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The Great Gatsby
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Did not read yet
Added: 6/16/2017

The Alchemist
Paulo Coelho
Did not read yet
Added: 11/17/2016

The Girl on the Train: A Novel
Paula Hawkins
Did not read yet
Added: 11/17/2016

Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Did not read yet
Added: 7/28/2016

Gangster Warlords: Drug Dollars, Killing Fields, and the New Politics of Latin America
Ioan Grillo
Did not read yet
Added: 3/9/2016

Gone Girl: A Novel
Gillian Flynn
Did not read yet
Added: 10/13/2015

Station Eleven: A novel
Emily St. John Mandel
Did not read yet
Added: 10/1/2014

Landline
Rainbow Rowell
Did not read yet
Added: 8/1/2014

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry: A Novel
Gabrielle Zevin
Did not read yet
Added: 5/22/2014

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared
Jonas Jonasson
Did not read yet
Added: 3/8/2014

And the Mountains Echoed
Khaled Hosseini
Did not read yet
Added: 3/7/2014

Annihilation: A Novel (Southern Reach Trilogy)
Jeff VanderMeer
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Added: 3/7/2014

The Goldfinch
Donna Tartt
Did not read yet
Added: 1/13/2014

The Circle
Dave Eggers
Did not read yet
Added: 11/1/2013

The Maid's Version: A Novel
Daniel Woodrell
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Added: 11/1/2013

Lexicon
Max Barry
Did not read yet
Added: 11/1/2013

Cryptic Spaces: Book One: Foresight
Deen Ferrell
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Added: 9/30/2013

The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel
Neil Gaiman
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Added: 8/1/2013

The Other Typist
Suzanne Rindell
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Added: 7/1/2013

The Humanity Project
Jean Thompson
Did not read yet
Added: 6/3/2013

Life After Life: A Novel
Kate Atkinson
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Added: 4/5/2013

Three Graves Full
Jamie Mason
Did not read yet
Added: 3/28/2013

The Good House: A Novel
Ann Leary
Did not read yet
Added: 1/31/2013

The Dinner
Herman Koch
Did not read yet
Added: 1/31/2013

This Is How You Lose Her
Junot Diaz
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Added: 1/3/2013

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore: A Novel
Robin Sloan
Did not read yet
Added: 11/4/2012

The Casual Vacancy
J.K. Rowling
Did not read yet
Added: 10/24/2012

Something Wicked This Way Comes
Ray Bradbury
Did not read yet
Added: 9/10/2012

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry: A Novel
Rachel Joyce
Did not read yet
Added: 8/17/2012

The Age of Miracles: A Novel
Karen Thompson Walker
Did not read yet
Added: 7/1/2012

Let's Pretend This Never Happened: (A Mostly True Memoir)
Jenny Lawson
Did not read yet
Added: 6/1/2012

Farsighted
Emlyn Chand
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Added: 5/5/2012

The Professionals
Owen Laukkanen
Did not read yet
Added: 3/30/2012

Until the Next Time
Kevin Fox
Did not read yet
Added: 2/28/2012

The Anatomy of Ghosts
Andrew Taylor
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Added: 1/27/2012

The Angel Makers
Jessica Gregson
Did not read yet
Added: 12/30/2011

The Sense of an Ending (Borzoi Books)
Julian Barnes
Did not read yet
Added: 12/1/2011

Nightwoods: A Novel
Charles Frazier
Did not read yet
Added: 11/1/2011

The Leftovers
Tom Perrotta
Did not read yet
Added: 10/11/2011

The Most Dangerous Thing
Laura Lippman
Did not read yet
Added: 9/1/2011

The Borrower: A Novel
Rebecca Makkai
Did not read yet
Added: 7/29/2011

In Leah's Wake
Terri Giuliano Long
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Added: 7/15/2011

One of Our Thursdays Is Missing: A Novel
Jasper Fforde
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Added: 6/1/2011

Bossypants
Tina Fey
Did not read yet
Added: 5/31/2011

The Pale King
David Foster Wallace
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Added: 4/27/2011

