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

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Still_Alice_(Genova_novel)3 Loved It
2 Liked It
1 Neutral
Disliked It
Hated It

Comments:
• I absolutely loved this book. It has changed my professional practice. I love that it is told in first person. I have told everyone I know about this book. – Carrie
• I liked this book for its different point of view. As a person with short-term memory problems, this book SKERRED me! – Kerry
• I enjoyed this book. It was a wonderful insight into the life of a person dealing with Alzheimer’s. – Melissa
• Loved this book. It was a fast read. I really enjoyed the insight of the person telling the story. Definitely recommend it to others. – Tami
• This book was so resonant of my days working with Alzheimer’s patients. It just inspired such empathy and compassion for people stricken by the disease, and the families that have to pick up the pieces. I loved the first hand narrative and understanding that the future is so blurry. – Marlo
• To its credit, it was not long enough to dislike but long enough to connect and like. – Sarah
• I appreciated getting and Alzheimer’s perspective; really getting a look at what the patients go through. I didn’t love it because it is not my cup of tea. But I appreciated this perspective. – Mari

Conclusion: We had a long, in depth discussion related to this book. Even those that didn’t read it could contribute and those that usually don’t read, finished and enjoyed it. Definitely a conversation starter.

Reading Group Guide

Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner

FreakonomicsLoved It
4 Liked It
Neutral
Disliked It
Hated It

Comments:
• I didn’t get far, but did enjoy what I read. There were some interesting ideas and correlations presented. – Marlo
• It was good. He had really unique ways of looking at the world. – Sarah
• Very interesting. The sociological perspective made economics much easier for me to grasp. – Kerry
• I really enjoyed this sociological study but was disappointed at how short it felt. I thought I was only halfway through when I indeed was at the end. – Danica

Conclusion: We spoke very briefly but those who did read it, enjoyed it.

Reading Group Guide

Street Gang by Michael Davis

Street_gangLoved It
Liked It
Neutral
1 Disliked It
1 Hated It

Comments:
• It was a great book… about Captain Kangaroo. – Melissa
• I just couldn’t get past the per-amble – I was on something like chapter 6 and Sesame Street still had not been in production. I just couldn’t take any more background so I put it down. – Danica

Conclusion: We were pretty excited about this one, but no one ended up even finishing it!

Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons

41chVzBhJiLLoved It
2 Liked It
1 Neutral
1 Disliked It
Hated It

Comments:
• It was a little boring. I guess I just did not get it. Fast read. – Sarah
• I enjoyed the book, still not finished. I will finish it, two books in a row, yah!! I now want to see the movie. – Tami
• I only read 30 pages, so I don’t know if my opinion would have changed, but it wasn’t really my style of book. – Amy
• One chapter was enough for me. The format of a graphic novel had my interest. However, the story subject matter was not my cup of tea, to say the least, and I found the format distracting. – Marlo
• I really enjoyed the story but was having trouble with the graphic novel format. I think the drawings could have been better too – I kept getting confused and some plot points would have made greater impact had they been more iconic. – Danica

Conclusion: This was a great experiment but most of the group would have rather read a novel.

Beyond the Pale by Elana Dykewomon

Beyond the Pale2 Loved It
2 Liked It
Neutral
1 Disliked It
Hated It

Comments:
• Trying to be like The Jungle but just not as good. Really, come on, does everyone really need to be gay? – Sarah
• I do not finish many books, but I got into this one and really enjoyed it. It was a quick read. I liked how the author switched narrators, and it easily transitioned through the rest of the book. – Tami
• There were parts (like the first half) which were great and really realistic. The second half sort of lost steam and became a statement piece that lost its way. There were a few different characters that narrate the story but the way they were written, the voice was the same – a little disappointing and confusing on that end. Overall I liked it but didn’t love it. – Danica
• I really enjoyed this book. It was easy to get into the lives of the women and their experiences. – Carrie
• The was the most enjoyable read I’ve picked up in awhile. Although I’ve read many books growing up about Eastern European immigration and pogroms, this was not romanticized, but felt realistic. I didn’t feel that the love story was quite realistic, but enjoyed the characters anyway. – Marlo

Conclusion: This was mostly well liked and we were so eager to talk about it that we skipped our usual book club business conversation and dove straight into the discussion.

