Friday, December 5, 2008

January & February book picks

(Thank goodness that horrible head cheese picture is not the top post anymore.)

Last Thursday night we got together to discuss the book pick for November, which was "For One More Day" by Mitch Albom. The general consensus was that everyone liked the book - with most of us agreeing that there was someone in our own lives we would love to have the chance to spend one more day with. We had a book exchange and a cookie exchange - taking platefuls of yummy cookies home to share with our families. Thanks to Robyn for hosting us in her beautiful home!

The book pick for January is "The Ladies Auxiliary" by Tova Mirvis. We
will resume our normal schedule and start meeting on the fourth
Thursday of the month. The January meeting will be held January 22nd
at 7:00 PM.

The book pick for February is "The Glass Castle" by Jeanette Walls. The February meeting will be held February 26th.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Head Cheese

Tonight at book club we were wondering what a head cheese is. In the latest book, "Little Heathens" the author talks about making it and we all did not understand. If you are truly curious about this and are not of weak constitution, have a look. It is a little, well really a lot, disgusting.

It will make you think twice about using the term lightly.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

October & November Book picks

Just a quick update to get posted the upcoming books for October and November.

This month we're reading Little Heathens by Mildred Kalish. We will be meeting to discuss this book on Thursday, November 6th.

For November the book that was picked was For One More Day by Mitch Albom. We will be meeting to discuss this book on Thursday, December 4th.

We decided not to pick a book to read for the month of December because of the busy holiday season -- we'll pick up again with a book in January.

Hope everyone can join us in the upcoming months!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

September Book

The book we're reading for the month of September is "Dishwasher" by Pete Jordan. Here's a couple of reviews from the authors site:

“Dishwasher is an instant American classic. It should be required reading for every high school student in the nation, paired with The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Few people are audacious enough to lead a memoir-worthy life. Even fewer people are talented enough to write said memoir. By the grace of the literary gods, Pete Jordan is both.”
— San Francisco Bay Guardian

“Jordan has an eye for devastating detail, but he wraps what he sees in humor. No matter how grim his situation, the reader senses he couldn’t wait to write it down, check the place off his map and keep going.”
— Seattle Post-Intelligencer

“A good story, well told...ironic...worth reading.”
— San Francisco Chronicle

We'll be meeting on September 25th at 7pm at Rikas' house. See you then.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Pleasure of My Company

Thank you Amazon for the info.
Readers expecting something zany, something crudely humorous from Steve Martin's second novel, The Pleasure of My Company, will discover much greater riches. While the book has a sense of humor, Martin moves everywhere with a gentler, lighter touch in this elegant little fiction that verges on the profound and poetic.

Daniel Pecan Cambridge is the narrator and central consciousness of the novel (actually a novella). Daniel, an ex-Hewlett-Packard communiqué encoder, is a savant whose closely proscribed world is bounded on every side by neuroses and obsessions. He cannot cross the street except at driveways symmetrically opposed to each, and he cannot sleep unless the wattage of the active light bulbs in his apartment sums to 1,125. Daniel's starved social life is punctuated by twice-weekly visits from a young therapist in training, Clarissa; by his prescription pick-ups from a Rite Aid pharmacist, Zandy; and by his "casual" meetings with the bleach-blond real estate agent, Elizabeth, who is struggling to sell apartments across the street. But Daniel's dysfunctional routines are shattered one day when he becomes entangled in the chaos of Clarissa's life as a single mother. Taking care of Clarissa's tiny son, Teddy, Daniel begins to emerge from the safety of logic, magic squares, and obsessive counting.

Martin's craftsmanship is remarkable. The tightly packed novella paints rich portraits with restraint and balance, including nothing extraneous to Daniel's world. The book does not try for pyrotechnics but is contented with a Zen-like simplicity in both prose and plot. Avoiding the crushing bleakness of much contemporary fiction, Martin insists through Daniel--a man haunted by horrors of his own making--that there is possibility for compassion, that broken lives can actually be healed.

We will see you August 28th.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

June Book

Note: Thank you wikipedia for your wonderful information

The Screwtape Letters is a work of Christian satire by C. S. Lewis first published in book form in 1942. The story takes the form of a series of letters from a senior demon, Screwtape, to his nephew, a junior tempter named Wormwood, so as to advise him on methods of securing the damnation of an earthly man, known only as "the Patient."

Screwtape (along with his trusted scribe Toadpipe) holds an administrative post in the bureaucracy ("Lowerarchy") of Hell, and acts more as a mentor than a supervisor to Wormwood, the inexperienced tempter; almost every letter ends with the signature, "Your affectionate uncle, Screwtape." In the body of the thirty-one letters which make up the book, Screwtape gives Wormwood detailed advice on various methods of undermining faith and promoting sin in his Patient, interspersed with observations on human nature and Christian doctrine.

