The Girls by Lori Lansens

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

Comments:
• 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
Neutral
Disliked It
Hated It

Comments:
• 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

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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.

Sincerely,
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

Comments:
• 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

Comments:
• 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.

The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood

51Og6Di3z8L  Loved It
1 Liked It
2 Neutral
2 Disliked It
Hated It

Comments:
• The book was too long. The main story was good but all the extra stuff sucked. – Sarah
• I enjoyed it. I could do without the “Blind Assassin” (aliens or whatever), but really liked the main story. – Carrie
• Couldn’t get through it. Tried to muscle through, but just couldn’t bear it. – Brandi
• Yawn. Like it OK, but prefer the “present day” story over the novel within the novel. – Marlo
• I tried and made it to page 300 but I just couldn’t get into it. – danica

Conclusion: Most didn’t read this one and those of us that did, most didn’t like it and didn’t even finish it.

Reading Group Guide

Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

220px-DWCity  Loved It
3 Liked It
2 Neutral
Disliked It
Hated It

Comments:
• Good book but the first part about the fair was slow – but after that, it was good – loved the contrast between the two plots. – Stacey
• I liked the tidbits about things from the fair. My favorite parts were about the “devil.” – Kerry
• It was OK. The stuff about the fair was way boring. They could have made it a really short book about a murderer. – Sarah
• I definitely got bored in many places. What kept me going was the serial killer parts of the story. I didn’t care as much about the trials and tribulations that went into the architecture of the fair. There were some interesting facts about what debuted and who worked on it though… Overall it was just OK. I made it through so there is that… – danica
• Got a bit long-winded about the fair, but found the part about Holmes interesting… I kept reading it although a few parts dragged. Decent read. – Brandi

Conclusion: Only about half of us actually read this one and it was received as just OK. Our conversation was pretty good and it interested even those that didn’t read the book. It was a jam packed meeting with a lot of personal announcements – almost half of our members are pregnant, throw in an engagement and some charitable giving and that pretty much sums up our March book club.

Reading Group Guide

Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

fight-club-book-cover  Loved It
6 Liked It
1 Neutral
3 Disliked It
Hated It

Comments:
• The author thought much more of this book than I did. – Kerry
• I only got through a few chapters. Too close to the movie (almost verbatim). I probably would have liked it if I hadn’t seen the movie first. – Carrie
• I really loved this movie, but I have not seen it in years however, I remembered more that I thought. I liked the book although I could not help but see how Palahniuk weaved the eventual plot twist throughout. I could not tell whether it was just more explicit in the book or if my knowledge clouded the story. When I saw the movie, I was totally surprised by it – if I read the book first, I don’t know if I would have been as surprised. – danica
• Liked it better than the first time through, but the second time I could see signals earlier in the book. – Stacey
• I thought the book was more predictable than the movie. – Sarah
• It was an easy read. Since I saw the movie, it was hard to read because I knew the ending. It was word for word to the movie. – Tami
• I liked the book because it was different than other books we’ve read. Short chapters, easy read. Also, I liked how it was written from a mentally disturbed person’s point of view. – Rachelle
• I enjoyed it. Saw the movie only days before reading the book, so I head Edward Norton;s voice reading all the lines. “I am Joe’s broken spleen.” – Brandi
• I enjoyed the book. It had been years since I had seen the movie. Such a dark story. Easy read. – Melissa

Conclusion: One thing is for sure, if your copy has a forward, afterword or acknowledgments, do not read them – he comes off as way too much of an egotist and it taints the book.

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