Category Archives: Being Bookie

Morning Meanderings…. Now THAT is Classic. ;) A Bookies Event

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Three days in a row…. could it be?  😉

It feels as though I have just finished a marathon of back to back events… all good stuff.  The Friends Books Sale was a big chunk of time the last few weeks with the volunteer line ups, setting the sale, and working it.  Then on Monday the First Game Night at Prairie Bay was SO AWESOME, I was so tired going.. but so glad I went!  That brings us to last night, book club at my house….

wait.

what?

Whose idea was THAT?  😉

Yes yes… I apparently agreed a month ago that book club would be at my house.  I really don’t know what I was thinking as my house has been a tad bit neglected in recent days due to all the activity in my life.  It all worked out for the best though – put on a little audio and put the house back in order yesterday so we could review our Classic for the year:  The Beautiful and The Dammed by F Scott Fitzgerald.  Now I am not going to review the book part yet as I have not finished it myself (See my crazy life above)… however I will share with you the Bookies meet up.

First.. I think you all know I like to dress the occasion.  Classics can be a lot of fun for this and a chance to dress the 20’s era….

well then….

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We had a great time with the food as well… I do love setting the food to go with the era or the book setting.  In this case, I Googled the 20’s to see what I could learn about food and who knew?  Chicken Pot Pie was a 20’s hot item… as well as deviled eggs could be found at most social gatherings.

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and the Bookies added to the tasty goodies as well…

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And this was not all… I missed a picture of the delicious chicken that was served as well.

As always.. good food, good conversation… a lot of fun.  I do really enjoy days that go from tennis shoes… to party sandals.

 

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The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens – Bookie Book Club Review

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I recently reviewed the book The Life We Bury.  This post is my book clubs review.

I was excited for this review and curious what the Bookies would think about this read by a Minnesota author, centered around a college student, an autistic brother, a non reliable mother, and a dying murderer.

Our discussion was really centered around the character development in the story.  Each of the characters are well-developed, something we agreed that we like in our reading.  We had a chance to get to know everyone represented – and each of them had something in their life that they buried.  It really made the title so appropriate, after all… don’t we all have something in our life that we bury, work to keep from resurfacing?

We felt as a whole that book was one that was easy to fall right into.  From page one many of us sank right into the smooth writing.  While the group felt over all that the story was a little predictable, no one faulted the book because it was such a well written read.

Each of the characters that surround this book have a story.  Some, as in most books, we were able to see flush out more than others.  Author Allen Eskens however gave us enough bread crumbs on the less developed characters to see who they really were as well.

Over all the book for us rated a solid 4 out of 5.  We enjoyed the book and enjoyed the Minnesota setting which we found familiar.  Plus… we learned a little more about SPAM. 😉

 

Why Does This Book Make For A Good Book Club Read?

  • The life We Bury provides a Midwestern setting that is evenly paced.  The book never feels overly hurried, giving readers a chance to really sink into the character development.
  • There are great opportunities to discuss what we feel we bury in our own lives – either past or presently.
  • The fact that our protagonist Joe is from Austin Minnesota, the home of SPAM (which Joe states in the book) opens up some fun opportunities for your group to explore SPAM either through cooking or through trivia.  Our group did a little of both 🙂

 

Discussion Questions and ideas for your group

book journey, the life we bury

Above:  We had fun finding food that went with the book.  Thai Curry spam meatballs, spam with cheese and red potatoes,  fish to represent the fishing in the book, and lots of yummy extras of wild rice soup, bread,  bars, dips, crackers, bread and cheesecake.

Note:  The sandwiches upper right were my quick recipe of wanting to make something with SPAM.  They were Hawaiian rolls, spam, and Swiss cheese.  I heated them in the oven until the cheese melted.  I called them SPAMwiches, Spliders (SPAM Sliders), and SPAM burgers.  😉

 

Between The World And Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates w/ Bookies Book Club Review

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Between The World and Me is a series of letters written by author Ta-Nehisi Coates to his 15-year-old son.  The letters consist of racial history and walks us through Coates life from a impoverish child in a hard part of Baltimore to attending Harvard.

