Monday, 31 December 2012

January's Book

So my very good friend Hilary is supposedly a part of this book club, but right now she is busy working and being pregnant... so we will need to pick a new book without her.

Does anyone have any books they are dying to read?

Here are my suggestions... let me know if you like any of them.

-Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick
-Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion (I think Ella just read this)
-The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier &Clay by Michael Chabon
-Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
-Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
-The Swiss Famly Robinson by Johann David Wyss

All of these are on my nightstand, so any of them will make me happy... so you decide... and quickly so we can start reading!

I hope you all are having a great New Years Eve!!!! I hope 2013 is a great year for all!

God Bless Us, Every One!!!

I am so grateful that I had the opportunity and the time to read this book during this Christmas/Holiday season. Now I didn't reach my goal of finishing it before Christmas... Stacey you are awesome for doing so... but I still loved reading it. (It also gave me hope that someday my brain will be smart enough to understand a full Dickens novel!)

I love the simple message of this book... that we can change. That nothing is fully set in stone, not even our personalities. We can and should continually improve to be the best self that we can be that will bless ourselves and all those we come into contact with.

Now I wanted to be smart and try and think of great discussion questions... well I'm not very original, so I googled it (or I might acutally have used bing...) and this is some of what it came up with:

1. Had you read A Christmas Carol before? Did anything surprise you in the book?
2. This is a very short book, and not the only Christmas story that Dickens wrote. Why do you think that it and its message endured and became such a part of English-speaking culture?
3. Did you have a favorite part? What image or line or scene sticks with you the most, if one does?
4. How would you characterize Bob Cratchit’s attitude toward Scrooge? Scrooge’s attitude toward Cratchit? Besides literal heat, what might be the symbolism of the tiny coal fire that Cratchit has in the office?
5. How is Scrooge affected by seeing the Cratchit family?
6. What is the lesson Scrooge learns when the ghost shows him the Cratchit family after Tim’s death? Why is this lesson needed when Scrooge’s attitude has already changed so much?
7. Is Scrooge’s transformation believable?

Now I want to have an actual discussion so I'm not sure if I should answer the questions on my own or wait to see what other people think or write???

***On a side note and final note, here are some of the quotes or lines of the characters that really stuck with me:

"I wear the chain I forged in life," replied the Ghost. "I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it. Is its pattern strange to you." p.23

"The misery with them all was, clearly, that they sought to interfere, for good, in human matters, and had lost the power forever." p.28

"I should have liked, I do confess, to have had the lightest license of a child and yet to have been madn enough to know its value." p.53

"...For it is always the person not in the predicament who knows what ought to have been done in it, and would unquestionably have done it too..." p.59

"It is a fair, even-handed, noble adjustment of things, that, while there is infection in disease and sorrow, there is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor." p.81

"...For it is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas..." p.85

"Best and happiest of all, the time before him was his own, to make amends in!" p.115

Alright so I actually want to see what everyone else thinks before I share my own opinion. I hope more than Stacey and myself read... but if not, I still think it will be an awesome conversation!

So start talking/typing!

Saturday, 8 December 2012

A Thought

Okay, so I haven't been the best at keeping this book club going month to month. In my excuse I started a new job that is kind of stressful and taking all of my time. But I promise to do better.

Now I know December has already started, and I know it isn't my month to choose, but I am not sure if Beckah is really following much in the book club so I'm going to make a suggestion, and you can do with it what you will.

It is December and everyone is all Christmas focused, as we should be. So I thought a fun book to read this month would be "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens. I have never read it and always wanted to, so that is what I will be reading in Decemeber. Please feel free to read along and we can talk about it and all the memories and thoughts we have about the book and all its film adaptations.

Let me know what you think?

PS... I going to try and finish this before Christmas so that we can talk about our Christmas and our reading!

Monday, 26 November 2012


So here's the thing. I think I suck at book clubs.

'Cause I either don't get around to reading the book everyone's reading, or I'm not in the mood for the book, or I've already read the book, or whatever. But I love books, and I really love you guys, so here's what my book club participation is gonna consist of:


Feel free to join me in this endeavor, or comment if you've read one of these books. You are also free to ignore all of these recommendations. I'm also on goodreads, and you're welcome to check out more book reviews there. Also, when it's my turn to pick a book, I'll let you guys just decide from among these posts.