In The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis provides a series of lessons in the importance of taking a deliberate role in living out Christian faith by portraying a typical human life, with all its temptations and failings, as seen from the demon/devil's viewpoint. Wormwood and Screwtape live in a peculiarly morally reversed world, where individual benefit and greed are seen as the greatest good, and neither demon is capable of comprehending or acknowledging true human virtue when he sees it. A preface included in some older publishings of the book included a short dialog on the subject of whether Lewis believed demons to be fact or fiction, exemplifying Lewis' belief that despite the fictional storyline of the book, he believed Satan and demons are not fictional; further, that he held a view that they exist for a decidedly evil purpose which must not be portrayed innocuously in art and culture at the risk of obfuscating their true nature.
Versions of the letters were originally published in The Guardian, and the standard edition contains an introduction explaining how the author chose to write his story.

While The Screwtape Letters is one of Lewis' most popular works, Lewis claimed that the book was distasteful to write, and he vowed never to write a direct sequel. However, in 1959 he wrote an addendum, Screwtape Proposes a Toast, which takes the form not of a letter but rather an after-dinner speech given by Screwtape at the Tempters' Training College for young demons. It first appeared as an article in the Saturday Evening Post. The Screwtape Letters, along with Screwtape Proposes a Toast, has also been released on both audiocassette and CD narrated by John Cleese of Monty Python and Joss Ackland.

Join us the 4th Thursday in June for a fun filled night of chatter and treats.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

May Book

The May book club book is Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.

In this book, you can journey with Gilbert in a year of travel and healing after a tumultuous divorce in the states. She travels to Italy, India, and Bali to find herself, her God, and then happens to find the love of her life, too.

The reviews of the book are great. We hope that you enjoy the read and join us in May.

“If a more likable writer than Gilbert is currently in print, I haven't found him or her...Gilbert's prose is fueled by a mix of intelligence, wit and colloquial exuberance that is close to irresistible, and makes the reader only too glad to join the posse of friends and devotees who have the pleasure of listening in.” by Jennifer Egan

“An engaging, intelligent and entertaining memoir…her account of her time in India is beautiful and honest and free of patchouli-scented obscurities.” by Lev Grossman

“Gilbert’s journey is full of mystical dreams, visions and uncanny coincidences…Yet for every ounce of self-absorption her classical New-Age journey demands, Gilbert is ready with an equal measure of intelligence, humor and self-deprecation…Gilbert’s wry, unfettered account of her extraordinary journey makes even the most cynical reader dare to dream of someday finding God deep within a meditation cave in India, or perhaps over a transcendent slice of pizza.” by Erika Schickel

If you are interested in more information about Ms. Gilbert, EPL or any of her other works, visit her website at:

Friday, April 11, 2008

April Book

It's time for a bit of nostalgia for this month's book club selection. We will be reading Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie.

Second to the right and straight on til morning - that's the way to Neverland, an island filled with adventure and hidden danger. It's home to beautiful mermaids and well as dastardly pirates ruled by the evil Captain Hook. It's a place for lost boys, hungry crocodiles, and, most of all, people who don't want to grow up. The Darling children don't know anything about Neverland - until a magical boy named Peter Pan shows up and leads the way.

Start thinking back to what it was like when you were a kid and never, ever wanted to grow up.
We'll be meeting on Thursday, April 24 at Annie's house. See you then.

Friday, March 28, 2008

The Watsons Go to Birmingham -- 1963

The book this past month was The Watsons Go to Birmingham -- 1963.

It reminded me of my family. My Grandma Katherine (who Kateka, my sister, was named after) was from Toxey, Alabama. We drove out there one summer after she had passed away it was about three weeks of hot sticky sibling love in the mini-van, in short a dream vacation.

I remember when Grandma Katherine used to cry when we would get to her house and when we would leave. She lived pretty far out in the country, and pretty far from most people, but especially the people she loved. It reminded me of this, "Grandma Sands squeezed me hard and cried all over me. She wiped a bunch of tears aways with a twisted-up hand and blinked a couple of times before she looked at me. She was so short she didn't even have to look down!

"She tried to say something but she couldn't talk, she just stuck her bottom lip out some and nodded her head up and down a couple of time, then pulled me back to her and squeezed me like crazy."

The book reminded me of my slightly wacky family, but mostly it made me think about the relationships we have with each other. Our relationships are never perfect and mostly we are dancing around each other trying to figure out the correct footing of living together.

"Some of the time it was hard to figure Byron out. He was very right about some things and he was very wrong about some things...

"He was also very wrong about there not being anything like magic powers or genies or angels. Maybe those weren't the things that could make a run-over dog walk without wobbling but they were out there.

"Maybe they were in the way your father smile at you even after you'd messed something up real bad. Maybe they were in the way you understood that your mother wasn't trying to make you the laughing "sock" of the whole school when she'd call you over in front of a bunch of your friends and use spit on her finger to wipe the sleep out of your eyes. Maybe it was magic powers that let you know she was just being Momma. Maybe they were the reason that you really didn't care when the kids would say, "Yuck! You let your momma slob on you?" and you had to say, "Shut up. That's my momma, we got the same germs."

