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The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Interesting, Informative
An ancient story beautifully re-told in a contemporary voice.

I'd heard from so many people that this was a terrific read and for once the book lived up to the hype. I loved the story of the red tent told through Dinah's eyes. I wish that woman today had a red tent to go to monthly with their loved ones. Diamant has taken a germ of a story from the Old Testament and breathed life into it. I couldn't put this one down and was a little sad when I finished.

 
Brilliant, Fun, Beautiful
Truman Capote's novella about Holly Golightly, a character you won't soon forget, and her lively wartime escapades in New York City.

Some come to New York to seek fame and fortune, while others come to reinvent themselves. Holly Golightly travels "lightly" to NYC to escape her past and have a good time. Her wartime partying ways are very much ahead of her time and Capote's narrator can't take his eyes off her and the cast of characters that surround her. The reader is taken along on the ride and it's a roller coaster of highs and lows. Fasten your seatbelts! The discussions generated by this book were quite lively.

 
Adventurous, Dramatic, Interesting
Life in the circus during the Great Depression.

One of the best books I've ever read. Sara Gruen paints a detailed picture of life in the traveling "Big Top" during the '30's. The characters are so real, so compelling, that you can't put the book down for wanting to know what happens next. This is why I joined a book club, to find gems like this!

Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky
 
Dark, Confusing, Difficult
It's Paris, 1941, and the Germans are coming....

Nemirovsky transports the reader to the city of Paris in 1941 on the eve of the German occupation. In unemotional prose, she tells the stories of seemingly unrelated characters, first in the city of Paris, and then in the countryside, and gradually weaves the tales together thoughtfully, believably and before you know it, you're emotionally involved in their various plights.

Part One tells the story of the eve of the German occupation of Paris through a series of character sketches. Part Two is story of how the German occupiers coexist with the French in the countryside. Nemirovsky tells both sides of the story with compassion.

But perhaps the most powerful part of the book is the afterward which describes, through Nemirovsky's own notes and letters, the incredible story of the novelists plight and the 2-part novel that remained hidden for 60 years. It's not unlike the story of Anne Frank, and your heart breaks as you read the pleading letters of Nemirovsky's husband, and learn of the fate of her two children.

 
Epic, Romantic, Adventurous
Ficticious story of how and why the Taj Mahal was built

There are certain novels about women that are written by men and you wonder how on earth the author is able to so perfectly understand the female voice. This is not one of those novels. Beneath a Marble Sky was dull,uninspired and tortuous to get through. The author may get it right on the next go around, but someone should have done a better job in editing this book.

 
Inspiring, Informative, Insightful
Inspiring true story of one man's quest to educate the children of remote Pakistan

While Greg Mortenson's story is facsinating and inspiring, David Oliver Relin's writing leaves a lot to be desired. And a few maps would have been so helpful to help the reader understand where Mortenson's travels took him. Mortenson is undoubtedly a living saint, and his story is remarkable, but it's too bad it's told in such an amateur writing style.

 
Interesting, Fun, Adventurous
Ruth Reichl's first book, a memoir, of learning to love food and the characters in her life who helped shape her lifelong passion.

I loved this book! How did the New York Times food critic land her job? By carefully observing the cooking styles of those who loved and inspired her in her youth and young adulthood. This is a funny, at times poignant account of many of those characters complete with the recipes that inspired young Ruth. Wonderful!

World Without End by Ken Follett
 
Book Club Recommended
Epic, Interesting, Insightful
World Without End

If you liked The Pillars of the Earth, then you'll love World Without End, because it's Part II, 200 years later, with almost identical characters and conflicts. A pleasant enough read, but Ken Follett phoned this one in.

Still Alice by Lisa Genova
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Informative, Interesting
Still Alice will get to you and stay with you long after you finish the book.

