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My Reviews

 
Informative, Interesting, Graphic
TMI

Our book club enjoyed parts of this book. We thought it started off well and the final chapters were interesting, but in the middle it seemed to simply be a collection of the weirdest, most sensational and graphic stories Roach could find. Some members didn't make it all the way through because of this.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Inspiring, Interesting
A Great First Read

This was the inaugural book for our book club. We all liked it and it generated a good discussion among our multi-generational group.

 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Interesting
For Little House on the Prairie fans

We would recommend this book to fans of Little House on the Prairie.

Making Toast: A Family Story by Roger Rosenblatt
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful, Boring
We want an update

Our book club could have written the review written by another reviewer. We too wanted an update as to how the family is coping now and what sort of reflections Rosenblatt would make now. We felt this book was an accurate memoir of grief in that it starts out very disjointed and scattered, but becomes more coherent as it goes on. Our average rating was 3.7.

 
Adventurous, Fun, Interesting
A great read, but not a great book club book

Our group rated this book 3.8 on average. However, while we generally liked the book and found it a fun read, there was little to discuss. It gave us little to talk about.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Beautiful, Interesting
Beautiful Descriptions

We thought this book had beautiful descriptions, both of the art and of the scenes. The author clearly did a lot of research and wove in lots of historical fact into her flashback scenes, however some had trouble with the switching back and forth between past and present, as there is no clue given to let you know where you are. Overall, it earned a 3.75 from our group.

The Pianist in the Dark: A Novel by Michéle Halberstadt
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Beautiful
Not bad for a quick read

Our group found this book interesting and it led us to want to know where the line was between history and fiction. The author seemed to throw some things out there but not elaborate on them. One book club member thought the book seemed more like a script, and we all agreed. We also agreed we might like to see the movie version. For most of us, though, the novel left us wanting more.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Insightful
History from a different perspecitve

We thought this book was an interesting read, allowing us to see the lead-up to WWII from an insider's perspective. We tried to see these events as they saw them, without thinking about what we know is to come. Larson's research is amazing and he does a nice job of making this work of non-fiction readable. It is a dense read and takes some time, but is well worth it.

 
Book Club Recommended
Romantic, Fun, Insightful
A sweet little book

Some of our group did not find it particularly engaging, but we found it an enjoyable read overall. Actually a 3.5 rating.

Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult
 
Insightful, Informative, Interesting
Not one of Picoult's best

We felt that Jodi put too much in this book and relied too much on stereotypes. Usually her books deal with one controversial topic. This one attempted to deal with several and treated none well.

Gone Girl: A Novel by Gillian Flynn
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Dark, Interesting
A good discussion

This book was more of a 3.5 for us. We enjoyed the author's writing, but did not like any of the characters. As one member said, "I didn't want to pick it up, but when I did, I couldn't put it down."

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Insightful
Learned a lot

We all felt that we learned something from this book, which is saying something since our group contains scientists and doctors. We found the history of HeLa and the background on Henrietta interesting, but got a bit bored with the information on her descendents. Overall, the book generated some interesting discussion, but was not considered a "must read" by the group.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Dramatic, Interesting
An interesting read

We liked this book overall. The footbinding part was hard for us to read, but we had a really good discussion, comparing the themes in the book to women\\\'s experiences today.

 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Informative, Insightful
A good story that could be better

We enjoyed the premise of this book, but felt that the author left some things out (Who is buying these dresses?) and could have conveyed the fear that the sisters felt a little better. She is a reporter and it shows in her writing. While it is a true story, some better description and emotive writing would have made this better.

 
Insightful, Inspiring, Interesting
Enough with the Eagles!

Overall, we couldn't figure out why someone read this and thought it would make a good movie. It was somewhat childishly written (may be due to the author typically being a young adult writer) and somewhat unrealistic in terms of modern day treatment of the mentally ill. Many of the characters were unlikable and we really got tired of hearing about Eagles football so much.

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful, Informative
Interesting read, interesting discussion

We liked this book and found it informative as well as an easy read. The author gives lots of examples to illustrate his point from a variety of arenas--military, economic, social, romantic, etc. We had a great discussion and wondered how this could be applied both to our personal lives and to global policy.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Dark
Fascinating and a little disturbing

We all really liked this book, rating it either 4 or 4.5 stars. We were somewhat disturbed by the portions about the serial killer, but found the World\\\'s Fair portions interesting. Larson\\\'s research is impressive. While we feel there are some details that probably could have been omitted, overall it was a great read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Inspiring, Optimistic
An enjoyable "everyman"

This was actually 4.5 stars for us. We really liked the book as a group and found it quite the page turner. We liked Harold and his pilgrimage. We all felt we knew a "Harold" in our lives. We found the story very realistic and enjoyable.

Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Interesting, Beautiful
A nice collection of short stories

This was closer to a 3.5 for our group. We thought the author had beautiful character development and some of the stories were very interesting. However, we felt that some of the stories were a bit "cut off".

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dramatic, Dark
Would have made a good short story

While we liked the overall story, it got quite tedious, repeating the same information over and over. We thought it would have been better if it were shorter, cutting out a lot of the middle.

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Insightful
An enjoyable tale

We really enjoyed this book. It was interesting to learn about the orphan trains. We thought the author did a good job of making the two character's stories parallel each other. Very enjoyable and highly recommended.

The Language of Flowers: A Novel by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Beautiful, Interesting
A good read, though with a cliche ending

We liked this book quite a bit, with everyone giving it at least 4 stars. Our average was actually closer to 4.5. We enjoyed the story and the author's writing. Our only real complaint was that the ending was a bit too neat--a bit too "...and they lived happily ever after."

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Insightful, Inspiring
A good book, but a bit slow

We were a bit split on this book. Some members gave it a 5, while others rated it more like 3.5. Those who rated it low thought it was a bit slow in the middle and would have liked more about the sisters' involvement in the abolitionist movement.

Secret Daughter: A Novel by Shilpi Somaya Gowda
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Informative, Interesting
A split review

This book averaged a 3.75 with our group. Some members gave it a 3, feeling that some of the characters fell flat and it was a bit cliche. Others gave it a 5, finding the book a realistic portrayal of family members in this situation.

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