Sunday, December 9, 2012

Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time

This week we bookies took a break from the normal book club format to have a Christmas party.  For those of you who couldn't make it, here is a little summary of the fun we had.

We started up the party with a couple of prompts that Michelle provided to get us talking.  We discussed:

1. What is your most romantic Christmas experience?  (No one really had one to share--isn't that a little bit sad?)
2. What was a favorite present you gave/got?  Lauren told us about a book filled with memories from each family member that she gave to her parents.  I think we all wanted to go out and make one of those for our parents for Christmas.  Too cute!
3. What is your favorite Christmas story?  Some of the stories we listed were:

A Christmas Carol
The Grinch Who Stole Christmas
The Christmas Orange
The Gift of the Magi
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

I'm pretty sure I missed some others that we talked about.  Here are some other fun Christmas stories that we didn't mention.  (Let me know some of your favorites so we can add them to the list.  There are so many good Christmas stories out there!)

The Littlest Angel
A Brilliant Guiding Star
The Polar Express

After the discussion we played the game Celebrities.  If you haven't ever played it before it's a perfect game for any party.  I thought I'd put the directions for how to play here in case any of you would like to use it at your next party.  Here's how you play:

Things you need to play: 5 slips of paper per person, one paper and pencil for keeping score, a hat/bowl, and a timer.

*Each person is given 5 slips of paper.
*On each slip you write down the name of a famous character.  The character can be fictional or non-fictional.  It needs to be characters that the other members of your team would guess.
*All of the slips of paper are put into a hat/bowl.
*Divide into two teams.

*Round 1: A person from team one goes to the front of the room.  That person is given a minute to get his/her team to guess the person on the slip of paper.  He/she can say anything they want except what is written on the paper.  When the time is up, write down the amount of names team one guessed on the score sheet.  Then, a person from team two comes up and does the same thing.  Round 1 is over when all of the names on the papers have been guessed.
*Round 2: Return the slips of paper to the hat/bowl.  For this round the person that comes to the front of the room is only allowed to say one word to get his/her team to guess the name on the paper.  Round 2 is over when all of the names have been guessed.
*Round 3: Return the slips of paper to the hat/bowl.  For this round the person that comes to the front of the room must act out the name on the paper.  They are not allowed to say anything.  The game is over when all of the names have been guessed.  Add up the scores and find out who won.  Have fun!

***Note: if you have lots of people playing, (we had 10), we found it might be best to only submit 3 names per person so that the game doesn't take too long.

This game was a blast!  One of my favorite parts of the game was watching everyone act.  Who knew we had so many good actresses in our book club?  The funniest part of the night was during the one word round.  Let's just say that the word "ho" has a whole new meaning for all of us book clubbers (if you weren't there you'll have to ask Nancy what I mean).  Hilarious!

A big thank you to Michelle for hosting the party!  Everything was so festive and perfect.

The treats everyone brought were super tasty.  Here are some recipes/links for the food that was served at the party.  If your treat isn't here and you'd like to share, send Karen or me an email and I'll add to the list.  (I think we all secretly hope Melanie will share her chocolate, pecan, walnut pie recipe.)

Don't forget to start reading The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander for next meeting.  Melanie is hosting and it's sure to be a fun time.

Treats from the Party:
Check out Karen's appetizer on her blog:
Sparkling Cranberry Brie Bites

Here is the link for the sugar cookies Kristen made:
Sugar Cookies
*They were topped with melted white chocolate, mint chocolate chips, and red hots.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Christian's Cross

For the month of November our book club had to opportunity to read the manuscript for the book Christian's Cross.  What a fun experience to read something that hasn't been published yet.  It was interesting to hear what the group thought about the book.

I don't want to give away the story before it's published, so I will not write much about the plot and characters here.  I am one of those who reads for fun and doesn't really critique much while I read, so I didn't have much negative feedback.  I enjoyed listening to what others who were more experienced in critiquing written works had to say.  If you weren't there you really missed out on some great discussion.

