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.

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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

April Tea Party: Recap

Recap of that Guernsey Potato Peel book 😉

We enjoyed a lovely tea party last month discussing The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peal Pie Society and the lost art of letter writing.

Check out Catherine’s review of this book and our evening over on A Spirited Mind. Sheila also has a great review on The Desperate Reader. They both described the book so well I’m sure they can convince you to read this book if you weren’t able to attend in April.

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Our May book is The Secret Garden. We’ll meet at Panara-dise at Hamilton Town Center. It’s also bring-your-daughter-month! I’ve got a fun little book mark craft ready for the girls too! See you May 9th at 7:00.

Murder on the Orient Express

Up next::

March 14th @ 7pm
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
@ Hamilton Town Center’s “Panaradise”

Join us as we discuss this well-known mystery by Ms Christie.

I can say for sure I’m horrible at guessing “who dun it?” Really, it’s quite comical how wrong I was, wait till you hear my thoughts as I read the alibis of all  Poirot’s suspects. I’m blaming my pregnant-brain-fog. 

Hope to see you in about a month,
Happy Reading!

A Recipe for the Perfect Book Club Christmas Party

I look forward to book club Thursday’s every month.  But I think the Christmas Party is my very favorite book club Thursday, and we try our best to do it right!

Our recipe for The Perfect Book Club Christmas Party:

Food & Drinks::
Fancy cheese and cracker platter
sweet and salty cheese dip
Apple carmel tart
fruit kabobs
trader Joe’s chocolate covered almonds
chocolate-chocolate brownies
homemade hot chocolate
sparkling fruit punch
pomosas (pomegranate mimosas!)

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Games::

White Elephant Book Swap:
Each member brought a used copy of their favorite book wrapped but not labeled. (Requirement: not a book our club has read.) Once they arrived I had them fill out a card with 3 descriptive words or phrases about that book. Then we played your traditional White Elephant game. Everyone picked a number and the choosing and swapping and swapping and swapping began!!

Telephone Picitonary:
This is our traditional Christmas party book club game, playing it every December except one. (What?! were we thinking?) I hole punched index cards in a corner and used binder rings to hold them together. One set of cards per person, each set containing the number of cards as number of people playing. On the first card everyone writes a phrase. (We say anything goes, but you could choose a theme: song titles/lyrics, Christmas, book titles or quotes, the possibilities are endless!) Once everyone writes a phrase you pass your set of cards to the left. Now you read the phrase on top, flip to card 2 and draw, to the best or you ability, the phrase you just read. Then we continues on, passing to the left, look at the drawing, flip to card three, and now write out what you saw in the drawing. And it keeps going until you get your set back… pass, write, pass, draw, pass write… In the end, we all share our set of cards with the group. It’s obviously the last drawing is not what you started with and is hilarious to see the when, why, and how things got so twisted and turned in the short trip around the circle.

(Note: this is a fabulous game for baby or wedding showers instead of the “traditional games” and a HOOT if you play it at family functions (like your Christmas get-together, when you have everyone from Grandpa Fred to your younger niece or nephew! I speak from experience on all counts here! Tears of laugher.every.time.)

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Our awesome members:
It wouldn’t be a party without all of you lovely ladies!! Thank you for always bringing your smiling faces and unique thoughts and discussion to “the table.” (And little Lucy, our book club baby in attendance! Note: we LOVE it when babies can join us, and next year we might get the chance to see MANY little ones in attendance! Four members are currently expecting!!)

A little something to take home:
Last year I crafted mini book club notebooks. This year I went with something to pamper. I met Karen at a conference last year and she has an awesome little e-book: Simple Scrubs to Make and Give. I made 3 varieties to pamper the feet of all these lovely ladies in attendance.

And new this year,as a treat to us, we were sponsored by a friend of many of ours and his company. (Charter Advisory Corporation) As a gift we received a copy of January’s book by Charles Dickens: The Old Curiosity Shop!! Many members use the financial planning services of Randy. He shared for about 5 minutes about what it is he does and how he can help anyone, no matter where you are financially.

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General fellowship/chatting/visiting, of course:
We plan plenty of time in the evening for just talking! You can’t have a party with ladies and not catch up with everyone!! One topic we discussed, since it WAS book club Thursday, was our reading goals. Last year many of us set reading goals for 2012. (Check back with what you wrote, did you meet your goals?!) This year Sheila is encouraging goal setting on her blog The Deliberate Reader for our 2013 Reading Goals. What will YOU be reading next year?

Thank you Sarah for being such a fantastic host, you have a beautiful home!
I’m so excited for what 2013 has to offer and for all the future book club Thursdays!
See you all next month, January 10th at 7:00pm at Panaradise at Hamilton Town Center as we discuss The Old Curiosity Shop

Hemingway is next!

We had a great meeting last Thursday discussing The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. Everyone gave the book a thumbs up and would recommend it if you haven’t already had the pleasure of reading it. I’m not a big fan of mystery and crime books, but this was light and entertaining. I just got an email from the library today saying book two in this series that I’ve reserved is in. I recommend having the second book in the series handy for when you finish reading book one.
November 8th at 7:00pm we’ll gather again for A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway at Paradise Bakery & Cafe.  Happy Reading!! See you next month!

