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Book Club Recommended
Fun, Adventurous, Fantastic
Great introduction to the Fantasy genre

For our book club, we have decided to try reading a book in each genre, even (and maybe especially) ones we wouldn't normally consider. As a first foray into the Fantasy genre, this is a great book. It's not completely far-fetched or beyond understanding. You get a good sense of the main character and why he would even consider pursuing a "magic kingdom" for sale. You get involved in the story and end up cheering him on. Every obstacle is believable and it's interesting to see how he deals with them, keeping his Chicago lawyer persona throughout. It was an enjoyable book, though a little hard to find.

 
Slow, Boring, Pointless
Just couldn't get through it.

I am a cover-to-cover reader, so I was determined to finish this book, though it started out slow and confusing. I set aside an hour to focus on the book (because it's certainly not fluff that you can read amidst daily life). After 30 minutes, I gave up. It just wasn't interesting to me in the least. It didn't help that the chapters are so very long, making me feel like I was not making any progress whatsoever. Basically, I just didn't care about the characters or the story/memoir.

The French Gardener: A Novel by Santa Montefiore
 
Romantic, Unconvincing, Dramatic
Hated the storyline, but well written

The thing I hated most about this book was that I couldn't stop reading it even though I hated the storyline! About halfway through the book, the storyline about the woman 20 years in the past was literally making me ill. However, the book was written well enough that I wanted to discover some of the motivations behind the characters and to see what happened. There were at least two chapters that I had to really struggle through to get the pay-off, though. Unfortunately, I don't think the pay-off was that great. As a happily married woman (not that it's always been rosy), I could not relate to the storyline in the past at all. I could not conjure up any sympathy for the characters. The present-time storyline was a little easier in that regard.

 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Brilliant, Interesting
Fun with friends!

We did this book as a readers' theater and had so much fun with all of the characters! There's not much depth to the book, so having fun with it was the way to go. It was a nice change of pace! It was an easy read, too.

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Informative, Inspiring
Engaging Writing, Eye-Opening Topic

The story made me want to keep reading to find out what was going to happen next. Switching back and forth between characters made it hard to put down the book, because I couldn't wait to get back to the last character to see what happens! The topic of these state "schools" was informative and eye-opening. It's sad to think that this was reality for all too many people. I'm glad we've come such a long way from the social shunning (although we still have a long way to go) and what it means to be institutionalized.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Inspiring, Interesting
Adds new dimension to the civil rights movement

This is a wonderfully written book, with lots of character exploration and historical backgrounds. It explains the very complex relationship between white families and their black help. It also demonstrates how the stirrings of the civil rights movement were so easily embraced.

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dramatic, Dark
A little uncomfortable

The first third of the book had some pedophilia allusions that made for a very uncomfortable read. The second third had me cheering for Alice, though it was apparent something crucial has happened but they didn't say what. The final third was a bit sad, but we did find out what had happened. The notes from the author at the end helped explain more about the book. It was definitely an interesting read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Insightful
Makes you think

This book is very well written, especially for the non-fiction genre. I kept wanting to find out what else happened. It is very interesting, and it really makes you think about how people are/were treated, especially the poor. Things that we take for granted now (such as informed consent) were not even thought of in the 1950s, when the main subject matter takes place.

Death and Taxes by David Dodge
 
Good book, but not much to discuss

This was a good crime novel, but not anything that sparked a lot of conversation. The topic we most discussed was the difference in society between 1940 and now. The characters were not really memorable, and in fact I had trouble remembering who was who. It was a good crime novel, but not something I will read again. The most interesting part was the forward about the author!

 
Book Club Recommended
Boring, Difficult, Insightful
A classic I've never read before

I never read this book in high school or college, if you can believe that, so I was looking forward to sinking my teeth into something classic. Once I got used to the language, I found it to be a very engaging book. You think about the Scarlet Letter as being about adultery, but it's not really about the act -- it's about the consequences of it. I liked the character development and how Hester's actions gave us much food for thought and discussion. Why does she do the things she does? What might she have been thinking? Another member of our club happened to be studying the time period and was able to give us some very important insights into the Puritan religion, too, which helped immensely. I definitely recommend this book, whether you have read it before or not. I think you would get something different out of it reading it at different ages and stages of life.

Winter Garden: A Novel by Kristin Hannah
 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Romantic, Informative

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Insightful
Too heart-wrenching

Abandoned this book. I simply could not stand the premise. I read several chapters, then found the Cliff\'s Notes online to see if it got any better. It didn\'t. It was too much for this momma\'s heart to stand.

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Informative, Addictive
A great novel

I can\\\'t speak to the accuracy of the historical information, but I loved this book. It was such an engaging novel and I really liked Zelda. She was such a spitfire! I really felt like I was a part of her life and marriage. I read this after reading The Paris Wife, and it seemed to me that the Fitzgeralds had a marriage of equals (as opposed to the Hemingways) and I really felt they had a chance. I didn\\\'t know their story really before this, so I kept hoping for a redemptive ending.

Our book club had a very lively discussion of the book. Some were Team Scott and some were Team Zelda, so there was a lot of debate about different points of the novel.

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Insightful, Interesting
What if it happened to you?

When I checked the book out of the library, I decided to read the first chapter just to see if I was going to like it. I think I read 6 chapters before I realized what was happening! It drew me in from the first page and wouldn't let me go. If I had the time to sit and read it all in one sitting, I would have. When I did have to put it down, I thought about the book, the story, the characters, and "What if that happened to me?"

There were a few questions I had about the story, but I don't want to post any spoilers. I'll reserve them for book club! :)

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