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Slow, Boring, Pointless
Engaging book prompted many travel memories among club members.

Mary by Janis Cooke Newman
 
Insightful, Interesting, Informative
Historical fiction capturing the events of the life of Mary Todd Lincoln.

After what Mary Todd Lincolon endured in her lifetime, how could she not have gone mad. This book opens the pages of Mary Todd Lincoln's journal, written while she was institutionalized in an insane asylum, put there by her only living son. Mrs. Lincoln tells her story, writing as passionately as she lived. It's fiction, of course, but Newman based it firmly on the biography of Mary Todd Lincoln by Jean Baker and one has no trouble believing it could be true. A good read and a perfect companion to Baker's biography.

 
Confusing, Informative, Insightful
Opens many avenues for discussion but was a disappointing read.

Wally Lamb is one of my very favorite authors and I admire much about this book. However, there were so many story lines I became exhausted following each one. I never developed a heartfelt interest in any of the characters but did appreciate the way he demonstrated how tragedy begets tragedy.


The Innocent Man by John Grisham
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Gloomy, Scary
The Innocent Man

Eye-opening account of how far from just our justice system can be.

The Killer Angels: A Novel by Michael Shaara
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Informative, Brilliant
The Killer Angels

I did not imagine I would like this book so much. Yes, it's the story of a battle but it is so much more. The author puts you there with the generals and lets you see how their strengths and weaknesses forever influenced the fate of our country.

Dreamers of the Day: A Novel by Mary Doria Russell
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Adventurous, Interesting
Dreamers of the Day

I read another review somewhere that said that it was a tribute to how well this book was written that you didn't realize until you were finished that it really wasn't a very good book. That sums it up perfectly for me. I couldn't put Dreamers of the Day down but when I was finished with it I went in search of a good book--perhaps The Sparrow or Thread of Grace.

The Widow of the South by Robert Hicks
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Insightful, Interesting
Beautifully written account of the aftermath of an important battle of the Civil War.

 
Dramatic, Romantic, Interesting
The House at Riverton

After a long, slow, deliberate exposition, the final 100 pages did pick up and deliver an interesting conclusion. However, by that time I really didn't care what happened to the characters anyway.

 
Gloomy, Interesting, Life Changing
The Knitting Club

Each chapter reveals a new, painful story.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Fun, Interesting
A primer on character development.

The story of the occupation of Guernsey is fascinating and how lucky was I to have the quirky inhabitants of that island to tell it to me through their letters. In only 278 pages the author painted them all so clearly it was hard to look back and remember how confused I was at the beginning by this rather large cast of characters. I hated for the book to end, but as one does with old letters, I'll read them all again.

 
Book Club Recommended
Pointless, Informative, Interesting
True tales from a young girl's diary written in 1920's New York.

The subject matter and setting were very interesting but the story was told by a reporter, not a novelist. Often plodding it still kept me reading, waiting to see what new surprising and often shocking adventure Florence would begin.

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Adventurous
A compelling read but very disturbing.

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Informative, Fun
Candid autobiography of talk show host Craig Ferguson

If you are a fan of Craig Ferguson, you'll like this book. It's amazing that he could even remember so much of his out-of-control life. More amazing is that he retained enough brain cells to write about it so insightfully.

 
Difficult, Unconvincing, Pointless
Best book I didn't like

Netherland is so well written that I kept reading right to the end, hoping for something I could point to and say, "Aha, that is what this is all about!" Ultimately, I just found it unfulfilling and the characters unlikeable.

 
Unconvincing, Slow, Pointless
Promising premise that didn't deliver.

 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Insightful, Brilliant
An account of how a brilliant author moved through grief into mourning.

Sing Them Home: A Novel by Stephanie Kallos
 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Insightful, Informative
An interesting story that is well-written but would have benefited greatly from better editing.