So, here are a few recommendations I have from the last few months. (I was about to recommend Anna Karenina, but I'm only a third of the way through and that seems like breaking the rules. It's HECKA good though.) These are all YA reads.

Hate List by Jennifer Brown
This book is told from the point of view of a girl whose boyfriend opened fire on their high school, using a list they created together of people they hated to target victims, before turning the gun on himself. She never had any intention of harm, but she now finds herself in the difficult position of being both a victim and an accomplice.

Purity by Jackson Pearce
I worried that this was going to be one of those cheesy "Christian questioning her desires for chastity" books, but it totally wasn't. Through a series of circumstances, 16-year-old Shelby decides to try to lose her virginity in the next 5 weeks before the "Princess Ball," where she's supposed to make a vow of chastity. She feels restricted by the idea, so she figures that if she has sex BEFORE the ball, she won't have any purity to pledge and the vow is void. But things are more complicated than she thought, and she has a series of misadventures, including buying condoms from a pharmacist who looks like her grandfather and trying to seduce a guy who looks like Jesus. A beautiful coming of age story about identity, love, selflessness, and what it truly means to keep a promise.

Carpe Diem by Autumn Cornwell
I was so enchanted by this book that I immediately ordered it on Amazon after reading the library's copy.  I almost always judge books by their covers, and this one lived up to its fantastic cover design. I love this book so much I'm going to buy it. A great story about letting go and living in the moment, told by a narrator I recognized as, well, a lot of myself. The author herself has lived a life of travel and adventure, and reports that at least half of the things that happen to Vassar in the book happened to her at one point or another (including being held hostage in the jungle of Laos). The truth is always stranger than fiction, they say, but this fiction is delightful enough for me.

Will Grayson Will Grayson by John Green
If you can find this book on tape (or cd...or...mp3 file--man I gotta get with the times), LISTEN to it. The actor who reads it is phenomenal. John Green is a master, and all of his books are wonderful. In this one, the themes of identity and truth and fear are true to life and confusing and beautiful. **NOTE: Homosexuality is a major theme in this book, and while none of it is explicit, it IS talked about. There's also a lot of language in this book. If you're uncomfortable with either of those things, you may want to skip it.**

Happy reading!  

Friday, 2 November 2012

Finally my turn! (November)

Hello fellow bookclubbers! My name is Esther, and it is my turn to suggest a book.
This summer I got a kindle for my birthday, and as a result I've been reading much more than I used to. I have read some great books, but I've narrowed it down to 3 to choose from. If there isn't a clear winner in a few days then I will pick my favourite.

The first book that I present to you is "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett. I picked this up in holiday this summer and I really resented having to put it down! This is Amazon's summary;
Enter a vanished and unjust world: Jackson, Mississippi, 1962. Where black maids raise white children, but aren't trusted not to steal the silver...

There's Aibileen, raising her seventeenth white child and nursing the hurt caused by her own son's tragic death; Minny, whose cooking is nearly as sassy as her tongue; and white Miss Skeeter, home from College, who wants to know why her beloved maid has disappeared.

Skeeter, Aibileen and Minny. No one would believe they'd be friends; fewer still would tolerate it. But as each woman finds the courage to cross boundaries, they come to depend and rely upon one another. Each is in a search of a truth. And together they have an extraordinary story to tell..."

This isn't a topic that I ever thought would appeal to me, but it was told so well that I got sucked in. I loved all the characters and really wanted to know what would happen. It was one of those books that I never wanted to end. It was also a real eye opener, I couldn't believe that it was set in the 60s! The only downside to this book is that it is quite long, but if you can find the time, you wont be sorry. Oh, and I have seen the film since then, and as usual the book is much better. The film was good, but there is only so much that you can fit in, and anything cut out of the book would be a shame.

This summer I especially made an effort to read some of the classics, in an atempt to feel intelligent, and to be better at quizes! So, when my husband downloaded "Around the world in 80 days" by Jules Verne, I thought that I would give it a go. I was very pleasantly surprised. Again, I really liked the characters, and the book wasn't full of boring descriptions like I feared.I especially enjoyed the chapter in Utah :) The best thing about this book though was the ending. Ever though the story is really old, I hardly knew anything about it, and was still surprised at the end! So if you want a classic read, with a really cool story, this is the one!