The Paris Wife: A Novel
Paula McLain
Did not read yet
Added: 3/31/2011

The Other Life
Ellen Meister
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Added: 3/31/2011

Looks Easy Enough: A Joyful Memoir of Overcoming Disease, Divorce, and Disaster
Scott Stevenson
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Added: 7/1/2010

Walking to Gatlinburg: A Novel
Howard Frank Mosher
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Added: 5/24/2010

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Rebecca Skloot
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Added: 4/26/2010

Rework
David Heinemeier Hansson;Jason Fried
Did not read yet
Added: 4/22/2010

The Elegance of the Hedgehog
Muriel Barbery
Did not read yet
Added: 4/21/2010

Angelology: A Novel
Danielle Trussoni
Very Unleashable
Added: 3/24/2010

Blonde Roots
Bernardine Evaristo
Very Unleashable
Added: 3/4/2010

The Pursuit of Other Interests: A Novel
Jim Kokoris
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Added: 2/24/2010

The Hierophant of 100th Street
Cullen Dorn
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Added: 2/1/2010

The Red Velvet Turnshoe
Cassandra Clark
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Added: 1/4/2010

April & Oliver: A Novel
Tess Callahan
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Added: 12/1/2009

The Year of the Flood: A Novel
Margaret Atwood
Mildly Unleashable
Added: 11/1/2009

Sandman Slim: A Novel
Richard Kadrey
Did not read yet
Added: 10/20/2009

The Angel's Game
Carlos Ruiz Zafon
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Added: 10/1/2009

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
Alan Bradley
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Added: 8/11/2009

Olive Kitteridge: Fiction
Elizabeth Strout
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Added: 8/10/2009

Downtown Owl: A Novel
Chuck Klosterman
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Added: 7/1/2009

So Brave, Young, and Handsome: A Novel
Leif Enger
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Added: 6/1/2009

The Heretic's Daughter: A Novel
Kathleen Kent
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Added: 5/2/2009

Starvation Lake: A Mystery
Bryan Gruley
Did not read yet
Added: 4/1/2009

Couch
Benjamin Parzybok
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Added: 3/1/2009

The Ballad of Trenchmouth Taggart
M. Glenn Taylor
Did not read yet
Added: 2/6/2009
 
 
Keep track of all your book ratings and reviews. They will show up here for your quick reference. Remember, your ratings and reviews greatly help your fellow clubies in making their book pick decisions. We appreciate your book opinions.

Angelology: A Novel
Date Posted: 5/1/2010 | Go To Book Page

A golden halo…a celestial being bathed in light…an angel watching over me….an angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other…these are the more common thoughts, views and depictions of angels in our world.  However, Angelology takes us into another realm of history that puts a spin on...there are Angels among us. A thriller that sends you into the world of the fallen angels, shows us the chilling possibilities and makes you question what you think about angels. A book that brings questions to humanity, faith, religion, mythology and science is always worthy in my opinion and this one fits the bill.  Get ready for the Watchers, Nephilim, Gibborim and the angelologists and the hierarchy of it all.  The historical plot seems to run along the lines of good vs. evil, angels vs. human, but when they all become inbred in our world, who is actually who. There is a ton of back story and narration related to this history and while somewhat necessary and entertaining - oft long winded and yet still left me with a lot of questions. The thriller part of the plot was also exciting based on finding the “lyre” that could save the “angels” yet change the very essence of the world.  It seemed as an afterthought sometimes amidst the storytelling until the last part of the book. All in all…with a final twist that obviously leads this towards a sequel…it was a very good read.