The opening chapters held much promise and reminded me of "Our Town." Some passages read like poetry, the characters were interesting and their stories were resolved to our satisfaction. However, our midwestern book club was quick to spot inaccuracies in locale. It's always a bit of an insult to a reader when the writer fails to do his/her research.

Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful, Dark
Like its setting deep in the Ozarks, this story is at once beautiful, yet dark and disturbing.

The movie was gripping, the book even more so. Woodrell transports you to the hills and back woods of the Ozarks and to a life steeped in suspicion, tribal codes and despair. As young Ree Dolly goes on her journey of discovery, you see only hopelessness, but the ending is oddly upbeat. Everyone in my book club read and liked this book and found much to discuss about a book that is only 224 pages long.

 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Slow, Confusing
Murder mystery set in the frozen north.

Lots of characters to keep track of, lots of subplots that really don't resolve very well, but a gripping read nonetheless.

Crossing the Tracks by Barbara Stuber
 
Book Club Recommended
Romantic, Optimistic, Insightful
A very sweet book that wraps you in and leaves you feeling good.

Her mother dead, her father disinterested, the young heroine of this book makes her own way in the world. The world is small town Missouri prior to the Great Depression. Wonderfully drawn off-beat characters help her or, in some cases, threaten her, as she grows up in a summer's time.

Little Bee: A Novel by Chris Cleave
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Insightful, Interesting
Global forces' impact on individuals told brilliantly and thought-provokingly.

Mudbound by Hillary Jordan
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Insightful, Interesting
People trying to raise themselves up out of the mud.

This is just a plain old good story told well. The bad guys are really bad and the good guys (and women) are complicated and not always good. Plan to read it straight through.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Insightful
Assigned to Berlin in 1933, America's first ambassador to Hitler's Germany struggles against the tide.

Erik Larson put me right on the scene and I could not stop reading, shaking my head in disbelief at how the events unfolded.

The Postmistress by Sarah Blake
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Informative, Dramatic
WWII is ramping up and three very different women are pulled into its clutches.

Thought provoking and beautifully written, I could not stop reading.

The Likeness by Tana French
 
Unconvincing, Interesting, Dramatic
Undercover cop loses her objectivity.

Meh. Couldn't buy the premise but went along for the ride. "Liked" the book but would have preferred to have spent my reading time on something more rewarding.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Inspiring
The biography of Russia's great Catherine.

Massie has no equal as a biographer and Catherine was a fascinating leader. Great read.

Just Kids by Patti Smith
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Informative, Pointless
A fascinating look at creativity.

A biography that reads like poetry. You may not know or like the individuals in this book, but Smith writes about them and her life eloquently.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Brilliant, Interesting
Fantastical circus is setting for life and death love story.

This read more like a movie script than a novel. I liked the descriptions of the various "tents" in the circus but the story line was weak and the characters were poorly developed.

Gone Girl: A Novel by Gillian Flynn
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Dark, Interesting
A book that leaves you hoping you\'ll never meet up with a person like the Gone Girl.

I despised the characters and couldn\\\'t read fast enough. Compelling and repulsive at the same time. I actually liked it better the second time I read it when I knew the outcome and could appreciate the way every detail was worked out.

 
Book Club Recommended
Compelling story with no easy answers.

Left Neglected by Lisa Genova
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Inspiring, Interesting
Brain injury prioritizes a family's way of life.

 
Poorly Written, Informative, Confusing
Standing by your man when he\\\'s an astronaut.

 
Slow, Unconvincing, Pointless

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Inspiring, Beautiful

A Man Called Ove: A Novel by Fredrik Backman
 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Insightful, Beautiful

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Inspiring, Dramatic

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Informative, Epic

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Beautiful, Epic
History with heart

Mary Doria Russell dives back into the world she opened to us in her novel Doc. Epitaph follows Wyatt Earp and his family through to the end and unravels the complexities of the events that culminated in that famous shootout at the OK corral.

 
Informative, Interesting, Adventurous

 
Interesting, Insightful, Dramatic

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