 

Between The World and Me was our book clubs pick for January of this year.  I was really proud of the book club for choosing this book because not only is in non fiction, it is on a hard subject.  I was excited to discuss such a book as a group. For myself, Between The World and Me was at times fascinating, Coates, has a wonderful way with worlds that made me think about things more deeply… but towards the end of this book I found myself a bit exhausted by what started to feel like heavy negativity towards our world and felt as though their was little hope for someone born African-American.  When I finished the book I was not really sure, and I am still not, on how I feel about it.  I am glad I had the opportunity to read it, however as I am a white woman, I can not express with any certainty of if what Coates is saying is how it is.  I have not walked in his shoes.

The book club discussion was everything I had hoped it would be.  Over delicious food and wine, we discussed our feelings about the book.  Granted, we are a group of mostly mid-western women but I think we did a good job of discussing what is happening in our world today (Minneapolis is 2 1/3 hours from where we live and there has been recent issues there with African-Americans and the police) as well as around the US.  Coates, we agreed did a good job of sharing what it was like for himself to grow up as he did, however most of us agreed that these letters to his son were fairly heavy for a 15-year-old, and in my opinion, left a hopeless sort of feeling for any positive future.

This was one of those discussions I wish I would have recorded.  It was passionate and deeper in a direction we have never gone before as a group.

Over all the book rated just below an average rating for us. Some liked it less and some a little more.

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Why is this a good book for a book club/ reading group?

Between The World and Me brings much to be discussed and the discussion flows almost without questions.  For reading groups that have been together a while,  this book will take you to another level.  Groups may experience a difference in opinion on how they feel about this book and that makes for good discussion.

Ideas….

Ask your group to write down their favorite quotes from the book to be discussed.

Have your groups share current issues from the news involving race and discuss.

 

 

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Spiegel & Grau; 1 edition (July 14, 2015)

 

Let’s Talk About The Queen

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I love this picture.  This is my book club this past Tuesday after we had a great potluck dinner, talked books, and had our Queen event.  We look happy.  We look fun.

Even me.

Every July for the past hmmmmm… I don’t know how many years, we have had a Queen event.  We dress up, we perform a talent (or not) and say why we would make a good Queen of the Book Club.  It is all in fun, the Queen really only comes into play when we have a tie on books to read or when we can’t decide where to meet.

This year I went back and forth.  Do I participate?  I didn’t want to.  I wanted to wear Capri’s and a t-shirt and take pictures.  They would have understood.  Yet I knew that Justin would be so sad to know I changed how I did life so I instead put on a prom dress, a little princess crown, looked up and said, “This is for you kid.”

Off to be a Queen participant….

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Why is my head so freakishly small?

It was a good time.  We were at my friend Lori’s home.  We discussed the books we had read last month (free read month) and then had our event.  My “talent” was a story about a girl who decided to create a book club so she could expand on her reading.  I ended the story with how after many years the group became so big they had to limit how many came and how close all the Bookies became to one another.  Friends.  Other talents were, speeches, songs, mime, a quiz, and even a violin playing rendition to The Devil Went Down To Georgia.

I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried.

Our Queen for 2015-2016 is Brenda.  If you look closely at her beautiful white dress you will see that the top (and along the bottom) is made from a book.  She will be a wonderful Queen.

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A few of us had a little “after party” at a nearby pub… an ongoing tradition after the Queen event. After you are all dressed up – you should have somewhere to go. 😉

Morning Meanderings… I Didn’t Mean To Go ______________________

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Good morning.

I didn’t mean to go….

what?

Away?

Awol?

Under cover?

I don’t know.  I guess I just didn’t mean to go.

The past two weeks have been so out of my control that I am just doing what I have to do to get through the days.  With two large events just around the corner I am trying hard to find balance.  You throw in the mix my friend Connie, a big storm that requires clean up attention, commitments, people I need to want to spend time with, and my own grief….

and yeah. 

Just trying to get through it.

