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Poorly Written, Unconvincing
Nice Try - but no dice

If you can totally ignore the blatant errors in this Victorian tale, and just concentrate on the story, the book is passable. But, being a British Victorian Fiction major in College, I could not. The author did not do his homework in terms of what was in use at the time, what people wore, ate or spoke like and just over-used the comma in general. I would not reccommend this to a picky reader!

The Piano Teacher: A Novel by Janice Y. K. Lee
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Pointless, Confusing
Finally A Woman Who Stands on Her Own

I adored this book - more because the piano teacher does not end up with ANY guy than anything else. Given the time period that this is all taking place, it is remarkable that such a young expatriot would choose to go it alone instead of either remaining miserable with her husband or throwing herself at her lover in a despertate attempt to sway him.

The historical portion of the story is both sad and moving - I really would love to see this book made into a tasteful film because the characters could share so much in the unspoken word that would translate so well on film.

Others in the book club did not like the "sad" aspect to the book and didn't understand her choice in the end.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Inspiring, Interesting
Worth the Read, but this is Not this Generation's Gone With the Wind

I think taking this perspective (of a white woman looking in at the world of african-american maids in the south during this critical period in history) is unique and makes me want to recommend that people read the book. But, I don't think the author winds-up the book very well. The focus shifts too suddenly from a good balance between the two worlds to being all about the author and her struggle to get the book written and published. I'm not buying a lot of the sterotypes in the book because they were too heavy-handed - things are much more shades of grey on both sides of the fence. But - I would think the book would appeal across generations and would be good for almost any club.

 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Adventurous, Interesting
Precociousness to the Max

I adored Flavia and her adventures in this book so much that I pre-ordered the next in the series and cannot wait to revisit this family! This story was slow to start (you will be wondering whether anything other than chemistry experiments and bike rides will ever happen) but once it got going, I was hooked.

Some in the club thought that this was more of young adult reading, but I disagree. I think that the many layers of activity and conversation are present - and just because the novel is told from an 11 year old's point of view does not mean only those around that age will enjoy the tale (think of the Lovely Bones - she was 14 - or the Chronicles of Narnia - many of which revolve around children - or the Lord of the Flies!)

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Boring, Fun
Perfect Resource!

This is a fabulous book not only for the pictures of the novels inside, the smart chronological organization and the heft and sturdy binding, but the sheer ability to start to "check-off" things on a "list". I immediately went through it and checked the ones I had read and was pleasantly surprised I was halfway there - and only in my 30's! Ah, the joy of a good education.

Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls
 
Adventurous, Interesting, Inspiring
Meh

I have not read Glass Castle, but based on this one, I don't think I would want to continue with the tedious writing style of this author. Although her grandmother certainly overcame hardship, the book lacks any real message and the woman never seemed very endearing to me!

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Fun, Adventurous
I LOVE Flavia

These books are addictive, but not in the cheesy, young adult sense. Sure, the narrator is an 11 year old girl, but the subject matter and treatment that the story receives is way beyond that and clearly meant for adults. I loved the souble story line going on in this second installment of the series and am thrilled that Alan plans for 7 at the current time!!

Perfect Life: A Novel by Jessica Shattuck
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Gloomy
Twisted, but in a good way!

This book has a little something for everyone. It's not the typical, "here we are ten years or twenty years after college" sappy kind of treatment. This is a serious, gloom and doom kind of examination of people's choices and the lives that just seem to happen to us all. Although you're never really feeling totally attached to any of the characters, you can totally feel what they are struggling with and going along for the ride, if nothing else, makes you examine your own life and choices!

The Commoner: A Novel by John Burnham Schwartz
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Informative, Insightful
Not Historically Accurate

The author takes what is a true event and takes A TON of creative license with the facts. That being said, I still love the story. I just hate to think that people read this and think that what is on paper is what really happened and/or that the timeline that is represented is really true. I think he could have done more with the middle of the story surrounding the alleged breakdown, and the ending is a little far fetched (And totally false) but overall it is well-written and certainly compelling.

 
Book Club Recommended
Poorly Written, Graphic, Romantic
Bringing the Bedroom Talk Front and Center

There is nothing about this that screams "great literature", but it is a fun read, an interesting plot (especially when you move on to volumes 2 and 3) and compelling main characters. If it gets people talking (in relationships more than coffee klatches) about sex, then it is a great thing.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Insightful, Interesting
Critical History

Being of Japanese descent, I am always amazed at how little Americans know about the Japanese being sent to Internment Camps during WWII. This book takes that critical history lesson one step further and, in the format of what is really an epic poem, gives the reader a background of the journey to America and the struggle to adapt and make a life leading up to the Camps that took all of that away.

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Interesting, Informative
Historical Gap Filler

This is a great story about a lot of historical Chicagoans who don't usually get referenced. You begin to see Mayor Thompson as more than just a "buffoon" as the media portrayed him and you get insight into the post WWI sentiments that affected political life in a city of immigrants. Race riots, a blimp that crashes into a downtown full of people ignoring Prohibition, there is something for everyone.

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Dark, Interesting
Gone Girl Really Packs a Punch!

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
 
Book Club Recommended
Gloomy, Epic, Adventurous
Consider the science of 1818 when this was written!

 
Informative, Boring, Inspiring
A Glamorous Star Deserves a Better Story

I really expected more out of this book than an overly technical explanation of wave-radio signals for torpedos. I never got the feeling that the two stories of the two "inventors" was really put together well and I there were huge chunks of time that were given short shrift.

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Slow, Pointless
Don\\\'t get caught up in the story

Because you will miss the intricate details of this short and deliciously fascinating book. No one here is admirable or without flaws and that is what makes the book so enjoyable.

Sutton by J.R. Moehringer
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Adventurous, Informative
A biography disguised as a novel

Once you accept that this is just a fictionalized biography of a once-famous bank robber who has a unique memory of his past, you will enjoy the ride.

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Interesting, Adventurous
Real Life Mad Men of the Newspaper Industry

 
Book Club Recommended
Joan Crawford had nothing on this mom!

The Gin Lovers by Jamie Brenner
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Romantic
So much more than steamy romance!

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Interesting, Slow
The title is ironic, get over it and enjoy the ride.

 
Pointless, Boring, Poorly Written
Chip on your shoulder, Mr. Dyja?

The Borrower: A Novel by Rebecca Makkai
 
Book Club Recommended
Optimistic, Interesting, Fun
A twist to the normal kid/adult adventure

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Informative, Interesting
The commentary is far more interesting than the story!

The Kitchen House: A Novel by Kathleen Grissom
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Insightful
Other treatments of the time period have done it better

 
Book Club Recommended
Do you believe in ghosts?

A Dual Inheritance: A Novel by Joanna Hershon
 
Persuasive, Brilliant, Epic
Stereotypical, boring characters!

Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris
 
Book Club Recommended
Dark, Interesting, Slow
Sarcastically fabulous!

 
Book Club Recommended
Dark, Slow, Interesting
Gorgeous writing and unexpected ending!

 
Prize-winning? Yuck!

So many gimmicks at work in this novel and for no apparent reason. All the people I know who "love" the book still can't explain the vast majority of them, either. Hideously long and awful.

 
Beautiful, Insightful, Dramatic
Awful

When you find yourself, near the end of the book, just wanting the guy to find her so that you can stop reading, you know something is wrong. That whole sequence was so ridiculous and drawn-out, it was as if the author was begging for someone to turn the book into a movie. Please don\\\'t.

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