Reading Still Alice is a bit like watching a train wreck. It's devastatingly real, frightening, and you can't take your eyes off it, or in this case, you can't put it down. This month by month chronicle of a brilliant woman's decline into early onset Alzheimer's Disease will keep you up long after you should turn the light's out. We, the readers, can all relate to Alice on so many levels and the unfolding of her family's reactions to this life changing news, is riveting. Alice will stay with you long after you finish the book

Brooklyn: A Novel by Colm Toibin
 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Insightful, Romantic
Brooklyn: A Novel

Every word of this beautifully written book is well chosen, thoughtful and addictive. Eilis Lacey's journey from the small Irish town of Enniscorthy to bustling 1950's Brooklyn via an ocean passage that has never been so fully or brutally put down on paper. It's a novel that shows how place can define us. The writing style hints of James Joyce. A wonderful read!!!

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Adventurous
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

A page turner, but wordy in parts, and definitely needed a little more editing. There are some graphic descriptions of S&M, so reader beware. I keep wondering what all the fuss was about over this novel, but I think much had to do with the author's back story.

Night (Night) by Elie Wiesel
 
Book Club Recommended
Life Changing, Insightful, Dramatic
A First Hand Account of Hell on Earth

We chose this book because it was on my daughters 9th grade reading list and it was the only book on the Freshman Honors list that I had not previously read. Now I understand why it's on the list. I think everyone should read this short (100 pages), profound, brave book. It is a first hand account of "living" hell, and proof that we must never forget...

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Fun
Delightful story...

I enjoyed the letter writing format of the story, although it seemed a bit contrived at times. Overall it was a delightful story regarding a subject I knew very little about, namely the German occupation of British soil during WWII. I did quite a bit of reading about Guernsey after reading the book.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Dramatic
Non-fiction that reads like a great novel!

This detailed story of Seabiscuit grabbed me from the first paragraph to the last. I couldn't put it down. It's non-fiction that reads like a great novel. Hillenbrand loving details the life of this marvelous animal as well as the lives of the three men who are inexorably tied to Seabuscuit. I loved it!

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Romantic, Beautiful
Maxim and Manderly and the "ghost" of Rebecca... marvelous!

This is my second time reading this classic novel and I think I loved it even more the second time around. Maxim and Manderly and the "ghost" of Rebecca... marvelous! A book to get lost in on a rainy day.

A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick
 
Book Club Recommended
Dark, Dramatic, Interesting
End the misery...

I was hooked through the first half of the book, and then things started to go downhill. If the author stuck in one more gratuitous sex scene, I thought I'd shoot myself. By the end, I really didn't care who lived or died, I just wanted to end the misery.

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Dark, Interesting
An interesting take on Russian history...

This was an interesting take on what happened to the last tsar as told thru the eyes of the kitchen boy. It made me want to find out more about that period of Russian history. The end had many twists and turns and you almost needed a scorecard to keep up, but interesting, none-the-less.

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Inspiring, Interesting
Good read, in spite of the flaws.

I thought this was a good book for a first time author but there were a number of flaws and historical inaccuracies. Where was the editor? Still a good read though, even with the flaws.

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dramatic, Informative
Great book!

I would never have read this book unless it had been suggested by one of our book club members and boy am I glad they did! What an interesting book! Erdich shows us a world that is truly American and yet foreign at the same time. The characters are unlike any others in fiction that I can recall. A roller coaster of a story and I'll hop on that ride any time.

A Friend of the Family by Lauren Grodstein
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Dark, Scary
A cautionary tale...

Grodstein's story of suburban life will keep you up late at night, turning the pages, waiting for the other shoe to drop. It's scary in that it could easily happen to anyone. It's addictive in that you can't put it down. She nails the well-to-do suburban lifestyle of New Jersey's affluent towns, and her characters seem like people you've met. "There but for the grace of God, go I." Good story!

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Interesting, Gloomy
Olive grew on me..

I didn't like Olive very much in the first few stories, but she began to grow on me, and by the end, I felt like she was the amalgamation of many people that I know. She is flawed like the rest of us. Strout very cleverly reveals her in this group of short stories in which Olive is the main character or a supporting one, or someone who is briefly mentioned. But by the end, you have a real sense of who she is, and must say that I was rooting for her by the final page.

Loving Frank: A Novel by Nancy Horan
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Dramatic
Great Discussion!!!

