While the Courtland family is on vacation in Colorado with their two teenage children, their daughter Cailtin is abducted while out for a morning run. What follows is a three-year nightmare while the already struggling family tries to move on. With no answers to what happened to Caitlin or even if she is dead or alive, each remaining member of the Courtland family battles this crushing weight in different ways.
Grant, the father remains in Colorado unable to leave the are his daughter disappeared from. He stays at a ranch helping out an elderly man, making attempts to move forward but nothing happens.
Angela, the mother, has returned to their home state of Wisconsin but deals with great depression. She lives with her sister after having had to sell their family home and has a hard time functioning from day-to-day.
Sean, the brother, now 18, the age his sister was when she was taken struggles with the guilt of having been with Caitlin when she was taken. What could he have done differently?
And Caitlin. Will they ever find her? And if they do, what exactly will they find?
I reviewed Descent by Tim Johnston last week with my opinion. This review is the thoughts of our book club as a whole and no spoilers :)
Descent brought out a lot of good discussion among our group. While some of us really found the storyline realistic and engaging, others pointed out things that did not seem to fit. There were questions of characters who suddenly did something completely out of their character which we all agreed did not fit, but some would argue that some things do not need to be revealed to the reader. Perhaps the author was giving the reader the feeling of “no control” and that not knowing what would happen could very well, as some argued, give the book a feel more real to life. After all… life is messy and try as we may to figure out how things are going to go… we never do really know.
It was mentioned that the book synopsis that we read from the book when we chose it was not an accurate synopsis, of what actually happens in the book. Some felt mislead to be told one thing and then read another.
Over all, on a scale of 1 to 5, 5 being the best, the ratings went from 2,s to 4,s and quite a few rating it in the 3’s (a standard read). It was one of those books that bring out a lot of thoughts, opinions, and discussion. We even reenacted a final scene (I can’t share… that would be a spoiler) when we questioned how one would do that. One girl in our group even had a similar story to share of something that happened to a friend of her sons while hiking. There is actually a book written about that true story, Bringing Jon Home by David Francis. A book that I ordered on Kindle this morning.
Why Would This Make A Good Book Club Read
Descent is a book that could have been ripped from the headlines. This leads to discussion like, “what would you do?” as well as discussion on how a strong family can be shattered by such an experience and a damaged family (such as the Courtland’s) have a good chance of falling completely apart.
If you look at reviews of this book on-line from some of the big name newspapers, New York Times, The Herald, etc… you will find diverse opinions, much like you can expect from a group read. The writing style can be thought of as brilliant, or annoying. (And in our group it was just that)
In the book, Sean is believed to be false when he is telling the truth. Discussion can be made over when that has happened in your lives, when you are telling the truth about something and you are either misunderstood, or believed to be false and the frustration of when your character is questioned like that.
Themes of hope, faith, depression, denial, and survival instinct are all represented within this read.
Food ideas… while not a lot of food is mentioned within the book, there is pizza at a birthday celebration, and Caitlin keeps snickers in her pockets when she runs for energy boosts.
Good morning! Happy Wednesday! My only big “to do” today was to take the dogs to the groomers and I have already dropped them off. Now a day of catching up on some smaller projects and basking in the aftermath of last nights book club.
nothing was broken.
Actually I kid, our group was awesome as usual and last nights discussion of Descent by Tim Johnston was a good one. I do not want to say too much here as my book club review post of this book is going up later today – but I can say a book where the group has different opinions always makes for good discussion.
I think I made it to the second question on the book when it started…. one person said, “and that was where it all went wrong and I didn’t like the rest of the book,” and another piped in, “I thought that was when it was getting interesting!” I nudged Kaydi who was sitting next to me and I said, “here we go.. this is going to be good.”
And it was good, we all had things that we did not like about the book and some of us found things that we really liked about the book. This was a great discussion read and we were nowhere near the level of mixed heated discussion we were when we discussed Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.
I did also promise you some food pics… and that will be in the review post – stay tuned to find out more about Descent by Tim Johnston and what makes it an excellent book club choice as well as questions you can use for your group if you discuss this one.
I know I asked you yesterday for ideas for a book club read for April and you came forward with excellent suggestions. We did settle on a book that was part of our Book Club Girl package, Vintage by Susan Gloss because she is skyping with us for our April meeting. I am kind of excited as we have fun plans in store for this one.
Good morning! I want to run through the house screaming “It is book club day! It is book club day!” Perhaps tossing flower petals out of a little yellow basket as I do so.
Yes that is how excited I am about having book club at my house this evening. The book Descent by Tim Johnston was one I enjoyed and I am curious what the rest of the Bookies thought of it. I already know there will be mixed feelings on this one which does make for good discussion. I already have my food planned (you will see what I came up with tomorrow!) and an idea for a prop or two…. we do like to get into the books we read.