The third choice is also along the classic lines. The summer I finished reading all of Jane Austin's novels for the first time, and I was in mourning that I would never read one of them for the first time again. I decided to branch out and read "Jane Eyre" by Charlotte Bronte. I found it to be a lot more sombre than Austin's work, but still very well written and I was invested in the characters. I think that this is a book that should definitely be read in a person's life time. I also think that it is one of the most romantic stories ever, and I love how doing the right thing and being brave really pays off  in the end. It would have been so easy for Jane to take the easy way out, and , well, I don't want to spoil it if you haven't read it already! I will just say that it was a very satisfying read.

So, it's up to you, although ..I strongly recommend all 3!

Monday, 1 October 2012

Thoughts on One Second After

Melissa posted this on the comments and I thought it might be better seen here:

Ok all, what did you think about it? Did you find yourself looking at your own food storage differently? Do you think you know your neighbors well enough that you'd protect eachother or be everyman for himself? Did you lose any sleep over this book? Which character did you relate to the most? Why? What was the most jaw dropping moment in the book to you? ( we'll start there)

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Hello book clubies.

I'm not much of a reader, that's point one. The truth Is I read slow, it's a curse some of us live with, we re-read sentences and paragraphs because it either didn't go in or it just didn't make sense. My theory based on my extensive research, namely me, is that I felt pressure at school to be reading 'big books'. The kid with the most pages, smallest print, least pictures was the cleverest. All sat at a desk reading our chosen book from the school library and proving that I was a 'big book' reader when in reality a picture book would have been what I would have chosen and my English reading lessons consisted of me day dream whilst staring at the book and occasionally turning a page.

Point two I love reading but don't get round to it too often. I don't like too much description, or swearing or sex. Books should come with ratings, the amount I have half read due the above is just as long as my read list.

Point 3, I've not read next months book so I apologise if it has any things from point two. I have However read the first few pages and it amused me. Big tick in my estimation.

Point 4, it's British.

Point 5' I'm british.

Point 6 I present you with "things can only get better: eighteen miserable years in the life of a labour supporter" by John o'Farell

I will post a pic when my laptop charger arrives in the mean time blogger on an iPad sucks.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

September Book

My very good friend Melissa has the book choice for this month and she facebooked me to tell me our book would be:

One Second After by William R. Forstchen.

I honestly don't know anything about the book or author, but I'm excited because it sounds all suspenseful and page turner-y.

So hurry and finish Peter Pan if you haven't. And Kathleeny, I know you are busy housing and developing your first born, but please don't forget us lowly book club peeps! (I mean that in an only slightly sarcastic way... I blame all the caffeine going through my system at the moment.)

Alright readers.... READ!

Tuesday, 14 August 2012


Ok guys, here it is: Peter Pan, or the Boy Who Would Not Grow Up (the play). How predictable am I? Yes, I've read it before. In fact, I know it is as dear to some of your hearts as it is to mine. That's part of the reason I've chosen this piece; I can't wait to talk about it more with you all! Another reason is that I've got a little boy growing inside me, and I want to stoke the fire a little. Last, I think we're all familiar enough with the story that, even if we have trouble finishing it by the end of the month, we'll all get to join in the discussion.

As I type this, Jesse and I are thumbing through our ancient copy (the one I picked up in a tiny village in Scotland called Bridge of Allen and literally clutched to my chest as I walked home in the woods). I knew which copy Jesse had grabbed by the smell of the pages.

If you can, get a hold of a copy with the Dedication to the Five. It's beautiful. I haven't read the play through in a few years, and I can't wait to start again. As much as I love this story, I love the way it was written almost more. The stage directions are magical. The stage directions!

Anyway, if the library doesn't have the play version, here's an Amazon link where you can order it in an anthology of JM Barrie's plays for cheap. I hope hope hope it's the original play. I "looked inside this book" and it seems to be.

Peter Pan and Other Plays

Is this ok with everyone?

Friday, 10 August 2012

Learning From Man's Best Friend!!!

Well... I feel like we should discuss the books we read for July. Now I was naughty and only read one of the books. My used book store and my local library didn't have Major Pettigrew's Last Stand so I read The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein.

Now this book really took me for a journey. From the preface I knew i would love it. But I found myself struggling to finish. I just felt so utterly betrayed by the twins (the grandparents)that I just didn't want to read anymore. But I just had to keep reading to see the end.

So because of my issues I am having a hard time thinking about what to discuss. So I cheated and found some questions online!

