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For One More Day by MITCH ALBOM
 
Beautiful, Insightful, Interesting
A short easy read.

This poignant book has many topics that will inspire your book club to discuss different issues on many levels. Everyone will have something to add to the discussion.

 
Fun, Fantastic
sci-fi, murder mystery with a touch of the occult

Good intro novel for this author who needs to hone his skills a bit to be a great writer. I would not have picked up the book had it not been chosen by another member. However, it was an interesting read which created lots of discussion points.

Don't You Remember? by George Ella Lyon
 
The author takes us on her journey to explain the unexplainable

George Ella Lyons was gracious to join our book club and discussed her experience both as a child and as a writer crafting her art. Her style of writing will suck you in and you will not want to put the book down. Our club gave this book high marks.

 
descriptive character drama about family that will touched your life

Our book club enjoyed this story. Two members did not connect with the characters in the book, but most felt the book was so compellingly written that they could not put the book down until finished. This is a descriptive story about family and the love the grows from those ties even during pain and loss.

 
Adventurous, Interesting, Informative
flat steriotypical characters left me feeling gilted by this author

While this book offers some interesting historical perspectives which certainly allow for good chat; the overall feeling of the book left me angry that I waisted my time reading the tale. Characters were not developed and the journal entries mode of telling the tale was stale. I found this book to be unbelievable and out of historical context: the authors uses the "F" word with such frequency that it felt fake to me and another example is where the main characters dream of santa coming down the chimney with presents in the mid-late 1800s(?). Santa was around in folk lore in the mid 1800s but I doubt people really expected presents as we do in todays culture? Furthermore and more importantly, I think this author was unable to understand and portray a woman's perspective on rape, love and pregnancy.

 
One of a few rare fascinating reads I have found recently

The Spanish influenza pandemic of 1918 is reviewed in great and exhaustive detail in this book. This author will really make you consider (in depth) the vulnerability of society to an epidemic (you may find yourself wanting to buy a shelter for your home!). Furthermore, what this book teaches you about scientific thought and the history of modern medicine is so well written and thought provoking it will have you talking about odd facts with friends and even strangers on the street. For example, I had no idea that 100 years ago, it was easier to get certified to be a physician than it was to go to college. This book is one of the best and most informative books I have read in a long time and it was well-researched and easy to read.

 
Brilliant, Epic, Fantastic
Fantasy book nothing more nothing less

I have received many many internet warnings about this book. Most say do not read it or see the movie, because it is against Christianity. In my opinion, (as a Christian) this was a fantasy book nothing more nothing less. The story is about a young girl living in another universe (closely resembling our own but different in important ways), who goes on a journey to save missing children. The writing is very descriptive, full of vocabulary that even I had to look up in the dictionary. I thought the storyline was interesting, but the ending fell flat and inhumane. The author is an avowed atheist and anti-religious sentiment can be found within the storyline. Yet, the book certainly did not affect my faith but was interesting to read (one can find far worse anti-religious statements on TV). If my teenager was reading this book, I would read it with her and use the storyline to discuss our faith in greater depth. I do not see this as a children's book, the storyline is too dark and the ending disturbing.

 
Brilliant, Epic, Fantastic
Fantasy book nothing more nothing less

I have received many many internet warnings about this book. Most say do not read it or see the movie, because it is against Christianity. In my opinion, (as a Christian) this was a fantasy book nothing more nothing less. The story is about a young girl living in another universe (closely resembling our own but different in important ways), who goes on a journey to save missing children. The writing is very descriptive, full of vocabulary that even I had to look up in the dictionary. I thought the storyline was interesting, but the ending fell flat and inhumane. The author is an avowed atheist and anti-religious sentiment can be found within the storyline. Yet, the book certainly did not affect my faith but was interesting to read (one can find far worse anti-religious statements on TV). If my teenager was reading this book, I would read it with her and use the storyline to discuss our faith in greater depth. I do not see this as a children's book, the storyline is too dark and the ending disturbing.

 
A Challenging read: grammer, vocabulary and Southern cadence will keep you on your toes

Two independent intertwined stories of loss. Faulkner' s style of writing is like reading a hurricane (a jumble of words strung together in phrases that rarely modify the phrase before or after) with a calm eye of the storm thrown in here and there he reaches an unseen level of clarity and beauty with words. If you are looking for a challenge try this book.

 
Interesting, Insightful, Beautiful
Great tasty book...even though I hated the ending.

If you have ever changed your name, or agonized over the process of naming your children, or thought about how a name defines a person and the life it directs; this is the book for you. Lahiri will take you on a magical Indian carpet ride through two generations; immigrant parents who keep one foot planted in India while trying to become Americans and their son with both his feet perplexed and baffled at being planted in America. This journey of self discovery is brilliant, although I felt the ending left some plot lines unfinished. Despite this omission, I highly recommend this book for your book club.