We all seemed to agree that the plot was intriguing and that there were parts of the story that really grabbed you.  We discussed all of the characters--what we liked and what we didn't like.

For those of you who could not make it Shirley sent out this great list of questions that we discussed:
1.  Could you relate to the character?  Why or why not?
2.  What did you think about the setting for the story?  (Where the story happens.)
3.  What seemed believable about the story?
4.  What did you think was the most exciting part of the story?
5.  Was there a part of the story that was unclear or that you had questions about?
6.  Did you have a favorite scene?
7.  What did you think about the Inner Mission?  How is it like or unlike other organizations that you have known?
8.  How did you feel about the ending?
9.  Are there parts of this novel that you can compare to other novels that you have read?
10.  Other comments?

We also talked about what we liked about the author's writing in general and what we thought he could do differently.  We discussed the sentence structure, the dialogue, and editing certain word choices.

Thank you to Shirley for hosting!  We all had a wonderful time.

Don't forget our Christmas party coming up Dec. 4th at Michelle's.  It's going to be a blast.

What did you think of the manuscript?  Write a comment.  Let's talk about it some more!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Just A Reminder

Just reminder that we have book club tonight!  We will be discussing Christian's Cross.  Book club will be held at Shirley Jordan's at 8:00 PM.  (Check your email for her address.)  It's sure to be another fun-filled night of discussion.  Hope to see you all there!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Jane Eyre

For the month of October we picked Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte to read and discuss.  If you haven't read it you should!  The characters have amazing depth and courage.  (Not to mention there's a great love story.)

Here are some of the questions asked last night:
  1. (To the host) Why do you love this book?  -Her answer: I love how moral Jane is.  You don't read many stories of heroines who are moral anymore.  She is so forgiving and strong.  
  2. Jane tells of her childhood, and then skips 8 years to the time when she gets the job with Rochester.  Why tell of her childhood at all?  Why not just begin with Rochester?
  3. How important is Jane's appearance to her character?  In this novel, how do people's looks reflect their characters?
  4. We talked about the importance of the line: "Reader, I married him" versus if Jane had said, "Reader, we were married."  Why is the phrasing of this line so important. 
  5. Does Rochester ever intend to marry Blanche Ingram?  If so, when does he change his mind?  If not, why does he go to such lengths to make Jane believe he does?
  6. Does Mrs. Reed treat Jane badly because she thinks she deserves it, or because she believes it is good for her?  Is her conscience clear?
We had a great discussion that led to many other thoughts and questions not posted here.  It was a great time.

For refreshments the host shared with the group what a typical 10 course meal in the Victorian Era consisted of.  Some of the food she served was: pie, apple cider, nuts, raisins, sweet pickles, and candied orange and lemon peels. 

Here is the recipe for the candied orange and lemon peels if you are interested in making some of your own:

Sweet Candied Orange and Lemon Peel
6 lemon peels, cut into 1/4 inch strips
4 orange peels, cut into 1/4 inch strips
2 c white sugar
1 c water
1/3 c white sugar for decoration

  1. Place lemon and orange peel in large saucepan and cover with water.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Boil for 20 minutes, drain and set aside.
  2. In medium saucepan, combine 2 c sugar and 1 c water.  Bring to a boil and cook until mixture reaches thread stage, 230 degrees F (108 degrees C) on candy thermometer, or small amount dropped in cold water forms a soft thread.  Stir in peel, reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  Drain.
  3. Roll peel pieces, a few at a time, in remaining sugar.  Let dry on wire rack several hours.  Store in airtight container.

We are looking forward to reading the manuscript to Christian's Cross for next month's book.  

A Book I Ain't Read...Yet

"My best friend is the man who'll get me a book I ain't read." 
--Abraham Lincoln 

This quote perfectly sums up what book club is all about.  It's about sharing knowledge and enjoyment with friends through books.  As opinions are shared we gain new insights, the book becomes more meaningful, and friendships are strengthened.  

Have fun with us as we discover all of the books we ain't read...yet.