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My Reviews

Eating Heaven by Jennie Shortridge
 
Inspiring, Beautiful, Insightful
Outstanding, well-written story. I would highly recommend this book!

I can't simply say enough great things about this book. Although the topics covered throughout the novel (eating disorders, dysfunctional families, terminal illness) remind the reader of the sadder parts of life, I finished this novel feeling uplifted and happy! The main characters were masterfully developed and I enjoyed every minute of reading this book. I am recommending it to everyone I know.

 
Informative, Interesting, Dark
A true-to-life metaphor of good an evil

Not only is the story facinating, but Erik Larson has a real gift for writing non-fiction like a story. There were many times that I forgot this was all factual data he had written.

His research was very thorough, but not repetative.

I would highly recommend this book (especially if you are from Chicago). It is informative, facinating and frightening all at the same time. And it is wonderful to revisit all the many things we take for granted today that made it's debut at the World' Fair

 
A journalist writes about his experience in a hospital psychiatric ward

Some members of our club enjoyed this book immensly and some did not enjoy it at all. While Jim Knipfel's account of his stay in a hospital psychiatric ward was disturbing and comedic at the same time, the ending was very disappointing and left most of us dissatisfied. The book did bring up many discussions of the mental health care system, and how unbelievably archaic it was at the time Knipfel had his experience.

Overall it was a very easy, quick read, but did not leave you with an especially good feeling after finishing it.

The Tender Bar: A Memoir by J. R. Moehringer
 
Interesting, Insightful, Dramatic
A tender story of a boys journey into manhood

OH Boy, did I love this book. It was so refreshing to read Moehringer's humorous yet serious perspective about growing up without a traditional father figure. His characters were animated and realistic all at the same time. So many times when you read a memoir, you expect to encounter tragic events in the writers life that he/she never seem to be able to get over, but this author was able to tell it like it was without going over-the-top dramatic. And finally, his ending realization of who the real "father figure" in his life was was so sweet it actually took my breath away. Unfortunately, we have no men in our bookclub, but I would love to get a man's perspective on this story.

The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway
 
Pointless, Adventurous, Epic
It's a classic - what else is there to say

This is the first time I have read this book, although I have read Hemingway before. Reading Hemingway's style was refreshing, but if you are used to reading a more complicated narrative, you may find yourself getting a little frustrated with the simple flowing style of his writing. The story is sweet, and there are many different topics that can be discussed, including religious metaphors, which makes this a great book for discussion.

 
Not that much of a mystery

Overall, our club was rather disappointed with this book. It's odd really, because it is well-written. However, it wasn't compelling enough that I would want to go out of my way to read it. Additionally, I was especially dissatisfied with the ending.

This month, we are reading the follow-up "A Spectacle of Corruption" and we are hoping that the second book is more enjoyable than the first.

While this wasn't the worst story I've read, I don't believe that I would recommend it to anyone in the future.

 
Fun, Interesting, Confusing
If you don't take the premise of the story seriously, you will enjoy this book!

The other caveat to this book is that it is very satirical....if you don't enjoy British humor, you may not enjoy it as much. That being said, this is one of the funniest stories I've read in a long time. The footnotes, in many cases, were funnier than the actual story! The great thing I think about this story, also, is that it flows very nicely.....the main point of the story - the impending Armageddon and end of the world - begings smack dab in the middle of the book. From that point, the whole story moves quickly. Once I got to that point, I could not put it down. Whether it was because the writing was so original, or I just couldn't wait to find out what actually happens, it was non-stop reading for me until the end!

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
 
Fun, Interesting, Insightful
A sometimes humourous, sometimes serious memoir

We all agreed that, while there were a number of humorous stories that Mr. Sedaris recounted from his childhood and experiences in France, there were also many essays in which he may have mocked or made fun of people and/or situations that were inappropriate and not very funny. At times it was hard to tell if he was recounting a dysfunctional childhood, or simply reliving memories of his past that he thought others could relate to.

It was an easy read, but there wasn't a lot to discuss.

 
Gloomy, Epic, Adventurous
Simply, put....a classic

One of the biggest reasons why this story is so great for a book club is because there are so many different topics you can discuss. This is the third time I've read this story, and amazingly enough, I again was able to find ideas to talk about that I never encountered the first two times I read it. Not only that, but because it is such a classic, there are plenty of literary critisims available to help along with the discussion.

Life of Pi by Yann Martel
 
Adventurous, Interesting, Brilliant
An Interesting Story???......

We did not have our entire bookclub group on the night we discussed this but I have to say that those of us there that night were not terribly impressed with the story. I personally thought the writing was adequate, but somehow the story didn't grab me until well into the middle of the book. If you do intend to read this book, you really must stay with it until the very end to get the full effect of the book. While I would not necessarily recommend this book, I think there are probably many topics for discussion.

The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living by Dalai Lama, Howard C. Cutler
 
If you have the time to spend this is an interesting book

I think that the ideas expressed in this book are extremely valuable. However, while the ideas are relatively simple, the way in which the book is written is rather redundant. I would recommend reading this if you have the time and the patience to get through it.

On many occassions, the author does take the principle ideas and gives the reader real world examples of how to use them in day-to-day life.

 
Dramatic, Insightful, Interesting
Wow! This author never disappoints!!

This is the second book we've read by this author, so we had an idea going into it what her style was. But I feel this book was monumentally better the other one we read (The Tenth Circle). I thought it was extremely well-written, with all the characters fully developed. You finish this book feeling like this family are your neighbors! And I thought this novel was such an excellent choice for discussion, as there were no easy answers to the conflicts the characters faced. As we are all mothers in our book club, this story especially hit home for us. The question "What would you do in this situation?" was always coming up. I would highly recommend this book for a discussion group, and just to read.

The Poisonwood Bible: A Novel by Barbara Kingsolver
 
Informative, Adventurous, Insightful
This book was waaaayyyy too long!

I did not enjoy this book at all, and it wasn't because it wasn't well written. It was because it was way too long. The author could've have told this story in a much shorter book. She would have been able to cover the same themes and introduce the characters just as thoroughly and she could have done it in a much more concise manner. It's a shame too because from a literary point there were many sections of the book that were a pleasure to read. But the topics kept getting told again, and again and again. I could barely finish this story. It's a real shame!

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
 
Brilliant, Insightful, Inspiring
I can see now why this is a classic

I am so disappointed that I did not read this book in high school. This book was so enjoyable I can only imagine what it would have been like to read it from a younger person's perspective rather than an adult's. One of my most favorite things about reading a book is really getting to know the characters, and this the author did this superbly! There is absolutely nothing I can say about this book that is negative.

 
Adventurous, Inspiring, Dramatic
Good story but not good discussion

This was a very intersting story, and I am glad we read it, but it was not a book that prompted a very stimulating discussion. I would recommend it, but not for a bookclub discussion.

The Exception by Christian Jungersen
 
Book Club Recommended
Dark, Confusing
Its a shame because it was an interesting concept....

I don't recall why or how we selected this book. Usually, that reason prompts our group's overall feeling of the book. That being said, I thought the story line was interesting. It started out slow, but in the middle, I couldn't put it down. The ending, however was most disappointing, especially after reading such a long story (455 pages). With novels, I usually determine the author's skill by how much I become attached to the characters, and actually think about them after I finish the books, as if they had become some kind of new friend. I did not feel any such attachment with these characters. It do think it is a good discussion book. There are a lot of personality issues that can be talked about. I know that is a lot of what our club discussed with this book.

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