 
Beautiful, Informative, Interesting
tragic life reverberating down through generations of Chinese women

This was just a fascinating book to read. The way Amy Tan intertwines the past with the present keeps the reader captivated in this historical drama. Tan grapples with important issues of communication, interpretation, caring and attention, mother/daughter love, coming to grips with pain and loss, as well as knowing the self through one's family history. Tan's words are beautifully crafted and this skill casts a hypnotic spell on the story. One of my favorite books.

 
Life Changing, Inspiring, Interesting
A philisophical tale about our culture and what we call truth

A friend of mine asked me to read this book for her and review it because she could not finish it in time for her book club (and she added... because she tried to read the book, but just could not get past a "talking Gorilla" "who will save the world"). I read the book in a weekend and spent the next few years thinking, mulling, and ruminating about the tenants within. This book, if you let it, will take you outside of your comfort level and allow you to look in our our culture from a new perspective. One reason this book would be a good choice for a book club is that it s full of discussion threads to fill a week, let alone one night. The book will either be loved or absolutely hated. There is no in between! If you like this book, you will adore My Ishmael, which I thought was better written and a much happier tale than Ishmael. I did not care for the Story of B, but as this is a trilogy it is a must read if you start Ishmael.

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
 
Informative, Dramatic, Insightful
Better than the Kite Runner

This book was so beautifully written and poetic. I found I could not put the book down; even with the very heavy brutality challenging me to close the pages, Hosseini keeps you reading with his beautifully descriptive prose. I was uplifted after finishing this story as opposed to the depression that stayed with me when I finished the Kite Runner. The author does a great job of describing what it must be like to live in Afganistan under Taliban rule as well as what it must be like to be a woman subjugated by one's culture, family and husband.

Escape by Carolyn Jessop, Laura Palmer
 
Informative, Dramatic, Interesting
bizarre memoir about a harrowing escape from an extreme cult which treats women like

This book is a bizarre memoir about a harrowing escape from an extreme "religious" FLDS group which treats women like cattle, uses them to breed children and who are bought, sold and traded like so chattel and goods. The FLDS people are isolated and controlled by the doctrines established by a few men. This book drops you in to this degrading and sad existence. It is incredible to think that this type of thinking exists in modern day America and more importantly that this amazing tale is told by a woman who had the wits about her to escape with her children (all eight of them!). Although I found the writing style to be a bit drab, the telling of this tale is one that needed to be told and I am so glad that the author was able to do so. Hopefully her words will inspire men women and children in similar situations that hope is not lost and that they too can change their "proscribed" and "dictated" futures.

 
Informative, Interesting, Insightful
Journey of a rare illuminated manuscript through centuries of exile and war

This is a historical mystery book, full of interesting topics to discuss at your next book club meeting! The author tells a tale rich and descriptive in suspence, based on a true story of a literary puzzle about the life of a Haggadah (religious book) and how "the people of the book" (Christians, Jews and Muslims) helped to protect it through the ages from pograms, war and destruction.



 
Adventurous, Dramatic, Interesting
Good human tale of life and its adversities

My book club enjoyed this story of a man's life and how he responded to misery and happiness. The book vividly introduces the reader to animals with characters that shine; as well as gives the reader a glimpse of what it is like to be old in body but young in heart and spirit. If you like human dramas this book will touch you.

 
Boring, Inspiring, Slow
eating, praying and loving...it says it all

This is an autobiography about the journey Elizabeth Gilbert embarks on in her mid-thirties to Italy, India and Indonesia where she finds her sense of fullness, peace and love.

 
Dramatic, Interesting, Insightful
depressing, rambling book, yet with good topics to discuss

I detested the lead character in this book. The middle of the book seemed to ramble on with no direction. That said, this book has a lot of good topics raised within for a book club discussion. This is not a book to take on vacation but would be fine to raise interesting topics for a group discussion.

Katherine by Anya Seton
 
historical romance from the 14th century

I am not much of a fan of romance novels. This book however, artfully blends romance with history and flowery prose that it was easy to fall in love with its tale. The story is based on the life of Katherine Swynford. The author transports the reader to 14th century England and one will find oneself falling in love with its lead character and the history and romance that follows.

 
Informative, Inspiring, Dramatic
Words can not express how perfect this novel is...A MUST READ

This book although intense and wrenching at time uses the most powerful and beautiful prose to transport the reader back in time to the 18th and 19th century slave trade. This book is classic history through fiction; clearly researched well and the narrative so artfully and perfectly written that I could not put down the book. The lead character will inspire you. This book is breathtaking. This book is the best I have read in the past five years!

