Monthly Archives: April 2008

The Next Thing On My List

This book was a fun read. I found this as a book club selection and it was everything I had hoped for. The storyline is that of June, who befriends a woman who needs a ride home from a meeting. While driving, June is in a car accident that kills her passenger, Marrissa.

June finds a list that Marissa had of 20 things she wanted to do before she turned 25. June, in her guilt, decides to go out and complete the list. The book is sweet and funny and at times enough to make you cry. It was a great read following June through such tasks as riding in a helicopter, boogie boarding, and changing someones life. In the end, June gets much more out of the list then she would have every dreamed.

The book inspired me to make a list of my own. Great read.

The Boleyn Inheritance

Another read by Phillippa Gregory. This book was a bit harder to get into at the start. Gregory writes the book from three women’s point of view: Jane Boleyn, Katherine Howard, and Anne Cleys. Each chapter is from one of these women’s perspective. At first I found that difficult to follow, once I picked upt he rythym of it – I found it brilliant.

Jane, of course, in the original Anne’s sister in law who helped with the evidence to have Anne as well as her husband killed in the Other Boleyn Girl. Katherine is a cousin to the original Ann and 14 years old. She is just as spunky as her cousin and looking out for #1… in this case…. herself. Anne Cleys is the Queen (#4) and from Spain with little English. Katherine, will eventually become the 5th Queen to Henry VIII.

I loved the history again. I had no idea and enjoyed reading about the time period and how much Henry has changed since his early days as King. At this point I would say he is quite mad and I don’t mean angry. Another excellent read.

The Other Boleyn Girl – MOVIE REVIEW

One of the things the Bookies like to do is see the movie of a book that we have read.  This puts a little extra zip into our group when we get to the occasional outing. 

On Thursday five of us were able to go and check out  The Other Boleyn Girl movie at Movies 10.  I was really excited to see what they had done with the movie as the book was so incredible. 

Seeing this movie I was somewhat dissapointed.  Many key facts were left out – and I realize when you read a 735 page book, the movie is not going to be able to put all details in… but definate holes were left in the movie version.  My friend Joelle went with us to the movie and having not read the book, she had a lot of questions for me as the movie just didn’t put things together well.

One thing I felt held true was at the end when Anne is found guilty and they take her to her death.  Her speak is right on as recorded in history, and I found this part extremely real as she realized that no one would save her this time and she really was going to die. 

Overall – I found the movie to be of average rating.  Nothing exceptional and I do not care to see it again.  If I had not read the book prior to seeing the movie, I don’t think I would be as fascinated with the whole times of Henry the VIII…  (another movie from a book did just as poorly a couple years ago was Memoirs of A Geisha). 

In my opinion – read the book, it is filled with facts and interestingly real characters. 

Skip the movie.

So You Want To Start A Book Club

I get that a lot.  People seem to be in awe of the fact that not only have I been in this book club for 7  13 years… but the fact that it continues to grow and remain interesting.  I get a lot of questions on what we read, how do we pick, how do we handle poor picks, etc….  so here it is.

Our book club The Bookies, was started in 2001 with three people. 

1.  Why start a book club?  Well, for me – I love to read and love to talk books.  But the real reason our book club started was I thought it was sad that I had worked with some of these women for 10 + years and hardly knew anything about them.  This group was set up as a way to get to know people outside the walls of where we worked.

2.  How did you choose the first book and then continue choosing?  The first book was Dance Upon the Air by Nora Roberts.  I selected it and then posted the information by the time clock telling people who were interested to read the book and then meet me at Boardwalk Pizza on the specified date.  After that first choice (which was a fantastic read!) we brought suggestions to the group and then we voted and read the one with the most votes.

3.  How did the group grow?  Again – word of mouth.  The three of us met the first two months.  Then a couple more joined us from work…. then I brought a friend and so on….  sometimes people left after a while, but for the most part they all stayed.  We currently have 14 of us.

