Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Book Club Reads Year 1

A group of friends and I had just attended a General Relief Society broadcast and decided to have dinner together.  We were sitting at a table in one of those chain restaurants that serve everything under the sun when the subject came up.  It would be fun to start a book club.  I had heard the same words before and wondered why we hadn't done anything about it.  I said, "Sounds great.  What is stopping us?  A place to meet?  Let's have it at my house next week on Thursday."  The first Thursday of October 2005 came and my house began to fill up. It was fun from the beginning.  We decided on a few rules or guidelines to follow when choosing a book and came up with a pattern of who would pick and whose home it would be held at.  Here is what we decided.
1.  One person would pick a book and then the meeting the next month would be held at her home where we would discuss it.
2.  Before leaving each meeting we would decide who was picking the book for the following month.  That person would present their choice after the discussion of the previous book was finished.
3.  No self help books
4.  Nothing published by Deseret Book
5.  Refreshments would be a good thing to have at each meeting but there would be no pressure to make a party that matched the theme of the book.  I personally enjoy the challenge of matching the food to the book. I have learned some knew recipes and found some new favorites along the way.
6.  Every once in a while we would have a very long book that will take longer to read.  We would continue to have our monthly read and read the long one over a few months.  This would be either agreed upon by all or drawn from a hat.

We have made some good choices and some not so good.  There have been disagreements and discussion has been a little heated every now and then but all have respect for each other.  I have read many things I would have never picked up.  I have learned from these women, laughed with them and cried with them.  I've seen new perspectives, grown, become more educated and been entertained.
Here is the list from the first year.

November 2005 
This was a group pick to get us started.  Don't judge it by it's cover.  It  looks like one of those awful romance novels but it really isn't.   I had never been in a book club before and didn't want to look stupid or be left out of the conversation so I read the book with a pen and notebook at hand. There were a lot of themes and ideas to talk about.  The story is about Mary Ingalls and her struggle to get home after being taken by a band of Indians.  The author did extensive research and you can follow the river yourself using this book as a map.  I was fascinated by some of things she had to do to survive and the strength it took to keep going.    

December 2005
The story of a boy who travels across the Sahara in search of the meaning of life.  He discovers that life is full of different relationships and that is the greatest treasure of all.

January 2006
This was an informative but very dry read.  I learned a lot but the author left out the influence of God and the miracles that happened as answer to prayers.  I believe in miracles and believe a lot of the pivotal events in our history were the work of Heavenly influence.  

February 2006
This book was chosen in recognition of American Black History month.  I really don't get the whole idea of  Black History month.  Isn't black history just part of American History?  Why is there still a division? Are we only allowed to celebrate black contributions to our society during February?  I would think we were far beyond any kind of segregation.
I enjoyed this play very much.  The author brings you right into the family's living room where you cry and cheer and want to follow them off the stage and into real life.

March 2006
The Hiding Place is the story of a woman who hid Jewish people in her home during WWII and ended up being in a concentration camp as punishment.  She is an amazing example of bravery and compassion.  Her positive outlook on everything is inspiring.  I want to be more like her.  
I found the writing slow and the foreshadowing too obvious.

April 2006
This one was chosen by Rebecca, whose son had just left for a mission in Africa.  The writing is poetic and the descriptions of the South African countryside are beautiful.  It is a story of how political unrest effects a man and his family.  (This description doesn't give it justice.) 

May 2006
This one was an "illegal" pick as it is a "church book" but we let it slide because the woman who picked it wasn't there at the beginning.  It turns out that this was the only month she participated because she didn't like the rule.
I really enjoyed reading this.  I learned a perspective of the Nazi's that I had never considered before.  The author was a boy when Hitler first began to have influence in Germany.  Hitler's programs and policy changes were at first seen as good.  There were many improvements in living for the German people.  Mr. Busche was even excited about being in the youth program.  Then he discusses the turn to evil and the manipulative nature of wanting more power and how difficult it was on the common people.  
It was worth the read although it was not worth the expense of the book.  I have personal issues with Desseret Book company but I would recommend it if you could find a used copy or soft cover version.

June 2006

This is one I chose.  I chose it simply because I wanted a classic to read while sitting on the beach so I could look smart.  I know, that is a dumb reason.  I have enjoyed a couple of Dickens other books and I was glad to cross it off my list but was disappointed in the story.  It was dull.  I felt like I did in High School when my teacher would assign a book and say, "Of course it is good.  They wouldn't call it a classic if it wasn't good."  Let's just say this...Just because a book has been around for a while doesn't make it good.

July 2006
Monique is our romantic and this is one of her favorites.  It is the classic love story set in England during the industrial revolution.
There are several versions of this story on DVD but she says this one by BBC is the best.

August 2006
This is the story of a South American boy who struggles to find balance between his traditional culture and the Christian teachings he learns at school.

September 2006
I don't remember much about this one except that the people were very poor.  One had been educated and had read The Count of Monte Cristo.  In the story he recounts the Dumas story by memory to the others.  This was a staggering thought considering we were in the middle of reading The Count as our large book.  I couldn't recount the whole story accurately from memory.  That would be quite the task.

October 2006
This is one of the best books ever.  It is full of adventure, intrigue and romance.  I learned by mistake that a book needs to say on it somewhere that it is COMPLETE AND UNABRIDGED in order for it to have the whole story.  When I went to the book store I found a couple from different publishers.  I thought they looked a bit small so I asked a sales clerk if  they were abridged.  She told me it would say if it was abridged so not to worry about it.  I wondered what the big deal was.  It seemed long, but not that long.  I read my copy in about three days.  I couldn't put it down.  Then I arrived at club and saw the versions everyone else had.  I had missed out on most of the story.  I was more than a bit miffed at the lady from Borders!  The Penguin publishers have the best complete version.

November 2006
Murder, big business, and politics makes for a fun read!

December 2006
This is one of those fun, feel-good reads.  It is set in a small village in Italy and filled with people you just can't help but love.  I have been obsessed with all things Italian ever since.  I save pictures of the Italian country side on my computer and have CDs to help me learn to speak the language.  Hailey has gotten pretty good at it.  Her accent is amazing.  I am dreaming of going there one day.

That is the first year or so.  I hope you enjoy some of these as much as I did.


Scott and Megan said...

Hey there Tingey! How ya doin? I had lunch with Robyn the other day and she told me you had a blog and just HAD to see what was going down in Rathdrum! And I am not disappointed! Hope all is well. Tell the kids hi!!!

joni said...

love this Jen! Keep going. I forgot you didn't like Great Expectations. Crazy girl! :)