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April & Oliver: A Novel
Date Posted: 12/1/2009 | Go To Book Page

April & Oliver, it rolls off the tongue doesn't it....well in the book we are just waiting for them to roll around! The two are inseparable childhood friends who become somewhat strangers again during Oliver's college and early work years and then they reconnect in grief over the loss of April's brother. April is the resident wild child with the past of abuse and consistent bad choices and Oliver is the good, engaged to another women!, protective help the girl I can't have guy. It all sounds trite...but it actually was a good story with compelling characters. The tension between the two was steady throughout the book and kept you wondering when it would all break open. While that also made the plot a tad bit predictable, all of the characters and their stories of love and loss are what makes it work. (With a sidebar here that I didn't like at all the not telling Nana about Buddy)..which of course backfired in the end. While April kept her distance and Oliver struggled with what was and could be - in the end the two found a certain peace for themselves. Don't expect the typical ending though..it is not your romantic happy wrap up..but it does leave you to imagine...which I liked.
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Blonde Roots
Date Posted: 3/4/2010 | Go To Book Page

What if a part of history was the opposite of how we know it to be? In this case, slavery, something so controversial and woven deep in to the fabric of our history. What if it was the Africans who had enslaved the Europeans? That is the challenging endeavor that Bernardine Evaristo took on when she did just that in writing this book. I thought she delivered it well overall as far as the obvious morality - that anytime you treat someone as less than fully human you will always find hatred, cruelty and oppression. Who “owns” who doesn’t change that. But to read it from a whole different vantage point was interesting and thought provoking. I thoroughly enjoyed the main character, Doris, who was a whyte, stolen and sold, at a childhood age. The story is about her journey of captivity and search for freedom. I also liked that the horrors of the slave trade, the graphic journey across the Atlantic and the travesties that were imposed on the whyte slaves were explored and descriptive as it was just a reminder of the disturbing nature of it all. Evaristo also added in humor and satire. One result of that though was the question for the reader of what time frame did this take place as there were historical and contemporary references. It did not take away from the enjoyment for me though. Evaristo wrote a flowing book on a tough topic with an imaginative premise. In all that, there is much to discuss.

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Couch
Date Posted: 3/1/2009 | Go To Book Page

This book is original and I like original. Couch is a book about a sofa that three roommates try to get rid of when they have to move and every effort they make is stopped "by the couch". The mystery grows as the roommates try to figure out why a couch is in charge. From there it is a wild, believable and unbelievable ride of "where the couch takes them" on an epic journey to strange cultures with good,evil and the possibility of the meaning of life. Who isn't looking for that?....on the couch. The characters, Tree, Tom and Erik are very different and quirky but very likeable in their own special ways. Tree is the prophet, Tom is the somewhat voice of reason and Erik is the free spirt always looking for the angle. It will give you pause, make you want a little adventure and is overall a fun but different read. A book you might want to read in your chair!
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Cryptic Spaces: Book One: Foresight
Date Posted: 10/3/2013 | Go To Book Page

This was a fun and adventurous read that kept me turning the pages. I stayed engaged through the symbols, puzzles and travel through time especially because the writing is quite good.  Ferrell introduced some great characters who make you laugh, have distinct personalities and bring different dimensions to the friendships and the overall plot. 

While the book is long, it flows nicely and builds appropriately to keep you searching for answers.  It is complex enough in story, description and vocabulary for adults to enjoy it as I did. Again add in the fun with Nostradamus, pre-historic times and creatures, the handy secret organization, danger, treachery, some interesting female counterparts and Willoughby, the brilliant main character who made me smile throughout and you have a book with lots of story to talk about. 

Back to the searching for answers…we still are as there is a cliff hanger full of angst as to what happens next for these characters. The good news is you will be looking forward to the next book!
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Downtown Owl: A Novel
Date Posted: 7/1/2009 | Go To Book Page

The book was such a witty and clever read. This is my first reading of a Klosterman book, and his first foray into fiction. I didn't know what to expect from him beyond being an established pop culture writer. So that is what I got, plus some great character development mixed with satire and profound reality. I could totally relate to all the pop culture references to the 80's as I laughed along and remembered fondly. The story, told within a 6 month time frame, through the lives of the three main characters doesn't really go anywhere but it doesn't really matter. They are likable and real. Mitch- the affected High School student, Julia- the young new teacher in town looking to find the perfect fit in a small town where there is none. And my favorite, the elderly Horace- who seemed so much wiser than the town of Owl and his group of cronies, but who had no want to be anywhere else. I kept wanting to read more about the people of Owl until it ended quite abruptly in an unpredictable stunning fashion that maybe shouldn't have been so startling when you look back. The writing was excellent and it was an easy enjoyable read for me.
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Farsighted
Date Posted: 6/1/2012 | Go To Book Page

