Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Five People You Meet in Heaven

I love book club!  I love how it gives me the opportunity to read amazing books that I have never even heard of.  The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom is one of those books.  This book is a quick, thought-provoking read.

For our discussion we talked about each of the lessons Eddie learns from the five people he encounters.

Here are the lessons:
The Blue Man - There are no random events in life; everyone is connected in some way.
The Captain - All sacrifices, no matter how big or small, are important.
Ruby - Forgive.
Marguerite - Love is not lost in death.
Tala - Eddie's life was not for nothing; He protects children.

What do you think of all of the lessons learned?

Each of the different heavens in the book are very interesting-from the diner in the snow to never-ending weddings.  What would your heaven be like?

Did you like that Eddie's heaven ended at Ruby Pier after he wanted nothing more that to get away from it the entire book?

I found this book intriguing - although difficult to get into at first as you figure out the writing style.

What did you think of it?

Thanks Nancy for the read, the popcorn, and those delicious almonds!

The next book is Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson.  I started this at midnight and stayed awake until 2:30 AM to finish it--it is THAT good.  See you Sept. 18th @ 8:00 PM!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


The book for the month of June was 1776.  Lauren always picks such good books - and her apple crisp was super tasty!  (Lauren, we need that recipe!)  For those of you who couldn't make it I am sorry.  You missed out.  

I am still working on reading this book, but those who read it seemed to like it.  Aubrey brought an awesome version of the book with pictures, notes, maps, etc.  It was super neat!

Here is a list of questions Lauren had for us to discuss:

1. Did you like the book? If yes, why? If no, why not?
2. Did this book alter your opinion of George Washington? What about King George III? 
3. Why do you think that McCullough chooses to begin 1776 with King George III of England? 
How does this set the tone for the historical events about to unfold? 
4. What qualities made General George Washington a successful leader? Do you think that there was 
anything in particular about Washington that enabled him to turn a lost cause into a victory? 
5. Do you think the war could have been won if George Washington had not led the Colonies? 
6. There was a lot of regional prejudice in the Continental Army. Are any of those feelings still 
with us today? 
7. What was the effect of the Declaration of Independence on the army? 
8. Were you surprised by anything that you learned from this book? 
9. Does this book relate in any way to the current state of the world and the United States? 
10. Did the untrained, impromptu existence of the Colonial army give it any advantages over the 
British? What kind of insight into the military experience do the wealth of letters and other first 
hand sources cited by McCullough provide? 
11. Do you think the men and women of our generation could have fought the way the colonists 
did during the revolution? 
12. What kind of men were Nathanael Green and Henry Knox? What was their role in the success 
of the military? Why do you think Washington depended on these two untrained men above 
others and despite his distaste for New Englanders?
13. How did you find the pace of the book? Did McCullough’s method of having events unfold 
make you feel you were living in 1776? 
14. What do you think might have happened if England had retained the Colonies? 
15. Are there any questions you would like to ask?

(Some questions taken or adapted from the Madison Public Library, Madison WI: 

My favorite question Lauren asked was: "Do you think that we still would have gone to war if they didn't go to war back then?"  

What do you think?

We are looking forward to Lost December by Richard Paul Evans at Angie's House.  Book club will be Wednesday, August 26.  Don't miss it!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Not Without My Daughter

For April book club Sarah chose Not Without My Daughter by Betty Mahmoody.  I think the quote on the cover summed it up pretty nicely: "Fascinating, if disturbing."

This book was a page turner from beginning to end.  In my wildest dreams I would not have thought that something like Betty's story could happen in today's world.  (Shows you how naive I am.)

Here are some questions that Crissi came up with.  We discussed a few, but it's nice to see them in writing to really think through some of them:
  1. Do you think keeping his wife and daughter in Iran was wrong?  Why?
  2. Was it wrong of Betty to take her daughter and kidnap her back to America where Mahtob could not see her father?  Then why did Betty think it would be wrong for Moody to do that and take Mahtob to Iran?
  3. If a Brazilian woman took her son out of the US and returned to Brazil without the husband's permission would that be wrong?  What circumstances would make it right or wrong?
  4. Would you have tried to escape if you were Betty?  Or do you identify more with Ellen and why?
  5. What would you have done differently than Betty?  What actions are you critical of?
  6. What did you learn about the Islamic faith?  What are parts you liked vs. disliked?
  7. Contrast the turban man with some of Moody's other male relatives.
  8. What do you think of the dress code for women in Iran?  Is it really their choice to be modest or forced?  How much do you think is cultural vs. religious beliefs?
  9. How do you think the events in Iran will shape Mahtob's view of human rights, women's rights or family relations?
  10. Do you think the Lord expects the people of Iran to follow the laws of the land?
I also wonder about the question of nature vs. nurture?  Do you think if you had grown up as a young boy in Iran you would treat the women in your life the same way Moody treats Betty and Mahtob?

