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Mother of Pearl by Melinda Haynes

Mother-of-Pearl-original-coverLoved It
2 Liked It
2 Neutral
Disliked It
Hated It

• I liked the author’s voice, but I thought there were too many characters. I didn’t know enough about any one to relate to. – Kerry
• I had a difficult time connecting to this story. I felt that the symbolism (double meaning of the title) was weak. – Melissa
• I enjoyed this book, although I was really ready to be done by the end. The different character voices were interesting but I felt that Valuable was rather annoying rather than someone who inspired any sympathy. – Marlo
• The main storyline is pretty good, but the author takes too long to get to the point. – Sarah
• I started, got 50 pages in and just was not feeling it. – Danica

Conclusion: Most of our members didn’t finish the book because most had problems getting attached to the characters.

Reading Group Guide

All the four new babies made it to book club this month. They were oh so cute!

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

the-poisonwood-bible3 Loved It
4 Liked It
Disliked It
Hated It

• I really liked 2/3 of the book. I thought the last part could have been condensed much more as a “Where are they Now” type of thing. I found the part where they were in the village the most interesting and I really didn’t need much else past the escape. – danica
• It was a good story that I really liked. – Sarah
• At first it was difficult to get into the many different chapters/characters, but overall I enjoyed it. – Melissa
• I really enjoyed the concept and story. I thought it dragged in the end and jumped around too much in time periods. Overall, I did like the book. – Carrie
• Although I’m a slacker and haven’t finished, I am truly enjoying this book. Each character is so interesting, evoking a differrent emotion or reaction. I can’t wait to see how it all plays out. – Marlo
• This is one of my favorite books. I read it years ago and was glad to have the opportunity to read it again. I love the characters and themes of this story. – Kerry
• One of my very favorite books! – Steph

Conclusion: This one was well-liked overall and the discussion, once we actually got to it, was really interesting in a very good way. Everyone was engaged in the conversation which doesn’t always happen!

Reading Group Guide

Another Book Club Baby

Yet another one of our members gave birth today! Little Luke Jordan arrived at 12:49am weighing 7lbs 15oz, 22 inches long. One more baby to go now with our four pregnant members.

Bob Dylan: Intimate Insights by Kathleen Mackay

51kUHB1SK7L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Loved It
Liked It
1 Neutral
2 Disliked It
1 Hated It

• Wasn’t able to finish it… didn’t feel it gave any insight and the descriptions were too flowery with regards to the other artists. It felt like she was kissing the artist’s rears as a thank you for doing the interview. – Brandi
• This book was OK. I liked the overall theme of Dylan’s contribution to music, but the chapters and interviews were inconsistent in their contributions. – Kerry
• The book was fun to read. I didn’t especially care for the style of writing, but the memories of childhood it conjured was pleasant – of course, I just dated myself. – Stacey
• Didn’t finish this one – my time is too valuable. The writing seemed completely unfocused with an occasional tidbit of Dylan. – Marlo
• I was really excited about this book because I am a big Dylan fan. Boy, was I disappointed. I kept thinking I should just stop reading but once I made it halfway, I just kept going. She made Dylan’s autobiography sound really interesting when she quoted it, I wish I had read that instead. – danica

Conclusion: This one landed with quite a thud! If we hadn’t won our copies, I think the group would be rallying for a refund.

The Girls by Lori Lansens

the_girls1 Loved It
1 Liked It
2 Neutral
1 Disliked It
1 Hated It

• I have no words to convey how much I hated this book. I just don’t care. – Sarah
• Didn’t really like the book (not as strong of a reaction as Sarah). Didn’t enjoy “Ruby’s”writing style. – Stacey
• An easy read. Not very interesting. – Melissa
• It was OK. Nothing spectacular, but I read it. Parts were interesting. – Brandi
• I loved this book! Both characters were interesting albeit due to the “freak” factor. This was a quick read for me since I didn’t want to put it down. – Marlo
• I read it and didn’t hate it but I also didn’t like it either. I did like the way the two personalities were portrayed through the writing but not enough to actually like the book. – Danica

Conclusion: This definitely didn’t go over well although it wasn’t a slam dunk stinker. We didn’t really have a great conversation about it either.

