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How to Be Good by Nick Hornby
Interesting discussion - many different points of view

After rereading the book I had a different opinion than the first read. I remember it being funny and enjoying it. After the second read I think I liked it even more. The story is a little different having the 'healer', GoodNews, but the characters around him were very real, especially Katie. I felt that she said things that most people are thinking but don't want to say out loud, eg, Christopher was not a lovable child. The book generated an interesting discussion about what it means to be good. The discussion group didn't like the ending because it was dismal. I felt it reflected real life: the family was working together and although the sky was dark ahead (although she referenced it as behind David) Katie was going to plow through it. To me it was more that they still had a long way to go to get the life she really wanted. But last time she got what she wanted she regretted it (David's 'conversion'). Becky read that Hornby went through a divorce around the time of writing the book, so we surmised that that could have influenced the dismal ending.

1776 by David McCullough
Informative, Insightful, Optimistic

Interesting material. I had problems following all the details, probably because I was listening to it and was not always a captive audience. May try listening to it again.

Fun, Romantic, Adventurous
A fun book to read

I found Savannah Blues to be very entertaining and looked forward to reading it. Although the topics of discussion were lighter than most of the other books, there was still plenty to discuss. Some of the story line was predictable, but was happy with the outcome. Characters were amusing.

Informative, Dramatic, Insightful
An interesting story.

I liked the book because of the art discussions and a couple of the characters were worth getting to know: Erila and the mother. However, my reservations include the lack of depth of Alessandra. She was not altogether believable: a 14 year old marries a gay man who is in love with her brother. She's in love with a painter only because he has a skill she desires and her clandestine pursuit of him is a challenge. Then although she pretty much has the life she wanted, she tries to kill herself. And later in life she does kill herself because she doesn't want to be too old and sickly before she dies and she no longer gets to do whatever she wants at the convent. The other reason I gave it a 2 was because of the lack of history and including historical figures just for their names without adding to the development of the story.

Informative, Interesting, Adventurous
Very interesting

Swanson has a flair for storytelling.

Blindness (Harvest Book) by Jose Saramago
Insightful, Brilliant, Interesting
We had a great discussion, but difficult to read.

It was a difficult book to read. Some of the events were quite shocking and may not have been necessary to get the point across.

Flags of Our Fathers by James Bradley, Ron Powers
Very interesting

Good blend of battle experiences and getting to know the men who served. I'm beginning to understand why so many of the WWII vets do not want to discuss it.

Empire Falls by Richard Russo
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Boring, Insightful
Highly recommend

This is one of my favorite books. The characters have a lot of depth and the story shows how a once somewhat prosperous town can decline.

Straight Man by Richard Russo
Book Club Recommended
Brilliant, Fun, Pointless
Well written and humorous

Russo is an incredible writer who can mix humor and heartache. I highly recommend any of his books.

Interesting, Inspiring, Dramatic
Not believable

There were too many inconsistencies (primarily with the happy times) in the book to believe it all really happened. I'm sure she had a tragic life, but the part that was missing is her coming to grips with it. Her and her siblings (as adults) are not living the American dream and I felt like she was trying to convince the reader they are all ok.

The Gathering by Anne Enright
Book Club Recommended
Boring, Slow, Gloomy
Interesting - honest

An honest look at grief. The style is a different from American authors, but felt that the author captured real emotions and was brave enough to share thoughts that are taboo.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows
Informative, Interesting, Fun
Light read

The story started off interesting, but then became predictable. It didn't make sense that the mother would put her life at risk when she had such a young daughter in her care. Contrived so the other woman could fit into the story. Plenty of discussion though.

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