Some early readers of the novel have observed that viewing the world through a dog's eyes makes for a greater appreciation of being human. Why do you think this is?

I really agree with the greater appreciation comment. But I really think it is because we have such a Zen dog perspective. I think that if we had the dog from "Up" then we would think differently. I like that Enzo is such a deep thinker and yet he doesn't get into the naggy drama that we humans dwell upon.

Do you find yourself looking at your own dog differently after reading this novel?

Oh I completely did! While reading I kept wondering what Lucy (my 5 year old Shitzu/ Terrier mix) thought of how I treated her. I wondered if she thought I was babying her too much or if I spoke to her enough or too much. If she feels safe with us, or if she sometimes still feels like a visitor. (We only have had her for a year.) I wonder if she is very Zen or if she is as girly as I think she is.

To be honest it made me think a lot more of my dog’s outlook on things. I loved that!

In the book, we get glimpses into the mindset and mentality of a race car driver. What parallels can you think of between the art of racing and the art of living?

Now I could take this question several ways. Professionally our careers can be a race, or a marathon to see if/when/and how we can achieve our goals. In relationships I think it can relate to knowing your surroundings, your partner/team/significant other and what you both need to do to stay in sync and moving forward together to the next lap, or the next race.

Denny and Enzo and the way they relate racing into their whole being shows how preparation and planning and endurance relate to both life and racing. The twins also show that planning and knowing your course, your opponents, and your pace can pretty much determine your race. But only what you can control. The twins did all they could to achieve the win they wanted. But they couldn't completely control their opponent...Denny. (Sorry I'm probably not explaining myself very well..codeine does that to me.)

“That which you manifest is before you.” Garth Stein: “We are in charge of our own lives. We create our own destiny. And we have to take responsibility—a big job. If we delegate to people around us, we get what we deserve. If we really want something, we have to set our attention on it and do everything it takes to get it. . . . The energy we put out to the world is what the world becomes for us.” Is this true for the characters in the book?

All I can really say to those statements and that question is YES!!!
In life we get what we put into it. And we could see this with the characters in the book. It may not happen quickly but I do believe that we get what we strive for. My brain is getting a little too fuzzy. SO I will end it there!
Now discuss… and anyone who has read the other book… please post!

August Read

Hi all,

IF you haven't noticed, I'm really not very good at this business. But I have been thinking our August book. Let me sift through a couple options tonight and hopefully tomorrow I'll post what I've found. I'm thinking something either short or easy or both, as it's already 10 days into the month. I miss you all and hope your lives are all swimming right along happily!

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Hey I'm new!

Hi, I'm Carrie!
I apologize for the pictures... the only ones I have of me reading are also of just my legs. Which is odd.

I feel so privileged to be in this super exclusive book club! I feel like a mason only less manly and secretive.
Just thought I would introduce myself. I'm living in Utah and have a good-lookin'-hard-workin'-soft-spoken husband and a bananas 1 year old. This is us at the Smithsonian:

I stay at home and have a social work degree. I have a blog where I talk about my day and stuff I make because I'm pretty typical like that. I even like Diet Coke and watch The Bachelor.

Liz once told me that I'm mainstream but wearing a really cool hat. 

I have always loved to read and had a goal this year to join a book club so I'm pretty excited.
Is this weird to do an introduction post? I would love it if all of you introduced yourselves in the comments or something because I think there are some of you I don't know.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

July Bookie-Wook

Hiya peeps!

Sorry I've been sort of absent from this group...I'm not now that it's my choice! Ha ha.

Anyway, I couldn't decide between two books. I just did a "Book Recommendation Post" on my personal blog, so here are two of the books from that list. Which one would you guys like to read for July?

(Click on the picture to enlarge and read more.)

Major Pettigrew's last stand is very British, something along the lines of "Remains of the Day," and oh so tender.  Focus is on human relationships.

The Art of Racing in the Rain is much more along the lines of "Tuesdays With Morrie," although there's a lot more humor in it. Focus is on life lessons.

Cast your votes in the comments, my friends!

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Let’s Talk About Dead Bodies

Disclaimer: I sort of freaked myself out by trying to hard to make this a meaningful post. Please help me me make this discussion better by commenting!

So... this month was Samalama DingDong's choice and she chose "Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers" by Mary Roach. When she told me about it I was initially so excited! I ran to my nearest bookstore and picked it up. It hooked me right in the beginning.

