The City Center by Simone Pond

city-center1 Loved It
4 Liked It
2 Neutral
0 Disliked It
0 Hated It

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
1 Liked It
2 Neutral
1 Disliked It
0 Hated It

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

200px-EmpireOfTheSun(1stEd)0 Loved It
2 Liked It
2 Neutral
0 Disliked It
0 Hated It

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

181047590 Loved It
5 Liked It
1 Neutral
0 Disliked It
0 Hated It

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
5 Liked It
1 Neutral
0 Disliked It
0 Hated It

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
1 Liked It
0 Neutral
0 Disliked It
0 Hated It

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

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

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.

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

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

Comments:
• Before this book, I had only read A Farewell to Arms by Hemingway. That book, I loved, this one, not so much. The incredible detail he writes with feels important when describing war, when describing the antics of a bunch of privileged Americans running amok through Europe, it was so rough for me. – Danica
• This story was very stacato and it was nor as good as I thought it would be. I guess I just had high expectations. – Sarah
• This was my 1st Hemingway novel. Not sure what all the hype is. Quick, easy read. I did like it as it related to The Paris Wife. – Carrie
• I liked the style but it was a little too slow and leisurely to finish by book club. – Steph
• I have decided that I’m not a huge fan of Hemingway. – Melissa
• I enjoyed my first Hemingway. I think I particularly enjoyed it after reading The Paris Wife. – Kerry

Conclusion: A mixed bag, but we did have fun discussing this book and comparing it to The Paris Wife which we read a few months ago.

Reading Group Guide

I’m Walking as Straight as I Can by Geri Jewell

2 Loved It
4 Liked It
0 Neutral
0 Disliked It
0 Hated It

Comments:
• Geri’s honesty and humor made reading her memoir enjoyable! Having Geri at our book club was priceless! – Melissa
• Awesome book. I love her honesty, vulnerability and her strength through life’s experiences. -Dina
• This was a great personal insight into Geri’s life. Not only was it enlightening to gain more understanding and admiration for how determinedly she has overcome and succeeded with her CP, but it was also relatable to anyone who has experiences of growing up. – Marlo
• Geri’s was so incredibly honest with her writing that I felt like I knew her even before she arrived at book club. Her positivity, determination and humor is inspiring. It was so generous for her to come and indulge us in a wonderful conversation at our book club. – Danica
• I enjoyed reading this book. It felt like I had known Geri forever after I read it. A great evening talking with the author! – Kerry
• I really enjoyed reading about her life. She is an amazing lady. – Tami
• I really enjoyed this read. It was easy and fun. I felt so connected to Geri and so invested in her life. Her honest, humorous writing style was refreshing. – Carrie
 
Conclusion: We loved meeting Geri and had a wonderfully thought provoking conversation with her. Thank you Geri for joining us!
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