Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wednesday Wish List

Dream of the Blue Room by Michelle Richmond

Jenny and Amanda Ruth were best friends in a small Alabama town until eighteen-years-old Amanda Ruth was murdered. Now, fourteen years later, Jenny has traveled with her husband to China to scatter Amanda Ruth’s ashes and finally fulfill her friend’s dream of visiting her Chinese father’s homeland. It’s also, Jenny hopes, an opportunity to repair her own troubled marriage. But as she journeys through a foreign landscape, the guilty secrets of Jenny’s past rise up and her life will be inexorably altered.

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Year of Fog, Michelle Richmond’s stunning novel captivates with its depiction of the powerful intimacies of marriage, friendship, and family that shape our paths and the bonds of home that buoy us—wherever home may be.

Read the story behind the novel at Backstory, "where authors share secrets, truths, logical and illogical moments that sparked their fiction or memoirs."

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays (started on Should Be Reading) asks you to:

Grab your current read (or a book on your shelf that you've read or been wanting to read). Let the book fall open to a random page. Share two (or a few) teaser sentences from that page. Don't forget to share the title and author of the book in case someone is teased into reading. Please avoid spoilers!

I've posted my teaser below. Post yours in the comment section if you'd like to share as well!

I'm safe, yeah, safe from dese fools on the street but am I safe from Carl Kenwood Jones? This is my second baby for my daddy, it gonna be retarded too?

from Push by Sapphire

This book is very disturbing...horrifying, actually.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Movie Mondays


Book, 2001 by Laura Hillenbrand

He was a cultural icon. A world-class athlete. A champion who triumphed over terrible handicaps to become a legend of the racetrack. No other racehorse has rivaled Seabiscuit's fame or his sway over the nation's imagination. Now Laura Hillenbrand unfolds the spellbinding story of this marvelous animal, the world he lived in, and the men who staked their lives and fortunes on his dazzling career. A riveting tale of grit, grace, luck, and an underdog's stubbor determination, Seabiscuit is an American classic.

It won the William Hill Sports Book of the Year in 2001.

Movie, 2003 directed by Gary Ross

Features: Tobey Maguire, Jeff Bridges, Chris Cooper

Tagline: A long shot becomes a legend.

Awards: It was nominated for 7 Oscars including Best Picture, but won none.

Did you know? "Sea biscuit" is the name for a type of cracker eaten by sailors.

Have you read the book or seen the movie? I loved the movie (couldn't believe it lost the Best Picture Oscar to Lord of the Rings) but I haven't read the book. Maybe I'll order it for the Kindle.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Group Pictures-Columbine

Another lively discussion about a very emotional book!

Meeting Today & Member Profile-Kate

We're meeting today @ 2:00pm @ my house to discuss Columbine!

About our host (me) this month...

What is your favorite book? Ordinary People by Judith Guest

Who is your favorite author? fiction, Jodi Picoult; nonfiction, Steven Pinker

Who is your most loved fictional character? The Count of Monte Cristo

If you could force everyone you know to read one book, what would it be? Death Be Not Proud by John Gunther

What is the most difficult book you've ever read (you had to actually finish it)? War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

What's the last book you read? Well, besides Columbine, it would be Night by Elie Wiesel.

How many books do you own? It's probably ~150 not counting text books or e-books.

Paperbacks or hardbacks (or e-books)? I think e-books are my favorite right the Kindle!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Saturday Spotlight

Today's author is Jayne Anne Phillips.

1. She was born in July of 1952 in Buckhannon, West Virginia.
2. She earned her BA from West Virginia University and later graduated from the Iowa Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa.
3. In 1976, her first short story collection, Sweethearts, was published; it won the Pushcart Prize.
4. Her first novel, Machine Dreams, was published in 1984.

5. Her latest novel, Lark & Termite, was selected as one of five finalists for the National Book Award in fiction.

6. She has taught at several colleges and universities, including Harvard, Williams College, and Boston University.

Have you read any of her books or stories?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Feature Fridays

Today's classic is The Scarlet Pimpernel (1905) by Baroness Emmuska Orczy.

In the year 1792, Sir Percy and Lady Marguerite Blakeney are the darlings of British society—he is known as one of the wealthiest men in England and a dimwit; she is French, a stunning former actress, and “the cleverest woman in Europe”—and they find themselves at the center of a deadly political intrigue. The Reign of Terror controls France, and every day aristocrats in Paris fall victim to Madame la Guillotine. Only one man can rescue them—the Scarlet Pimpernel—a master of disguises who leaves a calling card bearing only a signature red flower. As the fascinating connection between the Blakeneys and this mysterious hero is revealed, they are forced to choose between love and loyalty in order to avoid the French agent Chauvelin, who relentlessly hunts the Scarlet Pimpernel.