An Ivanhoe Dinner Party

We had a wonderful dinner and evening full of fellowship and conversation at our Ivanhoe meeting. Not all of us were able to finish the book before the meeting but I think by the time we left we were all excited to finish reading it or watch the new Ivanhoe movie due in theaters next year!!

This week we’ll be meeting on Thursday at Paradise Bakery for the discussion of The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency. This was a quick read for me a few weekends ago while we were on a mini-vacation. I was kicking myself for reading it so fast without having the next book of the series with me! I’m first on the waiting list for book two from the library. Can’t wait to read more of the story!

On my personal blog sarahronk.com I’ll be blogging this month about how our book club works in a series called Reading Is Social. If you’re new here or curious to know more of the behind-the-scene details I hope you’ll check it out!

Introducing The Hiding Place

August Book: The Hiding Place

By: Corrie Ten Boom

Time: 7:00pm

Location: Shelila’s House (address on Evite)

Have you started The Hiding Place, by Corrie Ten Boom? I just finished it for a second time and I am still in love! This true story is about Corrie and her family and how their lives transpired while living through World War Two. The story can seem a bit depressing yet very moving, one which keeps you turning the pages. I could go on and on about how much I love this favorite book of mine but will leave you with these descriptive words about the book.

Fascinating      Powerful Novel     Spiritual Message      Pleasant Domestic Life in Holland       A Secret Room      Amazing Faith      False Paper      Ration Cards      A Hidden Bible      Concentration Camps      Dutch Resistance      Miraculous Surivial      Moving Story      Suffering      Triumph      Joy

Ps. 119:114 You are my refuge and my shield; your word is my source of hope.

Guest Post By Rachel

Emerson & Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau


Here are some fun (and completely random) facts ::

He was born David Henry Thoreau. After college he changed his name to Henry David, but from the reading I’ve done it looks like he never made that change legal.

The house he was born in Wheeler-Minot Farmhouse still stands today, but 100 yards from where it was originally. Moving houses fascinates me. Really, moving. a. building. It’s crazy!

His father was a pencil maker.

His grandfather Asa Dunbar let the first student protest in the US at Harvard University in 1766… over butter of all things. But, personally as a huge fan of butter, I can understand being upset about being served rancid butter. (the Butter Rebellion)

He attended Harvard between 1833 and 1837 but unlike his grandfather he did not take part in a butter rebellion. He did refuse to pay $5 for a (strange, honorary, in my opinion) Masters diploma Harvard would give graduates three years after graduating if they could prove they were alive and had $5 to pay the University.

Pertaining to his appearances, he wore a neck-beard for several years and claimed women liked that. (!!) It sounds like Lousa May Alcott might have set him straight on that disillusion.

He took a leave of absence from school in 1735 from school and took a teaching job, that he quickly left so he wouldn’t have to administer corporal punishment. He and his brother John, a few years later opened a Grammer School where they instituted some new concepts like nature walks (which I’m totally on board with) as well as field trips to local stores and businesses.

After graduating he met Emerson, our other author this month. Emerson was older than Thoreau and took him under his wing. Emerson encouraged Thoreau to write for The Dial, a quarterly periodical. (Nathaniel Hawthorne also wrote for The Dial) He even lived with Emerson from 1841–1844 and was his children’s tutor, assistant editor and gardener.

Much more can be read about his life on wikipedia.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

His formal education began when he was nine. (Wonder what would be different in our society if kids stayed home until they were nine now?)

I think he had the earliest form of GoodReads when he began keeping a list of all the books he read in a series of journals he called “Wide World”

His graduating class at Harvard was only 59 students and he was somewhere in the middle.

In 1826, due to poor health he started traveling south to find a better climate, finally ending in St. Augustine, Florida.

He was very good friends with the nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte, Murat.

He was part of the Transcendental Club as was Thoreau, both writing for its journal previously mentioned, The Dial. It’s reported it was the “most original and thoughtful periodical ever published in this country”. -wow!

More on Emerson here.

I could keep going but there’s just a little to give you a taste of some fun random facts from these guys. Have you read any other works by Emerson or Thoreau? Anything since back in high school when it was required? If I’ve read them before it was in school, and I’ve long since forgotten what works of theirs I’ve read. Hope you’re making great progress on our essays this month and we’ll see you next Thursday! **Remember we are now meeting at the other Paradise! If you didn’t get the evite email me (sarahronk{at}gmail{dot}com) or leave a comment or facebook msg. 

Happy Reading!

Book Club Thursday

Book Club is TONIGHT!

We’ll be back at our original local for our annual picnic: The park where it all began many, many months ago. If you need a refresher of the storyline here are a few things you can check out:

~ The Character List from SparkNotes: This always helps me review.. especially on books that are THIS long.

~ Discussion Questions from 5 Minutes for BooksPenguin Group (scroll to the bottom for the questions) and the Book Club Forum.

~The Chronology of Les Mis: This is really helpful! If you’re book was an abridgment I’m curious if any of these events were skipped.

See you tonight at 7:00 at Geist Park!
~Happy Reading