Monday, September 24, 2012

Fall Challenge 2012

Well, summer officially ended over the weekend. Did you finish reading Anna Karenina? If not, there's still time. The movie isn't out yet. But, either way, we're moving on to the fall challenge for 2012.

This fall, let's read Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. I've been thinking about reading it since it came out last October, shortly after his death. (I started thinking about this book again with all the talk about the iPhone 5.) Walter Isaacson was asked by Jobs to write his biography. Isaacson also wrote biographies of Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein.  It was a 2011 Time Best Books of the Year. The full-length movie version will be adapted by Aaron Sorkin.

Based on more than forty interviews with Jobs conducted over two years--as well as interviews with more than a hundred family members, friends, adversaries, competitors, and colleagues--Walter Isaacson has written a riveting story of the roller-coaster life and searingly intense personality of a creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing.

At a time when America is seeking ways to sustain its innovative edge, and when societies around the world are trying to build digital-age economies, Jobs stands as the ultimate icon of inventiveness and applied imagination. He knew that the best way to create value in the twenty-first century was to connect creativity with technology. He built a company where leaps of the imagination were combined with remarkable feats of engineering.

Although Jobs cooperated with this book, he asked for no control over what was written nor even the right to read it before it was published. He put nothing off-limits. He encouraged the people he knew to speak honestly. And Jobs speaks candidly, sometimes brutally so, about the people he worked with and competed against. His friends, foes, and colleagues provide an unvarnished view of the passions, perfectionism, obsessions, artistry, devilry, and compulsion for control that shaped his approach to business and the innovative products that resulted.

Driven by demons, Jobs could drive those around him to fury and despair. But his personality and products were interrelated, just as Apple's hardware and software tended to be, as if part of an integrated system. His tale is instructive and cautionary, filled with lessons about innovation, character, leadership, and values.
Who's joining in?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

2013 Book Categories

Here are the book categories for 2013! Everyone should submit 2 books per category at the October meeting. You will have a total of 24 books.
January | Memoir/New Beginnings
February | Romance/Chick Lit
March | Animals
April | Comedy
May | Mother/Daughter/Family
June | Baseball/Sports
July | Presidential Biography/Patriotic
August | Summer/Beach Read
September | US History/US Historical Fiction

 October | Horror/True Crime

 November | Classics/Poetry

 December | Religious/Spiritual/Christmas
I will put the master list together before the selections meeting in November.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Group Picture-The Last Policeman

This month we read The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters. Thanks to Eric at Quirk Books for sending it to us! We really enjoyed this book and can't wait for the second book in the planned trilogy! We also are anticipating the upcoming TV show. We highly suggest this book for book clubs!


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

October Book Choices!

I almost forgot to post the book choices for October! We'll be choosing from the Animal genre this month.

The Eighty-Dollar Champion by Elizabeth Letts | Paperback, 368 pages

Harry de Leyer first saw the horse he would name Snowman on a bleak winter afternoon between the slats of a rickety truck bound for the slaughterhouse. He recognized the spark in the eye of the beaten-up horse and bought him for eighty dollars. On Harry’s modest farm on Long Island, the horse thrived. But the recent Dutch immigrant and his growing family needed money, and Harry was always on the lookout for the perfect thoroughbred to train for the show-jumping circuit—so he reluctantly sold Snowman to a farm a few miles down the road.

But Snowman had other ideas about what Harry needed. When he turned up back at Harry’s barn, dragging an old tire and a broken fence board, Harry knew that he had misjudged the horse. And so he set about teaching this shaggy, easygoing horse how to fly. One show at a time, against extraordinary odds and some of the most expensive thoroughbreds alive, the pair climbed to the very top of the sport of show jumping.

Here is the dramatic and inspiring rise to stardom of an unlikely duo, based on the insight and recollections of “the Flying Dutchman” himself. Their story captured the heart of Cold War–era America—a story of unstoppable hope, inconceivable dreams, and the chance to have it all. Elizabeth Letts’s message is simple: Never give up, even when the obstacles seem sky-high. There is something extraordinary in all of us.

The Eighty-Dollar Champion, a true story, has a 4.10 rating on Goodreads. Read an excerpt here.

Following Atticus by Tom Ryan | Hardcover, 288 pages

Middle-aged, overweight, and acrophobic newspaperman Tom Ryan and miniature schnauzer Atticus M. Finch are an unlikely pair of mountaineers, but after a close friend dies of cancer, the two pay tribute to her by attempting to climb all forty-eight of New Hampshire's four-thousand-foot peaks twice in one winter while raising money for charity. In a rare test of endurance, Tom and Atticus set out on an adventure of a lifetime that takes them across hundreds of miles and deep into an enchanting but dangerous winter wonderland. Little did they know that their most difficult test would lie ahead, after they returned home. . .

At the heart of this remarkable journey is an extraordinary relationship that blurs the line between man and dog, an indelible bond that began when Tom, following the advice of Atticus's breeder, carried the pup wherever he went for the first month of their life together. "Following Atticus" is ultimately a story of transformation: how a five-pound puppy pierced the heart of a tough-as-nails newspaperman, opening his eyes to the world's beauty and its possibilities. It was a change that led to a new life among the mountains; an unforgettable saga of adventure, friendship, and the unlikeliest of family; and an inspiring tale of finding love and discovering your true self.

You can read more about Tom and Atticus on Tom's blog. Following Atticus has a 4.21 rating on Goodreads.

Kings of Colorado by David E. Hilton | Paperback, 304 pages

William Sheppard had never ventured beyond his Chicago neighborhood until, at thirteen, he was sent away to the Swope Ranch Boys' Reformatory, hundreds of miles from home, for stabbing his abusive father in the chest with a pocketknife. Buried deep in the Colorado mountains, Swope is shrouded in legend and defined by one prevailing rumor: that the boys who go in never come out the same.

Despite the lack of fences or gates, the boundaries are clear: prisoners are days from civilization, there exists only one accessible road--except in the wintertime, when it's buried under feet upon feet of snow, and anyone attempting escape will be shot down without hesitation in the shadow of the peaks. At 13,000 feet above sea level, the mountains aren't forgiving, and neither are the guards.

With twenty-four months of hard time ahead of him, Will quickly learns to distinguish his allies from his enemies. He also learns about the high price of a childhood lost. At Swope, herds of mustangs are trucked in to be broken by a select group of inmates. Once the horses are gentled, they are sold to ranchers and landowners across the Southwest. Horses come and go, delinquent boys come and go. The boys break the horses, Swope Reformatory breaks the boys. Throughout this ordeal, Will discovers three others who bring him into their inner circle. They are life preservers in a sea of violence and corruption.

But if the boys are to withstand the ranch, they must first overcome tragedy and death--a feat that could haunt them for years to come.

Kings of Colorado is Hilton's first novel. It has a 4.10 rating on Goodreads.

Lots of good ones to pick from this month! Susan is hosting the October meeting.
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