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December’s Book Club

This year we decided to forgo discussing a book during our Annual December/Birthday/Holiday Book Club. As usual we exchanged gifts (paperback books, Secret Santa style) and picked our next round of classics (viewable here at the bottom of the page). We also took our annual birthday photo, 9 years and counting!!!

Little Bee by Chris Cleave

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

• The whole premise felt contrived and forced. I immediately forgot the book after reading it. It was not memorable. – Sarah
• Very easy read. Made me think outside of myself. – Vicki
• I loved the idea of the story and it was food for thought. Even though it was short, it was intense. – Kerry
• Although it was a fast read, I hated all the characters in this story, except for the child. I would have been much more satisfied if we were to have continued to follow the refugees and their stories in England – their part in the book was the only section that I thoroughly enjoyed. I also felt duped by the hype on the back of the book. – Danica
• The book hyped some big twist, but I didn’t think there was one. I enjoyed the story, though. – Melissa
• I enjoyed how the author revealed bits of the back story and layered the moral elements of the characters. I also appreciated that there wasn’t a neat happy ending, but the sad ending that would be the likely outcome. – Marlo
• I liked the way the book was written, but found it very depressing. I couldn’t find the benefit of the depression – I wouldn’t recommend it. – Steph
• It was a fast read, but very intense. It was depressing, but I couldn’t put it down. – Brandi

Conclusion: Mixed reviews across the board, but it did spark some intense debate about the characters and the marketing ploy used to sell the book.

Reading Group Guide

The Inferno by Dante

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

• It was alright. Very quick read. Lots of references that I had to look up. – Sarah
• I tried really hard and made it halfway through. I felt like so much was going over my head that I was completely lost. – Danica

Conclusion: Most of us couldn’t get past the prose and references. Very few of us read more than a few pages.

Reading Group Guide

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Loved It
5 Liked It
1 Disliked It
Hated It

• I feel like tha author used every cliche she could think of, then built a story around that. – Sarah
• I really enjoyed this one. – Melissa
• A very quick read that I got very into. The ending was a little too neatly tied up but I still really enjoyed it. – Danica
• The was a really fast read, I could not put it down. – Carrie
• I like it – it was a good story. – Steph
• Great story – a bit over the top sometimes. I was bummed that the author wasn’t black. – Suthi

Conclusion: We mostly liked this one, discussed it for awhile with enthusiasm and then moved on.

Reading Group Guide

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

300px-The_Count_of_Monte_Cristo_(cover)6 Loved It
1 Liked It
Disliked It
Hated It

• I was so sad when the book ended. Just loved it!
• I was trying to finish on time, because I was enjoying it so much, but I couldn’t bring myself to rush. I still finished it! It was wordy at times, but well worth it. – Brandi
• When I saw how long it was I was afraid I wouldn’t finish in the amount of time I had to read it. I did finish it and I really enjoyed it. Glad I read it.
• I didn’t finish it. It dragged, then picked up for me. Ultimately it never grabbed me. – Kerry
• This book ranks as one of my top favorites. It was so good – to plot revenge for 20 years! – Melissa
• I have wanted to read this book for years and it definitely lived up to my expectations. – Carrie
• This book is so good. The story is amazing and I would only suggest reading the full version of the book. – Sarah
• Although I had problems keeping up with all the names and although I got lost a few times, I loved this book. I enjoyed the refrences, symbolism and character studies throughout. – Danica

Conclusion: Another classic down, another success. For being such a long book, a lot of the members actually committed and finished and enjoyed.

