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My Reviews

For One More Day by MITCH ALBOM
 
Beautiful, Insightful, Interesting
Great book

Our book club read this book in conjuction with an at work book club we have. We had a group of about 18 people at the first lunch/discussion event, but the second time slot was full with 32 people who signed up to discuss the book. This book was very well received by everyone who read it. This book really became personal to some book club participants. I was pleasantly surprised to have several men in attendance at the book discussion events.

 
Insightful, Interesting, Brilliant
Great book for people of ALL ages and backgrounds.

We held two different book club discussion events for this book and we had a great group each time (work place discussion at a large university in the midwest). People were really excited about the book and the implications of if a highly structured (utopian) society vs. a society were you are allowed choices.

Great book for those interested in discussion of vocation, discernment, life choices and decision making. Most students in middle school/jr. high schools read this book --- but I STRONGLY encourage everyone to read this book -- and get into a discussion about it with your children, grandchildren or other adults.

 
Dark, Dramatic, Difficult
Keeps you up at night to finish the book.

I started this book (400 pages) on Saturday morning on the way to a soccer tournament. Initially, I was having a hard time getting into the book, some of this could have been because of the style. (It is not broken up into chapter with number or titles -- it is a series of letters.) But I was so caught up with the book that I had my head in the book the entire weekend and stayed up til midnight on Sunday to finish it. The story of a child and a mother who do not bond to each other which sets up a story of his indifference to her -- yet his ability to 'play' his father like a fiddle makes for a good story. As Eva writes these letters to her estranged husband, Franklin, about the various behaviors of their son, Kevin, a pattern emerges. As we know from the back of the book, Kevin kills seven classmates, a caferitera worker and a loved teacher. The insight into his mind, through his actions throughout children bring up the nature vs. nuture question. I would highly recommend this book.

 
Insightful, Interesting, Boring
Makes you look at your own faith journey

Anne describes her journey to faith (and grace) through a series of short essays (chapters) on a variety of topics. She experiences grief, parenthood, discernment, personal growth, and her unique journey to a deeper, more whole faith. I love how she takes us through this faith journey with her -- and talks openly about her faith. This is not a book that is written by someone whom you cannot relate to, no, Anne lays it all out there and says things that we can all relate to. You will laugh at some of her statements, recoil at others, see yourself, and even nod your head in agreement, but you will nonetheless come away changed about how you too are on your own faith journey.

Rococo: A Novel by Adriana Trigiani
 
A delightful story of an interior decorator who when presented with the opportunity to do his largest and most challenging job finds out more about himself and others than he ever thought.

Many of us could relate on a personal level the tensions from parishioners and ministers relating to an extensive remodel of a church. From the people who after donating various amounts of money feel they have more of a hand in what and how the design is, to those that want recognition of their contribution in a large way.

His stories about his family, could be said for any family. Fights, love interests, coming together over meals (we all loved the recipes by the way!).

Our discussion took many twists and turns. We spoke about B's unknown sexual identity -- which was still up in the air for all of us. But many of us were surprised to find the book set in the '70s, it was not until about half-way through the book that we got a sense of the time period for the setting of the book.

The author has a very good way of decribing the various fabrics, textures, colors and decorating tips throughout the book.

 
Fun
Funny book

Everyone loved this book! The book is funny, lighthearted reading which keeps you wondering just what will happen next to Stephanie.

In talking about the funny parts of the book that tickled each of us, we related to our own "goofy" relatives, strange events in our lives and even weird things we have read in the local/national newspapers. So, even though some of this things mentioned in the book seem 'out there' we all realised that these various types of people do exist. We also talked about whom we would like to see play the different roles in a movie version of these books -- this generated a lot of discussion and we now have the cast pretty much set. Now, to get someone to make the movie.

We loved the book and those in the book club who had not read any from Janet Evanovich before have not set upon the task of reading ALL of Janet's books, especially this series. They have fallen in love with the individuals in the book.

