Book Club 2019!

Last night was my first book club meeting of the year. This year I thought it would be fun to share our reads so that you could read along, if you are interested. Or if any of these books catch your attention – on your TBR or ones you’ve already read – be sure to let me know! I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you want to find out more about the books, the pictures will take you to the Goodreads page.

Bookends 2019 – by Category this year

January – Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyami, my pick! New Author

34728667

February – Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers by Maxwell King, Biography

38656999

March – The Rent Collector by Camron Wright, Fiction

13628812

April – Where the Crawdad Sing by Delia Owens, Historical Fiction

36809135

May – The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, Teens

693208

June – Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis, Self-Help

35542451

July – Web of Deceit by Susan Sleeman, Mystery/Thriller

24622826

August – Educated by Tara Westover, Memoir

35133922

September – Welcome to the World, Baby Girl by Fannie Flagg, Humor

84022

October – The Boy on the Wooden Box by Leon Leyson, Children’s book

17415480

November – Ashes on the Moor by Sarah M. Eden, Romance

35909696

December – The Grass is Singing by Doris Lessing, Classic

130115

I’m also in another book club, and I’m the one in charge of picking ALL the books! No pressure, right? They need to be appropriate for a church book club but still good reads that will appeal to the group. So far we’ve only had two meetings. We read Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan and Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. Both were very popular. Our next book is going to be Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterley and I’m not sure what we’re reading after that! I need to get organized on that one. Any suggestions would be welcome!

Until next time, happy reading!

Advertisements

What Are You Reading?

Hey bookies! I’m back from a little break and I thought I’d check in and let you know what I’m reading.

pexels-photo-225203.jpeg

First up is a book I got for Christmas called The Song of the Dodo: Island Biogeography in an Age of Extinctions by David Quammen. I’ve read one of his books before and I really liked his writing. It might sound a little dry, but if you like nature programs or travel adventures, you’d love this. I just finished A section on Komodo dragons and it was fascinating stuff.

I’m also reading The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan. This one is for book club and I can definitely say it is not one I would have picked up on my own. It seems like it was written for book clubs, where there’s a lot of vaguely unhappy characters (all White, of course) who don’t do much of anything. Not enjoying it at all.

I hope that you are enjoying your books!

Currently reading, January 4

Hey booklovers! What plans do you have for this year? I set my GoodReads goal at 250 books for the year, which I think I’ll be able to get, and I’m working on my 2018 Category Challenge on LT. I have already finished Elantris on audio and The Way of Kings, both by Brandon Sanderson and The Spinner and the Slipper by Camryn Lockhart.

I’m currently reading a few books. The first is Food: A Love Story by Jim Gaffigan. This is one I wouldn’t have picked up on my own, as I really had never heard of this writer/comedian. It’s based on his stand up routines and centers around his love of food. We’re talking about this one tomorrow night for book club. I am liking it, but not enough that I feel compelled to finish it. He has a very conversational writing style which makes it a fast read.

I am also reading Book 2 of the Stormlight Chronicles, The Words of Radiance. It comes after WoK. It’s massive, over 1000 pages, and while I’m enjoying it, I really wish I had bought this one on Kindle. I just don’t need a physical copy of a book this big. And he’s said the series itself will be 10 books long! That is sooooo many pages! It may take me a while to finish this one.

Finally, I’m listening to I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai. I really like the audio. It’s an interesting book and I really admire her and her family for their efforts on education for girls.

Tell me what you’re reading in the comments!

Book Club This Month

51i-h33m4kL._SY346_ I’m so excited for our book club this month! Partly because I missed last month and I hate it when I miss, partly because it’s our Christmas book exchange, and partly because I picked the book this time! I loved it too. We’re doing Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller. If you haven’t tried this one, you’ve got to give it a read. Alosa is not your average pirate. She’s fierce and in charge. She’s got serious skills and a deadly wit. She definitely meets her match in Riden, first mate on his brother’s ship. The only question is will they both survive to give romance a shot? The ending is a great cliffhanger and I can’t wait for February’s release of the sequel, Daughter of the Siren Queen.

Birthday books!

I just had my birthday! And you know why I’m excited? It’s *definitely NOT* the getting older part. It’s the books part! I got an Amazon gift card and I’ve had  a great time shopping. Here’s what I got:

21eySwcHftL._SX142_SY224_SCLZZZZZZZ_The Disappearing Dowry by Libi Astaire – my pick for book club next year, YA historical mystery
In the Balance by Patricia Wentworth  apa as Danger Point
A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner
Too Late the Phalarope by Alan Paton
Firefight by Brandon Sanderson
Song of the Dodo by David Quanmen

Also new by way of a thrift shop:

Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier – also for book club

The Wretched of Muirwood by Jeff Wheeler

The Scourge of Muirwood

The Blight of Muirwood

0345494881.01._SX142_SY224_SCLZZZZZZZ_Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven by Fannie Flagg

The Martian by Andy Weir – for book club

 

What do you think? Did I get some good ones? Which book would you read first?