The members of our book club all had very strong opinions of this book. Some loved it, some hated it, and some where quite moved by it. This disparity in opinions ALWAYS makes for great, heated discussions. I loved the book. I did not know the story and my advice to anyone who has not read it is to wait until the end before you seek any information about Frank Lloyd Wright and this chapter of his life. Fascinating!!!

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
 
Slow, Epic, Insightful
Not my cup of tea

This book made for meaningful and enlightening discussion and members were split in their opinions about the book. To each his own...

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Confusing
Life is stranger than fiction.

Wow! Money can't buy you love. If you wrote this story as a novel, no one would believe it. Sad and addictive at the same time.

Mudbound by Hillary Jordan
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Dramatic, Interesting
Interesting

Interesting book that led to a decent discussion at our book club meeting.

 
Dark, Informative, Insightful
Interesting true story of life in Viet Nam after the fall of Saigon

An interesting look at life in Viet Nam after the Americans pulled out and in particular the story of a Vietnamese family that went from riches to rags.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Insightful, Interesting
I forgot how good this book is!

I had not read The Great Gatsby for many years. I forgot how good it is! Brilliantly written with tremendous attention to detail, and without an excess word in it. Wonderful! Hard to believe that it was written in the middle of the Roaring Twenties, it's so uncannily spot on in it's description of the Jazz Age and the excess that accompanied it. If only Fitzgerald knew what a classic he had written!

 
Gloomy, Difficult, Pointless
Don't Bother

This book should be renamed: The Book of Whiners. Every once in a while we try to branch out and try a new, unknown author. Sadly, this book will make us think twice about venturing into the "unknown". Life is short. Don't bother with this book.

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dramatic, Informative
Wow! That was different!

Wow! That was different! Really eye opening on many levels. The recounting of growing up in the 60's 70's in suburbia was spot on. This man's story was unique and to be honest, I couldn't put it down. Not for everyone, but very interesting.

Vaclav & Lena: A Novel by Haley Tanner
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Persuasive, Beautiful
Complicated Story of Love Set in Brighton Beach

Not bad for a first novel and I hope to read more from this author in the years to come. She brings two Russian Immigrant family stories to life with Brighton Beach as the back drop. Complicated adult characters and the innocent boy and girl of the title, keep you guessing an turning the pages to find out what becomes of them. The author has a beautiful, poignant way of describing rooms and settings that bode well for future novels from Haley Turner. Give it a try...

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Informative, Insightful
Hadley Richardson comes to life in this well researched historical novel.

Hadley Richardson comes to life in this well researched historical novel about one of prominent members of the Lost Generation expats living in Paris in the '20's and his lesser-known first wife. Interestingly, all of book club members commented that the book jacket photo has nothing to do with the story inside the book, but was no doubt a publisher's come-on to sell the book. The photo might more suitably belonged to Hemmingway's 2nd wife, not Hadley. But perhaps this unabashed trick to sell the book was worth it. I loved every page of this book and went right out and got a copy of A Moveable Feast after finishing The Paris Wife

 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Dramatic, Informative
There should be a new national holiday declared: Louis Zamperini Day!

Laura Hillenbrand doesn't disappoint in her second book, which brings to our attention the unbelievably true story of Louie Zamperini. Why we didn't grow up learning about this great American hero in school is beyond me. Thanks to Hillenbrand, the word is getting out about this amazing WWII hero. Hillenbrand does her research thoroughly and well. No detail is left out, and at times it becomes difficult to read of the atrocities put upon this man during the war. Every American should read this book. There should be a new national holiday declared: Louis Zamperini Day!

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful
Contemporary teenage love story from Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket)

Graceling by Kristin Cashore
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting
Interesting Fantasy Tale

An interesting take on how our individual talents and character traits can be a help or a hinderance in life. An unusual heroine. A very unusual hero. If there is a real life man who has Po's traits, I'd love to meet him.

 
Book Club Recommended
Romantic, Fun, Insightful
Love, the Second Time Around...

I loved this book! And I fell in love with the Major, a true gentlemen, not without flaws, who takes a chance on love. Love, the second time around, is both frightening and unexpected and maybe, just maybe, worth the risk. I can't wait for Helen Simonson's next novel!