If you want light, funny reading our book club highly suggests this book or series.

The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls
 
Interesting, Inspiring, Dramatic
This book sparks a vast amount of conversation -- on many levels.

The book is a story that draws you in, as much as you would like to believe that this is not normal - this lifestyle IS normal to many families in the United States.

Our group is very fortunate that we have a social work professor in our book club. She uses this book as one of her textbooks on poverty. This book teaches more in the story than any textbook ever could.

The only problem was that we did not have enough time to fully discuss the book because we only meet over our lunch hour (ok we go over an hour :-). We were just really getting into the meat of the book and how we related to the various situations described on a personal level. Our discussion was lively and reflective. Our book club will be getting together again to discuss the book in more detail before the author comes to town in September.

Our book club HIGHLY recomends this book.

Stealing Buddha's Dinner by Bich Minh Nguyen
 
Informative, Boring, Interesting
It's about more than food!

Although each chapter is titled with something about food and food is a main theme throughout the book, the book is much more than a reflection of food. We found layers of much more, any immigrants struggle to find their place in a new country, and how we relate all of our feelings and places to the food that is or was consumed there. We remember how certain foods made us "fit in" especially during our teenage years. Fitting in was a key issue in this book, as someone who does not look like the majority of the population, she wanted so badly to fit in or in a lot of cases to become invisible. Grandma Noi was so comfortable in who she was, she never faltered, and because of this, she kept the family anchored and rich in traditions that they have chosen to carry on with the next generation. Our book club was fortunate to visit with the author, who gave us additional insights into her book.

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
 
Informative, Dramatic, Insightful
Excellent book!! A must read.

This is an EXCELLENT book and I highly recommend this nook to all book clubs. The discussion was varied, lively and deep. We so enjoyed the "Kite Runner" that we wanted to continue our journey learning about Afghanistan with Khaled Hosseni.

 
Pointless, Fun, Boring
Chapters are separate stand alone vignettes of her life experiences.

Several members of our book club really hated the book and were disappointed in the book. The book does deal with the life of a 20 something protagonist -- so that did include some drinking. Some of our book club readers grew up in families where one of their parents had a drinking problem, so those chapters did not appeal to them.

That being said, there are still some hilarious bits in this book. Bathroom ediquete and "Moral Sex" are too funny!!

Read this book as it was intended -- a not serious view of life and you will enjoy maybe even a bit of reminiscing about your own days as a 20 something year old.

 
Interesting, Informative, Beautiful
A wonderful novel about women.

Our book club enjoyed this book. It dealt with many issues which can be discussed today -- plural marriage, mother-aunties, having many siblings, anger, rage, religion, lack of opportunties for women in that time frame and muchj more. One thing people need to remember is that this is a novel and as such it does not always follow the Bibical version.

 
Fun, Dramatic, Difficult
What is "tradition"?

This book brought up discussion in regards to just what is 'tradition' for the book club members present. We had a variety of ideas that other families do. Members also stated that tradtions change as the family structure changes, so 'new' traditions are created. The best traditions begin in odd ways. Like one of our members when she and her daughter do the traditonal Christmas cookie bake, their theme song is the Grateful Dead, "I will survive." This revelation cracked us all up! We enjoyed the fact that the Christmas spirit is well and alive in the characters in the book (as well as within each and everyone of us).

 
Makes to think.

We read this at our work book club and have had wonderful discussions on faith, church, religion, dogma, and much more. Her style of writing is refreshing and insightful without being 'preachy'.

The Summerhouse by Jude Deveraux
 
Unconvincing, Interesting, Adventurous
Time travel -- with a twist

We had a good discussion regarding if you were given the opportunity to go back and have a "re-do" of your life, would you? This brought up many things,such as it was the difficulties in our lives that made us who we are today and truly most of us would not change anything.