And so – with all of that, I find I do not get here – HERE as much as I would like.  I am still not firing on all cylinders which makes all of these things that I could normally handle feel heavy and hard to do just the easiest of tasks.  I am so easily…

overwhelmed.

Yesterday and today I have tried hard to slow down.  I have had things I had to do every day and I am feeling the strain on putting my grief to the side to get things done.  For the record, I have discovered that does not work well… it exhausts me and leaves me pretty nonfunctional come the end of the day.  Tomorrow my “to do’s” bump up again, the weekend is full of activity and next week…

I don’t even want to think about next week.

SO..

1I do have posts to write.  I have a couple of audio I have finished and just downloaded Armada this morning which I am SUPER EXCITED about.  We also had the Bookies Queen event this week which took a lot of energy but I am so glad I participated.  L♥ve this group of gals.  I will write a post up all about that – maybe today.

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Just a sample from the Tuesday Bookies Queen event

That’s it for this morning.  I have a few things itching at the corners of my brain reminding me I need to do them… and I do, so off I go.  Enjoy THIS day.

 

Morning Meanderings… Party Hangover

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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.

HAZAH!

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:

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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!!!

Morning Meanderings… The Books and Book Club

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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:

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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:

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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!

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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? 

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote – Bookies Book Club Review

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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.

PicMonkey Collage

 

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.

Morning Meanderings… Literally Literary Fumes

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I feel as though I have run a literary marathon.  Things, have been quite bookish around here lately, Library conference, Author event, Teen Library meeting, first annual Friends Of The Library retreat and last nights Bookies Book Club.  All this happened within the last week.  It has been fun, do not get me wrong, but I feel a little wrung out, looking forward to a non eventful rest of the week.  My agenda is fairly open the next week out.

YAY!

Last night the Bookies had a great time meeting up and discussing In Cold Blood.  We also handed out our books that we will be reading as well this month for the new Harper Collins Program “Book Club Girls”, this will be books chosen by my group and read in addition to our regular scheduled read.  Our first book through Harper is:

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Super excited about this book!  There is also a box of swag coming that I am excited to see what it is!  🙂

Our book clubs pick for November will be :

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Looks like a good one and the perfect time of year for some Historical Fiction!

Well, off to get ready for my day.  Hope your warm and enjoying fall colors wherever you are!

The Book Exchange.. How It Works And Why It Is Awesome

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The book club I am part of (The Bookies) have had a fun exchange that we have taken part in for the past three years.  I recently posted about it here.  It is a lot of fun and a great summer break idea for your book club or for you and your friends just to read really great books.

Here is the basic layout of how to do it.

  • Pick a date when you ask each person in your group to bring a wrapped book to the group.  (*we encourage brown wrap so people do not choose by the packaging 😉 )
  • MOST IMPORTANTLY – The book everyone brings NEEDS to be a book the giver has read and liked very much if not LOVED.
  • Inside the front cover of the book place a post it note saying why you loved the book so much and if you want the receiver to keep it or return it after is read.

 

At your gathering you each choose a book and what you pick is what you read.  When you meet up again, you each share the book you read, who gave it to you and what you thought of it.  It is a lot of fun.

 

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Our group does this every June so in July during our annual picnic, we share what we each read instead of a whole group book review like we do the rest of the year.

 

collage for BJ

 

This year some of the books that made this exchange were:

 

Whiskey Beach by Nora Roberts

Burial Rights by Hannah Kent

Night by Elie Wiesel

Delicious by Ruth Reichl

Lethal by Sandra Brown  (this is the book I picked out of the pile)

Red Moon by Benjamin Percy

Night Road by Kristin Hannah

Boy In The Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist

City Of Bones by Cassandra Claire

That Night by Chevy Stevens

 

My favorite part of the whole process is to listen to what everyone thinks about the books.  As you can see above we had some pretty amazing books in the group and a couple really deep ones (Night and Boy In The Striped Pajamas – two books that I think everyone must read.  For the most part everyone really enjoyed the book they picked.  As readers, at least I know for myself… I love it when a freind recommends that next great read.