Throwback Thursday – Princesses

Since I have a book about Norman Queens on here, I thought I would rerun this post about princesses, as a sort of companion piece. Enjoy!

17412780

Title: Princesses Behaving Badly: Real Stories from History – Without the Fairy Tale Endings

Author: Linda Rodriguez McRobbie

Setting: worldwide, across history, across time

If you’re thinking Disney has the scoop on princesses, you are so far wrong. Real princesses are fierce, ruthless, vain, spendthrift, ambitious, violent, mystical, proud, and occasionally, mentally ill. Not really all at once, but as a whole, they are about as far from the sweet virginal doll as it’s possible to get.

This is a book club read and it’s going to be  a fun discussion next month. McRobbie sorts the women out by type – heroes, warriors, madwomen, etc. Some of these stories were totally shocking. And some were already familiar to me. I knew quite a bit about Hatshepsut, who started as a princess right enough but wound up as a pharaoh in her own right.

But others were entirely new to me. Princess Olga of Kiev was absolutely dedicated to the cause of revenge. When her husband was murdered, she embarked on a terrific campaign of getting her own back against the country responsible. When she was through, hundreds of men were dead and she was a national hero.

This was an extra treat since the author picked such a wide range of princesses. Instead of the usual choice of white Europeans, she went world wide – African, Asian, all over. She also makes an effort to tell the whole story, not the traditionally accepted Eurocentric story. The book is organized generally by the accepted story first, then the real story after. Some of the stories are quite short, but others are really long.

As far as the “mad” princesses go, it was enlightening to see the way women with mental illness were treated throughout history. Some of them clearly  needed restraint or something, but it was sad to think that so many of them could have been helped with modern treatment. One princess with an eating disorder and a distorted body image seemed especially sad to me.

Some of the stories were a little racy, many were violent, and some were seriously messed up, so I wouldn’t recommend this one for kids, but teens would get a kick out of it. Nothing deep, but a good introduction to the real stories behind this figures. There are also suggestions for further reading.

Who is your favorite real life princess? Tell me in the comments.

Hidden Inside

A friend of mine asked, “Everyone out there has a story. Can we love them before we know it? And will we take the time to find out?” That’s the burning question in the book, A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman.

Ove is not an old man, not in years, but he has become the grumpy old neighbor. He complains about everything and everyone. Some days he only talks to complain. Other days he doesn’t talk at all.

He wasn’t always like this. He used to be less grumpy. Not warm and friendly, but not so prickly and angry. That was before Sonia died. Now Ove is ready to give up on life. But life, in the form of new neighbors, a homeless cat, and a couple of teenagers, is not ready to give up on him.

I wasn’t sure I would like this one, as it sounds like a “message” book, and I hate those. It was a book club pick, and those are always unpredictable. But with this one I was laughing out loud in the first chapter. The writer uses humor and pathos masterfully to have your emotions swinging back and forth. And yes, it did make me cry, but I didn’t feel like I was being manipulated into it.

Ove reminds me of some people I know and love. He has a big heart, he just has very little tolerance for stupid people. And there are a LOT of stupid people about. I’m giving this one 5 stars out of 5! And if you want to read it, you should try the audiobook. The narrator captured all the voices so well plus the dry humor comes through.

Book Club Last Night

Last night was book club night. We had a fun discussion. The book was The Cheshire Cheese Cat by Carmen Agra Deedy and Randall Wright. We wound up telling our worst mice stories and snacked on cheese. It was a lot of fun.

We decided to do something different. Normally we draw months. Then on your month you can pick any book and we read that. But this time, we’re doing categories – biography, thriller, fantasy/sci fi – and assigned them each a month. Then when it’s your turn, you have to find a book in that category. It will be a little more complicated, but I think it will be fun. We’re going to draw months at the next meeting and I may ask for help picking a book.

It’s a start!

My new book club met last night. We had 3 people there! Me, Janae, and her little girl. Her daughter did read the book and actually had a few things to say, so that was OK. But it wasn’t the start I hoped for. We read A Night Divided by Jennifer A. Nielsen. It’s actually a MG book, but if you are into historical fiction you should give it a quick read. It’s about the Berlin Wall and a girl whose family was divided when the wall went up practically overnight. I really liked it.

We also picked books for the next two months, The Distant Hours by Kate Morton and Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth. Have any of you read them? What do you think? I sure hope the next meeting is bigger than this one!

New Book Club

I’m so excited! I decided to start a neighborhood book club! We haven’t met yet; our first meeting is the 24th, but there’s plenty of interest. I picked a short book for this first month, since we don’t have a lot of time, but it was a good one – A Night Divided by Jennifer A. Nielsen. I’ve been hearing a lot about it. It was more MG that YA, which I didn’t expect, but it was still a very good, very suspenseful read. It’s about a girl living in Berlin when the wall goes up and her efforts to get in touch with family trapped on the other side. I think everyone will enjoy it.

What about you? Do you belong to any book clubs, IRL or online? What kind of stuff do you read? How did you meet? I’d love to know all about it.