Book Club Books

Little Bee by Chris Cleave

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

Comments:
• 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

Comments:
• 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
Neutral
1 Disliked It
Hated It

Comments:
• 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
Neutral
Disliked It
Hated It

Comments:
• 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

Comments:
• 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

Comments:
• 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

Comments:
• 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
Neutral
Disliked It
Hated It

Comments:
• 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

The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff

51OaYOMsRHL2 Loved It
6 Liked It
Neutral
Disliked It
Hated It

Comments:
• I really enjoyed the dual story of how Mormonism traveled across the country and how modern extremist communities still exist. – Melissa
• I loved this book. I could not put it down. It was interesting how it entwined historical fiction and modern day mystery. I also learned a lot and found the history intriguing. – Carrie
• I really liked learning about Mormonism of which I knew very little going into it. The mystery kept me engaged and in the end, it kept me thinking about women’s rights, origin of religion and freedom of religion even after I put it down. -Danica
• Very interesting and well-written. I liked the intertwining stories. – Kerry
• I liked it – it kept me interested for over 500 pages! – Steph
• The subject matter is very interesting to me, and I liked the way the two time periods were interspersed. It put the modern story in perspective and game me understanding as to why people choose a plural marriage lifestyle. However, I felt the last 100 pages or so really dragged and could have been drastically cut down to reach the end of the book. – Marlo
• This book was really good. Could not put it down. – Sarah

Conclusion: We had a really nice dinner out at a restaurant and also had a really in depth, lively discussion on the issues in this book.

Reading Group Guide

The Call of the Wild by Jack London

the-call-of-the-wild2Loved It
2 Liked It
4 Neutral
2 Disliked It
2 Hated It

Comments:
• Too much animal violence. – Rachelle
• The book was very violent. The writing style and vocabulary were awkward and the story was not gripping for me. – Melissa
• I thought it was an interesting read. – Steph
• I had a hard time with a few of the violent scenes, but I think the author did a great job getting into the psychology of dogs. – Danica
• I enjoy the masculine viewpoint; at times it was hard to read the violence. – Suthi
• I was glad that I read this book. I enjoyed the animal’s point of view and the history of the west. – Kerry
• Couldn’t even get through it… Ugh! I tired and tried. – Brandi
• I thought it was a quick read. I didn’t really like it, but I didn’t hate it either. – Carrie
• The book was really violent. I did not like the book at all. – Sarah
• Although I think this was very well written, the suffering of the dogs made it unenjoyable to read. – Marlo

Conclusion: While most of us did not like this book, we did have a very wonderful and long discussion about it. Some topics covered:
1. Why all of our guys have read and enjoyed this book in school while none of us girls read it.
2. The psychology of animals and how instincts come out when you are pushed to survive in a life and death situation.

Reading Group Guide

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

tumblr_m5hlp1SgUb1qbaom0Loved It
5 Liked It
2 Neutral
Disliked It
Hated It

Comments:
• It was a fast read and very entertaining. – Sarah
• I read this years ago and can’t remember much except for liking it at the time. – Danica
• Quick read, but very interesting. Parts have really stayed with me. – Carrie
• The journey of the main character was inspiring. – Melissa
• Fast read (I finished it!) Loved the journey. – Tami
• Enjoyable. I think it’s a good book to read for a new year. I wonder what my Personal Legend is? – Kerry
• This book didn’t resound to strongly for me. Although I didn’t mind finishing the story, the wisdom wasn’t quite earth shattering for me. The adventure of his travels kept me interested more than the journey to find his Personal Legend. – Marlo

Reading Group Guide

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

On the occasion of our 8th birthday as a book club, we took our annual picture!

willows2 Loved It
1 Liked It
Neutral
Disliked It
Hated It

Comments:
• The book is fast and so whimsical. – Sarah
• I thought it was funny and sweet and a pleasure to read. – Steph
• I really loved the Toad character and his craziness. The writing style was fun and lyrical, a pleasure to read. – Danica

Conclusion: While most didn’t read the book, those of us who did, loved it.

The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton

511UzjnQVKL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Loved It
3 Liked It
1 Neutral
1 Disliked It
Hated It

Comments:
• It was too obvious and of course each girl in the group was perfect. – Sarah
• It took me awhile to get into this book. It took me awhile to decipher between the characters. Overall, I enjoyed the friendship that developed between them over the years. – Melissa
• I had a really hard time getting into the story, keeping everyone’s names straight and just liking the characters. In the end, some of the history woven into the story was interesting but overall it was just OK. – Danica
• I enjoyed the story. I liked reading about how different things were for women such a short time ago! It is interesting to take a look back at the lives of women on whose we stand. – Kerry
• I enjoyed this book. It was obvious at times, but it was a very good-hearted story with interesting insight into five very different women at a time so different from today. – Carrie

Conclusion: Liked but not loved, the most interesting part of our conversation had to do with the woman’s history in this story and how far we’ve come because of the hard work done by that generation which happens to be our mother’s.

