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Gone To Soldiers by Marge Piercy
 
I committed to this reading. Not for the light hearted

This was Forever Montana Book Club's read for December and January. Not a read for over the holidays. It is well over 500 pages and with the multiple characters and short story flavor it was hard to keep track of who was who without referencing back. The members that did complete this read were rewarded with a better understanding of what happened to the Jews in WWII.

 
Adventurous, Dramatic, Interesting
Easy, enjoyable read with historical flavor.

Montana Forever book club members were quick to talk about their circus experiences, the acts, the animals, the cotton candy. The novel was true to how animals were treated, the life style of the circus and the caste system between the performers and workers. The characters were believeable and the author gave her readers the ending readers wanted.

 
Inspiring, Informative, Insightful
A tremendous story of courage, adventure and focus in a giving portrayal to educate young girls.

Greg Mortenson's efforts are changing young girls' lives that had no chance for change. As his story points out education is like water important for life. We admired his courage, ruggedness and focus. A book you want to purchase and share with others.

Blindness (Harvest Book) by Jose Saramago
 
Brilliant, Insightful, Graphic
Horrific read, humanity with basic survival instincts and one person views it all.

This book is not for the squeemish. One member read the back cover and threw it down. Another club member couldn't get pass the lack of punctuation. Three members read the book in it entirety. Everyone had an opinion about the concept of "white blindness", the comparisons to genocide, the Holocaust, and how humans don't change and some do anything to survive. The characters are all remembered because they are described as the eye doctor, the girl with the dark glasses, the doctor's wife, etc. We have moved to a lighter read for next month but none of us will soon forget this story.

The Reading Group (P.S.) by Elizabeth Noble
 
Interesting, Confusing, Adventurous
Surprisingly, the majority of our book club enjoyed reading this book.

Members identified with the characters and thought it was a light read. Character identification was confusing and associations were difficult at first. The ending was too pat and much of the book could be skimmed.

 
Informative, Interesting, Graphic
Comic genre for young audience

The Missoula City-County Public library offers Book Club Chat bags and this was available for check out. The illustrations are simple with the author's narrative voice. It is a memoir from a young girl's experience. That experience is within the context of her family. There are gruesome scenes that are off set with family events. Members thought this book would best appeal to young readers learning about Iran. It offers a cultural view into the middle east written by someone who lived it.

 
Insightful, Interesting, Informative
Tended to be repetitive but members related to "first impressions" usually being correct.

Perhaps it is women's intuition but usually if one listens to their initial feeling it is the best answer. Book initiated discussion on first impressions and usually these first impressions hold true.

 
Over 600 plus pages that left readers wondering what it was all about.

Mixed reviews from those that finished this read.

 
Confusing, Pointless, Boring
Easy, fun, read

Montana Forever book club members enjoyed this read. Some have read it before for another book club. The main character is a self-assured woman comfortable and satisfied with her life. She is engaging, social, and enjoying who she is. There is lost of a friend and the main character is able to be there in the end, listening to her dying friend's final words. The club's discussion allowed for sharing about friendship and self-character.

The Shack by William P. Young
 
Insightful, Inspiring, Life Changing
A book that brings with it lots of discussion.

Our club is looking forward to William P. Young coming to Missoula in May. Does the book only speak to men? It is about forgiveness and letting go, moving on. Agnostics and Christians can sit together and discuss this book. Don't be afraid to express your feelings.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
 
Insightful, Dramatic, Interesting
Enthusiatically discussed and book clubs won't be disappointed

Everyone contributed to the discussion. A member missing for a number of months returned when she heard we were reading "The Book Thief". Historical fiction may not be everyone's read but Liesel Meminger, the main character overcomes the war, Nazi propaganda and experiences love from a foster father, a best friend, a Jew, a foster mother, and a mayor's wife. Out of lost comes life and continued hope.

On Beauty by Zadie Smith
 
Interesting, Difficult, Confusing
The leading male characters were hated for being forever self centered and self serving.