"Maybe there were genies in the way your sister would throw a stupid tea party for you and you had fun even though it was kind of embarrassing to sit at a little table and sup water out of plastic teacups.

"Maybe there were magic powers hiding in the way your older brother made all the worst thugs in the neighborhood play basketball with you even though you double-dribbled every time they threw you the ball..

"And I am sure there was an angel in Birmingham when Grandma Sands wrapped little arms around all the Weird Watsons and said, "My fambly, my beautiful, beautiful fambly."

But aren't we all angels to each other. Didn't a neighbor call and tell you how great you are? Did your baby tell you he loved because you played with his markers with him today? Didn't your sister help everyday when you felt so completely trapped in your life? Isn't there always someone there to lift and help you? I love finding these people. I love when you meet someone and you feel they have been your friend forever even though you have only known them for 7 minutes. Some are lucky enough to have this in their families, some find and make their families as they go.

I appreciate these people, the true and constant people. Honesty. Loyalty. Strength.

"These people are the true American heroes. They are the boys and girls, the women and men who have seen that thing are wrong and have not been afraid to ask that things are wrong and have not been afraid to ask "Why can't we change this?" They are the people who believe that as long as one person is being treated unfairly, we all are. These are our heroes, and they still walk among us today. One of them may be sitting next to you as you read this, or standing in the next room making your dinner, or waiting for you to come outside and play.

"One of them may be you."

Saturday, March 1, 2008

March Book

They're called Weird Watsons, and sometimes Kenny, Joetta, and delinquent big brother Byron, deserve the name, like when Byron gets his lips frozen to a car mirror while he's practicing kissing. But when they visit Grandma Sands in Birmingham, they head into a nightmare. At first hilarious, but by the end devastatingly powerful, Curtis's first novel packs a terrific punch.

Ten-year-old Kenny introduces readers to his family; his parents, little sister Joetta, and tough, cool, delinquent-wannabe Byron. When Byron's antics escalate, though they are mild by today's standards, his parents decide he needs a dose of the iron hand of Grandma Sands. So they load up the car and head off to Birmingham for the summer.

Humorous incidents abound, but when the Watsons arrive in Alabama, they find themselves caught up in something far more serious than dealing with a mildly delinquent adolescent. Racists bomb Grandma Sands's church, and Kenny's little sister is feared dead. Kenny, who witnessed what happened, sinks into depression and believes that only magic can heal him. But when his parents don't know how to help him, he finds comfort in the words of the person he least expected.

(Plot review courtesy of Matt Berman @

Friday, February 29, 2008

The Friday Night Knitting Club

Forgiveness? Acceptance? The joy in hating and then hooking up (again) with the long lost boyfriend who got you pregnant all those years ago? Any of these themes or more could be the overarching idea behind The Friday Night Knitting Club.

A great story and a quick read, "TFNKC" was an enjoyable book, though markedly cliched and a bit predictable. Birth, death, reunion, regret, acceptance, and peace all find their way into the lives of the women who find themselves alone and seeking friendship every Friday night at the Walker and Daughter Yarn Shop.

(I ran out of energy writing this review - I just didn't have it in me. If anyone else wants to take a stab at it, let me know)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

February Book

February's book club book is The Friday Night Knitting Club and proves to be a winner.

A charming and moving novel about female friendship and the experiences that knit us together—even when we least expect it.

Walker and Daughter is Georgia Walker's little yarn shop, tucked into a quiet storefront on Manhattan's Upper West Side. The Friday Night Knitting Club was started by some of Georgia's regulars, who gather once a week to work on their latest projects and to chat—and occasionally clash—over their stories of love, life, and everything in between.

Georgia has her hands full, juggling the demands of running the store and raising her spunky teen daughter, Dakota, by herself. Thank goodness for Anita, her mentor and dear friend, and the rest of the members of the knitting club—who are just as varied as the skeins of yarn in the shop's bins. There's Peri, a prelaw student turned handbag designer; Darwin, a somewhat aloof feminist grad student; and Lucie, a petite, quiet woman who's harboring some secrets of her own.

However, unexpected changes soon throw these women's lives into disarray, and the shop's comfortable world gets shaken up like a snow globe. "James", Georgia's ex, decides that he wants to play a larger role in Dakota's life—and possibly Georgia's as well. Cat, a former friend from high school, returns to New York as a rich Park Avenue wife and uneasily renews her old bond with Georgia. Meanwhile, Anita must confront her growing (and reciprocated) feelings for Marty, the kind neighborhood deli owner. And when the unthinkable happens, they realize what they've created: not just a knitting club, but a sisterhood.

If you are interested in more information about the book, click HERE.

We'll see you on February 28, 2008.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

January, 2008

The blog has gotten a bit of a face lift and hopefully, we will all benefit physically, mentally, and emotionally from a new year of book club.

For the month of January, we didn't select a book to read as a group. Rather, come prepared to discuss some of the key points of one of the best books you read in 2007.

As always, be prepared for great food, conversation and fun.

Here's to 2008!