I was just talking about our book club with a friend yesterday and was explaining we were so much more than a book club. I told this friend that while at one time we were a bunch of motley crew gals that enjoyed books, through the years we became so much more. We are there for one another when we go through things. I would not want to lose any one of them. I teared up a little bit when I spoke of them.
It is true. We have built such an amazing group that I hang tight to them. Together we are funny, we are serious, we are sad, we are passionate, and we get angry – all about books. I love it. I do.
Each meeting we choose the next book we plan to read. We can all submit a book for vote – we look for a book that is:
Fairly new so we can find enough copies
priced under $15 and Kindle does count
SO my question to you this morning since at this time I do not have a suggestion in mind, what book would you suggest I put forth for the book club tonight to be considered as our April read? Why would that make a good book club book?
Good morning! I think I have a Birthday weekend hangover and not from drinking. :) I just had a really busy weekend that was a lot of fun!
On Saturday my friend Amy and I went to the Gatsby Party in the cities. It was a late night as we drove home the 2+ hours after the event but worth it. I was inspired by what they accomplished.
On Sunday, hubby and I went to a movie, American Sniper. SO good. I will review it at some point this week.
Monday…. my actual birthday. I had coffee in the morning with my friend Gail. Then I went and treated myself to a manicure and pedicure. My son Justin who lives in St. Paul came to the house around 3 pm and we went out and bought snacks for the night, went to a movie ( Project Almanac), picked up pizza afterwards, and came back home and watched Harry Potter and the Goblet Of Fire and Gone Girl. (yes, again on both of them :D ).
Justin brought me this really cool wine glass:
The glass says,
Secretly we’re all a little more absurd than we make ourselves out to be. ~JK Rowling
Tonight is book club and I am so excited! I missed last months as I was on vacation so it will be good to see everyone AND it is at my house. We have a couple of books to hand out tonight for our Harper Collins Book Club Girls event:
I have them all set up on the table:
It’s like out own mini BEA. :D
As for today, Justin is still here. We will hang out this morning and early afternoon than he has plans with friends and I will put the finishing touches on book club. We are reviewing The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain, an author who I discovered this past fall and LOVED this book as well as a few others I have now read by her. I am excited to see what the Bookies think.
Now… what will I make for an appetizer? ;)
Good morning! I am up and recovering from a fun filled amazing Tuesday. If you read yesterdays post you know I had a meeting regarding moving our Wine and Words event to a larger venue for 2015. It was a wonderful meeting and we are officially MOVED! My author search for the event will begin in about a month… if everyone I have in mind says “yes”, then we will be ready to announce by February.
Then, last night concluded with our book clubs Christmas party and book discussion of Big Little Lies. I will write up the book discussion later, but it was a good one. We chose our read for January, Born To Be Perfect by Barbara Raghavan.
We also handed out our books from Harper Collins Book Club Girls project:
We had wonderful goodies, discussed life and books, and had a wonderful time doing it. LOVE my Book Club!!!
It was a full day of running from one thing to another and I am thrilled I accomplished everything I set out to. Today… I am a bit tired and have a lot to do so ONWARD!
Happy Wednesday all!!!
Good morning and happy happy Sunday! I am happy to be snug in a blanket this morning with COFFEE CUP close by. It is cool outside this morning but we have had little snow in Central Minnesota and in most areas of our yard I can still see grass. For the record – that’s ok by me. :)
On the book front what came in for me this week was minimal:
King Dork is in audio and I am excited to get to it hopefully this week!
Book Club is also this week. It is our annual Christmas Party and I am so excited for it! We are reading Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty (LOVED IT!) and our books came in from Harper Collins Book Club Girls Group:
Belong To Me is our pick we will be reading first and then Walking The Bible will be for January, we will figure out the details at book club.
Last night was the Twitter Party for the Harry Potter Readalong. Those who joined in watched Chamber Of Secrets together. It was fun to watch the movie while I have recently been reading the book as well.. they were spot on for their lines from the book to the movie!
That is what is new. My day should be fairly quiet. Some cleaning and some reading and my cousins baby shower.
Anything happening with your Sunday?
This past week, 13 of the 16 Bookies gathered together for fun food, conversation, and a close up look at October Classic read, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. My full review of the book is here. As I had mentioned in an earlier post, I was curious about how a true crime would go over in this group. We had read an Anne Rule true crime many years ago when we were about 8 or 10 members at that time, but nothing since then.