"Being dead is absurd. It's the silliest situation you'll find yourself in. Your limbs are floppy and uncooperative. Your mouth hangs open. Being dead is unsightly and stinky and embarrassing, and there's not a damn thing to be done about it." (In the introduction) And then on the next page: "One's own dead are more than cadavers; they are place holders for the living. They are a focus, a receptacle, for emotions that no longer have one. The dead of science are always strangers."

I love how the author can go from sarcastic, witty and funny to heartfelt. It isn't something I would have thought possible on this subject. And yet she does it beautifully. I really think this book is worth discussing for so many reasons. Each of her chapters are so educational, interesting, and thought provoking. There is a lot more to being a cadaver than I thought. And I just don’t mean the donated body.

Personally I am a registered donor, on the bone marrow registry, and a regular blood donor. I love the idea of being able to bless those in need in any way I can. And yet with all that, I still am unsure about my position on donating your body to science, and some of its uses. And I guess that relates to my faith and my thoughts on our physical bodies, and how they are a gift from God that we are responsible to take care of while we are here. Now that is as far as I will go with my faith, because this shouldn't be a religious discussion, but I can’t seem to totally disconnect my faith with my logical brain… they seem to be intertwined. But I can say this… I think it is our duty as a human race to help where and when we can, and it any way we can. Ms. Roach makes me laugh when she said:

“I’m a believer in organ and tissue (bone, cartilage, skin) donation, but was startled to learn that donated skin that isn’t used for, say, grafting onto burn victims may be processed and used cosmetically to plump up wrinkles and aggrandize penises. While I have no preconceived notions on the hereafter, I stand firm in my conviction that it should not take the form of someone else’s underpants.” P.24

Okay so now I’ll jump of that podium for a second and just get back to how much I enjoyed that way Ms. Roach approached this subject, and the way she wrote about it. You can tell she has a respect for the subject and those involved, but she also added humor so the book wasn’t too heavy. I think my favorite portion of her writing was when she was talking about donor H.

“But H is different. She has made three sick people well. She has brought them extra time on earth. To be able, as a dead person, to make a gift of this magnitude is phenomenal. Most people don’t manage this sort of thing while they’re alive. Cadavers like H are the dead’s heroes. It is astounding to me, and achingly sad, that with eighty thousand people on the waiting list for donated hearts and livers and kidneys, with sixteen a day dying there on that list, that more than half of the people in the position of H’s family was in will say no, will choose to burn those organs or let them rot. We abide the surgeon’s scalpel to save our own lives, our loved ones’ lives, but not to save a strangers life. H has no heart, but heartless is the last thing you’d call her.” P.195

It must have been so very powerful to watch this persons vital organs cut out and distributed for individuals miles away from one another. To know that through this sadness to H’s family, there can be joy and hope. In a small way she still lives on.

Now I will just share a few of my favorite quotes that either had me thinking, or laughing, or both:

* “The human being of centuries past was clearly in another league, insofar as pain endurance went. The further back you go, the more we could take. P.29

*“We are biology. We are reminded of this at the beginning and the end, at birth and at death. In between we do what we can to forget.” P.84

*“The distance between the very old, sick, frail person and the dead one is short, with a poorly marked border. The more time you spend with the invalid elderly (I have seen both my parents in this state), the more you come to see extreme old age as a gradual easing into death.” Pp. 97-98

*“A male heart is in fact slightly different from a female heart. A heart surgeon can tell one from the other by looking at the ECG, because the intervals are slightly different. When you put a female heart into a man, it continues to beat like a female heart. And vice versa.” P.192

*“If you could at all help it, it was extremely advisable, historically, to avoid being epileptic. Treatments for it have included distilled human skull, dried human heart, bolus of human mummy, boy’s urine, excrement of mouse, goose, and horse, warm gladiator blood, arsenic, strychnine, cod liver oil, and borax.” P.226

*“While I am thankful to be alive in the era of antibiotics and over-the-counter Gyne-Lotrimin, I am saddened by modern medicine’s contributions to medical nomenclature. Where once we had scrofula and dropsy, now we have supraventricular tachyarrhythmia and glossopharyngeal neuralgia. Gone are quinsy, glanders, and farcy. So long exuberant granulations and cerebral softening. Fare-thee-well, tetter and hectic fever. Even the treatments used to have evocative, literary flavor. The Merck Manual of 1899 listed ‘a tumbleful of Carlsbad waters, sipped hot while dressing’ as a remedy for constipation and the lovely, if enigmatic, ‘removal inland’ as a cure for insomnia.” P.226

*“’Do not spit at the beach.’ Unless, I thought to myself, the beach suffers from nightmares, ulcers, ophthalmia, or fetid perspiration.” P.244

I am so glad that Samalama chose this book. I doubt I would have found it on my own, and I love the differing tastes of those in our book club! I hope everyone else enjoyed it and that we can have a good discussion!

