My Bondage and My Freedom by Frederick Douglass

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Comments:
• I really liked the book and was very impressed with the writing style. I was amazed that someone from his humble beginnings could be so articulate. It does not happen so much like that nowadays. It did get a little repetitive at the end. – Sarah
• I loved this book and feel that this should be required reading for everyone living in this country. It was heart breaking, triumphant and thought provoking, he is an American hero. I wish that his actual escape story was documented and added as an addendum but I am not sure that it was ever told. Skipping the foreword and some of the speeches at the end make this a better read. – Danica
• I enjoyed parts of this book. I did not like the writing style, thought it could have developed differently. Opening and ending was repetitive and dry. Though very interested by the biography. – Carrie
• This book made a tremendous impact on me when I read it in college, and I found it equally enjoyable this time around. Douglass is an amazing writer, especially given his start in life. I particularly love a first person account of history, and there aren’t too many of those from former slaves. – Marlo

Conclusion: Although most didn’t get through it, we all could participate in the discussion which was great and lasted quite a bit.

The City Center by Simone Pond

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Comments:
• It was a fast read and an interesting take on the post apocalyptic world. I felt a few things were hanging but overall good. – Sarah
• It was a fast, interesting read. Really enjoyed the creativity and ideas, but felt some developments happened too easily. – Carrie
• Fun evening with the author! – Kerry
• I really enjoyed this. It was fast and easy to read. Really enjoyed meeting the author. – Tami
• This was a really fun read. Having it set in Los Angeles was great and I felt there were some great creative elements to the plot. – Marlo
• A super fun, fast read with great ideas and world building. I wish some of the plot would have actually been slowed down a bit to allow for more character development. – Danica
 
Conclusion: We loved meeting Simone and had a a great night with her discussing the book and life. Thank you Simone for joining us!

David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell

9780316204361_p0_v9_s260x4200 Loved It
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Comments:
• This book was not as good as some of his other books, although it was short. – Sarah
• What I like about Malcolm Gladwell books is you always get food for thought. I liked it. -Kerry
• I argued with the book – every page for the 50% that I got through. – Steph
• Although this wasn’t as solidly good as some of his other books. There were chapters that I really liked and others I could have done without. I love how I always think about his ideas months and years later. – Danica

Conclusion: While not as liked as some of his other books that we have read, we did have a lively conversation about certain chapters, so I would call that a success.

Empire of the Sun by J.G. Ballard

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Comments:
• It was OK. I could not really get into it and am not really sure why. It was a little unbelievable that it ties up with a bow and everyone lives. – Sarah
• I wasn’t able to finish, but enjoyed the little boy point of view, and the mixture of child-like innocence and cunning survivalism. – Kerry
• I picked this because I really loved the movie as a child. It was not quite what I expected and I had a hard time rooting for any one character. There were elements I did enjoy but it felt like a real slog to get through. – Danica
• I wanted to read this, but wasn’t able to get into it, didn’t get past the first few chapters. – Carrie
• I liked the writing style and how he showed the horrors of war – but in a peripheral kind of way. – Steph

Conclusion: It felt really long for most, our discussion was quick but we did talk mostly about the parts we did like as opposed to the elements we didn’t.

Far Far Away by Tom McNeal

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Comments:
• So far, I’ve enjoyed it. – Melissa
• It was very whimsical. I liked the story and the relationships between the characters. – Sarah
• The fairy tale concept was fun, and I enjoyed the Grimm element. However, I actually thought it would have been a better book without the happy ending. – Marlo
• It was an easy read, but the story didn’t really impress me. – Carrie
• I was torn. There were elements that I really enjoyed and others that could have been really interesting but weren’t exploited. – Danica

Conclusion: Overall, this was liked and we spoke about a few elements about the book but it didn’t spur any big philosophical conversations.

Defending Jacob by William Landay

113677262 Loved It
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Comments:
• I really enjoyed this book. Loved the legal dialogue and twists/turns in the storyline. And oh the ending! – Rachelle
• I’m not done yet… but liking it so far. – Melissa
• Really easy read. Different than most mysteries. Interesting twist at the end. – Carrie
• This was definitely a page turner. I really enjoyed some of the morality questions that it explores. – Danica
• I enjoyed this book! It brought up a lot of questions and issues, and was definitely food for thought. I wished the ending had delved into some of the issues raised throughout. – Kerry
• I really enjoyed the first few chapters. However, after that when it got to the trial everything felt very contrived and unrealistic. – Sarah
• I couldn’t put it down! I thought it was a good read. – Steph
• I really enjoyed it! I didn’t expect the ending and was sad when it was over. A lot of stuff to talk about. – Tami

Conclusion: We had a really great conversation and it seemed like everyone got caught up in this quick read.

The Manhattan Project by Cynthia C. Kelly

2 Loved It
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Comments:
• The book is really fascinating. It really takes the best parts of many different books on the subject and places them as a a cohesive narrative. Very informative and the pictures are great. – Sarah
• I really enjoyed the first part of the book – it’s fascinating. I hope to finish it one day. – Steph
•  I loved this book. The science was incredibly interesting and I found it very timely, reading it during the Iranian nuclear talks. – Danica
 
Conclusion: Those who read it really loved it, those who didn’t were pretty much convinced to give it a try after our discussion.

Joyland by Stephen King

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Comments:
• The story was short which was nice. It was not scary at all. – Sarah
• I am enjoying it and will finish it. – Tami
• I had never read Stephen King before. I now understand the following. I am a fan! – Melissa
• I really enjoyed this book. It was fast and an easy read. Could really visualize the characters. – Carrie
• I liked the style and the book was easy to read. I didn’t like the story that much – not very rich. – Steph
• This is the first Stephen King book that I have ever read. On a whole, I enjoyed the characters and story. There were a few pages here and there where he mentioned modern day pop culture and politics, that pulled me out of the story and felt unnecessary. – Danica

Conclusion: Most enjoyed the book although we didn’t have a whole lot to talk about except for clearing up a few questions about happenings from the story.

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