 

I’m a fan of the paranormal so needless to say there were many things I enjoyed about this YA adventure into fantasy. Plus it also had a little romance, suspense and diverse characters added to the storyline. Adam, Simmi, Shapri… (I’m on team Shapri) and no vampires involved.  In Farsighted we go on the journey of these three characters as they become friends and as their lives are intertwined through their paranormal talents and a sense of fate.  The story is told from the perspective of Alex, the blind from birth main character who learns how to “see” with the abilities he discovers.  The story builds into mystery and suspense as we learn more about each characters gifts and purpose.  Ultimately it is a book that mixes real life issues with the possibilities of the unknown and comes out with a nice story.  And it left us hanging…ready for the next book.

 

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In Leah's Wake
Date Posted: 8/3/2011 | Go To Book Page

An impressive debut novel by Terri Giuliano Long. A book about family dynamics, dysfunction and angst, while always a universally relatable theme can often be a big miss, but I was pleasantly captured by this book and the story of the Tyler family from the beginning.  The characters were easy to care about and that made their flaws and weaknesses easier to handle even when you wanted to strangle them.

The book was a good portrayal of the complicated nature of keeping the dynamics of a marriage alive while raising kids. Those very kids going through teenage angst and even more so...teenage rebellion that plays into every parents fear of drugs, parties and bad choices.  How do you deal with the complicated nature of love, responsibility, protection and letting go with your family?

A very good book for discussion with many topics that everyone can relate to and share.

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Looks Easy Enough: A Joyful Memoir of Overcoming Disease, Divorce, and Disaster
Date Posted: 8/5/2010 | Go To Book Page

This book has a lot of things to really enjoy…the obvious love between the author, Scott Stevenson and his wife, the humor, the normal ups and downs of life as well as the tragedies, and the search for making sense of why. All generally good and common things to find in a memoir. It is a story of navigating the trials of life by way of “The Truth” or “ The magic”. Which according to Stevenson is part of the Game Board of life that we are moving along as we learn. If only life were Candyland right? The message of the book is heartfelt, relatable and life affirming even if you don’t agree in theory or philosophy of “the Magic”. It is written with ease and a great sense of storytelling that would have been more enhanced by a much shorter length to the book. The level of detail in some areas such as the how-to of building their dream home was way too much info. While these parts of the book seemingly are to also help establish their familial bonds, it adds to the book as more of a diary for the author than necessary for the reader to know. I think there was much more to learn about what was actually going on with Scott Stevenson than he wrote about, beneath his "learning", to get it back to the memoir. With that said, there was a lot to be gained from reading this book as it is a thoughtful essay on life and how his family got through the very tough times.

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Olive Kitteridge: Fiction
Date Posted: 8/10/2009 | Go To Book Page

Olive Kittredge was an interesting read for me. Maybe it was because I had heard so many rave reviews and exclamations about the book that I expected to …what….walk away wowed. And I wasn’t. Don’t get me wrong, it was actually a good book, very well written, with the possibilities of some great characters. A book worth reading. I even read each story with anticipation of how Olive would show up and be involved. From a wave as a passing character in one story to being the heart of the story with all her flaws and humanity. The different stories on the various people and their lives in Olive’s town of Crosby, Maine were in themselves very poignant and interesting to read, so that is what I truly enjoyed. I wasn’t drawn to the character, Olive. I think we could have gotten to know her so much better and we were always left on the edge of her conflict. We start to get there towards the end of the book but then it was over. In fact, my favorite part in the book was the last couple of pages. No, not because it was the end of the book (and don’t go reading it before you get there!!) but because Olive finally came off the edge. (not ledge)
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So Brave, Young, and Handsome: A Novel
Date Posted: 6/9/2009 | Go To Book Page

