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My Reviews

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Unconvincing, Informative
Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping

Although some members of our book club founds parts of the book insightful, with some inspiring anecdotes; most found the book unconvincing and unable to relate to Judith's ideas of 'not buying it'.

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

The feeling overall was don't give up on the book even if the first 1/4 you are distracted with all the characters, letters being the body of the work, etc. All were glad they continued on to the end and felt they learned something about WWII that was little known.

Benny & Shrimp: A Novel by Katarina Mazetti
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful, Romantic
Benny and Shrimp

Our group enjoyed reading this translated version and found a lively discussion in the nuances of the cultural differences that the characters portrayed. Although we differed with the author on a couple points, we felt more of an empathetic connection to Benny's character than Shrimps; who we found selfish and immature. We felt the ending was a bit surprising and seemed out of place with Shrimps character. Cultural thing here? We weren't sure.

A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick
 
Book Club Recommended
Dark, Dramatic, Interesting
The Reliable Wife

If you are looking for a straight forward, single layered book; this isn't for you. The characters are brimming with deep seated problems and secrets. The setting is dark and gloomy, adding to the overall feel of the book; much like the classics that this book has been compared to. The two main characters, Ralph and Catherine, do indeed add that glimmer of hope that keeps this book alive. You may not see it at first, but stay to the end. You won't regret it.

Moloka'i: A Novel by Alan Brennert
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Inspiring, Interesting
Moloka'i

Historical description of a time in Hawaiian and American history (1890 to 1970) when people with leprosy were sent to the island of Kalaupapa. Through the devastating effects, treatments and social trauma; the people of Kalaupapa were able to establish a community of family, friends and normalcy that is nothing beyond inspiring. This book accurately portrays the horrors of leprosy; yet left you optimistic that their lives were richly blessed due to the perseverance of the victims and the Divine that lived within them.

Driftwood Summer by Patti Callahan Henry
 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Romantic, Beautiful
Driftwood Summer

This book had a lot of layers that made it book club worthy for discussion; mother/daugther, sister/sister, family dynamics, romance, friendships, illness, hard times. The atmosphere of the book made it perfect for a summer book club pick. Who wouldn't want a book store on the beach?!!

The Poisonwood Bible: A Novel by Barbara Kingsolver
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Adventurous, Insightful
The Poisonwood Bible

Half the group finished the book; half didn't. Most that didn't said that the book droned on and the writing didn't appeal to them. One whole section (or book) we thought was unnecessary to the story. Just a lot of political rambling regarding the country; which you could get the gist of just by reading the rest of the book. Or the author could have incorporated that into the book in small bites. You were definitely made to feel that this was a 'life story' book with every descriptive detail and explanation given. Depending on what you like; that is good or bad! It is not a book to be devoured in one sitting; rather sipped slowly over days.

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Informative, Dramatic
The Wives of Henry Oades

This book really got our groups emotions going! We all had some strong opinions towards Henry. He is a character we will always remember! The issue of having one wife who you think has died and then re-marrying another; finding out after 7 years that your first wife didn't die but is now standing on your doorstep with your 3 children (who you also thought died)....well....it made for some great discussion and lots of opinions. Lots to discuss regarding, Henry and the two wives, Margaret and Nancy. This book highlights women who become each others support and how adversity can be handled in ways that are best for all.

The Seance by John Harwood
 
Book Club Recommended
Scary, Dramatic, Adventurous
The Seance

Perfect book to read for October! Dark, victorian feel...creepy mansion...dark characters...underlying mystery that surprises up to the end! The jacket cover that corresponds to the book on the Book Movement site is incorrect!!

 
Book Club Recommended
Unconvincing, Interesting, Confusing
The Next Queen of Heaven

We had completely mixed reviews of this book. Because of that I had to do 3 stars-couldn't find it in my heart to put 2! This book created lots of discussion; and for that reason alone, it is definitely book club worthy. As one of our book clubbers said, "This book just seemed like lots of incomplete stories that never got wrapped up." We never agreed on any question we posed; what does the title mean/who's it supposed to refer to?; why did Tabitha end up with Jeremy? Is Tabitha really pregnant?Did Leontina, Tabitha or the brothers get anything out of Leontina getting hit on the head and being 'out of it' for weeks?; Why the cute cover? Who's the girl on the cover?; Who is it supposed to represent?; Why kill off the Sister with a truck carrying Christmas Trees? Does that represent anything?

 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Dramatic, Brilliant
Dark Road to Darjeeling

We had a mixed bag of reviews on this novel, hence the 3 stars. No one had read a previous 'Lady Gray' novel, so we all went into it as 'newbies'. We all agreed that you didn't necessarily need to read any of the previous novels to enjoy this one; however, there appeared to be some subplots that build on to previous books. The numerous characters had some of our readers confused and created difficulties following the plot. The first half of the book read slower than the last half; when the story started to build steam to the many unexpected happenings. The setting of India 'felt' beautiful-the characters were eccentric, unique and created topics for varied discussion.

House Rules: A Novel by Jodi Picoult
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Informative, Interesting
House Rules

As all of Jodi's book, this book provided lots of discussion into the disorder of Aspergers/Autism. Realistic portrayal of a person who has this disorder and how they navigate in their world.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Dramatic, Interesting
My Name is Mary Sutter

With the 150th Anniversary of the start of the Civil War, this was an appropriate book to commemorate this historic event and discuss the changes in history that have taken place since this time period. Particularly in the area of health care. We have a couple nurses in our group, and they enjoyed reading about how patients were treated and with what. Fascinating.

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Insightful, Interesting
girl with a pearl earring

We read this book 10 years ago. It was our first book club pick. Now 10 years later, we decided to read again! Our opinion didn't really change. We enjoyed the atmospheric, descriptive nature of thethe time period. The romantic aspect was not lost on the group. It was interesting to notr the cultural differences in each class.

 
Book Club Recommended
Romantic, Informative, Beautiful
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Collectively we all agreed, this was a #1 book choice for our group. We have been meeting for 10 years, and most of us agreed that this book ranked high in those we will remember. Mostly based on the fact that this book was based off of a real time/place in US history which we knew little about. We discussed comparisons between this book and events surrounding Sept. 11. The relationship between Henry and Keiko was very poignant.

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
 
Book Club Recommended
Slow, Boring, Gloomy
The Sun Also Rises

I have never given such a gloomy review for a book; for a classic no less! Our book club members all agreed; we could have done without reading this book. Considering we read The Paris Wife last month-we thought we would read one of Hemingway's works this month. Mistake. The Paris Wife was enough. The 2 books were extremely similar-with more detail in The Paris Wife. Even though we didn't like the book; I couldn't bring myself to NOT recommend it. Hey, it's a classic for a reason...and we certainly had fun discussing why!

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Confusing, Gloomy
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

Well, well. This was a highly discussable book, particularly based on the fact that not one of the 9 members of our group could really pinpoint what actually happened in the book. The discussion veered from science fiction to autism to psychological disorders back to paranormal. There were some real creepy parts mixed up in normalcy. It was crazy! Even though we didn't have a consensus on the main point of the book, it led to some lively discussion!

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