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

My name is....

Hey everyone.. I am Samiee... Many of you have no idea who I am and that is because I am a loser and I have not been participating in this amazing book club! I have a million and one excuses as to why I have been MIA but non of them are sufficient. The truth is... I AM LAME! There I said it.. I am lame.

I have not been in a reading place. I go through phases of devouring books 2 at a time for months and then I will not read for months... I am currently in a non- reading phase. I want to participate so bad but I just can't focus. So I am so sorry folks for being lame... and I picked the book for this month and while I have it on my Nook.. ready to go I just haven't found the time to read *sigh* Someday. Hope you guys enjoyed it!


Sunday, 27 May 2012

In anticipation.... French Revolution.

How are you enjoying A Tale of Two Cities?

Anyway, in anticipation of the book discussion, I wanted to post this. It's from a fav UK show of mine, Horrible Histories.

It's Historical Wife Swap. I LOVE this! If you've read the book, you'll find some interesting insights.

FYI: Did you know that Madame Tussad got started doing wax models off the chopped off heads? Eww.

Monday, 30 April 2012

Happy Anniversary!

On this date in 1859 "A Tale of Two Cities" by Charles Dickens was first published in serial form in a literary magazine.
Good job Stacey for picking this book!

Saturday, 28 April 2012

The next book! (Finally!)

Sorry for the delay. It's been a crazy week at work and I had to try and make time to get to the library and deal with a very unhelpful librarian who was upset that I actually required her to do something.
Sadly, the book that I really wanted us all to read, I cannot get (sometimes living in Idaho is very trying).

But all is not lost!
Since it's a certain famous novelist's 200th birthday this year, I want to read one of his novels.
Can you guess? 
So.... drum roll please!
Here is this month's novel: A Tale of Two Cities.

I realise this is set during the same time as Scarlet Pimpernel, but ... it's Dickens! He's cool.
I started reading it and I really like it. He is really such a word smith.

This should be fun!
If you do have problems with understanding him, there is a website:

It will be the best of times!

Monday, 23 April 2012

A Little More Conversation

I must apologize, this month has been a bit hectic.  I really can't believe that the end of April is just around the corner!  You would think with me having recently had my spring break that I would have had some down time, but that just doesn't seem to be in the cards right now.  Pile on that this weekend I have been very sick, it has not been the best of months.  So, I didn't finish the book.  I got 62% of it read (thank you kindle for your accuracy).  However I have seen the musical and know the basic storyline.

The first chapter took my breath away.  It was so descriptive and poetic.  It made the guillotine seem like a character unto itself.  I became excited and enthralled immediately.  However, at its conclusion when I found that the style did not continue into the rest of the book I had a hard time picking it up again.  Once the Blakeneys made their entrance it became much more engaging.  The scene in the garden where Margarete finally tells Percy that her brother is in trouble is beautiful and I sat on pins and needles with the "whole will they won't they" dilema.

I am not really sure how to start things off.  I really could go on for a while on themes and analysis, but I don't want to bore you and make this post way too long.  While reading a couple of themes really stood out to me in the book;  duality and trust.  Our hero and female ingénue both suffer from duality, but in reverse aspects (which I find fascinating).  Percy is seen as an imbecile (I loved all the different conjugations of the adjective in the book :) ) in public.  His mask is one of innocence and obliviousness.  It makes me wonder when this mask was put in place in his life, when did he realize that it would be useful.  It does seem to give himself some freedom.  No one suspects him, who is the likeliest culprit due to his finances and bred "intelligence" of the upper-class (Oo, another theme, class).  How could they suspect him?  He is a foppish idiot who serves as the court jester.  Then there is Marguerite.  I debated as to whether or not I should call her an ingénue and then decided that is her true self.  She is seen by the "world" as a strong opinionated woman. It is often remarked that she is too witty to have married such an moron of a husband.  This is the exact opposite of an ingénue, but when the author gives us her private thoughts or her conversations with her brother, I think the title fits.  She is smart and witty, but easily makes mistakes and is beguiled by others and her own narrow perceptions.  She of all people should have realized Percy's true self.  I wanted to scream at her when she would remark on how much he had changed from courtship to marriage.  She said remarked that Percy was a strong, loving, intelligent man and then became and annoying, distant, idiot after their wedding.  Such a shift, at least to me the reader, seemed like a tell tale sign that something was amiss.  However, just like Percy's mask, hers gives her more freedom.  In a world where women are seen as ornaments, her forthrightness actually give her more freedom and influence.