To Hold the Crown by Jean Plaidy

3322106Loved It
Liked It
3 Neutral
2 Disliked It
Hated It

Comments:
• I’m just about to finish it. I liked reading about the royal family and customs, but didn’t feel tied to any character. – Kerry
• I usually like this genre of book but this one was just not good. It jumped around too much and the author constantly repeated herself. Your time would be better spent reading something by Phillipa Gregory. – Sarah
• Do not expect this book to follow the description on the cover. It was good for what it was, but many parts of the story were redundant. I enjoyed it enough to finish it, but wouldn’t necessarily recommend it. – Carrie
• This one wasn’t very interesting to me, despite normally liking the genre. I never felt engaged with the characters, and felt like there wasn’t anything new to offer in telling this history. – Marlo
• I slogged through this even though being disappointed in the first 50 pages. She introduces a whole lot of densely packed history, characters and motivations in the beginning and then sort of gets into the story. As soon as you are attached to any one character, they are gone and you are back to reading about a bunch of things that don’t really matter and you really don’t care about. I agree with Sarah about reading Phillipa Gregory’s work instead. – Danica

Conclusion: Not much of a discussion went on except for voicing our dislike. It felt like there wasn’t much to say.

Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri

51Igpi1O0+L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_2 Loved It
2 Liked It
Neutral
Disliked It
Hated It

Comments:
• I enjoyed this book very much! I loved her writing and was so touched by the themes of how it feels to be an immigrant, Indian and even human. -Kerry
• I loved this book. Each story was so unique and had such great themes running through. The writing style was also quick and easy. It makes me hungry for Indian food, too. -Carrie
• Although I only read about a third of this, I am really enjoying it. The author has quite a way of portraying “quiet discontent” without making characters blatantly sad. There was a sense of acceptance of customs regarding family, mixed with a restlessness to break free of binding foreign cultures. -Marlo
• I enjoyed her writing style and really felt the theme as it wound itself through each of the stories. There were a few that hit very close to home and made me really sad, but I guess that means that the characters were relatable and believable. -Danica

Conclusion: We really didn’t spend much time on a discussion but I think it may have just been that we were really chatty this meeting. I had a really hard time getting everyone to focus on our regular book club business of choosing whose house next, a date, voting on a book and ordering.

Reading Group Guide

Dreams of My Father by Barack Obama

51LCJdzcSNL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_2 Loved It
2 Liked It
2 Neutral
Disliked It
Hated It

Comments:
• I enjoyed parts of the book. About halfway through I could have been done, but continued to gather more insight into the passions of our future president. Had he not been recently elected, I probably would not have finished. – Carrie
• I am in the first section and I am enjoying it. Plan to continue and finish this one. – Tami
• Very engaging. I enjoyed the personal voice and self deprecation humor that sprinkled the dialogue. I can’t help but wonder if I might have read it differently pre-presidential campaign. – Marlo
• I have to admit, I cheated a bit… got the audio book read by Obama. Hearing it in his owm voice was AMAZING!! He actually changed accents and was so mesmerizing. – Brandi
• I enjoyed reading this book. I think it provides great insight into the life of a man who promises to be a significant figure in modern history. – Kerry
• I enjoyed parts of the book but was bored during most of the community service in Chicago part. I think I would have enjoyed Obama’s second book The Audacity of Hope more because it was written with a more political/ideological purpose. I want to know more about him in his own words but this felt neither completely an autobiography nor completely an ideological tome. Both became watered down because of the other. – Danica

Conclusion:
I am really proud of us, we had a really civilized conversation that lasted a nice portion of book club. Most of us had read all or a nice chunk of the book and were ready to talk about it. Because we are in this moment in history, I think we read this book at the perfect time and it lent itself really well to a wonderful discussion.

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