Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow

2 Loved It
2 Liked It
1 Neutral
0 Disliked It
0 Hated It

Comments:
• The book was more interesting than I expected. The research was thorough and really highlighted how easily the media could be bought. -Sarah
• I really loved certain parts of this book like the women’s stories and Ronan Farrow’s backstory. I found other parts dull. -Nicole
• Well written and heartbreaking to read. -Kerry
• Ronan Farrow is my hero. This book exemplifies how important the press it! -Steph
• I was throughly engaged throughout the whole book, it literally reads like a spy novel. I was glad that we read it when we did during the NY trial, conviction, and sentencing of Harvey Weinstein. With all the damage that he got away with all those years, it felt insurmountable to get to a conviction while reading their accounts. I am happy these women were able to get a little bit of closure. I also listened to the companion podcast, The Catch and Kill Podcast, which is just as worthy as the book. -Danica

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

2 Loved It
4 Liked It
1 Neutral
0 Disliked It
0 Hated It

Comments:
• I enjoyed this book, it was fun to read. -Carrie
• The book was a fun read. Writing style was witty and charming even though the story was creepy. -Steph
• I saw the movie forever ago but didn’t remember much besides the look of the film. However, when reading this, I felt a great sense of deja vu. I am happy I read it. -Danica
• A bit scary, but riveting. -Nancy (Hillary’s Mom)
• I loved listening to the audiobook, read by Neil Gaiman – such a treat to hear the author. The story was compelling. -Hillary
• I enjoyed reading this book and found it sweet and fun! Now I want to watch the movie. -Nicole
• I was glad to re-read it, it had been 5 years. I really liked it. -Chelsea

There There by Tommy Orange

2 Loved It
2 Liked It
2 Neutral
1 Disliked It
0 Hated It

Comments:
• I learned a lot about urban native culture that I was not aware about before. I enjoyed the way all the characters were connected towards the end of the book. -Nicole
• I can’t say I liked or disliked this book. I found it hard to follow and everyone’s voices sounded the same. I also found that everyone fit the stereotype which was annoying. -Carrie
• I found the book to be devastating and compelling. I thought it was really well written and exposed the lasting effects of genocide and oppression. -Steph
• The writing was beautiful and I enjoyed the introduction of each character. I did get confused at the end and so had trouble following the conclusion of the story. -Kerry
• By happenstance, the audio book didn’t download the first few chapters so I read things, at least in the beginning, out of order. At first, I was really excited about the thought that this could be single chapter glimpses into the native population in Oakland. I loved the tapestry of experience that was being fleshed out with these introductions. As the book progressed and the characters connections started to be unveiled, I started to lose interest and had a hard time distinguishing the characters and their relation to one another. -Danica
• Intense read! This book offered a unique perspective, a promised, and I appreciated the various speakers’ voices. It was interesting to hear the “urban” Indian voice. -Hillary
• I needed this book and I am so lucky that we are getting more voices from the native community. My favorite part was the prologue and I was fascinated by the knowledge of the Alcatraz occupation. -Chelsea
• It was awful to show all characters and people being stereotypes of all the bad Indian stereotypes instead of showing different perspectives. -Sarah

Our 18th Birthday

18 years!!! As has been the tradition, we had our annual holiday/birthday party, complete with gift exchange and our annual photo, this time at Chin Chin, Salt & Straw, and Bookstar. Thanks ladies for making it another great year!

The Library Book by Susan Orlean

3 Loved It
4 Liked It
0 Neutral
0 Disliked It
0 Hated It

Comments:
• I enjoyed reading about the history of LA and the library and the mystery element of who/how the fire happened. Very excited to visit the Central Library. – Kerry
• I learned a lot fro this book and appreciated the narration style. I think I have arrived at and acceptance of ambiguity regarding arson. My favorite parts of the book were about Harry Peake and the mystery around his involvement with the library. -Hillary
• I enjoyed reading about the fire and the background of Harry Peak. I learned a lot about libraries and Los Angeles history, and appreciated how the author bounced around all these topics throughout the book. -Nicole
• I vaguely remembered the fire and aftermath from my childhood but didn’t remember much else. Orlean expertly weaves the history of the Los Angeles, the library, the fire, the investigation, the recovery, and the evolution of library services in such a way that even with unanswered questions about the arson abound, the reader feels satisfied. – Danica
• The book was so informative. I really liked that the story jumped around because if it was in chronological order, I would have gotten bored. I found the whole book fascinating. – Sarah
• I fell in love with this book. As a bibliophile I have always adored libraries and the history and the stories of what libraries can be. -Chelsea
• The Library Book was fascinating, interesting, and a great read. I thoroughly enjoyed learning so much about Central Library and beyond. -Steph

December 2019 – What We Didn’t Choose

The Woman Who Smashed Codes by Jason Fagone (New Release)
2 votes

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes (Classic)
1 vote

Sarah brought these in and Coraline by Neil Gaiman was chosen as our book for February.