Oh, to forge the American Old West. This book has fun doing it or I should say I had fun reading it. The central character, author Monte Beckett, quickly finds himself becoming “a one hit wonder" as he can’t seem to finish his second novel. He finds the ultimate opportunity in procrastination disguised as inspiration when he heads out from Minnesota (with his wife’s permission!) on an “big-hearted Western yarn” adventure with a fascinating outlaw character and ends up on a road trip through the hard living of early 1900’s western landscape. A long the way, he joins up with a tough cast of characters you love and hate. The characters are well developed for great discussion, Monte - the truly likeable author searching for inspiration and often a backbone, that you occasionally want to slap upside the head, Glendon – the remorseful outlaw searching for redemption from the biggest regret in his life, Siringo - the unlikable self proclaimed lawman that never quits and never dies, and Hood - the well-mannered misunderstood kid that may or may not be the dangerous villain wreaking havoc across the west. And I have to mention the 60 pound snapping turtle. A great passage in the book. And there is so much more…great cast of fascinating women, great landscape, interesting relationships. A book about so many things great for discussion!
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The Anatomy of Ghosts
Date Posted: 3/15/2012 | Go To Book Page

I enjoyed this read as both a historical piece as well as an unfolding mystery with intriguing plot twists. Lots of them. Plus, I am a freak for the possibility of ghosts and people's stories about ghosts and what that means.  Many, many discussion opportunities with this novel: There are plenty of interesting characters(luckily there is an index in the beginning to help a little)...especially Holdsworth, the incredilby flawed main character.  There are the politics of society, class and university, the representaiton of the women characters and there is the vagaries of mental illness.  I though it was very well written for all complexities of the story but the ending was left wanting with loose ends for characters.
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The Angel's Game
Date Posted: 10/1/2009 | Go To Book Page

How can you not like a book that has a place called the “Cemetery of Forgotten Books”, I wish there had been more written about it. What a great place! And that is just a tiny sample of the intrigue in The Angel’s Game. I did enjoy this book as it kept you moving with murder, love, obsession, the unknown, smoke and mirrors, and ultimately some serious questions as to what I just read(I love discussion). Set in Barcelona, Spain, Carlos Ruiz Zafon writes an excellent and smooth read, where he takes us on an adventure centered in the world and “souls” of books and some passionate characters. Oh, and a looming house full of secrets and shadows that in itself becomes quite the character. Leaves you wondering! The main character David Martin is tragic, yet he kept you hopeful that his tragedy turned into salvation in the end...but alas I'm not sure what happened in the end!!! (And I think he loved the wrong women). David’s relationship with some of the key characters helped make the book flow, especially, Isabella, his assistant, Sempere, the book shop keeper, Don PedroVidal, his mentor/faux rival and even the Boss. (I’ll leave that one to your imagination). All interesting characters. Oh and let’s not forget Detective Grandes! While the book actually became a faster read in the last 100 plus pages building momentum to understanding...with every page there were things that happened that made me say, What part did I miss? But oddly I don't think that detracts from the book at all. >
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The Heretic's Daughter: A Novel
Date Posted: 5/2/2009 | Go To Book Page

This was an interesting read for me as I didn’t realize I liked it until the end of the book. I’ve always been fascinated by the Salem witch trials so when the author, Kathleen Kent, didn’t dive right into it…I was initially disappointed. The first part of the book set the stage with the hardworking life on the farm for the Carrier family and the reality of the plague. It gave you the chance to get to know the characters and their relationships and secrets but it did drag on for quite a bit. Finally, once Kent got to the accusations, trials and hangings, the stage setting made a little more sense and the book settled into its purpose. Shocking to attribute a good part of this history to the acting ability of a group of young girls. The prison scenes are descriptive and horrible, but oddly are the best part because it showed the actual reality of the witch trials. While I wasn’t always fond of the Carrier family members, I did like the development of the relationships and the strength of the family as they were tested through the horrific trials. It was good to know the author was a direct descendent of the Carrier’s as I thought it gave the story a little more life. All in all an easy, slow read that works.
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The Hierophant of 100th Street
Date Posted: 2/16/2010 | Go To Book Page