 
Fast paced book about 12 Brain Rules to remember

This book helps guide you back through your HS biology class knowledge (which is hidden deep in your brain right now) and then allows you to apply those principals in the present day in an easy fun filled way. At times I found the book redundant however the author's style of writing is engaging. Don't miss the chapter on Gender.

Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson
 
Inspiring, Informative, Insightful
True story about a man's passion to change the world through education

This was a good book. A true story about one man's journey to make a difference in the world through education of Central Asia's poor. It is an interesting look into the life of those living in Pakistan and Afghanistan. However, I recommend it with reservations. The ghost writer skips between time and place and I found the book to be disjointed. Furthermore there is so much history and detail needed to really get a good flavor of the material that some people initially got lost in the details. As one member of our book club said, "do not read this book for the details, read it for the love story". With all that being said I recommend this book to inspire the reader to take the example of Greg Mortenson and make a difference in the world through your persistent and colorful actions.

The Holiday Season by Michael Knight
 
Two short stories of human family interactions

This was a good book. The author's style of writing is engaging so much so that I felt ripped off when the stories seemed to end before the entire tale had been told. A problem with the nature of a short story. I really wanted more from this author's voice. Also I would not suggest reading these stories over "the holiday season" if you are looking for a light happy read. These tales will tweak at your heart but not in a good way. You will see the underbelly of family connections, those that are disfunctional.

Julia's Chocolates by Cathy Lamb
 
Fun, Romantic, Inspiring
easy breezy read

Fun wacky little read about the lives a several friends. This is a quick read that will make you laugh and cry. If you are looking for a good book to read in the airport or at the beach about friendship and overcoming challenges and abuse, this is your book.

 
Great book to read with your spouse

This book really was engaging. I read it in 3 hour on sitting and then passed it to my husband. Together we have instituted some of the ideas in the book. Highly recommend this book to newly weds and married couples alike.

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
 
Masterful blend of science fiction, medical thriller, and teen anxiety novel

This was one of my favorite books we have read in three years. The story is written in beautiful prose. The topics are so diverse that your club will have hours of interesting discussion. I highly recommend this one.

From Amazon:
"Who is Jenna Fox? Seventeen-year-old Jenna has been told that is her name. She has just awoken from a coma, they tell her, and she is still recovering from a terrible accident in which she was involved a year ago. But what happened before that? Jenna doesn't remember her life. Or does she? And are the memories really hers?

This fascinating novel represents a stunning new direction for acclaimed author Mary Pearson. Set in a near future America, it takes readers on an unforgettable journey through questions of bio-medical ethics and the nature of humanity. Mary Pearson's vividly drawn characters and masterful writing soar to a new level of sophistication."

The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
 
Interesting, Adventurous, Insightful
"They went for the greater glory of God. They meant no harm."

"Matthew ten, verse twenty nine: Not one sparrow can fall to the ground without your father knowing it." The Sparrow, tells the story of Emilio Sandoz, a Puerto Rican Jesuit priest, and his circle of very interesting and likeable friends; who find a signal (a song) from another planet and travel to this other world, hoping to find God. "They went for the greater glory of God. They meant no harm." On the surface, hardly a novel which could be classified as science fiction. It is easy to pick holes in Russell's plot and sci-fi theme, however this book provides a lot of interesting philosophical and religious topics to discuss: mission work, God, gods, celibacy, farming, population control, the meaning of love and life and evil and death. As one reviewer said this is a novel of characters and ideas.

The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful, Optimistic
a love letter written by a daughter to her father

This book is a love letter written by a daughter to her father. It is about that place one passes between childhood and married life, the middle place where sometimes you feel as if you fit in and other times you feel like you do not. This is also a story about cancer, and family and how we celebrate life. Our club had plenty to discuss after reading this memoire.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Inspiring, Interesting
I so underestimated this book!

When I heard that my book club would be reading The Help, a novel about the 1960s civil rights movements, I was not excited because I was tired of heavy and mentally exhausting subjects. Once I started reading, I was pleasantly surprised. Although certainly this book does bring us deep into the civil rights movement, it is much more so a book about love and the relationship between mothers and daughters and more importantly, how women relate to each other. This is "the story" behind the civil rights movement, what prompted people to make the choices they made during that time period both good and evil. This is a human tale not to be missed.

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Interesting, Gloomy
A 3D puzzle of a book!

This book was such a fun read. The author is exceptional; weaving the story about the main character, Olive, a retired school teacher, through the eyes and experiences of many other characters all living or passing through Olive's small town. Most of the chapters are about these other characters with small sprinkled clues into the life and perspective of Olive. These stories are compelling short narratives on life. One really gets a unique and different perspective of the main character through this method of writing. It is like reading one of those 3D puzzles my grand mother likes to do on the weekends. One piece at a time, through each chapter the puzzle, Olive comes together in 3D. Another aspect of Strout's writing that I like is the amount of details she imbibes into each character. I finished this book with such a good feeling, I wanted more!