The Mark of Zorro by Johnston McCulley (Classic)
1 vote

The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes (Free Choice)
3 votes

Danica brought these in and Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow was chosen as our book for March.

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

1 Loved It
6 Liked It
0 Neutral
0 Disliked It
0 Hated It

Comments:
• I thought it was a well put together story, especially for a first time novelist. I wish some of the characters were more developed. – Kerry
• I thought the way the story was told makes it a very unique psychological thriller. I was very readable. – Nicole
• I was entertained for sure. I appreciated the various twists and turns. I also liked the way in which the author played with time. I would be curious to read something else by him. – Hillary
• I enjoyed it; especially the plot twist. It went fast for me. – Chelsea
• I was a good quick read. I didn’t see the twist coming. – Sarah
• I really enjoyed this book. I was very surprised at the end! A fun and engaging read. – Steph
• I was a little dismayed by the male perspective swooping in to fix the female patient but as the story unfolded I understood the need for that paradigm. In the end, I enjoyed the book and read it super fast. – Danica

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari

0 Loved It
3 Liked It
2 Neutral
0 Disliked It
0 Hated It

Comments:
• I am enjoying it; I haven’t finished it yet. He has a very specific and evident voice and opinion. – Chelsea
• Interesting narrative of the history of sapiens. A lot of information to take in. – Kerry
• I thought the book was interesting and I felt like I learned a lot. It’s important to read with a critical eye. – Stephanie
• The beginning captivated me; I lost interest toward the middle and that left me feeling less motivated to persevere in reading. Still, I appreciated the depth of knowledge and a new take on topics learned about in prior schooling experiences. – Hillary
• I was fascinated by the ideas in this book and find that it often comes up in conversation. However, there were aspects that felt slightly biased especially towards the middle and end. – Danica

The Book of Jeremiah: A Novel in Stories by Julie Zuckerman

One of our members has a friend, Julie Zuckerman, who wrote a book of short stories centered on different stages of one man’s life. We were fortunate enough to have an international Skype author visit with Julie to discuss the book. It really is a privilege to speak with authors and we have done so a handful of times over the years. With this one, we dove into questions about the writing process and decisions about order, character POV, and character connections. It was a wonderful evening and we are certainly thankful for the time that Julie spent with us and for how technology has allowed us to connect with her, which wasn’t available when we started our book club 18 years ago!

Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton

0 Loved It
3 Liked It
2 Neutral
2 Disliked It
0 Hated It

Comments:
• I appreciated the setting and historical context. At times, I felt the book’s pace was slow, and in these moments, I didn’t feel fully engaged. – Hillary
• I didn’t really care or like the story. It really did not show that people have any sort of control of self. – Sarah
• I was hoping to connect more with the book than when I was in high school I found it to be more slow, but I do respect the historical significance. – Chelsea
• I did not enjoy the writing style. It was engaging in the first half of the book, but I didn’t connect with the progression of the story. – Carrie
• I listened to the book. My experience seemed to be a little different than everyone else’s because the reader changed his voice/accent for the different characters and read the more lyrical parts with an almost musical cadence. I did however, agree that the second half was less interesting. – Danica
• I thought the book was an interesting and important book of the history and culture of South Africa. I’m glad I read it. – Steph
•I liked the way the book was written, the poetry of the descriptions of South Africa, and the different points of view. – Kerry

The Mirage Factory by Gary Krist

2 Loved It
2 Liked It
1 Neutral
0 Disliked It
0 Hated It

Comments:
• I haven’t finished it yet (so close!) but do far, I love it! The Amy Semple McPherson parts were the most interesting to me. – Chelsea
• I really enjoyed this book. I wouldn’t have read it on my own, but the commitment through book club inspired me and I was pleasantly surprised by how compelling the history was. Loved the choice to profile McPherson, Griffith, and Mulholland. – Hillary
• It was pretty interesting but at times I got really stuck in the history of the movie industry. – Sarah
• I really enjoyed learning about the history of LA through 3 people in this book. It was so interesting, but the writing style was not great. – Steph
• I understood the choice of profiling Mulholland and McPherson (who I never heard about previously) but I thought DeMille would have been a more Los Angeles story than Griffith because of Griffith’s deep roots and story telling about the South. I feel the only reason Griffith was chosen over DeMille was because of Griffiith’s downward spiral after talkies became popular. All 3 people profiled had a major downfall after riding high, DeMille worked vigorously until his death. – Danica

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