Reading Around the Globe

Last year we began to travel the globe through books. I guess it actually started in 2017 while we read Tsh’s book At Home In The World, if we’re getting technical. I’m all for reading widely and reading with variety. I like to mix up genre, fiction and non fiction, personal development, classics etc. but I wasn’t sure how I felt about being locked into the idea of reading from a new location each month.

No reservation was needed. Now I’m craving books from new locations. We are being choosy and selecting books that more heavily include the location in part of the book. Highly recommend pushing your current reading zone and broadening your horizons! (hehe, see what I did there?)

Where we’ve been, and a peek of where we’re going next:

January – Scottland
February – Netherlands
March – Kenya
April – Laos

January – Tibet
February – Norway
March – England
April – South Africa
May – Cuba
June – Canada
July – Afghanistan
August – Rwanda
September – Germany
October – Mars & Venus
November – Romania
December – Pakistan

Jan – global
Feb – Iceland
Mar –  Australia
April – Iran
May – US
June – Brazil
July –  Chechnya
August – Antarctica
September – Italy
October – book flight in France
November – Norway
December – global

November: The Martian

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Ahh, The Martian. What a fun book to read!!

I’m on who tends to never give a second glance to a book with even a whiff of a “space” theme and certainly no science fiction or fantasy. BUT part of our Purpose Statement (and club name!) is to broaden horizons, so after many rave reviews (including my husband’s) and having decided to toss out the previous book planned for November The Martian was quite a win. And would you believe I gave this one 5 stars?

It had a decent amount of language which we discussed, and some felt if it had been left out it wouldn’t have really made much sense. He DID get left on Mars after all.

Now I can say my horizons have been broadened and I’m keeping a ear out for other science fiction and fantasy I could tolerate. (I say “tolerate” with a smile, but I think my feelings towards these books has something to do with my INFJ-ness, as I tend to roll my eyes at fantasy. #confession #butImopentochange )

Thursday December 17, 2015
84 Charing Cross Road
12 84 charing

October: Northanger Abby

dinner party

This month we enjoyed our sixth (can you even?!) annual dinner. Our first dinner party was also a Jane Austen book, Mansfield Park.

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Discussing Northanger finished off our reading of all of Austen’s novels! We drew a smaller crowd, but I’ve been in a mellow mode lately and a small group dinner is just what I need.

As we finished up our meal and discussion we decided to make a last minute change for our November title. We’ll now be reading The Martian

(Hold off on seeing the movie, for sure! This is one to read first!)



Thursday November 12
The Martian by Andy Weir
@ Jodi’s

Parnassus on Wheels


Ahh! Parnassus! This book used to give me visions of hot summer sun, a big shade umbrella, and kids splashing in the wading pool near by. …Is it obvious I read this first last summer 😉

But now, it being our January book club read, I think of big fluffy scarves, Catherine’s yummy tea, and wheel-shaped bread and cheese. Mmmm!

The wheels of parnassus took us on an unexpected adventure with surprises around every corner… thieving hobos, he said/she said hilarity, and a most interesting non-abduction that still involved cutting the telephone lines! What’s not to love?!

Who’s with me… “traveling bookstore” FABULOUS idea! …and can you stop by tomorrow? …and I’d like a latte with that too please!

So glad all of you were able to get out in the frigid temps and join us! If you haven’t read it are you convinced with my tempting of “thieving hobos” in this short, little 1917 book?


See you all in February for our discussion of A Prayer for Owen Meany at Sarah J’s. Watch for discussion questions from our facilitator Adrienne. (I’m slowly chipping away at the audiobook… can it really be I have 14 hours left?!! This is one big puppy!)

Parnassus Discussion Questions

Parnassus On Wheels Discussion Questions01Parnassus

Why the name “Parnassus on Wheels?” What does it mean?

What is Helen’s relationship to books at the beginning?

How does Helen view literature? How does Andrew view it? How does the Roger? How are their views complementary? How do they influence the way each character views the wagon?