Reading Group Guide

The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver

lacuna_cover-200-2f0868f473ab5ae602f3de7f8715d0a4bf52db0f-s300-c853 Loved It
2 Liked It
2 Neutral
Disliked It
Hated It

• I always enjoy a good historical fictions story. Kingsolver is a wonderful author. – Melissa
• I was engrossed in the story and particularly enjoyed reading about the politics of the time. – Kerry
• The first half of the book was alright, the second half, once the main character is back in the United States, mired in a McCarthy scandal, the story picked up markedly for me. – Danica
• I didn’t finish it. – Suthi :(
• Kept me invested, though a bit slow in the middle. The McCarthyism was very interesting, I enjoyed the historical fiction.
• It was OK. Parts of the middle and end were not needed and made it feel more like the book was dragging. – Sarah
• I really enjoyed this book. The beginning dragged a little bit for me, but I was fascinated by the second half. I have always been intrigued by the McCarthy witch hunts and I loved to see it in this perspective. – Carrie

Conclusion: For the most part, we enjoyed this tale although “The Mexican Forest Gump” did come up in our discussion. We spoke for a little bit but did not have a particularly long conversation about it.

Reading Group Guide

The Quiet American by Graham Greene

41J4AH47MVLLoved It
3 Liked It
5 Neutral
Disliked It
Hated It

• I read it and thought it was interesting but a little too slow and I didn’t get attached to any characters. – Steph
• It was a good one to read, as I had read it in high school. I enjoyed it, but it didn’t leave a resounding impression. – Brandi
• The story did not make a strong impression on me. I did not feel that the character development was strong. – Vicki
• I enjoyed it while I was reading it, wanting to know how it was going to resolve. Once I have finished it though, I haven’t thought much about it. – Danica
• This was a book I read to get through the book. It was alright. I’m looking forward to the discussion. – Melissa
• I don’t normally like war books but this book was really short and I loved the writing style. I could not put it down. – Sarah
• After I was done with this book I thought, “What was the point of that?” I didn’t dislike it, but I don’t really have a strong opinion of it. – Carrie

Conclusion: While we didn’t love… or hate this book, we discussed that our experiment with reading a “classic” every other month is definitely something that has been successful and that we really love enough to do it for another year!

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Dragon-tattoo-cover1 Loved It
4 Liked It
1 Neutral
1 Disliked It
Hated It

• I didn’t finish (oops) but liked what I read. – Brandi
• There was a lot of unnecessary information, parts I really enjoyed, but many parts I had to skim. The plot was intriguing at times. I had a hard time relating to the characters. Very undecided on an actual opinion – still back and forth on whether I enjoyed it or not. – Carrie
• I loved most of the story until the end which really could have been much more succinct. – Danica
• It took me awhile to get into it, but once I did, I was absorbed in the mystery. It seemed a lot of the background info on the minor characters was unnecessary, but I wonder if that is set up for the other books. Overall, I enjoyed reading it. – Kerry
• I liked it – after I got 1/2 way through – I couldn’t put it down. – Steph
• Too long. Boring intro and conclusion. The solution to the mystery was a let-down. And how much coffee can one person drink?! – Melissa
• I love the unorthodox female lead character. – Suthi
• It took me a while to get into it. Didn’t finish it :( – Vicki

Conclusion: We were really chatty this book club – it seemed like we talked about everything under the sun including the book… a bit. We spoke about the female lead, is coffee to Sweden as tea is the England and the setup for the other books in the trilogy.

Reading Group Guide

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

97804515322512 Loved It
4 Liked It
Disliked It
Hated It

• I really liked the story and the language – very well written. I wish I didn’t already know what was going to happen! – Steph
• It was such a good story. I loved it. I would also suggest reading the copy with some of his short stories, they are amazing. – Sarah
• This was such a wonderful suspense to me. I loved this story. There were so many elements from character descriptions to how the story was presented and unfolded that I really enjoyed. – Marlo
• The story and language were wonderful, especially the last chapter which I loved as a cap to the tale. It made me think about mental illness and how we perceive it today vs. in the past. – Danica
• This was one classic I was looking forward to reading. It’s nice to finally understand the references made by movies, TV, etc. – Melissa
• I was intrigued. Of course I know the general story, but parts were still surprising and fascinating. – Carrie

Conclusion: Those of us who read this one, really enjoyed the story, language and discussing it.

Reading Group Guide

Welcome Vanessa Shir


Vanessa Shir was born on March 18th at 6 lbs 8 ozs, 20 inches long. We knew it would be soon as we were timing mom’s irregular contractions at book club earlier in the week! This begins our baby boom 2010 :)

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