Our discussion mainly centered around the time and the crime. We agreed that in the small community where the crime took place, you did not worry about your neighbors or what you said in public about what you owned. The results of In Cold Blood, changed this community, and many communities forever. I mentioned to the group that I had recently been speaking to a woman at a dinner I attended about our book club choice. She said at the time of the crime she was a young girl and her parents told her, “you never tell people about what we have in our house… you do not mention the safe, or anything.” The crimes of In Cold Blood, put fear in so many.
We also discussed how things randomly happen. If Richard Hickock and Perry Edward Smith had never met, never spoke with the gut who had worked on the Clutter home…. the crime, by circumstance would never have happened. We compared this, on a much lighter note to how we all wound up in book club together. Looking around the room, when book club started I knew only one of the thirteen girls in the room. We all met by circumstance, someone talked about book club and we agreed to go. If not for Bookies and our group talking about it… we would not all have been in that room together this week talking about this book.
I love things like that. :)
Overall, the book was rated mainly average which is actually a good rating for a classic. A few rated it higher, and a couple rated it lower. The overall thought was that most of us do not like to read true crime, but this one worked as it is written in such a fictional way. This was mainly because of the dialogue in the book compared to just straight facts about the crime.
Our food for the night… we themed a lot of foods from the times – Angie even made from a 1959 cook book a Purple Sea Urchin dish – little hot dogs poking out of a cabbage with Sterno in the middle to cook them! I made the cucumber sandwiches… I went with the theme of funeral food.
What makes this a good book club choice?
I think it is good for a book club to shake up genres. A true crime can bring out a different type of discussion, and while it is true crime, In Cold Blood is written in such a way it is not overly horrific, therefore making it a good book club pick – and it is a classic! In Cold Blood is one of the books i like to be able to say I have read due to its classic status and the fact that Truman Capote is an author you will want to read.
When planning food for a book such as this I loved the idea Angie had of making food from the era. She also brought (not pictured) old style potato chips and homemade dip with the Liptons onion soup mix, which apparently became popular in 1959.
While decorating for a true crime, or dressing up is hard to do – we did use a little crime scene tape that I had left over from the banned book window at the library.
For the groups that like to go a step further – In Cold Blood is a movie, as well as Capote (newer). Either of these movies could add to your discussion on book and or author.
This past Tuesday July 8th was our annual Queen event for 2014. It is always a wonderful time of Food, Fun, and Friends, and of course… off with the old Queens head and on with the new… sorry Angie ;)
The evening was gorgeous, and I was so caught with everyone’s conversation and everything that I forgot to take pics of the food!
We started our evening with a “photo shoot” of those of us who dressed for the event:
The speeches were awesome, poems, songs, bribing with candy…..
It was a wonderful night. In the end… we crowned a Queen:
Congratulations Queen Sharon… she was the “Susan Lucci” of our group… runner-up for years, but never Queen! :D
This is our 8th Queen Event. For more Queen Event pictures… see my past links here under Book Clubs.
It is the morning of our Bookies Coronation. SQUUUEEEEE!!! I bought the dress on Saturday, I wrote my speech last night, giggling and texting my friend like a school girl about “How’s it going are you done? Are you ready?” with her texting back just as excited “just finishing up, now picking out my dress”
It will be great :)
Last month at book club, we had our Annual Book Exchange. This practice started three years ago. Each Bookie is supposed to wrap up in plain brown paper ( we are trying to avoid people picking the *pretty packaging*) a book that they have read in the past year that was a great read. Obviously, not a Bookies Book Club pick.
We all randomly choose a book out of the pile and that will be the book we will each read and discuss in July (tonight) while we enjoy good food and conversation. It is a fun tradition:
I had missed Bookies last month as I was at camp but I still participated. I sent a book into the mix – the center picture above, Delicious by Ruth Reichl (LOVED that one!) and then the group picked a book out for me. So what did I have picked to read this past month?
I had Lethal by Sandra Brown. This was a good one for me as I have tried Sandra Brown before and could not get through it. She seems like an author I would enjoy, so this was a fun attempts again. I finished it last night…. I will review the book later but for now I would describe it as very similar to the book Labor Day…. but a heck of a lot steamier. ;)
I know right? As of today we are 6 days out from our annual Queen Event for book club. 6 DAYS!!!
If you are familiar with our book club “happenings” every July since… (hmmm…. I should know this) well, for many years, we dress up in formal wear and have a coronation for Bookies Queen of the year. It comes from the book Same Sweet Girls by Cassandra King. (Yes,worth the read!)
We usually grill, talk books, eat lots of tasty foods… and have a LOT OF FUN! The competition is all in fun. And the girls really get into their speeches…
and I think I mentioned delicious food…
Alright… now I am getting into this… maybe I will save more for Saturday snapshot. And I must prepare my speech…. I think I have an idea…
Book club people – do you do things above and beyond the books? IE. potlucks, dinners out, movies, road trips? I would love to know :)