Looking back, looking ahead…

As we head into the next reading season and roll out our 2022 line up (yippee!!) I’m looking back at where we’ve been in awe! 

As a young wife and new mom in 2008 I never imagined my book club dream would become the amazing reality it is today. I was new to the reading life and as a verbal processor I wanted to talk to everyone I ran into about my latest read… but they hadn’t read the book. Enter my book club plan. 

 

I knew from the beginning I wanted this club to be different. I truly wanted to discuss the work of literature. (And even as someone with a studio art degree, I now call this is my favorite form of art.) In those early days book clubs weren’t trending and there wasn’t much about them on the internet.

In an effort to keep running the best book club here are some things that will remain the same and then some new changes we are implementing. 

  • We will remain a women-only book club (nursing babies are an exception to attendance restrictions)
  • We will continue to be a book club that has the expectation that members read the book before the meeting. 
  • We will still discuss the book during our meeting time. To respect your time we can move to extra visiting before or after the meeting. 

New changes:

  • We are putting a temporary moratorium on new members. We believe this is needed so all can hear and have an opportunity to participate. Our discussions are the heart of our bookclub and we want to ensure they can be good. 
  • You know we love our special event months, so if there is interest we may bring back the “bring a friend month” and tie that into a wait list to join if needed.
  • We’ve set up a form to receive title suggestions for future discussions. We always love getting more books to include in the giant spreadsheet of possible titles we use when developing the reading list for each year. You can suggest books at any time, and although there is space for additional details, the only required field is the book title.  We refer to this spreadsheet when we make decisions on future selections.

21 in 21

Our line up this year has the numbers aligning thanks to a near-monthly optional bonus book. We’ve finally put one of our favorite inspectors on the official schedule. Over the next two years we will read through the Inspector Gamashe series of published books to date. (Discussion will take place 30 minutes prior to each month with a bonus book listed. Special events months will not have an extra book.)

January 2021
Still Life by Louise Penny

February 2021
Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
Bonus Book: A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny

March 2021
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Bonus book: The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny

April 2021 *Tea Party*
Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry

May 2021
The Lazy Genius Way by Kendra Adachi
Bonus Book: A Rule Against Murder by Louise Penny

June 2021
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
Bonus Book: The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny

July 2021 *Summer Picnic*
Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer
Bonus Book: Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny

August 2021
The Lost Man by Jane Harper
Bonus Book: A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny

September 2021 *Dinner Party*
Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe by Heather Webber

October 2021
True Grit by Charles Portis
Bonus Book: The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny

November 2021
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
Bonus Book: How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny

December 2021 *Christmas Party*
The Feather Thief by Kirk Wallace Johnson
– or – The Falcon Thief by Joshua Hammer

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:

2020
January – Scottland
February – Netherlands
March – Kenya
April – Laos
May – Space
June – China
July – Bhutan
August – Burma
September – Greece
October – Ireland
November – Spain
December – Global

2019
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

2018
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

FullSizeRender 16

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
and
CHRISTMAS PARTY!!!
@7:00pm
12 84 charing

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.

book club tea party 13

book club tea party 131

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: Recap

janetmcknight_0112

We all love reading, but getting together is definitely my favorite part of book club.  Even though this is our second Agatha Christie book to read as a club, we still had plenty to discuss, and for many it was their first taste of her writing. I don’t want to say much about the book, Murder on the Orient Express, but I will encourage you to go read it! (Or any other Agatha Christie novel.) They are fun and easy to read.

April is tea party month, and we are reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. What a name, right? But don’t judge this book by it’s title; I found it to be witty, unexpected, and enjoyable. I hope you’ll join us!

Next Up: Emerson & Thoreau

We’re taking it easy this month (because we know you’re busy running through the sprinkler and attending barbecues) so we’re reading two essays. Weird right? Who reads essays besides teachers? Well, we do. It fits our goals to read things we wouldn’t normally and challenge our minds.

blah, blah, blah-what you really want to know: so far I think “Waking” by Thoreau is hilarious. I don’t know if he meant it that way, but I’m going to pretend he did. He romanticizes and gets “all poetic” about taking a walk. I dig it.

I think both essays might be a challenge for our entertained minds to focus on and sort out their complex, philosophical language. So, read them outside in the sun without too many distractions. This is a great month to challenge yourself if this kind of reading is hard because they’re quite short. Also, they’re free (in the public domain). So read up and join us! July 12 7pm location TBA.

A Book Picnic

Leas Miserables Book Club Picnic

Our June book club meeting took us back to Geist Park, where our book club began several years ago, for a picnic and our discussion of Les Misérables. After I had posted a few pictures from our June meeting to Facebook, one of my co-workers told me he would join our book club, but he was solely interested in the food. I can’t say that I blame him. The food was delicious.