The Scarlet Pimpernel is the best-known novel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy, a prolific author of popular fiction and plays. The novel pioneered the tale of the masked avenger and paved the way for such future enigmatic swashbucklers as Zorro, Superman, and the Lone Ranger. Repeatedly adapted for stage and screen—most recently as a successful Broadway musical—The Scarlet Pimpernel is a relevant and enormously entertaining tale of survival and pluck during times of widespread fear, hypocrisy, and corruption.

You can read The Scarlet Pimpernel online for free at Page by Page Books.

Emmuska Orczy wrote various sequels to The Scarlet Pimpernel:

I Will Repay (1906)
The Elusive Pimpernel (1908)
Eldorado (1913)
Lord Tony's Wife (1917)
The Triumph of the Scarlet Pimpernel (1922)
Sir Percy Hits Back (1927)
A Child of the Revolution (1932)
The Way of the Scarlet Pimpernel (1933)
Sir Percy Leads the Band (1936)
Mam'zelle Guillotine (1940)

Have you read any of The Scarlet Pimpernel books (or movie/tv/musical adaptations)?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Thoughts for Thursday

What's the last book you bought?

I just bought Shanghai Girls by Lisa See. I'm hoping it's chosen as a book club selection this year!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wednesday Wish List

Mathilda Savitch by Victor Lodato

I have a sister who died. Did I tell you this already? I did but you don’t remember, you didn’t understand the code . . . She died a year ago, but in my mind sometimes it’s five minutes. In the morning sometimes it hasn’t even happened yet. For a second I’m confused, but then it all comes back. It happens again.

Fear doesn’t come naturally to Mathilda Savitch. She prefers to look right at the things nobody else can bring themselves to mention: for example, the fact that her beloved older sister is dead, pushed in front of a train by a man still on the loose. Her grief-stricken parents have basically been sleepwalking ever since, and it is Mathilda’s sworn mission to shock them back to life. Her strategy? Being bad.

Mathilda decides she’s going to figure out what lies behind the catastrophe. She starts sleuthing through her sister’s most secret possessions—e-mails, clothes, notebooks, whatever her determination and craftiness can ferret out. More troubling, she begins to apply some of her older sister’s magical charisma and powers of seduction to the unraveling situations around her. In a storyline that thrums with hints of ancient myth, Mathilda has to risk a great deal—in fact, has to leave behind everything she loves—in order to discover the truth.

Mathilda Savitch bursts with unforgettably imagined details: impossible crushes, devastating humiliations, the way you can hate and love your family at the same moment, the times when you and your best friend are so weak with laughter that you can’t breathe. Startling, funny, touching, odd, truthful, page-turning, and, in the end, heartbreaking, Mathilda Savitch is an extraordinary debut. Once you make the acquaintance of Mathilda Savitch, you will never forget her.

Mathilda Savitch is the first-place winner of the 2009 B&N Discover Award for fiction. I've heard this would make a great book club selection!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays (started on Should Be Reading) asks you to:

Grab your current read (or a book on your shelf that you've read or been wanting to read). Let the book fall open to a random page. Share two (or a few) teaser sentences from that page. Don't forget to share the title and author of the book in case someone is teased into reading. Please avoid spoilers!

I've posted my teaser below. Post yours in the comment section if you'd like to share as well!

Jo put her hand on her sister's, and both sat silent for a little while, surveying the pleasant scene before them with mingled sad and happy thoughts. It certainly did look as if magic had been at work, for quiet Plumfield was transformed into a busy little world.

from Jo's Boys by Louisa May Alcott

You can read it online for free at Read Print. It's the third book in the Little Women trilogy (Little Men is the second).

Monday, March 22, 2010

1 Year Anniversary!

Today marks the 1 year anniversary of our book club/blog!
We'll celebrate our birthday at the meeting this Sunday!

Movie Mondays


Book, 1985 by Iris Rainer Dart

Loudmouthed, redheaded Cee Cee Bloom has her sights set on Hollywood. Bertie White, quiet and conservative, dreams of getting married and having children. In 1951, their childhood worlds collide in Atlantic City. Keeping in touch as pen pals, they reunite over the years ... always near the ocean.

Powerful and moving, this novel follows Cee Cee and Bertie's extraordinary friendship over the course of thirty years as they transform from adolescents into adults. A bestselling novel that became a hugely successful film, Beaches is funny, heartbreaking, and a tale that should be a part of every woman's library.

Movie, 1988 directed by Garry Marshall

Features: Bette Midler, Barbara Hershey

Tagline: The Friendship You'll Always Remember... In The Film You'll Never Forget.

Awards: nominated for the Academy Award for Best Art Direction

Did you know? "Wind Beneath My Wings" (performed by Bette Midler in the movie) went on to win Grammys for Record of the Year and Song of the Year in 1990.