Angela's Ashes: A Memoir by Frank McCourt
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Interesting, Dark
The author's narrative rings true in this sad, funny, remarkable story of an impoverished Irish childhood.

Frank McCourt brilliantly and poignantly captures the voice of a child growing up in Limerick's slums. Whether he's writing the observations of a 4 year old who must quickly become the "responsible" family member, or the teenage boy with longings for girls and America, his writers voice rings true and clear. Difficult to read at times, but gripping none-the-less.

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Dramatic, Brilliant
Eye opening look at life in Kabul and Afghanistan in the 70's and present day.

I never wanted to read this book as I had zero interest in the subject matter. It was one of the picks of our book group, and now I'm glad I read the book for a sympathetic look at the Afghani people and how they were robbed of their beautiful country, as told through the eyes of a flawed but decent boy who grows into a thoughtful, observant, brave man. After reading the first time, I also listened to the book on CD as read by the author, which I highly recommend. Very powerful!

 
Book Club Recommended
Dark, Insightful, Dramatic
A Classic that doesn't dissappoint!

Wolf Hall: A Novel by Hilary Mantel
 
Difficult, Interesting, Slow
Where was the editor?

This book had potential and could have perhaps been a decent read if it was cut in half. Where was the editor? Out on a coffee break? The overuse of pronouns instead of identifying the person speaking was maddening! Too bad. This would have been fun to compare to The Other Boleyn Girl, but no one in our book club could manage to finish it in 3 months time. Dull, dull, dull!

 
Poorly Written, Graphic, Romantic
Give me a break!

A virgin reaching climax on her first time? Give me a break. Give me an editor. Give me a better written book.

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Informative, Insightful
Fascinating story of a complex individual.

I'm so glad I read this book. It made for interesting discussion at our book club meeting. Steve Jobs has changed our lives for good and mostly for the better. Interesting look at how the man was made and how Apple came about. Could have been a lot shorter, but still, interesting none-the-less.

This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper
 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Graphic, Interesting
What a family!

This book made me laugh out loud. The "fly-on-the-wall" insights into the large, dysfunctional suburban, mostly adult Foxman family as they sit shiva for their father, were enlightening, amusing, sometimes shocking, engaging and a great quick read.

The Lifeboat: A Novel by Charlotte Rogan
 
Dramatic, Poorly Written, Insightful
Great idea for a book, but poorly executed.

I recommended this book to my book club, based upon the premise of the story. Clearly, this was a case of \"don\'t judge a book by it\'s cover.\" I thought the idea of the book, survivors in a lifeboat was intriguing and the first few chapters set up the premise very well and I was hooked. Then the rest of the book just fell flat. The main character was not fully formed and the supporting characters where less so. After a while, I started not to care what happened to them.

 
Book Club Recommended
Romantic, Interesting, Beautiful
This is my kind of book!

It grabbed my attention on page one and never let go. The writing style of going back and forth from past to present was perfect for this story, like filling in the pieces of a beautiful puzzle. Movie stars, moguls, Italy, and characters that stay with you. Good read!

Gone Girl: A Novel by Gillian Flynn
 
Dramatic, Dark, Interesting
What's the point?

For the life of me, I can't understand how this book got to be at the top of so many best seller lists. The characters are loathsome and after a while you stop caring what happens to them. I urged my book club to read this after reading so many good reviews. What's all the hype about? There's 5 or 6 hours I'll never get back. Don't bother.

Defending Jacob: A Novel by William Landay
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Insightful
A page-turner!

Wonderful read! Page-turner. Thoughtfully written; keeping you guessing right up until the last page.

 
Book Club Recommended
Dark, Slow, Dramatic
Best book I’ve read in 20 years

I belong to two book clubs, and try to read as much as possible. Books like The Goldfinch are few and far between. I couldn’t put it down, and I’ve actually started to re-read it. A modern classic, an homage to Charles Dickens, and a book that will keep you up all night to find out what happens next. I predict that his book will join the ranks of To Kill A Mockingbird, Catcher in the Rye, and The Great Gatsby. Wonderful!!!

