Showing posts with label book club. Show all posts
Showing posts with label book club. Show all posts

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Update on Book Club

 


In January of 2020 I wrote a review on Book Clubs.  If you are interested in starting a book club, I would recommend you read that review here Review of Book ClubsIn that review you will find out how the book club I belong to is set up and how we handle the meetings.  In this post I will update you on what we have been doing since that last review and a little bit about some of the books we have been reading.

Our Book Club in 2020/2021

As you can all imagine 2020/2021 was a bit challenging for our bookclub.  With the pandemic we had to look at how we could do it differently.  We didn't meet at all for the first few months, but then in the summer of 2020 we all ventured out and met on my deck, where we could wear masks and social distance with each other.  We hadn't picked any one book to read, but rather all discussed what books we had been reading.  During the rest of 2020 we only met one more time in someone's family room where we could spread apart.  In 2021 we decided to venture out and start choosing monthly books.  A few didn't make it at first, but eventually most of our members returned to our monthly meetings.  

We read 11 books in a year, skipping the month of December where we all meet for a holiday luncheon instead of our regular meeting.  In the next section I will discuss the last 11 books we have read.


Books we have Read in the Last Year

  • When we started meeting again on a regular basis one of the first books we read was Educated by Tara Westover.  It was a very thought-provoking book that gave us lots to discuss.  Fellow reviewer Olivia Morris has also read the book and wrote a review which will tell you a lot more about the book. Educated
  • The next book we read was The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Piccoult.   Jodi Piccoult is a favorite author that always spends a lot of time researching the books that she writes.  This book deals with Egyptology along with discovering the relationships of the people involved.  Most of our members really liked the book, although a few wished it had a bit less technical items on Egyptology.
  • The Giver of Stars was a book we read by Jo Jo Moyes. This book takes place in depression-era America in the hills of Kentucky.  It starts with Alice who has married a rich American to escape the stifling rules of her parents in England.  She soon finds that the hills of Kentucky can be just as stifling, and she signs up to be a traveling librarian from Eleanor Roosevelts new plan to bring books to rural America.  The book shows us the brave women who worked this program and their relationships.  It is based on a true story, and we found it very intriguing.
  • The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson is another book about the traveling book program.  You can read more about it in the review that I wrote.  The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek and also one that fellow reviewer Dawn wrote Here .
  • The next book we read was Gray Mountain by John Grisham. This book deals with mining and many of the legal battles the ensue when it is abused.  It is very well written, and you can really become involved with the characters.
  • The Hypnotists Love Story is a novel by Liane Moriarity.  We have read several books by this author and know they will always give us a lively discussion. This one did not disappoint.
  • The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton is a wonderful mystery that takes place in Australia in the early 1900's.  It is a work of historical fiction.
  • The Husband's Secret is another book by Liane Moriarity.  Everyone enjoyed the discussion on this book, and we delved a lot into secrets and what we would tell and what we would not.
  • Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman was our next book. It was a very interesting book about a young woman who lives a very structured life.  She struggles with everyday social skills and tends to say exactly what she is thinking.  This all changes when she meets Raymond.  You must read this book to find out more!
  • Wish You Were Here by Jodi Piccoult.  This was my favorite book this year.  In this book Jodi tackles a very timely subject as the book begins in March of 2020 just at the start of the pandemic.  I wrote a review of the book which you can find at Wish You Were Here. 
  • A Divided Loyalty by Charles Todd is a detective story which takes place in England.  It features Scotland Yard detective Ian Rutledge and is an interesting mystery.  We had a good discussion on the methods used to solve the mystery.
  • The last book on my list is the one we will be discussing this month.  I have read the book and thoroughly enjoyed it.  It is Mitch Albom's Finding Chika. Fellow reviewer Pat Austin (aka Wednesday Elf) has written a review on this book. Finding Chika

I Hope you enjoyed hearing about these books and perhaps you will find one or more you'd like to read yourself.  Happy Reading!!




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Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers Book Review

Written with humor, Mary Roach's Stiff is an interesting look at the uses of human cadavers past, present and future.

