Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson

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

Comments:
• A beautifully written story that interwove personal experiences of each character. I would have loved more story from each and any of them! – Kerry
• A fascinating examination of what it means to be family.  – Chelsea
• I appreciated Jacqueline Woodson’s storytelling craft. I was struck by the depth and dimensionality of all the characters in the book. This was a nuanced portrayal of a family’s multigenerational story. – Hillary
• Such a beautifully written and intimate inter-generational story. I loved the themes of class and parenthood. – Nicole
• This was an engaging, nicely written book with good depth of character and interesting situations. I think the book will stay with me for a long time! Glad I read it. – Steph
• A beautifully written story with so much complexity. – Danica

Our 19th Birthday

19 years!!! As has been the tradition, we had our annual holiday/birthday party, complete with gift exchange and our annual photo, but this year was like no other. We spent the better part of the year zooming our meetings, still with no end in sight. I am proud of our commitment to stay together, while apart, during Covid-19. May we be able to join each other in the same room by this time next year. Here’s hoping.  Thanks everyone for making it another great year!

Life Among the Savages by Shirley Jackson

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

Comments:
• It was a fun look into Shirley Jackson’s domestic life with sarcastic aplomb. – Chelsea
• I found it entertaining and witty, and at times, even laugh out loud funny! I appreciated the motif of the 1950s housewife who couldn’t conform to the expectations of the time period – nor did she really desire to! I would like to read more by Shirley Jackson after this experience. – Hillary
• I enjoyed reading this book. It was easy, light, funny and well-written. A good break from some of our heavier topics. – Steph
• I really didn’t like reading this book. Instead of enjoying the humor and sarcasm, I was annoyed by it. – Danica

A Burning by Megha Majumdar

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

Comments:
• It was interesting to read about three different characters in modern day India who are dealing with social oppression and political corruption. Their interconnected relationships and desire to move up beyond their social caste was an insightful look at society and humans. The author also did a good job at describing the setting with rich details. – Nicole
• The storytelling was beautifully-done, and each character had a distinct voice. The depiction of characters with heartbreaking circumstances, along with the ending that doesn’t pull any punches is the hallmark of literature by Indian writers, and this was no exception. – Kerry
• I really liked the writing style and was able to tell a compelling story even though there were really no redeeming characters or characters that I could connect with.  – Sarah
• The book had an interesting setting – I appreciated the opportunity to learn more about India. I thought the author did an amazing job with characters’ voice and character development. I hope Megha Mahumdar writes another book! – Hillary
• I enjoyed this book. It was very well written and very interesting. A glimpse into another culture and also highlighted some universal truths about politics and power. Lead to a very good discussion. – Steph
• I enjoyed how the multiple perspectives and stories intertwined in this tragedy. – Danica

The Moor’s Account by Laila Lalami

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

Comments:
• I appreciated the narrator’s perspective and the way he told about his journey. The book had a strong theme of storytelling which resonated with me. I especially loved Mustafa’s recollections of his life back in Azammur. I also liked the author’s writing style. – Hillary
• The story was unique and it was interesting to read about a real historical event from the perspective of a slave. It was very dense and took me a while to read though, but overall I was engrossed in the journey.  – Nicole
• I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. The writing was excellent and the story was very interesting. The characters were rich and believable. I don’t have much knowledge about this time/place so I enjoyed learning about this historical perspective. Also, this book lent to a very good discussion. I’m glad I read it. – Steph
• I love historical fiction and this was a time, subject matter, and perspective that felt very new and refreshing to me. There were points where I was so frustrated by certain character’s stupidity, but of course, I am coming from a hindsight is 20/20 point of view. I enjoyed this and read it pretty quickly. – Danica
• I really enjoyed reading the first half of the book.  I liked reading the accounts of how the main character became a slave and the exploration of the new world.  However, basically after the explorers were shipwrecked the book lost me and just felt long. – Sarah

The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes

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

Comments:
• While reading the book, I became very fond of each of the librarians, even the minor characters.  I was invested in wanting them to achieve their goals and be able to break through barriers to live their best lives! -Kerry
• I enjoyed reading about the Pack Horse Librarians of Kentucky during the 1930s setting, and I was able to really get lost in the rural Kentucky world. The end of the book felt a little contrived and I wished some of the side characters were a little more fleshed out/not so one-dimensional. -Nicole
• I felt transported in time and place, and the work of the Packhorse Librarians was inspiring to me. I appreciated the detailed descriptions and I also felt Moyes did a great job with dialogue between characters. I wish we had more information about Bennet’s character shift and flaws, but I also appreciated this as the author’s choice to center the story on the women. -Hillary
• I did not think I would like this book so much but was pleasantly surprised.  The writing style made the book enjoyable to read and the storylines did not stagnate. -Sarah
• I had never heard about the packhorse librarians besides a quick mention here or there. I for some reason thought they were from a much earlier time period and not from the 30’s. I enjoyed the character development and learning about their challenges and the people who they served. -Danica