 
Book Club Recommended
Epic, Romantic, Adventurous
Loved this hostorical fiction

Great characters richly drafted and developed. Easy fun read.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Fun
Witty Historical novel about life before and after WW2

Once you get over the fact that the book is written viz letters back and forth this book really captures the time and age of 1940s.

Committed by Elizabeth GILBERT(Subject); Gilbert
 
Informative, Insightful, Interesting
lackluster

If you liked the first quarter of Eat Pray Love. where Gilbert is going through her divorce and a bit of a pre-mid-life-crisis, complaining about motherhood and marriage; you will love this book. I did not. Committed is touted as a "historical study" on marriage. It is not. Gilbert did research, yes, but the words and views she chooses to put to mind and paper are one sided. She skims the surface of history. This was a lackluster, dogmatic, historical analysis on marriage. More disconcerting and apparent is her bias for one spiritual path over another. What Gilbert does best is bring her compassion and wit to discussing other cultures and people. I hope she and Felipe hop a train and go back to Knoxville, a small city on the edge of a verdant, misty mountain range, rich in southern culture and ripe with colorful peoples. In Committed the only description we get of Knoxville is that she "preferred to live in a crazy old residency hotel than anywhere else in town". Just as her perspective is limited and narrow on the city of Knoxville it too is limited on the institution of marriage.

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Confusing, Unconvincing
Quirky little read about Appallachian life

 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Dramatic
A mom's life under the microscope and supersized

This book is similar read to the Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons but via the lense of one woman rather than a group. It was an enjoyable quick lite read about marriage and love. Not my favorite book but was an easy quick read with presentable topics for a book club to discuss about the life of an ex-professional now mother and wife.

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Slow, Informative
A good first attempt at murder mystery

This first edition, murder mystery was written by Jefferson Bass, a combination of two authors: Dr. Bill Bass, renowned forensic anthropologist with the University of Tennessee and the University of Tennessee Anthropology Research Facility (otherwise known as the Body Farm), and writer Jon Jefferson. Their writing style while flat in this first edition does get better in subsequent books. I found this first book to be lacking but still enjoyable. It is a murder mystery based in fiction but built upon solid facts taken from Dr. Bass's own experiences blended with Jefferson's fictional narratives.

Summary:
"This installment of the Body Farm series finds Dr. Brockton called to Cooke County, Tennessee by Sheriff Tom Kitchings, where a woman’s corpse lies mummified in a cave. When evidence of murder is revealed, Brockton, with the aid of Arthur Bohanan, criminalist with the Knoxville Police Department, embarks on his own investigation as to who killed the young woman and the unborn child she carried. Brockton soon finds himself stonewalled by the Sheriff and his deputies while someone is stealing evidence from his offices at U.T. The investigation leads Brockton and Bohanan into danger more than once, and forces Brockton to face the grief he has carried over the death of his wife two years earlier." (from Christy Tillery French at: http://www.authorsden.com/visit/viewArticle.asp?id=31394)

Readers familiar with Knoxville will enjoy the many references to local landmarks and traditions. In fact, I found myself laughing out right many times. Those who appreciate corny jokes and poorly chosen character names (e.g: a love interest is named "Lovelady") will unfortunately not be disappointed. Lastly, those curious about crime scene investigations and the science of decomposition of the body, will enjoy following Dr. Brockton through the Body Farm and his murder mysteries.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Slow
Good conversation starter for discussion on the generation iY

Most of our book club members did not find this book an easy read. It was slow. However, the author (who came to speak to us) was very dynamic and has many interesting insights and some controversial opinions about generation iY (the generation for my book club's children) and we had many in depth interesting and sometimes prickly discussions on our kids and their generation.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Insightful
Insightful historical non fiction book about medical ethics

Non fiction books usually scare people because they seem to routinely be boring and hard to read. However my book club enjoyed this read. Ms. Skloot does a great job of blending history and science to give an honest and interesting portrayal of the past, present and future of tissue donation as well as current hot topics in medical ethics.

 
Dramatic, Slow, Insightful
Slow way home was too slow and moody for me

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Insightful, Inspiring
History brought to life

This book read like fiction. It is the true story of three peoples lives and their immigration form the South to the North over a lifetime. History lives in this book. Fascinating.

How It All Began: A Novel by Penelope Lively
 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Optimistic
easy breezy read

The Language of Flowers: A Novel by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Beautiful, Interesting
Worth your time

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