Reading Group Guide

Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali

51b6YKbnkjL3 Loved It
5 Liked It
Disliked It
Hated It

• I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. I really loved hearing the women’s perspective and watching her exploration through the religion. I have already recommended this to many people. – Carrie
• I was initially concerned that it would be SO anti-Muslim, but she presented herself so well. I enjoyed reading about the emotional dilemma between her religious beliefs and her morality regarding the treatment of women. – Brandi
• I was fascinated by Hirsi Ali’s story. Even though I’m not sure I agree with everything she says, she definitely brings up a lot to think about – and discuss. – Kerry
• The first half of this book made me feel very overwhelmed by the realities of the world and religion. The second half made me feel like she had a very specific agenda and included only that which supports it. Past that, on a whole I liked it and have thought a lot about my own cultural experience since finishing it. – danica
• Though I did not finish it, I have enjoyed her story so far. I plan on finishing it this week. – Tami
• Ali’s plight was fascinating. Her journey from being a Muslim girl to an independent, free-thinking woman was inspiring. – Rachelle
• This was an eye-opening experience. Very graphic at times. – Melissa
• It was OK. Some parts were sad. – Sarah

Conclusion: Most really liked the book and we had a very good conversation once everyone settled down. We definitely recommended it to other book clubs.

4 of our members are pregnant, with 2 due in the next month, so we decided to take this picture before the new little members arrive!

Wonder of Reading Has Sent Us a Thank You Note

Back in May, we gathered new elementary school appropriate books to donate to The Wonder of Reading. They were delivered early June and we have recently received a thank you letter from them expressing their appreciation.

The letter read as such:

June 11, 2007

Danica B
Babes With Brains Book Club

Dear Ms. B:

Thank you for putting faith in Los Angeles’s youngsters by requesting that your book club donate books to The Wonder of Reading. We truly appreciate your support and the contribution, which included one bag of new books and was presented by a Montague Charter Academy school member on June 5, 2007.

More than 1,200 elementary school students from Wonder of Reading schools work hard, with the help of their volunteer reading partners, to improve their reading each year. In recognition of their tremendous effort, The Wonder of Reading seeks to find resources, such as books you donated for schools in our 3R program. Many of the children participating in our program have no books of their own. In addition, most of the school-based parent centers at our schools have a tremendous need for books to read with their children. Without community support like yours, The Wonder of Reading would not be able to fulfill its purpose – to inspire in children the love of reading.

Thank you very much for bringing reading resources to the young students of the greater Los Angeles area.

Karyn Lee-Garcia
Program Coordinator
The Wonder of Reading

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

water-for-elephants3 Loved It
3 Liked It
1 Neutral
Disliked It
Hated It

• Touching story at the end, but the first zoo pages made me want to barf. – Sarah
• I really enjoyed this book. It was at times sad, but I enjoyed the love story. It was the first book I finished in awhile, I am glad this is the one I finished. – Tami
• I loved reading this story! The characters were unique and striking. I enjoyed the juxtaposition of the young man just starting his adult life and the old man, with his wry sense of humor, trying to hold on to himself in the face of an impeding death. – Melissa
• I really enjoyed this book. Such a unique story, looking at circus trains during the depression era. I also loved the first person of the old man, hearing his perspective on late life. – Carrie
• I really enjoyed the book. Nice transitions between the time periods. I thought it was a little rushed at the end. Very good. – Brandi
• It has been awhile since I have really liked a book. This renewed my enthusiasm in reading, I thought I was getting bored with everything. This kept me going. – danica

Conclusion: Everyone attending had finished the book. That says a lot these days! We all seemed to like it.

Reading Group Guide

Son of a Witch by Gregory Maguire

9780060747220_p0_v2_s260x420  Loved It
1 Liked It
3 Neutral
Disliked It
Hated It

• Was not as good as Wicked. – Sarah
• I felt that too many loose ends were left flapping in the wind. – Melissa
• I tried, that is about all I can say for myself. I didn’t like Wicked and if this was not a book club book, I would have never even started this it. I made it 140 pages in and was just not motivated to pick it up. -danica
• I liked it better than Wicked, but was not happy with the ending. Too many questions left unanswered. – Carrie
• Didn’t get to read it… – Steph
• Rather blah – Hard not to compare to Wicked and find this one lacking. Much of the storyline remained unfinished without enough substance for another in a series. – Marlo

Conclusion: This was by no means a success. We barely even spoke about it. Most didn’t finish it. We did have a good time though at California Pizza Kitchen and Borders, buying books to donate to The Wonder of Reading.

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