The wives were women of character that were under valued and under apprecriated. English departments at colleges and universities were viewed as conceded.

City of Thieves: A Novel by David Benioff
 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Dramatic, Interesting
City of Thieves

Five of six present for May meeting read this novel. It was a fast read. The characters were interesting. Human survival in stark times is amazing. The author does not build on the characters background. The reader is in the present with the characters and experiences their emotion in the moment.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Insightful, Interesting
The Worst Hard Time-great nonfiction read

I am a German from Russia. I am a second generation born American. And yes my great relative got out of Russia to avoid the draft. I don't blame him! But moving to the book, very informative and historical. The author Timothy Egan researched his subject well and very deserving of the National Book Award. The question remains why did the dust bowl farmers stay?

The Last Queen: A Novel by C. W. Gortner
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Informative, Interesting
Women over the ages and still powerless

This book was read and discussed by the club. The last queen is in a position of power but succumbs to the men around her. No one cried for her husband, Phillip. Disappointment at the end but don't we all want more for our daughters than our own fate?

The Maytrees: A Novel by Annie Dillard
 
Pointless, Slow, Unconvincing
Usually someone in the club likes the book.

No character development and uneventful is what decribes Maytrees for our bookclub. Why take someone back after he leaves for another? Lou lives her life waiting and never reaches self-actualization even though it is within her grasp. Perhaps your book club needs a rip roaring dicussion. This book will do it.

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Adventurous
Interesting characters and multiplot covers many topics

Book club members liked this book. I thought it started slow. It was intriguing as the pieces of the mystery came together. Family secrets come to light. Incorporated many topics such as sexual abuse, serial killers, corporate gangster greed and the main protagonist travels to Australia to uncover answers. The unanswered question is should one save oneself at the cost of others?

The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Inspiring, Dramatic
Could not put it down.

My book club read this based on a recommendation from a member. We purchased the book and all enjoyed it. One member is set to read it. We were all amazed the author never unleashed on her parents. What a life!

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Dramatic, Brilliant
Gothic romantic mystery grows on you

It took a bit to get into this book but once there the pages turned. The protaganist is purely evil. The narrator is a young boy as he becomes a man and discovers a book whose author enthralls him and eventually discovers himself. Many characters connect to the story line. Well worth the read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Inspiring, Interesting
A loyal friend, Enzo

Enzo narrates his life with his master, Denny. Enzo loves Denny, racing, and Denny's wife and daughter, Zoe. It is a book of loss and life's endurance. It was an easy read. Recommended for the boomers and the milleliums. In racing, don't lose it in the first corner turn there's a long run ahead.

The Gathering by Anne Enright
 
Slow, Unconvincing, Boring
The Gathering is not worth your time

Don't waste your time or your club's time. 5 Club members who regularly read the club's monthly selection found only 3 who managed to finished this read. There was no character development. The reader didn't care about anyone in the novel. Veroncia, narrator, mourning the lost of her brother, Liam, to suicide couldn't relate reality with what was her recalled memory. It left the reader confused.

A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick
 
Dark, Dramatic, Interesting
If you weren't depressed prior to reading...

Do miserable people attract miserable people? The characters all use each other to try and resolve their histories. It is dark and gothic. It is a conflict from start to end. Hatred oozes out of every page. One moment finds the "reliable" wife realizing that marriage brought the thought of caring for someone. It is survival and not all survive.

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Adventurous, Interesting
Can't wait to start the third book in the series

The Girl Who Played With Fire answers the questions about Lisabeth's background. One member bought the 3 book series and started reading the second as the club was discussing it and will go back to read the first. Another member who has finished the series was sadden to have the story come to an end. Is sex traffic and violence this horrific? Yes, and worst. Lisabeth is one of the strongest female fiction characters and we are cheering her on!

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Insightful
China we better start understanding her...

This is a well written biographical account of Joseph Needham, a Britian, that travels to China in 1943 during WWII with Winston Churchill's funding to spread good will. Joseph Needham does more with his ability to speak and write Chinese and discovers China as a comprehensive culture rich in academica and inventiveness.