4.  What do you do when the book picked is really awful?  Well, for one, our rule is if you ever find a book that you do not wish to read for any reason, we suggest you read one of the other books from the nominations.  It rarely happens, but on occasion a book may not fit for someone… I have even passed on a few of our choices through the years.  And that’s ok.    The great thing is, some books have nothing wrong with them other than the fact that they are just badly written or way too intense.  The funny thing is, that some of these books make for the best reviews!  Wuthering Heights makes a great example.  Awful read…..  boring, deep, painful… but we had the most fun analyzing the main characters (pretty sure Kathryn was bi polar)… ; )

5.  What keeps the group interesting?  I try to keep things moving and fun.  In one month, we all wrote reviews of the book we had read like they do on the back of book covers… like, “Riveting…. I couldn’t out it down!”  It was fun to see what people came up with.  Another month we read about the 1500’s so we all researched our ancestors and discussed how far back we could go.  Sometimes we do potlucks at each others homes themes around the book.  When we read the book Wicked, we all had to bring an item that was green… we had green egg salad sandwiches, dips, desserts, etc…. 

6.  Do you have any special reads or events?  Yup.  July is our free read month and we potluck at Kiwanis park.  We also in July nominate a Queen and dress up in formal wear and we have our annual book sale too.  In October we have our classic read and try to read a classic each year for that month.  At Christmas we exchange gifts. 

8.  How do you choose where to meet?    We now take turns and if it is your turn you get to pick out of our options of restaurants or homes offered by members. 

9.  Is it harder to run the group now that it so big?  Not really harder, but different.  The benefits to a larger group is the diverse responses to the book.  It makes for great discussion and we are introduced to more authors because different people nominate different book styles. 

10.  What advice would you give to someone wanting to start a book club?  Absolutely do it!  Grab a starter friend or two or do what I did, post the group info somewhere and hope that someone shows up!  If you love to read, you will find others….  keep it lite, keep it fun….  and keep the great books coming!

 

The Year Of Fog by Michelle Richmond

This was our book club book for our May read.  This is one of the top ten books that book clubs are currently reading and I was excited to see it picked as I was already reading it.

They compare this author to Jodi Picoult but I don’t think so.  While Michelle started out strong in this book – the book quickly deteriorates to a long 300+ pages of trying to find the lost child (Emma) and flash backs to earlier days and a lot of photography facts and metaphores.

I found myself racing through the book just to get to the end.  I wanted to know if they found Emma alive, dead… or never?

Overall I have to wonder if after reading such a well written book as The Other Boleyn Girl, perhaps this book was just not strong enough to follow so closely.  I will be very interested next month to hear what the other girls in our Bookies Group have to say on this.

I would rate this a slightly below average book.

The Other Boleyn Girl by Phillipa Gregory

With three weeks to read this 735 page book as nominated by my book club, we joked about narrowing down the task of reading this book:  21 pages per day, .8 pages per hour….

The truth is … once I sat down and started reading, I could hardly put the book down.  The draw for me to this book was the historical signifigance.  yes, it is a fiction book, but the basic outline was actual as I discovered by my research on the Boleyn’s.

The Other Boleyn Girl is an excellent portrayal of one of the most fascinating eras in English history, the turbulent reign of Henry VIII. Under Henry’s direction, the English Court changes course, breaking from the Roman Church in order to dissolve Henry’s marriage to Katherine of Aragon, who cannot provide a living heir to the throne.

The Boleyn’s as well as the other influential names of the times, fawn over the King,  fightling for titles and status.

When Henry first notices Mary Boleyn, Anne’s sister,  he is attracted to her beauty and her youthful manner. Mary, already married, is acceptable for a tryst with the King.  (Up until this book, I don’t belive I had ever heard of Mary Boleyn – which is exactly the point of this book and why the book is narrated from Mary’s view point.

Mary is the primary focus of the novel, even when replaced in the King’s affections by Anne.  First hand we see as Mary steps aside for Anne to take the family name onward and upward or so it is hoped… With the help of Mary and the brother George, we read on to see how one family manipulates themselves for what they believe is the greater good no matter what the cost.

Philippa Gregory’s characters are enchanting.  I found them believable and was impressed when doing research that this story was not too far from the truth.  Gregory seems to take the facts as we know them and magnificantly fills in the holes with colorful brilliant characters that held my attention through all 735 pages.

I enjoyed this book very much.

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