Trophy Life by Lea Geller

What a treat! We’ve met with authors in the past and find that it adds a new dimension to our reading and discussions. We were very privileged to welcome this month, via zoom, Lea Geller. It was a wonderful conversation and meeting indeed. Thank you Lea for staying up late to speak with us on the west coast.

The Line Becomes a River by Francisco Cantú

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

Comments:
• I felt very moved by the intimate story in the third part, a story that is so common to so many people. This book really opened my eyes to border control policies and also how the landscape and environment plays a major role. -Nicole
• This was a beautifully written book. I appreciated the way in which the author used personal narrative and history to look at the border. I came away with a much more nuanced understanding of the Mexican-American border. An excellent read, accessible to a variety of perspectives. – Hillary
• I thought this book was very well organized and important – it should be a required reading book for everyone! – Steph
• There were parts that I was very connected and parts that I wasn’t. I am not sure if it is just general quarantine distraction or the actual writing, although I feel like I gained insight into perspectives I hadn’t considered. – Danica

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

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

Comments:
• I completely got hooked and engaged in this book. I liked the structure, the writing style, and the fascinating and dark, twisted story. A surreal glimpse into the minds and lives of murderers.. – Steph
• I was not too familiar with this story but was fully engaged with how Truman Capote told this non fiction true crime story. I really loved how we got insight into the character’s personal lives. I especially found the killers childhoods very interesting. I continued to think about this story and the characters weeks after I finished reading. -Nicole
• I mostly loved this. I found the character studies fascinating. I wish we got a little bit more about the slain family but after understanding how this came about, it makes complete sense that this is really about the killers. -Danica

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

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

Comments:
• I missed reading this as a child and was happy to have the opportunity to return to it with our Book Club. I enjoyed the science fiction and fantasy elements of the story. I appreciated Meg as the main character and was also very drawn to Charles Wallace. Definitely a book I would like to re-read someday! I feel like I could get something new out of it by re-reading. -Hillary
• I never read this as a child and I didn’t love it as an adult. I enjoyed the science/science fiction parts of this book and wished there was more of that and less of the fantasy/adventure elements. I can appreciate this as a classic piece of children’s literature and can see why it is popular but overall it is not my type of thing. -Nicole
• I enjoyed reading the story, as I had never read it before.  However, it was not a genre I prefer. -Carrie
• This was a good, solid read. I enjoyed it. The writing style, characters and plot were all good! -Steph
•I had read it as a kid but did not remember anything about it.  So I guess it was not very memorable. The book has good themes of love and self sufficiency. -Sarah
• I read this awhile back but sincerely didn’t remember much about it. I appreciate that this gave rise to a whole new category and genre for kids lit but I didn’t love the fantasy elements. -Danica

Fleishman Is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner

Quarantine Book Club
Because of Covid-19 we are meeting via video chat for the foreseeable future.

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

Comments:
• I found the book entertaining and funny especially in the beginning. Over time, I found the characters hard to relate to and lacking in perspective. I thought the book was a very good choice for a book club as there was lots to discuss. – Hillary
• It was an interesting commentary about relationships, gender roles, and how our early experiences in life lead to the decisions we make as adults! -Kerry
• I found some parts of this book more interesting than others, specifically Rachel’s story at the end. I do think the characters were not necessarily likable but the book did a good job at still making you feel empathetic towards them. -Nicole
• Although I didn’t enjoy reading this, I liked thinking about some of the commentary on privilege and modern dating. -Danica
• I did not enjoy this book, but since I kept reading and finished it, I won’t say I disliked it. It held my attention. I did not enjoy the writing style, too many run on sentences and tangential thoughts. I found it overly focused on sex and did not align with any of the characters. That being said, I finished it, which I don’t usually do when I’m not enjoying a book. So I’ll say neutral. I was happy when I was done. -Carrie
• I found the characters to be predictable and annoying. I didn’t care for the author’s tone. I found the end interesting regarding a woman’s place in society and expectations, but other than that I found it vapid. -Steph

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

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