Thursday, September 29, 2011

October Meeting: Passionate Marriage

Our book for October is: "Passionate Marriage: Keeping Love and Intimacy alive in committed relationships" by David Schnarch.  This is a book unlike one we've read in the past and should provide for interesting discussion about marriage and relationships in our next book club meeting.

A brief description from the authors website (

In PASSIONATE MARRIAGE: Keeping Love and Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships, he makes available to the general public his highly successful and untraditional approach to sex and marital therapy. He reveals how a passionate sex life requires each person to face the anxiety of defining himself/herself while getting closer to their partner, a process he calls differentiation.

Differentiation involves changing the way we think about marriage: Instead of seeing it as the merging of two people into one, as has often been taught, we must learn to maintain a sense of ourselves as distinct from our partner in order to become closer to him/her. Gaining more differentiation is not easy-and Dr. David warns that any "expert" who promises Eros and intimacy in ten easy steps should not be trusted. Sexual encounters provide perfect opportunities to differentiate and develop the strength to love deeply.

Mixing humor and compassion, Dr. David describes couples' explicit sexual encounters and dramatic therapy sessions to demonstrate how they found personal, marital, and sexual fulfillment far greater than they ever dreamed possible. Every sexual exchange, from kissing to daring erotic behaviors, is a graphic picture of how you and your partner feel about yourselves and each other outside the bedroom. He goes beyond simply curing sexual dysfunctions to help people achieve their sexual potential. For some that means the jolt of "wall-socket sex" and experiences of sexual transcendence.

Passionate Marriage offers explicit discussion of sexual behavior, practical tips, and details of couples' going through the "people-growing" crucibles inherent in emotionally committed relationships.

Click this link if you'd like to watch a video interview of Dr. Snarch and a transcript of the interview (I couldn't get it to embed!)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

August, September and so on

Okay, it's been months, sorry.

The summer definitely got the better of us book clubbers and we sort of fell apart.  But, what else is summer for?

Our August meeting will be spent watching "The Help" at the local theater.  A perfect chick flick for all us chicks who read the book last year.

Our September meeting will be at Robyn's house.  It's fall, so time for us all to get back on the ball and back into literature, right?

The book for September is "Left to Tell" by Immaculee Ilibagiza, about Rwanda.  Robyn has already read it and loved it so it should be a good selection for all of us.  Watch this powerful video of Immaculee from the CBS Early Show.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

June Book Preview - The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

From Wikipedia:

The book chronicles both the life of Oscar de Leon, an overweight Dominican boy growing up in Paterson, New Jersey who is obsessed with science fiction and fantasy novels and with falling in love, as well as the curse that has plagued his family for generations.
The middle sections of the novel center on the lives of Oscar's runaway sister, Lola; his mother, Hypatia Belicia Cabral; and his grandfather, Abelard. Rife with footnotes, science fiction and fantasy references, comic book analogies, and various Spanish dialects, the novel is also a meditation on story-telling, the Dominican diaspora and identity, masculinity, and oppression.
Most of the story is told by an apparently omniscient narrator who is eventually revealed to be Yunior de Las Casas, a college roommate of Oscar's who dated Lola.[4] Yunior also appears in many of Diaz's short stories.[5]

Friday, May 27, 2011

Of Mice and Men

Though it's a classic by a pulitzer prize winning author, "Of Mice and Men" comes off as a pretty rough and abrasive text to these modern gals.  Why does Lenny take care of George?  Why are women so misrepresented in the novella?  What is wrong with Lenny?

It's a good story and provided us with a great conversation about Steinbeck, the Great Depression, and some other interesting works of literature.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Book and Meeting Updates

Hey Girls -

We had a great going away party for Rika.  We will all miss her while she and her family are adventuring in Darwin, Australia.

Our April meeting will be on April 21 at Erin's house.
The book is: "A vintage affair" by Isabel Wolff

A quick synopsis from Barnes and Noble:
Every dress has a history. And so does every woman.
In Isabel Wolff’s captivating A Vintage Affair, a treasured child’s coat becomes a thread of hope connecting two very different women.
Her friends are stunned when Phoebe Swift abruptly leaves a plum job at the prestigious Sotheby’s auction house to open her own vintage clothing shop in London—but to Phoebe, it’s the fulfillment of a dream. In the sunlight-flooded interior of Village Vintage, surrounded by Yves Saint Laurent silk scarves, Vivienne Westwood bustle skirts, cupcake dresses, and satin gowns, Phoebe hopes to make her store the hot new place to shop, even as she deals with two ardent suitors, her increasingly difficult mother, and a secret from her past that casts a shadow over her new venture.

For Phoebe, each vintage garment carries its own precious history. Digging for finds in attics and wardrobes, Phoebe is rewarded whenever she finds something truly unique, for she knows that when you buy a piece of vintage clothing, you’re not just buying fabric and thread—you’re buying a piece of someone’s past. But one particular article of clothing will soon unexpectedly change her life. 
Thérèse Bell, an elderly Frenchwoman, has an impressive clothing collection. But among the array of smart suits and couture gowns, Phoebe finds a child’s sky-blue coat—an item with which Bell is stubbornly reluctant to part. As the two women become friends, Phoebe will learn the tale of that little blue coat. And she will discover an astonishing connection between herself and Thérèse Bell—one that will help her heal the pain of her own past and allow her to love again.

In May, we'll be meeting at Annie's house on May 26.
Our May book is, "Of Mice and Men" by John Steinbeck.


Monday, February 21, 2011

February book club this week

Thursday (the 24th) 7:00 pm, Annie's house. Annie lives on harvest crest way- if you need the house number, you can text Melinda at 801.971.5781, and I'll let you know.

