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My Reviews

Spring Awakening: A Play by Frank Wedekind
 
Not the most enjoyable read, but created good discussion

The book was tough to get through and hard to understand since it had very little stage directions included. It made the effort worthwhile though because the themes were timeless and we had a great time discussing it (even if the majority didn't like the play).

 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Beautiful, Fun
All about relationships

I enjoyed this book, but didn't feel like it challenged me. The characters were vivid and real. I liked the way she structured the book so you got to hear each of the characters' voices.

 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Dramatic, Interesting
Surprising gem

I was pleasantly surprised by this book since I wasn't too excited about a "circus" book. The parallels with the biblical story gave it a bit more depth while it remained an easy and entertaining read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Dramatic, Brilliant
Worthwhile read

I found the book to be very worth the effort it took to read it. There are some very graphic and disturbing scenes, but it really paints a picture of what it was like in Afganistan.

Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver
 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Informative, Optimistic
Beautifully Crafted

The book masterfully weaves 3 story lines together with a common thread of concern for nature and our impact upon it. The perspective is so well presented that it will change what you see when you look out your windows.

 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Informative, Insightful
Educational Fun

Reading nonfiction was a nice change and this story really lends itself to discussion. I loved all the information packed in around the main story to educate people about the region, the culture and the ties to major historical events like 9/11. It is so inspiring to see what one person can do!

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Adventurous
Difficult, but worthwhile

The book started very slowly and had a lot of back story, but after the first 100 pages or so it really picked up. The story is so complex and elaborate that it's a little hard to follow at times, but it is well done and really makes you think about some difficult subjects. I found it well worth my time and plan on reading his other 2 books, but others in my club couldn't finish it.

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
 
Book Club Recommended
Romantic, Interesting, Beautiful
Too much and too long

The members of my club all seemed to like this much better than I, but we all agreed it should have been much shorter. While the concept was interesting and quite romantic, I didn't feel strongly connected to the characters and so didn't really care what happened to them. There are a lot of depressing, difficult topics in the plot and the group agreed it was too much.

Summer of Two Wishes by Julia London
 
Boring, Slow, Pointless
Predictable and Bland

A fast, easy read that didn't provide enough "meat" for our group to have much of a discussion. Very few like-able characters paired with unclear motivations made for a not-so-enjoyable read.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Fun, Interesting
Unique Format, Unique Perspective

I was dubious about the idea of an entire novel using the format of letters between the characters to tell its story, but it more than won me over. It was a bit difficult to keep all the characters straight at the beginning, but all the characters were so interesting, well-written and dynamic that by the end it was lots of fun to feel like you were getting a peek at the personal correspondence of these folks. I loved the bits of history that the book weaves in and even enjoyed the bit of romance in the book despite its predictability.

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Inspiring, Insightful
Fast, Predictable Enjoyable Read

If you're looking for a deep intellectual novel, this isn't it. But, if you want an easy read that has dynamic characters and moving relationships, this is a great find. Our club really enjoyed it.

 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Dramatic, Interesting
Worth a Step Back in Time

I really liked taking a break from all the contemporary novels our group usually reads to go back and read a "classic." The story itself was fine, but what I ended up enjoying more than anything was all the information about Doyle and the entire Sherlock Holmes library. We had a good discussion as a group and I am looking forward to reading more Holmes in the future.

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Informative, Insightful
A Lot from A Little

Our group was split on how much each person liked the book overall, but we were all impressed at how well the author created a tale focused on a biblical character that doesn't utter a single word in the Bible text. Opened a lot of cultural questions and comparisons as well as gender issues. Certainly provides a lot to talk about!

 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Adventurous, Romantic
Fast Fun

Since we had more than one Jane Austen fan in our group, it made reading this book more fun. It is a fanciful tale with a fairly shallow and transparent characters and plot, but manages to be enjoyable anyway. Don't read it for a deep and meaningful discussion, but for a fast, fun summer read it was just right.

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Interesting, Boring
Not Your Typical Memoir

The members of our group all seemed to have very different takes on this book- which certainly made for a good and interesting discussion. Some were off-put by the authors lifestyle and/ or the way the book jumps around in her life (there are large gaps). Others found the approach refreshing. The book is organized almost as a series of essays and is only tied together loosely with the theme of faith. It provided a unique look at faith development and made for great discussion.

Lucky by Alice Sebold
 
Book Club Recommended
Graphic, Dramatic, Dark
Difficult Subject, Great Discussion

The book is called a memoir, but it really only focuses on the topic of rape and the role it played in the author's life. Any group considering this should know it is very graphic and detailed. If you do decide to read it, I doubt you will regret it though because it's blunt style forces you to examine a topic most pretend doesn't exist and will give your group a chance for some fantastic, deep, meaningful discussion.

