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 ūüėČ

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!)

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.

Photo Oct 16, 2 43 49 PM
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‚Äôs 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

Recap The Old Curiosity Shop

Last week we met and discussed Charles Dickens’ The Old Curiosity Shop. It’s not one of his most well known stories. As with many of his novels, this was written as a serial. The chapters were being published as he was writing them, so there was no going back and changing the story!

A few of our members reviewed the book, and I have linked to them below. I apparently liked the book more than they did, but I’m a pretty big fan of Dickens! I like his foreshadowing, flowing sentences, and just the general way he paints a picture in your mind. This story has some pretty wacky characters in it, and we shared some pictures and quotes that made us laugh as we were reading along. Even though it wasn’t a favorite, I think most people enjoyed it at least a little bit, and we had a lively discussion.

More reviews can be found at: A Spirited Mind, The Deliberate Reader, & Simply Sarah


As always, babies are very welcome at book club! Next month we are discussion Sense & Sensibility on Valentine’s Day.


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!)

book club christmas


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.)

book club christmas1

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.

book club christmas2

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

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!

Recap of The Hiding Place/ Intro to Ivanhoe!

We had a great discussion a few weeks ago on The Hiding Place¬† by Corrie ten Boom. Who doesn’t love her name, by the way? This book is the story of her life- particularly during World War II- and is a must read for pretty much everybody. We all got a little stuck on Betsie, her sister, and how inspiring she was with her heart full of love especially for her captors and her ability to give thanks in ALL circumstances. While I reminded everyone that we should also look to Corrie’s example of courage and willingness to serve and Nollie’s commitment to obeying the Word of God, I still can’t stop reminding myself to be thankful even for fleas. Thanks again, Sheila, for hosting!

Next Up! Ivanhoe

Set in the 12th century, this is the oldest time period by far that we’ve read as a book club. The good news is that it was written in the 19th century so it should look like English to all of us ūüôā Ivanhoe is, sadly, not about ice cream, but there are knights and swineherds and melee. So says all the highlighted blue words on the¬†Wikipedia¬†page. Most importantly there’s also Robin Hood. I have no idea where he fits into the story, but I’ve always liked him. I blame Disney. Also, this is one of my favorite songs.¬†I plan on getting my read on very soon, and then you can check the facebook page for other random videos and thoughts on things that probably have nothing to do with this story.

The best reason to read this book, though, is that it’s dinner party month!!!! You don’t want to miss out. So grab your copy¬†and join us!