The Hierophant is one of those books that you might not pick up and dive in to right away… but once you do it surprises you on many levels. Aside from the title, a deep coupling of the downtrodden life and the changing world in East Harlem mixed in with a depth of spirituality, God and answers of our purpose and the universe, are not what you expect to find in the same book as a parallel or actually… intertwined storyline. But that is what you get. Dorn has written an extremely intelligent book heavy with content. One with very developed characters from the Harlem neighborhood and beyond and with a very intense look at spirituality, wisdom and universe. The connection seems to be how that mysticism/spiritually plays out in the various characters in their own form of redemption or maybe lack there of from the effects of their paths taken in Harlem. While the content was rich, the execution was jumpy at the start as characters and situations were introduced that made it difficult to attach right away. It did clear up and start to make sense. The characters, Adam - the central character, Count, Louie, Eddie, John, Lilith and many more all came to life as we moved in and out of their suppressed life in Harlem. I did enjoy Adam’s journeys into the spiritual/religious/mystical world with all the questions. With this, Dorn was extremely thorough and highly evolved (is this a non-pun) with the level of content and context. As an aside…I laughed a little when I got smacked in the face with Adam and Eve at the start of a chapter(you‘ll know when you see it). There was so much “stuff” that it got lost on me for a minute in the story . The political narratives thrown in the midst were a little obvious. All in all, it is a book that enables great discussion and makes you think. Just what we like!
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The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Date Posted: 6/3/2010 | Go To Book Page

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks brings to life the very fears we might not know we have when it comes to “back of the house” in the world of medicine, research, science, and discovery of cures and drugs. You might know you are afraid of going to the doctor or hospitals but do we pay much attention to what happens with our cells, blood work, organs etc. Rebecca Skloot brings all of these issues to the forefront in the amazing decade (or more) of research and discovery for this book. Have you heard of Henrietta Lacks? HeLa cells? I hadn’t. Skloot writes a true story full of the morality and ethics of the ownership and consent of buying and selling “human biological materials” in the name of research and medical advancement. From the naive way it started to more current times of privacy laws and litigation. It shows the complexity between the rights of the individual and their families and, whether right or wrong, the undeniable benefits of the advancements it creates in medicine and saving lives. Skloot did a thorough job of telling the story of the medical industry at the same time taking us on the disturbing journey of and consequences to the family. She ensconced herself in the lives of the Lacks family and gave us a portrait of their lives from Henrietta’s terrible death to what happened when they found out her cells had been taken without her consent. The book brings home the exploitation of poverty, racism, lack of education and the ethics and morality of science and research. You really feel for this family. If one can inject any humor in this…. as far as the Sci-fi nature of Henrietta’s immortal cells that are ever growing, ever dividing and ever overtaking. I kept thinking of the blob…and I feel ok getting a small chuckle as it was even mentioned as such in the book. As it turns out, that nature is what helped launch a medical revolution. Great for discussion and quite the education from reading this book.

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The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel
Date Posted: 8/1/2013 | Go To Book Page

This book was a well written, engaging and short magical tale with lots of moments of wonder. Though I have to say, I was expecting more from all of the acclaim it has received.  The story stayed on the fantastical surface and I kept waiting for more depth, more context, for that moment when it became that great book. But I felt is was only part of what it should have been.  It also seemed more of a young read with the 7 year old being the center of the story, which is fine, and maybe that was why we just got the surface as it was through his child mind…I was intrigued by the characters especially the 3 women at the end of the lane but left short with the depth of the magic, myth and darkness. In the end it was just a telling of what happened rather than a feeding of the senses of something more interesting.
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The Other Life
Date Posted: 4/4/2011 | Go To Book Page