This leads me to me second theme, trust.  Marguerite trusted Chauvelin, at first, merely because they were countrymen (a sign of her naiveté).  He bamboozled (oh how I love that word) her with it to get her attention and then thrust the dagger of betrayal into her bosom and twisted it with the desire to entrap her brother and husband (what a dramatic sentence! haha).  Then there is the lack of trust between Percy and Marguerite.  How different the book would have been if the two of them had sat down and had an open conversation instead of letting their pride get in the way.  Although I find that to be the case in many stories, if people used the lines of communication we never would have a story or it would be vastly different due to less conflict.  What does that teach us?  :)

The other thing I wanted to mention was the scarlet pimpernel itself.  I did a little "research" and found that it is a weed that has a tiny flower.  I like the idea that one man (the tiny flower) could "spread" across France to "choke" out the wicked.  The allusion that Orczy uses is, to my mind, rather effective.

I hope I didn't bore anyone or that this didn't get too long.  I had so much fun analyzing what I read of the book.  It reminded me of college and my English major days.  I kind of miss those.  :)  What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

March's Book!!!!

Okay, over much deliberation, I have made a decision. I am not going to lie to you, I have been stressing about this. I thought about modern books and classics. I didn't know if we just wanted to stick to classics (I hope not), but I picked a classic anyways. I hope you guys like it, and that you guys haven't read it before (although, if you have you liked it). Ugh! Picking a book for others to read is not easy. Basically, I wanted intrigue and adventure, so I picked
The Scarlett Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy Emmuska. I hope you all enjoy it!

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Let's Talk About Northanger Abbey

Alright, so I'm a little nervous about this post because I'm not an intellectual, and I'm really not sure what to discuss in relation to the book.

1.)I really enjoyed it.
2.)It ended pretty abruptly.
3.)I LOVE Jane Austen's sassiness in this book.

Those really are the points I kind of want to discuss, and then we'll see where all your thoughts ultimately lead the discussion.

Now for point 1. I loved it for several reasons... one being that it was easy to read. I have always had a fear of the classics, mostly because I wasn't sure I would be smart enough to understand the language. But it hasn't been the case with the two Jane Austen's that I have read. I am instantly connected to the characters she creates, and the world she sees. I LOVED HENRY TILNEY. I already said that I thought of him as a Bingley like character, but not as oblivious. Tilney is wonderful, and has a great sense of humor, and it was so very easy to fall for him. I also liked the heart of Catherine. I had to keep reminding myself that she is only seventeen, and is trying to make her way in the world. Catherine has a good heart and a good temperament. She isn't as judgmental as some of Austen's other heroine's, and I liked reading about her becoming a woman. I also enjoyed the humor in this book. I smiled through most of my reading.
On a side note: I loved how Mr. Tilney related marriage to dancing! I loved that discussion, and wonder anyone else's thoughts on it.

Point 2: The book ended so suddenly. I felt as if I had just hit the third quarter when Catherine is rushed off of Northanger Abbey, and then it's 15 pages to the end. It really felt rushed, and quickly patched up. I'm happy at the happy endings, but they just seemed rushed, and wrapped a little too neatly. And I still just don't understand Henry's father. It just seems odd to me.

And finally point 3: I absolutely ADORE Jane Austen's voice in this book. It is so witty and youthful and wonderful. This book felt so like an non-angsty. I loved her asides to the reader, and her sarcasm. I don't know next to anything about Gothic novels, but she really had me intrigued and wanting to read one.

I'm sorry my thoughts are a jumbled mess, but over the course of the last hour I have overdosed on Dr. Pepper!

Those are the thoughts from Sarah! (Now if you're an author you can just add to the post if you like, or you can make a comment.) And everyone else who isn't an author on the blog, please let me know your thoughts, and feelings on the book!