The Hearts of Horses by Molly Gloss
 
Historical fiction

Many of us were pleasantly surprised about how much we enjoyed the book. We had not read (with our book club) a novel with a Western theme before. The book features a woman as the center of the story and her interaction between not only the horses she is working to saddle break, but also with her clients -- now friends and neighbors that she makes while riding the circle.

If you enjoyed reading "The Horse Whisperer" by Evan or the book written by the real horse whisperer "The Man Who Listens to Horses: The Story of a Real-Life Horse Whisperer" by Monty Roberts you will enjoy this book. But if you enjoy novels with rich historical references, this book is also book. The author is rich in her discriptive language throughout the book and the story of the other families leaves you wanting more details about them and their stories.

 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Optimistic, Inspiring
A look at life and living in today's world

This book was a good jumping off place for discussions about families, life and struggles we all have.

The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dramatic, Informative
Puts you in a different time zone

I was dreading reading 661 pages, but I soon discovered that I was done with the book! The pages flew by. I was caught up in the time frame, people, lives and court life. And in-between I learned abit about life in those times. :-)

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

Everyone in the entire book club enjoyed this book. It was informative because none of us realized the tribulations the people of Guersney had during the war. It was an eye-opener to read and be a part of their daily struggles of coping with the war and its effects. Interwoven in the book is a delightful story of people and their lives. We wholeheartedly recommend this book.

The Secret Between Us by Barbara Delinsky
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dramatic, Insightful
Ok -- but could have been better

Actually, the book club discussion was much better than the actual book. We delved into the personalities of the individuals in the the book and what drove them to do and say what they did, and the expectations of others.

The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan
 
Interesting, Insightful, Optimistic
The Middle Place

We all thought I was going to be a good book about dealing with cancer, surprisingly it turned out to be a book about a woman's musings of her childhood and of she dealing with her father's cancer, not so much her own. She could have dealt more with the day-to-day struggle of cancer, how it affect her and her family, but instead it turned into a wandering book that went everywhere but where you wanted or expected it to go. In the end the author comes off as rather whinny and self-centered. We know nothing of her husband's family, nor how her children handled their mother having cancer.

 
Book Club Recommended
Boring, Inspiring, Slow
What a good book!

Eat, Pray, Love is a journey, both physical and spiritual that the reader(s) takes along with the author. We enjoyed "Eat" and all felt hungry and even more adventurous -- whereas we felt we could ask individuals to recommend restaurants in new/different locations. And we all enjoyed "Love" where the author finds love again. But overall we overwhelmingly found and received the most out of "Pray." We all wondered how the author found words to describe the indescribable? We found much to talk about in regards to this section and we all decided we would read it again -- in order to gain/glean more from it.

The Places In Between by Rory Stewart
 
Adventurous, Informative, Slow
plodding tale

Many of the readers wanted a more in depth depiction of his travels across the country with more details on the personal interactions with individuals or his own personal thoughts. The majority of us got caught up with the story of the dog he adopted.

Light on Snow C by Anita Shreve
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Unconvincing, Interesting
Light on Snow

This book will bring up questions on how we have all dealt with aspects of death and grieving. How different family members deal with their now changed life after their loved one is gone.

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Life Changing, Interesting
Different book from author

Our book club gave this book very mixed reviews. It was a very different book from this particular author. Several of the members had difficulty with the graphic (drawn) story pages interspersed between the chapters. Several of the members did not read the drawn story pages. Although this element was new and different from the author, the story DID have some very interesting elements in the storyline regarding teenagers and their lifestyles and their thinking. Our discussion did hit upon the fact that a LOT of things were going on at the same time in this storyline. Maybe too much. What I did appreciate in the book was more the notes at the end from the author regarding her work in talking to high school and middle school age students regarding their sexual experiences and how 'hooking up' is devaluing to their self esteem. In reality many parents are very uninformed regarding who their children hang out with and what all they are doing. As parents in our book club we discussed dress, activities, school and how many times as parents we choose to look the other way and see see things, just as the father did in this novel.

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