Book Club Picnic Food

The décor was perfect for a summer picnic…

Book Club Picnic Decorations

And Sarah’s mason jar cheesecakes were a huge hit…

Mason Jar Cheesecakes

Quite a few of us attempted Les Misérables, some of us watched a film adaptation instead, and a few of us finished. One thing we realized is that all abridgements (and film adaptations, for that matter) are not created equal. The Barnes & Noble classic edition abridged by Laurence M. Porter that a couple of us had seemed to be the best at cutting out some of the lengthy passages that didn’t really contribute to the story (including about 15 chapters about the Battle of Waterloo). However, a couple of us had abridged editions that cut out so much, the story didn’t really make sense anymore. We spent a lot of the time filling in the gaps and recounting the story, talking about the characters of Jean Valjean, Fantine, Marius and Cosette as we went along. I think we all are looking forward to seeing how the new film adaptation of the musical that will be coming out in December will treat the story and how it will compare to the novel.

Book Club Group Photo

For July, we’re taking it a little easier and will be reading the (much shorter) essays “Nature” by Ralph Waldo Emerson and “Walking” by Henry David Thoreau. Hopefully the summer weather and warm sunshine will give you some inspiration to read these classics by two of the most famous naturalist authors. We will see you July 12 at 7 p.m. We will keep you posted on the location for this month, so watch for that information coming soon.

Happy reading!

50 years for her, 4 years for us

I love that we are outgrowing our book club table!

Sometimes I wonder what others think? They sit at a neighboring table and see us, crowding around our table where we sometimes burst out laughing, sometimes have very serious discussion, and sometimes all sit there in silence writing. Like last Thursday, when Janet has us all take a pop quiz on the book! Never fear. This was the first time we’ve done a quiz, it was multiple choice, and you got to work with your neighbor.

This year is the 50th anniversary of the 1963 Newbery winner:  
A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle 

Being a Young Reader book this month we invited daughters who had read the book to join us! I wasn’t much of a reader in my early days so this was my first time reading about tesseracting and space travel with Meg. It seems those who read it as a child still loved it as an adult! I’m intrigued enough I’ll probably track down copies of the rest of L’Engle’s adventures with Meg and her crew. Did you read this as a child? Have you thought of re-reading any of your childhood favorites?

Another anniversary needs to be mentioned.

This month marked our 4th year as a book club! May of 2008 seems like ages ago and just the other day at the same time. Looking back at our past books I think I can remember every single meeting! Every single lady who has joined us, whether it was once or almost every time, is a blessing. I’m so lucky to count you all as friends!

I hope you will all stick around for many, many more books and months and years! As we being our 5th year we have a 5 year anniversary book club TRIP in the works! More details will be coming. Just know it’s going to be fun and you will want to mark that weekend as “booked” on your calendar!

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June 14, 2012
Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
Summer Picnic at Geist Park @ 7:00pm

 “They mistake the stars of heaven with a ducks footprint in the mud.” -Les Mis

This book is long but not one to skip! I’m in the last 1/4th of the book and I know you’re going to love it!! It’s crammed full of such good stuff! Join us for great discussion and a pitch-in summer picnic at the park where we got our start as a book club.

The Good Earth recap: It was a tea party!


Previously, our tea parties have been at Tea’s Me. A place we absolutely love, by the way. We’re just trying to meet more in homes, and they’re not open in the evenings. (Instead we bought their tea and brought it to the party!)

We like to bring out grandma’s china anytime we can.

We had some requests for recipes, so here they are…
Cucumber Feta Rolls
Caprese on a Stick
Strawberry Buttermilk Cake
Coconut Shortbread Cookies

Spinach Dip recipe at the end of the post .

 

Babies are always welcome!

A really good story!! I’m not talking about the book. Well, we did like the book. But the one we’re listening to here was really entertaining!

Hi friends!

Spinach Dip

1 package (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained [I used a package marked 16 oz, and by the time it was drained, it had about 10 oz of spinach]
1 container (16 oz) sour cream
1 cup mayonnaise
1 package (dry) KNORR Vegetable Soup Dip and Recipe Mix
1 can (8 oz) water chestnuts drained and chopped (optional) [I didn’t include these this time]
3 green onions, chopped [I substituted fresh chives]

In medium bowl stir spinach, sour cream, mayonnaise, soup mix, water chestnuts, and green onions until well mixed.
Cover, chill 2 hours to blend flavors.
Stir well. If desired, spoon into round bread bowl. Serve wilth cut up vegetables or chips.

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Next moth: A Wrinkle In Time by Madeline L’Engle
@Paradise Bakery, Hamilton Town Center 7pm May 10th

June: Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
Summer Picnic! Start reading today- it’s a long one!