Why does Helen buy the wagon?

What does everyone think when Helen takes off?

Why does Helen fall in love with Roger? How do the books play a role (or do they)?

Why can’t Roger actually let Parnassus go?

What do you think about Roger’s commitment to putting the right book in someone’s hands?

How does Roger’s approach to selling books differ from industry approach?

What do you think about Roger’s refusal to give certain people Shakespeare or other books? Are some books above certain people? Is there a secret progression to books?

How is the Parnassus approach different from the traveling salesman who sold the volumes of funeral orations?

What Alice Forgot discussion questions

2014’s first book club discussion is just around the corner. Here are a some discussion questions I found at on our book:

what alice forgot

1. Did you like the younger Alice best? Or did you relate more to the older Alice?
2. What would your younger self of ten years ago think of the person you are today?
3. What would surprise your younger self most about the life you’re currently leading? What would disappoint you?
4. What would you think of your children? Are they how you imagined they would be? Are you the parent you envisioned? Why or why not?
5. Alice is shocked by many transformations—her gym-toned body, her clothes, her house. Are you more or less polished than you were a decade ago? And do you think there’s any deeper significance to such change?
6. Do you think it was realistic that Alice ended up back with Nick? Were you happy with that ending? Do you think they would have ended up together if she hadn’t lost her memory?
7. How did you feel about the sections written from the perspectives of Elisabeth and Frannie? Did they add to your enjoyment of the book, or would you have preferred to have it written entirely from Alice’s point of view?
8. Do you think it was unavoidable that Elisabeth and Alice had grown apart, because of the tension caused by Elisabeth’s infertility versus Alice’s growing family? Or do you think their rift had more to do with the kind of people both of them had become?
9. It’s not only Alice who changed over the last decade. Elisabeth changed, too. Do you think she would have been so accepting of the new Alice at the end if she herself didn’t get pregnant?
10. Out of all the characters in the book, who do you think had changed the most over the past decade and why?
11. If you were to write a letter to your future self to be opened in ten years, what would you say?

See you all Thursday……unless we get snowed out. Then we’ll most likely push book club back to next Thursday. I’ll keep you posted.

October Recap

October started with a fantastic weekend that I’ve been planning for a looong time. (My ultimate goal is that our group might last many, many more years and we can take a longer retreat, sans-kids, to a beach location. #girlsgottadream Right?!)

This past May was our book club’s 5 year anniversary so the first weekend in October we took off for a little retreat.

book club retreat

I invited our regular attenders to a weekend of what I hoped would be time of rest and relaxation and of course reading, fellowship and delicious food! I think it was completely successful at that!

We rented a beautiful house less than 2 hours away. Each of us brought some of our favorite dishes for each meal. I’d recommend this kind of trip to every book club!

Next time, we will plan a book flight to discuss for sure! When I saw this post by Anne I knew a weekend trip would be THE perfect opportunity to discuss three books. We just had trouble deciding which three to select and then we were getting a little short on time.

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The following week we met for our October book:

Photo Oct 10, 1 12 32 PMThe House of Mirth
by Edith Wharton
The oil I chose with this book is Joy. The definition of mirth is “amusement, esp. as expressed in laughter.” In a way, this book was about seeking.

I think this oil could have possible helped Lily Bart, the main character, with her big picture plan in life. She was oh-so very concerned with having the newest, latest (and expensive fashions) to be able to look and play the part in society above her means. Instead, if she would have realized that finding true friends and marrying the man that loved her we would have probably had no book here.

Catherine found the meaning of the title comes from a verse in Ecc. 7:4 4 “The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.”  Read more of Catherine’s thoughts on the book in her post.

This is one of, probably, many essential oils Lily could have used. She was excellent at making very poor choices. We jokingly decided that if we needed to make a decision we should just ask “What would Lily do?” Then do the opposite. 

