
  8. In what ways do the events in the books reveal evidence of the author’s world view?
  9. Did certain parts of the book make you uncomfortable? If so, why did you feel that way? Did this lead to a new understanding or awareness of some aspect of your life you might not have thought about before?

Enjoy your remaining dates with your book and kudos to those of you who have finished your book!

So Much More Than Just "Pooh"

I have to admit that until writing this blog post, I didn’t know much about A. A. Milne, other than he wrote Winnie the Pooh. At that, I never read it or had much attachment to the characters when I was younger (although I do have a rather cute picture of me and Tigger from a visit to Disney World right after high school.) However, after reading the introduction to The Sunny Side and getting a glimpse of Milne’s dry humor, I got excited to find out a little bit more about our author for this month’s book.

So off to Wikipedia I went, where I found out some very interesting facts about A.A. Milne. Here are a few that might be helpful for our discussion and a few that I thought were just plain interesting:

  • Alan Alexander (A .A.) Milne was born in Kilburn, Lindon on January 18, 1882.
  • One of his teachers was H.G. Wells.
  • Milne was a contributor and later an assistant editor of the leading British humor magazine, “Punch.” The Sunny Side is a collection of writings published in “Punch.”
  • In his lifetime Milne wrote more than 25 plays.
  • Milne fought in the British Army in World War I.
  • Milne’s only son Christopher Robin Milne was his inspiration for his Winnie the Pooh books, his most famous works.
  • During World War II, he was a major critic of P. G. Wodehouse (author of The Code of the Woosters, our book club book from December 2009). Wodehouse was captured by the Nazis at his country home in France and interned for a year. Following his release, he made radio broadcasts that were sent from Berlin about his year-long imprisonment. Although his broadcasts poked fun at the Germans and Wodehouse was actually more clueless than traitorous, Milne “accused Wodehouse of committing an act of near treason by cooperating with his country’s enemy.” Wodehouse later got back at Milne through a parody of the Christopher Robin poems.
  • Milne had always wanted to write whatever he wanted, but after the success of the Pooh books, he had a hard time finding an audience for his writings for adults.
  • After a stroke and brain surgery in 1952, Milne retired to his country home where he was an invalid until his death on January 31, 1956.

There’s so much more to Milne than that “silly old bear” that ended up defining his career. I’m glad we’re branching out to discuss one of the lesser-known works from this prolific author. I think A. A. Milne would appreciate it!

See you on June 21 for our discussion on The Sunny Side!

Gwynne

Read it. I know you’ll love it.

One of my life-goals is to become Mary Poppins. I just love her so much I want to be her. She’s a practically perfect sort of magic, and I know just what I’d do when it came time to jump into a chalk picture: hop right into the story of Winnie the Pooh for a rousing game of pooh sticks.

The childish sort of whimsy and randomness that abounds in the stories of Poppins and Pooh is appealing to me, and I was delighted to find that A. A. Milne wrote other things besides stories of Christopher Robin and Pooh Bear. One of them is a collection of “Short Stories and Poems for Proper Grown-ups” called The Sunny Side which we will be discussing in a few short weeks, and just in case you haven’t bought a copy yet, you can do so here.

I’m supposed to be introducing this book to you, but I haven’t read it yet! However, I would say, having not read the book, that this book is ridiculous, charming, truthful, silly, adventurous, and full of delightful tales that are sure to make you feel like a kid again.

Some helpful tips to begin your reading:

*I followed someone’s advice and read the introduction, and I’d like to note that he says NOT to read the first section first. Skip the collection entitled “oranges and lemons” and go straight to “men of letters” (which in my book is on page 57).

*A joint in this story is not illegal drugs, it’s meat. i think.

*Don’t take anything in this book too seriously. They were originally stories written for a British satire magazine.

*Read the introduction.

*Take note of anything that makes you laugh or which is your favorite. I’m sure we’ll want to compare later!