The book was "Cutting for Stone" by Abraham Verghese. I found the discussion guide online, and so here's some of the questions - I tried to edit for brevity, but they were all so interesting, sorry! This is just going to be a long post!

3. Marion observes that in Ethiopia, patients assume that all illnesses are fatal and that death is expected, but in America, news of having a fatal illness “always seemed to come as a surprise, as if we took it for granted that we were immortal” (p. 396). What other important differences does Cutting for Stone reveal about the way illness is viewed and treated in Ethiopia and in the United States? To what extent are these differences reflected in the split between poor hospitals, like the one in the Bronx where Marion works, and rich hospitals like the one in Boston where his father works?
4. In the novel, Thomas Stone asks, “What treatment in an emergency is administered by ear?” The correct answer is “Words of comfort.” How does this moment encapsulate the book's surprising take on medicine? Have your experiences with doctors and hospitals held this to be true? Why or why not? What does Cutting for Stone tell us about the roles of compassion, faith, and hope in medicine?
5. There are a number of dramatic scenes on operating tables in Cutting for Stone: the twins' births, Thomas Stone amputating his own finger, Ghosh untwisting Colonel Mebratu's volvulus, the liver transplant, etc. How does Verghese use medical detail to create tension and surprise? What do his depictions of dramatic surgeries share with film and television hospital dramas-and yet how are they different?
6. Marion suffers a series of painful betrayals-by his father, by Shiva, and by Genet. To what degree is he able, by the end of the novel, to forgive them?
7. To what extent does the story of Thomas Stone's childhood soften Marion's judgment of him? How does Thomas's suffering as a child, the illness of his parents, and his own illness help to explain why he abandons Shiva and Marion at their birth? How should Thomas finally be judged?
8. In what important ways does Marion come to resemble his father, although he grows up without him? How does Marion grow and change over the course of the novel?
9. A passionate, unique love affair sets Cutting for Stone in motion, and yet this romance remains a mystery-even to the key players-until the very conclusion of the novel. How does the relationship between Sister Mary Joseph Praise and Thomas Stone affect the lives of Shiva and Marion, Hema and Ghosh, Matron and everyone else at Missing? What do you think Verghese is trying to say about the nature of love and loss?
10. What do Hema, Matron, Rosina, Sister Mary Joseph Praise, Genet, and Tsige-as well as the many women who come to Missing seeking medical treatment-reveal about what life is like for women in Ethiopia?
11. Addis Ababa is at once a cosmopolitan city thrumming with life and the center of a dictatorship rife with conflict. How do the influences of Ethiopia's various rulers-England, Italy, Emperor Selassie-reveal themselves in day-to-day life? How does growing up there affect Marion's and Shiva's worldviews?
12. As Ghosh nears death, Marion comments that the man who raised him had no worries or regrets, that “there was no restitution he needed to make, no moment he failed to seize” (p. 346). What is the key to Ghosh's contentment? What makes him such a good father, doctor, and teacher? What wisdom does he impart to Marion?
13. Although it's also a play on the surname of the characters, the title Cutting for Stone comes from a line in the Hippocratic Oath: “I will not cut for stone, even for patients in whom the disease is manifest; I will leave this operation to be performed by practitioners, specialists in this art.” Verghese has said that this line comes from ancient times, when bladder stones were epidemic and painful: “There were itinerant stone cutters-lithologists-who could cut into either the bladder or the perineum and get the stone out, but because they cleaned the knife by wiping their blood-stiffened surgical aprons, patients usually died of infection the next day.” How does this line resonate for the doctors in the novel?
(Questions issued by publisher.)

See you Thursday, Happy Presidents day!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Back in Action..

Yes, the book club blog has been stagnant since September.  I apologize.  The lives of mothers who read, and work, and blog, and quit jobs, and have their grandmothers suddenly pass away are pretty busy.  That being said however, here's to getting things back on track.

Our January meeting was at Melinda's house.  Thanks Melinda for hosting.  The book for January was, Traveling with Pomegranates by Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Kidd Taylor.

I thought the book was great.  It was an interesting juxtaposition of a very deep thinking, soul searching mother and her young quick witted, trying to figure life out daughter.

For our meeting on Thursday, February, 24, 2011, we'll be at Michelle's house and reading, Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese.  It's a little bit on the long side so start reading now.

And, for our meeting on Thursday, March 24, 2011, we'll be at Rika's house and reading Hurry Down Sunshine by Michael Greenberg.

A review posted on
Michael Greenberg's spare, unflinching memoir begins with a bang: "On July 5, 1996, my daughter was struck mad." Hurry Down Sunshine chronicles the summer when fifteen-year-old Sally experienced her first full-blown manic episode—an event that in a "single stroke" changed her identity and, by extension, that of her entire family. Simply told and beautifully written, Greenberg's memoir shines a stark light on mental illness, painting a vivid picture of a brain and body under siege—mania as a separate living thing squatting within the patient. As a writer who lives "so much in his head," Greenberg is particularly anguished by his daughter's fractured psyche, and his honesty about being both sickened and fascinated by his daughter's condition is breathtaking: "During the worst moments, I think of her as my disease—the disease I must bear...I am intoxicated with Sally's madness in both senses of the word: inebriated and poisoned." So desperate is he to understand her, that he relentlessly researches mental illness (the book is peppered with fascinating insights into drug therapy and anecdotes about writers who struggled with madness), and even goes so far as to sample a full dose of his daughter's medication. Startling, heart-wrenching, and yet unwaveringly unsentimental, Hurry Down Sunshine is an unforgettable story of a young girl's descent into madness, told through the eyes of a harried and helpless father trying desperately to bring her back. --Daphne Durham