Have you read the book or seen the movie?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sunday Survey

Just one week left to finish reading Columbine!

5=I love it!
4=I really like it.
3=I like it.
2=It's just okay.
1=I don't like it.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spring Challenge

Another new season is here: Spring! It's time for the Spring Challenge! This season, I think it will be fun to read books about other cultures: books that take place in different countries, books that discuss the immigrant experience, memoirs by foreign authors, etc. I've chosen these 3 books:

A Disobedient Girl by Ru Freeman

Set against the volatile events of the last forty years of Sri Lankan history, A Disobedient Girl traces the lives of three characters whose interwoven fates and histories force them to answer life's most difficult questions. Beautiful, haunting, alive, and brimming with truth, it is, above all, a novel about extraordinary circumstances that change life in an instant and the power of love to transcend time and place.

The story begins with two little girls, mistress and servant, one with every luxury and opportunity that money can buy and the other with nothing but her yearning for a better life. Together, they grow up bound by love, betrayal, resentment, and an impossible secret.

Then there is Biso, a devoted mother of three, who risks everything to escape from the hands of her tyrannical husband. But her journey, which begins with such hope, takes her on a disastrous path that ultimately leads her to give her life over to strangers she never imagined she would have reason to know, binding her story with that of the girls in the most unexpected and heartbreaking of ways.

A Disobedient Girl is a compelling exploration of personal desire set against the volatile backdrop of class and prejudice, as three women journey toward their future, united by a shared history but separated by different fates. A bold and deeply moving account that spans three decades of love and loss, it is a tale about the will to survive and the incredible power of the human spirit to transcend the unforgiving sweep of tragedy.

A Good Indian Wife by Anne Cherian

Neel Sarath, an Indian-American anesthesiologist in San Francisco, believes he's distanced himself from traditional Indian life with his blonde American girlfriend, his Porsche, and his spotless, Pine-Sol-scented condo. But after his family tricks him into coming home for an arranged marriage, the newlyweds surprise each other. Neel discovers that Leila Krishnan, the woman who becomes his wife, is not a meek, traditional girl who can be set aside while life goes on as usual, girlfriend and all. Leila is a literature teacher from the small town in South India where Neel grew up, and she knows more about the world through her books than Neel has ever learned in his single-minded study of medicine. Leila, too, finds that being married to the distinguished Dr. Sarath is more difficult than she anticipated, maybe more than adjusting to a life outside India. Neel and Leila struggle to reconcile their own desires with the expectations of others in a story of two people, two countries, and two ways of life that may be more compatible than they seem. In A Good Indian Wife, Anne Cherian explores what happens when complicated people get married first, and have to woo each other later.

The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai

Desai takes us to the northeastern Himalayas where a rising insurgency challenges the old way of life. In a crumbling, isolated house at the foot of Mount Kanchenjunga lives an embittered old judge who wants to retire in peace when his orphaned granddaughter Sai arrives on his doorstep. The judge's chatty cook watches over her, but his thoughts are mostly with his son, Biju, hopscotching from one New York restaurant job to another, trying to stay a step ahead of the INS, forced to consider his country's place in the world. When a Nepalese insurgency in the mountains threatens Sai's new-sprung romance with her handsome Nepali tutor and causes their lives to descend into chaos, they, too, are forced to confront their colliding interests. The nation fights itself. The cook witnesses the hierarchy being overturned and discarded. The judge must revisit his past, his own role in this grasping world of conflicting desires-every moment holding out the possibility for hope or betrayal.

Will you be joining in the Spring Challenge? Read my books or choose your own. Let me know what books you pick if you decide on others.

Winter Challenge Wrap-Up

The Winter Challenge is many Malcolm Gladwell books did you read? I finished all 4 of them. I found them very easy to read and pretty interesting. They all definitely made you think. I read them all on my the Kindle!

Now it's time for the Spring Challenge...look for details later today!

Saturday Spotlight

Today's author is Jeannette Walls.

1. She was born in Phoenix, Ariona but grew up all over: California, Battle Mountain, Nevada, and Welch, West Virginia; her family was even homeless at times.
2. She moved to New York at age 17 and graduated from Barnard College.
3. She is married to journalist John J. Taylor, author of The Count and the Confession: A True Murder Mystery, among other things.
4. She has written for various magazines and newspapers: New York, Esquire and USA Today.
5. She is a former gossip columnist for
6. In 2000, she published Dish: The Inside Story on the World of Gossip.

7. In 2005, she published her bestselling memoir The Glass Castle; it is being developed into a movie by Paramount.

8. In 2009, she published her first novel, Half Broke Horses: A True-Life Novel, mildly based on her grandma.

Have you read anything by Jeannette Walls?

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