Reading Group Guide

Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

huck-finnLoved It
2 Liked It
2 Neutral
2 Disliked It
Hated It

Comments:
• I was really excited to start his book, I’ve never read Mark Twain. I could not get into it. I kept picking it back up thinking it’s got to get better. Finally, I gave up and only made it halfway. – Carrie
• I enjoyed the writing style and the insight into that time period and life. – Melissa
• Although I didn’t finish the book in time, I am enjoying it. Mark Twain had a wonderful way of building characters that reflect the time period. He also makes it sound like a fabulous lifestyle to just float along indefinitely on a raft. – Marlo
• I had a hard time concentrating on this story. There were parts were I was completely engaged and others where I was just bored. – Danica
• The story was OK, the author was really good about keeping the dialect of the characters. – Sarah

Conclusion: A definite mixed bag but still an important read in understanding that period of time.

Reading Group Guide

Sarah’s Key by Tatiana De Rosney

Sarah's-Key-book3 Loved It
5 Liked It
1 Neutral
Disliked It
Hated It

Comments:
• Was a very sad story, although I felt Julia’s reaction to Sarah’s story was extreme and felt very fake. – Sarah
• The story of Sarah’s little brother will continue to haunt me, despite being very fictitious. Before reading this book, I was completely unaware of the French roundup. So although I’m gla to now be aware of such a significant event, I though this book could have ended much sooner. The storyline of Julia seeking out Sarah’s son didn’t resonate with me at all. – Marlo
• I really enjoyed reading this book. I did not know about the French roundup, so this gave me information that I was interested in. I thought the stories blended together. – Tami
• I thought this was an interesting story. Though a bit contrived, the feelings and emotions were well portrayed. – Kerry
• The emotional component to this book was a bit overwhelming at first. However, I really enjoyed the characters, the history and the writing style. – Melissa
• While reading this book, I also saw Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds. Some of the themes run together and some run apart, but I found it very interesting to compare and contrast the two. – Danica
• I spent a large portion of this book crying, but I still loved it. It took a very small part of history from a big moment in time and gave a very individual look into the impact on her life. – Mari
• I liked it but I thought the end – romantic question – was weird and I’m not sure I’d recommend it. But overall – it was OK. – Steph
• It was a quick read, and I found it intriguing. Sad… and hard to read at times. It kind of left a big gap in Sarah’s life, and I would have liked to have had more of her story and less of Julia’s. – Brandi
• This book was such a fast read. Easy to get connected to the characters. Very sad at times. I liked the idea of a fictional story about the war, it was a very interesting spin. – Carrie

Conclusion: All the members read this one!!! A feat in itself. We also had a lot to say, good and bad about it…

Reading Group Guide

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

To_Kill_a_Mockingbird8 Loved It
Liked It
Neutral
1 Disliked It
Hated It

Comments:
• I hated it as a child and I dislike it now. I just did not care. – Sarah
• Although I must have read it back in high school, I had no recollection of the story. This time, I loved it. The children were so fun to follow and I loved the varied characters and various aspects of human nature that were presented. – Marlo
• I read it as a student, yet enjoyed it again. This is why it’s called a “classic.” The message is as relevant today as it was when written. – Brandi
• This is a book I had read as a teenager and loved. I actually remember this one much more fondly than I felt for it the second time around. I guess I can chalk it up already knowing the story and not getting that fresh perspective. Still good after all these years but not as amazing as I remembered. – Danica
• I loved this book. The voice of the story and all the characters were so easy to get attached to. I never read it in high school, but expect I will read it again. – Carrie
• This is now one of my top 5 favorite books. – Melissa
• That you Tami for bringing this book to us. I read it in Jr. High and now have a renewed appreciation! – Kerry
• Loved it – so much of the classic literary stuff one loves to read – great character development, plot and climax – loved it! – Mari
• I loved this book in high school. I loved it now. Though I did not read it this time (I listened to it as I drove) I got hooked with Scout, Jem and Atticus and really enjoyed getting caught up in the loves, again. -Tami

Conclusion: Almost all of the group loved this book and were anxious to discuss it.

Reading Group Guide

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