*Go buy the book on amazon if you haven’t yet!

Cheerio!
~Janet

Anne of Green Gables

I don’t know about you, but Matthew Cuthbert might be my favorite character of this book. Without having all the parental responsibilities he gets to be a friend and like a grandparent to Anne! What a fun relationship to have with this imaginative red haired girl! I love her tendency to give new dramatic names to everything. Such a great warm-weather book to read outside!


We are meeting to talk more about Anne and her adventures Monday May 17th. We will be back at Paradise Bakery and Cafe (at the Hamilton Town Center Mall) at 7:00pm.

If you want to be ahead of the game our June book is The Sunny Side: Short Stories and Poems by Proper Grown-Ups by AA Milne. Check out Amazon… they are anywhere from $5 to a few cents in the new/used section!


June: The Sunny Side by A.A. Milne / Monday June 21st @ 7:00pm

July: Shane by Jack Schaefer/ Monday July 19th @ 7:00pm

April 17th

Our April meeting is just around the corner and is going to be a fun one!

First of all, it’s at Tea’s Me Cafe!
Second of all, we’ll be revealing May’s book!
Third of all, someone in attendance will win a copy of May’s book!

Tea’s Me has a great lunch menu (so come hungry!) and a HUGE selection of tea…. even if you think you don’t like tea, I’m betting they can find something you do like!

Please email me if you’ll be joining us on April 17th. Tea’s Me is not a big place and with the size of our group we’ll need to make a reservation. ([email protected])

Also, when you email me let me know if you’d like to carpool. Janet will be heading up that arrangement since I will not be able to attend. (*sniff*) I’ll pass that info on to her and she’ll contact everyone and figure out the details of all that.

_____the facts_____

When: Saturday April 17th @11:00
Where: Tea’s Me Cafe
What book: A Tale of Two Cities
Why: lunch, tea, discussion.

_____future info_____


May
: a surprise to be revealed at April’s meeting / Monday May 17th

June: The Sunny Side by A.A. Milne / Monday June 21st

July: Shane by Jack Schaefer / Monday July 19th

2 books, 1 meeting

One week from tomorrow we’ll be meeting again! I love meeting once a month, it seems to come around quick, which is great! I get to get out for an evening of enlightening adult discussion and, of course, I get to see all of YOU!

You can read one book or both books, it doesn’t matter.

Muslims Christians and Jesus by Carl Medearis
AND/OR
Miniskirts, Mothers and Muslims by Christine A. Mallouhi

Per Paradise closing early in the winter, we are going to meet at Borders at the Hamilton Town Center at 7:00pm in their cafe section on March 22nd.

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Things to come…

We will read A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens for April 17th at 11:00am at Tea’s Me Cafe. (NOTE: this is a Saturday… We all loved Tea’s Me last year and they aren’t open evenings, which is why we’ve moved the date to a Saturday.)

One of our members has graciously offered to do a group order of this book. She is an Usborne consultant and it would be $3.80 (including s/h and tax!) Awesome deal! Please let me know soon if you are interested!

Monday, May 19th at 7:00pm we will be back at Borders at Hamilton Town Center to discuss The Sunny Side: Short Stories and Poems for Proper Grown Ups by A.A. Milne. You should recognize this author. He is famous for his stories of a certain Pooh Bear.

Once May comes around it seems summer busyness hits. I hope you can find time to read these short stories and poems on a sunny day! If you’re thinking ahead, check out Amazon soon they have some used copies VERY cheap!

June is a secret! 🙂 Well… I can tell you we’ll be meeting June 21st at 7:00pm… but the rest is a secret! The book won’t be revealed until May’s meeting… but don’t worry, there’s a good chance you’ve already read this well-known popular book.

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Remember, you can also keep up with all things Book Club related by getting all the posts sent straight to your inbox. On the left at the top I’ve set it up so you can just add your email address and never miss an entry!

Happy Reading!
Sarah