Mary Roach's Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers is not for everyone. This book, a non-fiction look into the uses of human cadavers past, present and future, was different than my typical read and will likely be for yours, too. Our book club reviewed it and for some, the subject matter was simply too uncomfortable during a difficult time or even at any time. For others, like myself, it was an interesting endeavor.

The official book description says that the book touches on morality, ethics and spirituality and it does but it is really a look at the science of the uses of the cadaver. With chapter titles like A Head is a Terrible Thing to Waste, Crimes of Anatomy and Life After Death you will learn about surgery performed on the dead, body snatching, human dissection and human decay. You will learn about how the human body has been used to test France's guillotines, how it has been a guest on NASA space shuttles, how it has helped uncover causes of airplane crashes, how it has improved automobile safety and, of course, much more.

Mary Roach's Stiff shares the science of how the human cadaver has been used in the past, present and future. Sometimes gross, sometimes funny, always very interesting.

On the back of the book, Entertainment Weekly calls Stiff  "gross, educational and unexpectedly sidesplitting." I agree. Mostly. This book is at times unnerving, always teaching and told with a great deal of humor though the subject matter keeps it from being exactly what I would call "unexpectedly sidesplitting. I guess it delivers the science in a slightly dark but humorous way.

Morbid Monday calls it a "one-stop book for everything you ever wanted to know - or never wanted to know - about dead bodies." Touché!  There is a lot to think about here. I did find the book tough going at times but I also found it very interesting. I knew nothing about the actual scientific process that allows doctors to transfer organs from a dead body to that of an organ recipient. Do you? If not, you should read this book. The introduction is quite funny, the first chapter is tough but tough it out and see if you find the overall subject interesting if perhaps also "gross."

I recommend this book if you are looking for something outside of your usual fare, if you want to expand your reading subject matter and if you are willing to push you way through some unpleasantness though of course, you could skip any chapters that really disturb you. Each chapter stands alone.

Will you donate your body to science? Should you? Definitely something to think about and Stiff will definitely leave you thinking. Not everyone in my book club read it or cared for it but some like myself did find it quite interesting. If you think you might be one of them, you can find your copy of Stiff here on Amazon.

See you
at the bookstore! 
Brenda 

More Book Reviews:

A list of award winning movie-themed books for your Kindle.

Visit 1970s Walt Disney World via this book of information, pictures and illustrations from the park.

The story of retiree who went looking for something active to do. Eventually she found track and field and went on to became a 90-something year old super star.

Visit St. Petersburg, Russia, via this action-packed Steve Berry book.

How you can sustain wildlife with native plants.

A mother and son's journey from a world gone gray.


Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, A Book Review







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Thursday, August 13, 2020

Review of The Last of the Moon Girls

I downloaded the book The Last of the Moon Girls by Barbara  Davis when it was on the July list for Amazon Prime's First Reads.  I probably picked it because I wasn't sure what else to pick, but I was pleasantly surprise when it turned out to be one of the best books I've read in a long time.  In fact when I got to about 50% in the book, I ended up staying up half the night until I finished the book.  I found it to be a delightful read full of interesting characters, an unsolved murder, and some thoughtful messages on forgiveness and finding ones self.


Brief Synopsis of Plot

Lizzy Moon had left the family farm in New Hampshire 8 years before to follow her dream.  She now had a promising career in New York city and no intention of ever returning to the "family" business. The family farm was a "herbal farm" and generations of Moon woman had used their various skills as "healers" to run the farm. Lizzy was to be the last of the Moon girls.

All of this was before Lizzy got a call letting her know her beloved grandmother, Althea, had passed away leaving her the farm.  Still, Lizzy had every intention of returning to pack up the farm and put it for sale.

When Lizzy returns she is met with a farm that is very deteriorated and fields of lavender that are full of weeds.  She is also confronted with the unsolved murders of two girls from 8 years before and insinuations from the towns people that followed her grandmother to her grave.

The book has a wonderful series of twists and turns that causes Lizzy to take another look at her life and what she thinks she wants.

This is an excellent read and I would highly recommend it.  I also think this would be an excellent book for a book club discussion.  There are lots of interesting topics within the book that should lead to a lively discussion.

  






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