This book is GREAT for discussion. A book which seems to stretch across a bunch of different “genres or themes” within its own story and introduces so many different life issues your head could spin. Life issues that readers can relate to, choices and regret, marriage, families, mother/child bond, love vs. neediness, depression, urban vs. suburban….all bound up in “what if you could go back to the road in life you didn’t take”.   Sounds good huh. See how your life could have been. I’m not so sure anymore!  The somewhat irony of this book is that it seems to be based on the fact that Quinn – in giving in to the portal and creating a choice for herself of which life to take - her life with Eugene vs. her “real” life with her husband and son, Lewis and Issac.  Yet, it really was all wrapped up in her not being able to let go of a mother who let go of her in the most selfish way possible. Eugene seemed to be kind of an afterthought/excuse to this. Which by the way he should be! Go Lewis!!  Quinn appears to thrive on love by being needed, yet ultimately she is the neediest character in the book and chooses to leave the one person/life in the book that actually fulfills her needs…for a mother who never could seem to!  I don’t find the ending redeeming for her mother. Again some good stuff to discuss!

 

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The Other Typist
Date Posted: 7/1/2013 | Go To Book Page

From the very first sentence “They said the typewriter would unsex us” (women that is)   I knew I would like this book. It was a well written, descriptive and flowing read that made me want to curl up with a gin and tonic and lazily read it non-stop in a comfortable chair.  Most of which I did do :) in ode to the fact that it was set in New York City during the time of prohibition and speakeasies.  The story itself was full of twists and turns and there was something enough off center throughout that it was always just a bit out of grasp.  Was it plain Rose, the narrator…who is a typist in the New York city PD taking in the confessions of criminals. Can she be trusted as the story told is only her version we hear? Or was it the title character, glamorous Odalie, “The Other Typist” who Rose becomes obsessed with in the story as they become friends and partake in the illicit nightlife of the era. Maybe it was the other various interesting and unpredictable characters both in the police precinct and outside. And quite possibly it was the constant foreshadowing that could get you frustrated but made it a psychological twister with an ending that is ambiguous enough to make your head spin a little bit. All of the above had me loving this debut novel!
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The Pursuit of Other Interests: A Novel
Date Posted: 4/1/2010 | Go To Book Page

Charlie, Charlie, Charlie - oh my - what a character he is.  Annoying, pretentious, self-absorbed, absent, somewhat clueless, and hilariously inappropriate as a boss and yes…frenetic!!  Add all that up and ….”You’re Fired”…..from a job he shouldn’t of had in the first place. Enter, The Pursuit of Other Interests, a classic glimpse into life as we see so often in society today.  We think we want or have it all and then…what happened to my life? The book could have been totally cliché but was thoroughly enjoyable mainly because it made me laugh out load throughout.  Kokoris really wrote the book and Charlie’s character so well with what I thought was perfect humor to counteract his, again I say “annoying” and neurotic nature. All the character’s lives maintained a sense of the pathetic in their own ways, but oddly were endearing and I found myself routing for them.  What could have been so depressing was actually poignant, thought provoking and very entertaining.  We can all relate to at least something in this book in our own lives…..and Charlie showed some hope at the end!

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The Red Velvet Turnshoe
Date Posted: 1/4/2010 | Go To Book Page

This book was an entertaining mystery romp through medieval times with mostly enjoyable characters. I have to be honest…I don’t know much about nuns beyond the norm, but I’m thinking that if Hildegard, the main character of the Red Velvet Turnshoe, was a modern day nun she would be considered “hip and kick butt-cool”. She could do it all...traverse Europe in the cold of winter on a dangerous mission...befriend everyone along the way...make all the men fall in love with her...conduct important business transactions...solve murders and political mystery…train her hounds to the letter…save a young boys life…and look good doing it in a beautiful blue cloak! Oddly, the main purpose of the plot…to attain the precious relic, the Cross of Constantine, seemed to be the smallest drama of the whole book! Could have been a little more intrigue with that part. While the history references of the time are complex and complicated as to making most of us read things twice, i.e. the 2 popes(one being false of course), kings, lords, earls, archbishops, abbots, priors, who actually bears the titles and add in the politics of, it all fascinated me….but then I love history. So while the time period gave the book a sense of heaviness, for the most part I though it was actually a fun storyline.
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The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
Date Posted: 9/9/2009 | Go To Book Page