Hold Still by Nina LaCour
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Interesting, Gloomy
Tough topic written for teens

This book didn't thrill any of us, but we could appreciate it for what it was- a book about teenage suicide and depression and how other teens cope with it. It was well done and written in a way that we all agreed would speak well to teens.

The Namesake: A Novel by Jhumpa Lahiri
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful, Beautiful
Wishing for a different main character

The book is very worthwhile- beautifully written, intelligent and it gives the reader a good look at the struggles of Indian immigrant families. That being said, I found myself wishing that Lahiri had chosen to keep the focus of the book on the parents rather than the son (the "Namesake" as it were) as I connected with them more and found them to be more interesting and dynamic.

Have a Little Faith by Mitch Albom
 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Informative, Interesting
Good discussion

I wasn't overly impressed with the book and felt it didn't compare with Tuesdays with Morrie. That being said, it did have wonderful undertones of acceptance that I appreciated even more than Albom's attempts to discuss his own faith journey (it just felt like he was a bit uncomfortable with that, despite having chosen to write a book focused on faith). Everyone liked the Rabbi's storyline much more and found ourselves wishing the Christian minister's story hadn't been included in this book. Most of the group liked the book more than I did and it did promote a really great discussion. You'll definitely get different things from it depending on your own current life situation.

 
Book Club Recommended
Romantic, Informative, Beautiful
Lots to discuss

Although the book didn't seem to be anyone's favorite, everyone enjoyed it and we had a great discussion. The different perspective on WWII of the relationship between Chinese and Japanese immigrants was unique. The book contains a lot of typical themes like generational struggles, a forbidden love, immigrant identity, and morality, which made it a great pick for our club.

Zorro: A Novel by Isabel Allende
 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Fun, Epic
Fiction with a Side of History

This book sets out to tell how Zorro became the Zorro of legends that we've all seen in movies and does a great job. Allende is a beautiful writer and more than does the subject justice. She includes a ton of historical events and places making it read like historical fiction. I really enjoyed having the background filled in and loved that she ends the book with a more typical Zorro adventure.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Inspiring, Interesting
Good discussion, not great writing

If you are looking for high literature, this isn't it, but it is a captivating story with some interesting characters. The time period of U.S. history it is set in lends itself perfectly to the book's themes. Our group enjoyed it and had lots to talk about.

 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Dramatic, Informative
Journalistic style for an unbelievable story

Not everyone in our group liked the degree of details included in the book, but it was certainly clear the author's research was extensive. The story is so "Hollywood" that you can picture the movie as you read. It was great learning about the strength of the human spirit even against the greatest odds.

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Inspiring, Informative
Beautiful book by a remarkable woman

While reading this I found it hard to remember that it wasn't fiction, that it is in fact a true story about the early life of a great poet and writer. I think Angelou's poetry is better than her books, but this is still worthwhile.

The Color Purple by Alice Walker
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Inspiring, Beautiful
So much packed in a little book

There was so much for our club to discuss because there are so many levels of depth to this book- no wonder it became a classic so quickly! The characters are interesting and dynamic and we all really enjoyed it.

The Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson
 
Informative, Slow
For Word Lovers, Not Book Clubs

I really enjoyed this book, but it is not well suited to a book club discussion. It is densely packed with facts with wry humor and interesting side notes that are easy to miss if you don't pay attention. You will feel smarter for having read it, but probably won't be excited to discuss details with others.

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Optimistic, Insightful
Impressive undertaking

Our book club members all loved this book (which is unusual for us all to agree) and the book provided lots of topics for good discussion. It was amazing how well Roose stayed fair and non-judgemental towards people who he mostly disagreed with- especially considering he was only 19 at the time. Facinating, entertaining, and informative, the book was a well written easy read that I would recommend to anyone.

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Boring, Unconvincing
Interesting topics, but fell flat

Although intrigued by the look at China as Communism rose to power and by the idea of Chinese spies, the characters in the book failed to connect with me and I ended up not caring what happened to them. I was frustrated by the main character and it was clear that the author has never been married in how frivolously all the characters treated marital relationships. Our book club members were all over the board about this book, but for me it just never lived up to the potential that the topic matter provided.

The Girls by Emma Cline
 
Graphic, Dark, Insightful

This was not an easy read as the content was uncomfortable, but it was worth it. It is beautifully written and an impressive 1st novel. I thought the survivor psychology of someone who never deals with their trauma was right on, creating a achingly sad voice for the main character.

 
Informative, Insightful, Interesting

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