Pride And Prejudice by Jane Austen
 
Book Club Recommended
Romantic, Interesting, Insightful
This certainly is a classic!

This book is written in 1813. Almost 200 years later book clubs are reading and discussing Jane Austen's writings. Do women still marry for romance or wealth?

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
 
Adventurous, Insightful, Fun
For teens ages 12 to 17

A daughter of a book club member, a junior in high school, loved this book and the series. All book club members read it. The message was uglies get to be pretties if they give up their ability to be truly human. No more stresses, no more conflicts, everything is on the surface. Is this true happiness? Certainly recommend to teenagers to read and discuss. Adult book clubs didn't offer conflicted discussion.

The Power of the Dog : A Novel by Thomas Savage, Annie Proulx
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Gloomy, Brilliant
The Power of the Dog: powerful

Whether all members in the book club like this book or not "The Power of the Dog" brought lots of discussion. The setting is the early 1900s in what we assumed is Montana. It is a dark tale of two brothers with memorable minor characters. It is graphic and the horror comes with the older brother's antics. Is there redemption in the end?

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Inspiring, Interesting
Reading for the second time

Our book club read this for the second time. It is interesting reading a book twice. The cruelty and harshness were more apparent the second time. Perhaps this is true because the characters were familiar and their experiences were more acutely felt. The Help takes a period of United States history and brings it home. The novel through its plot shows how racism is formed and continues.

The Likeness: A Novel by Tana French
 
Book Club Recommended
Slow, Difficult, Dark
"The Likeness" is an interesting premise for a mystery.

A detective, Cassie, is the likeness of a recent homicide victim. Clues are slim and Cassie becomes the dead woman's double and inserts herself into "Lexie's" life to solve the case. I liked the main character, Cassie, who kept me wondering how the mystery would turn out. I wish the pace was quicker.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Romantic, Interesting
Mixed review

Characters were not developed and the historical reflection of the hatred between Japan and China was inadequately explained or explored. For a first novel brought forth the events of the fortys and readers must ask themselves, "Would not America do the same today?" Isolate a population because of that populations ethinicity.

Still Alice by Lisa Genova
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Informative, Interesting
Still Alice

Still Alice author, Lisa Genova, puts the reader into the mind of a once brillant articulate woman who discovers she is in the grasp of early onset Alzheimer's disease. Family relationships are explored and discoveries of who the characters really are unfold. Alzheimer's disease impacts many families and the author undauntingly brings the reader to the ultimate end. Certainly not for readers that want happy endings but "Still Alice" doesn't disappoint.

 
Gloomy, Dark
Most in book club did not like.

I was the only one in the book club that would give the book a thumb's up. I like history and found some positive themes in the book but not enough for other members to agree. This book was written in 1937 and described relationships of Native Americans, the Salish tribe, with the white settlers and Bureau of Indian Affairs agency. It is dark and gloomy but aptly decribes the early outlook of the Native American reservation population.

The Shadow Catcher by Marianne Wiggins
 
Unconvincing, Slow, Confusing
What is the message?

Sometimes a book that explores too much fails in character development, historical significance, and lacks direction. The narration was a road trip for the purpose of resolving the narrator's loss issues over her father. There is geneology, history, Native American spirituality and an antaganotist that no one liked. Certain scenes were depicted with realism but overall the book tried to encompass too much and failed.

Jesus Out To Sea by James Lee Burke
 
Dark, Gloomy, Pointless
Dark

This is a book of short stories that are dark and pointless. Many in the club did not finish and didn't have any desire to read anything by James Lee Burke.

The Rosie Project: A Novel by Graeme Simsion
 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Optimistic, Interesting
The Rosie Project

Everyone, 7 members, read and commented on many aspects of this book. The characters were believable, interesting, and the readers discussion guide made members thoughtful about relationships and romance. All age groups can relate and have something to say.

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