There is definitely room for both of you, as you are the reigning queen....but move over Nancy Drew. Make room for Flavia de Luce. This was a fun book(right down to the awesome keepsake hardback cover)full of mystery, family hijinks, and interesting characters set in England at the decaying mansion of the de Luce family. Flavia, the 11 year old girl wonder, budding chemist/poison expert extraordinaire and now fearless crime solver is quite full of life. My favorite thing about her IS her fearless nature while in search of the truth. With the typical, "yeah right" adventures throughout the book, she dives in head first with thought later!! And brings the reader right along. And most always with her handy companion "Gladys"...no not another girl crime solver but her trusty bike who somehow managed to become a character for me. In the midst of dodging the detectives, trying to protect the people she cares about and antagonizing her sisters, Flavia gets the job done with flare and wit. I do wish the author had developed the other characters a little more because they are so on the periphery in many ways...especially her somewhat vacant father, her snively sisters and the beloved "Dogger". Who are they? I believe this might be the first in a series of Flavia books though, so I'm sure we will learn more about all of them. A great discussion question for book clubs might be: What did you think about Flavia referring to her mother by her first name “Harriet” throughout the book? I think it’s about more than the obvious answer….
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The Year of the Flood: A Novel
Date Posted: 11/1/2009 | Go To Book Page

The last book I read by Margaret Atwood was the Handmaid’s Tale, which I really enjoyed. It was the talk of the moment for young girls. Since that was forever ago it seems, I was excited to read another futuristic book from Atwood, one being touted as a dsytopic classic. I was disappointed. The title, The Year of the Flood is misleading as the first 3 quarters of the book is mostly back story that Atwood laid out in a very jumpy and mostly boring fashion. While I’m all for information and development….I always felt I was waiting for something to begin or be explained to connect it all together. I will say that I did like the two main characters Toby and Ren. The two female survivors that went beyond their plights to show real strength. Though again, I didn’t fully realize this until I got to the last part of the book when there was a focus on them surviving the “flood”. The God’s Gardeners group had some fascinating parts to it, some good things for discussion…religion, pacifism in a time of turmoil, preservation…but it got watered down with the “ho-hum” of Adam One. There were some other very likable characters (and many not so) that helped keep me reading, a few (some key) who were apparently introduced in her previous book , Oryx and Crake. The Year of the Flood has a descriptor as “not a sequel” but for all the references and mentions that show the level of connection, I think that reading both books would have made The Year of the Flood more enjoyable for me. The good news is, my thoughts on this book are the very reason it is a good book to discuss as I know my fellow Clubies found it more enjoyable!
Mildly Unleashable

Walking to Gatlinburg: A Novel
Date Posted: 7/8/2010 | Go To Book Page

Walking to Gatlinburg was actually a bit like falling down the rabbit hole. Since that puts the reader somewhere in the middle of the bizarre and the brilliant…well ,that’s where this book is. A book you could read more than once and find a host of different each time. A beautifully written, suspenseful, yet strange story that flirts with capturing your “wild” imagination amidst historical significance of the Civil War. It did more to capture the imagination than deliver a depiction of the civil war. Hence the rabbit hole. The main character, Morgan Kinneson , a boy turning to man, sets off to find his brother who’s gone missing towards the end of the civil war….along the way he “encounters a fantastical array of characters” and fights the battle against the pull of the violence of war. Not always winning. I did enjoy the strange and disturbing characters we met along the way. I actually wish that their roles had been expanded in the book. Somewhere in all of this is a mysterious stone that plays a big part in the story. I think. This review might seem to bounce around and maybe not give a clear picture…probably because it mirrors the book for me. Don’t get me wrong….I did enjoy it….I will say the Author’s interview was a good read and added to my enjoyment of the book.

Very Unleashable
 
 

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