Brooklyn by Colm Toibin
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful, Beautiful
Maybe you have to be Irish...

Maybe you have to be Irish to love and understand this lovely gem of an immigrant story in American in the 1950’s. I’ve heard it many times from my relatives, but never so beautifully told. I was hooked from page one.

 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Fun, Informative
Laugh out loud funny!

We read this book because it was chosen by our local library as the “one book” for the entire town to read. I would never have picked this up on my own, but boy was it fun! Laugh out loud funny at times; graphic at others; overall quite a good read.

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
 
Informative, Interesting, Insightful
Could have been so much more...

Such and interesting subject and such a shame, because the story could have been so much more compelling than it was. It just doesn’t hold your attention. I particularly couldn’t reconcile how Vivian’s character dealt with her own child. Didn’t add up.

 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Informative, Dramatic

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Fun, Insightful
I didn’t want this book to end. What a lovely surprise!

I went out for a cup of coffee and brought along this book. Didn’t leave the coffee shop until I had finished it;
What a lovely story! This reaffirms why we love books and as the character A. J. Fickly muses: (this book) “speaks to the necessity of encountering stories at precisely the right time in our lives... the things we respond to at twenty are not necessarily the same things we will respond to at forty and vice versa. This is true in goods and also in Life.” - AJF

Every Last One by Anna Quindlen
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Dark, Dramatic
Unexpected turn

Do not read the book jacket or the CD cover, or any reviews of this book. Just read it. I was taken aback by how the story took a turn I had not anticipated. But if you have teenagers, you will recognize this mother’s daily dealings with, and at times, angst over, her children’s uneasy path to becoming adults. However, the story starts one way and ends very differently.

The Nightingale: A Novel by Kristin Hannah
 
Dramatic, Informative, Inspiring

84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Fun, Interesting
The lost art of corresponding by letter beautifully brought to life.

A memoir via the written letter - what a "novel" idea. A NYC screen writer searching for hard to find books via correspondence with a used book seller in London. And the kicker is that these are the actual letters. Watch this relationship grow over 30 years of correspondence. An absolute gem that will take you about a hour to read... then you'll want to read it again.

Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Dramatic, Beautiful
Did anyone edit this book???

I think that this first novel, like most first novels, is flawed. Carol Rifka Brunt has moments of brilliant insight, as when she compares growing up to looking into a tunnel, but her depiction of one of the main characters who has AIDS in 1987 is deeply flawed. Did she not bother to research this when she chose it as a main subject? Did her editor bother to question this romantic version of this awful disease? The relationship between the 14 year old protagonist and a 30 year old man are creepy and inappropriate. This book infuriated me.

 
Book Club Recommended
Difficult, Confusing, Interesting
Thank goodness I had other people to talk to about this book.

They say that you never know what goes on behind closed doors in a marriage and that looks can be deceiving, but this marriage is a doozy. I’m so glad that I had my book club to talk to about this book, because you need a drink after you’ve read it, and you need the help of a group to sort out this one. Interesting discussion.

A Man Called Ove: A Novel by Fredrik Backman
 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Fun, Insightful
What a lovely, unexpected story!

After reading the first chapter, I was not in the mood to spend too much time with the curmudgeon called Ove. But hang in there. The wait is worth it. Walk a mile in Ove’s shoes and learn his back story, and delight in his quirky neighbors, and find yourself laughing and crying on the same page. Very good!

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Adventurous, Interesting

A gentleman in Moscow. by Amor Towles
 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Brilliant, Insightful
Could not put the “Gentleman” down.

A Gentleman in Moscow is beautifully and thoughtfully written, with many intelligent observations of life, all from a character whose life is quite confined. I read this one slowly as I did not want it to end. Wonderful!

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Interesting, Dramatic
Amor Towles writing is gorgeous and addictive

Loved this book! Amor Towles takes us back to 1938 and shows us New York City in all its glory and muck. Our heroine, Katie, is street smart, tough, and engaging. Her observations of the city and the many characters weaved throughout her story of a life-changing year, are so very interesting. Enjoy!

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