November’s Book:

It’s Not About the Tapas by Polly Evans

September: Bread & Wine

September was our 4th annual Dinner Party! Always one of my favorite’s. Growing up we often had a fancy meal every Sunday after church: china, crystal stemware, the works. (But now that I’m grown up, I get to add wine to the list!)

dinner party11This month our book was Bread & Wine by Shauna Niequest. This book earned a solid spot on my list of favorite reads for 2013. If most everyone I knew hadn’t already read it I’d be buying this for Christmas presents all around.

For a little more about the evening hop over to my blog Simple Sarah and find out how I paired an essential oil with this book.

Next month:
The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
October 10th @ 7pm
Panaradise @ HTC mall

Summertime recap

This summer is going by as fast as a cheeta, or my son Aaron. He say’s he’s as fast as a cheeta, you know. Baby #3 is already 5 months old and practicing the hands and knees rock. Slow down little man!

Now that the little man The boss is living life a tad more independently I have time to share some of book club shenanigans from past few months:

June 2013: A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg. We met on the southside at Rachel’s and sampled some awesome snacky-wacky’s from this books own pages. Such a fun first food slash memoir (for me) I’m hooked. The book club is reading another one soon too! Bread & Wine this September! Not often do we read such similar types of books so close together but I’m not worried our discussion will be lacking some the ninth month. Both books stand quite well on their own.
Need more food slash memoirs look no further than The Deliberate Reader.

July 2013: Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss. In keeping with tradition July took us back to our original meeting place, Geist Park, for our annual picnic. This is the second time I read this one. I think I enjoyed it a tad more the first time around. I was also younger than too. I’d still vote it a 7 out of 10 but still recommend it to almost any female.

August 2013: The Great Gatsby. This week we meet to chat about Gatsby. I’m fairly certain this was assigned in high school, but I’m not too certain on the part of if I read it or not? I do KNOW we saw the movie in class! Ahh, movies during school, a rare treat – always memorable. We’ll meet at Panaradise at HTC, 7:00.  Hope to see you there!

If you missed it here’s how the rest of the year is shaping up:

September: Bread & Wine by Shauna Niequist (Dinner party at Catherine’s. Food, party, book club? Yes! Yes! Yes!)
October: The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton (“Keeping up with the Jones'” Ya, that saying came from this author’s family of origin! Wow!)
November: It’s Not About the Tapas by Polly Evans (A Spanish Adventure on Two Wheels? I’ll take it.)
December: Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson (Christmas Party at Sarah J’s. I almost read this in one day! Light, funny, recommended to all.)

We’d love to hear what you’ve been reading this summer. Did you sit by the waves with a new favorite vacation-read?

Leave a comment and share or join me on GoodReads. Many of the book club members are on goodreads, and all give great book recommendations if your looking for your next new favorite book!

May Recap: The Secret Garden

May 2008 was our first book club meeting.

Back then we met every other month. And I’ll admit it was a crunch for me to read one book over a two month period. I was often hurring to finish the night before club!

These seem like five very fast and very long years all at the same time. In that time I’ve had two babies, we’ve moved houses, David’s changed jobs twice, and we’ve changed churches. When I think in those terms it seems like a very, very long five years.

But if I look back at the list of books we’ve read, they all seem so recent.  After the time I’ve spent debating which book to select, then reading and discussing them they really have stuck with me. Some were more liked than others, some flopped, in that no one could make it to the meeting, and others I was happily shocked by how many could join us.

This May we met and discussed The Secret Garden as best we could between the crafting of bookmarks and clowns making balloon animals and tattoo painting. The children outnumbered us this month: four little girls and three(!) book club babies. We were lucky, the clowns just happening to be there on the Thursday we met.




IMG_9912 IMG_9928Next month we are meeting at Rachel’s house and discussing A Homemade Life… and of course sampling some recipes from this delicious memoir!

June 13th @ 7pm
Book: A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg
@ Rachel’s House