Ready.... DISCUSS!!

Friday, 16 March 2012

March options. . .

So, I figure I should be making a decision as to what our next joint literary adventure should be. I am not finished yet with "Northanger Abbey," so I am having a hard time choosing. There are so many books out there that I have always wanted to read, but have never had a chance, or the "push" to do so. I have narrowed it down to three, and I would like some input please.

First of all is "The Scarlett Pimpernell." The book I read before "Northanger Abbey," was a Victorian era spy novel and I thought this might be fun since I loved the other modern book so much.

The next thought is "The Wizard of Oz." I love a lot of the adaptations and I have always wanted to try reading the original book(s), but have never taken the time.

My third idea came to me as we watched "Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory," in class today with my kiddos. I grew up on the movie and can quote the entire thing, but have never read the book(s). So Perhaps "Charlie and The Chocolate Factory," might be fun?

I have also thought about, "The Woman in White," and "The Picture of Dorian Gray." What excites you guys of theses options? Does anything spark your fancy?

P.S. all of the pictures are hyperlinks to their Amazon listings in case you want to find out more about them.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Quick Question Readers

Alright... how many of you have finished the book? Just wondering when we can start talking about it, before I forget all my brilliant thoughts. (sarcasm)

I'm thinking about re-reading it, because I can't seem to get into "Under The Greenwood Tree."

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Random Thoughts

Okay, so I'm really enjoying Northanger Abbey and I can't wait til the end. My only mistake was in reading the introduction. SO... if you haven't started yet... DON'T READ THE INTRODUCTION! It is a giant spoiler, and discusses stuff that maybe could and should be discussed in the AFTERWARDS.

While everyone is diving into our first read, I thought I would share a few of my favorite quotes so far!

"As for admiration, it was always very welcome when it came, but she did not depend on it." (Chapter 2, on page 28 in my book.)

"She was heartily ashamed of her ignorance. A misplaced shame. Where people wish to attach, they should always be ignorant. To come with a well-informed mind is to come with an inability of administering to the vanity of others, which a sensible person would always wish to avoid. A woman especially, if she have the misfortune of knowing anything, should conceal it as well as she can." (Chapter 14, on page 112 in my book.) This one really made me laugh out loud.

"Tilney says there is nothing people are so often deceived in as the state of their own affections, and I believe he is right." (Chapter 18, on page 141 in my book.)

PS...I really really like Henry Tilney! (I kind of wonder if he and Mr. Darcy could have been friends. It seems kind of like Henry is a cooler Mr. Bingley... kind of.)

PPS... I do realize that Henry Tilney, and Mr. Darcy are fictional characters and are not alive. Nor did they ever live. (I just thought I should clarify that.)

Saturday, 18 February 2012

The First Book

Alright, I am starting this book club thingy! I have decided to start reading a classic, so I chose Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen.

Now I have not read this, and am not sure how I will respond to it, but lets give it a go! Now technically the start date with be tomorrow the 19th of February. So we will need to have it done and discussed by the 19th of March which I totally think is doable! I also want to rent the recent BBC version of Northanger Abbey to watch when I finish the book. =)

So now I am off to the used book store to find a copy of the novel!

Let the reading begin!

(And for those [ahem... Liz] who can't read with us this month, that is okay. Start up when you can!)

And if you no of anyone who would like to jump into this, then by all means invite them.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

The Humble Beginnings!

WELCOME FRIENDS! So this here will be our little book club site. Seeing as we are all over the place, getting together will be kind of impossible, so I think we should have this blog to talk as we will! I also want to look into a group skype thingy. Now seeing as I'm technologically retarded, I am not sure how that will work.

I also know that we will not all enjoy each of the books we read, so I think we should each take months for book picks. I was wondering if we wanted to do a book a month? a fortnight? What would be realistic for everyone? Comments would be helpful.

So let's get this show on the road...

My choices for the first book to read are either 1. The Help by Kathryn Stockett 2. Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith or 3. Anything from Jane Austen. Please comment on which you would like to start with!

I also think we should have it read by March 15th -ish which gives us a month. I guess I will start this month, but I would like to know who will cover the next months, and what book(s) they would like us to choose from to read!

Then we will read, then we will discuss... and meet where possible! (Oh and feel free to spread the word, the more the merrier to our cyber party!)