We had a very good discussion and I'm sure there was so much more we could have talked about.  Leave your comments if you want to discuss it more.

Thank you Sarah for hosting!  The book was exciting and the treats were delicious!

You can also watch the movie on Netflix.  They've tamed it down a lot, and naturally it's not as good as the book.  But it's a fun watch nonetheless.

*Next month's book: The Davinci Code by Dan Brown.  Crissi Farnsworth will be hosting.  

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Peter and the Starcatchers

For the month of March we read Peter and the Starcatchers.  I don't know how you ladies do it, but you always end up assigning books that I fall in love with.

This book had adventure, magic, and mystery.  It was fun trying to figure out how it all connected to J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan.

As I walked into Laura's house she had Disney's Peter Pan playing.  (She's obviously a girl after my own heart when it comes to anything Disney.)

Things we talked about:

We discussed the characters.  I especially liked when Laura asked which villain we'd rather work for.  Personally, I'd choose Slank over Stache any day.  Stache just sounded all-around gross.  Your thoughts?

We talked about how everything connected to Peter Pan.  While some guessed Mr. Grin was in the "cage" others were completely surprised.  Is starstuff pixie dust?  Does pixie dust really require happy thoughts?  Did you like how intelligent the Indian Chief (his name escapes me at the moment) was?

I got a chuckle out of Shirley's revulsion to the ship conditions.  Anyone else?

Is anyone else going to read all of the books?  They are already on my to-read list.

Thanks Laura for a wonderful book, lively discussion, and delicious treats.  (You must share the recipe for those melt-in-your-mouth sugar cookies!)  

Leave your comments about the book or the discussion.  I know I'm missing tons of other things we talked about.

Next month's book is Not Without My Daughter by Betty Mahmoody @ Sarah Tadje's house.  Don't miss it!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Charlotte's Rose

Last month's book, Charlotte's Rose, was SOOOO good!  Words cannot express how sad I was to miss the discussion.  This book made me cry.  Anyone else?

Shirley sent a bunch of questions for us to ponder while we read the book.

1) What was your favorite part of Charlotte's journey?
2) Which character in the story did you relate to the most?  Why?  Was there a character that reminded you of someone that you know?
3) Did you learn anything new about the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) from this book?
4) Was there a part of the story that made you feel especially emotional?
5) How would it be not to be able to read or write but to have so much to want to remember and learn about?
6) How important is the setting to the story?  Is A.E. Cannon's description of the landscape/community a good one?  Did the setting of the novel detract or add to your enjoyment of the story?
7) What do you think were some of the common themes of the story?
8) Were there any passages or descriptions that you thought were especially well written, unique or thought provoking?
9) How important was religious faith to this story?

I will just briefly tell you what I thought in response to question #4.  The part of the book that made me most emotional is when Rose's dad came for her and Charlotte gave her up.  I did NOT want her to give him the baby!  After raising my own kids I knew how Charlotte must have been feeling.  I cried and cried--like a baby.  I understand that Rose wasn't her baby, but it made me so sad to think that Charlotte would probably never see Rose again.

Thank you Shirley for a truly enjoyable read.  I couldn't put it down!  I read it in one sitting.

Since I wasn't there to be a part of the discussion, I hope you book clubbers will tell me all about it in the comments.

Look forward to next month's book, (only 2 weeks away folks), Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson at Laura Johnson's house.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Book of Three

I don't know about all of you book-clubbers, but this cold weather was just what the doctor ordered.  What a perfect excuse to curl up on the couch in a fuzzy robe and slippers to read a book.  And what a fun-filled book it was!

This month Melani chose The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander for our book club book.  I had never heard of it before, but apparently it is a very popular fantasy book.  Let me share my experience picking it up from the library with you:

I went to the Orem library with kids in tow.  It was a cold day.  I had kids in tow.  I wanted to get the book and get out.  It was "one of those days."  I headed upstairs to find the book.  A kind gentleman at the counter asked, "Can I help you find something?"

I responded that I was looking for The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander.  The man responded like a child at Christmas.  He sat up straighter in his chair.  He grinned from ear to ear.  He announced (much too loudly for a librarian), "That's my favorite book!  I read it every year!"  He jumped from his desk, practically jogged over to the bookshelf, and snatched the book.  Handing it to me with a sly smile, he said, "Take good care of it."

So I did get in and get out of the library that day, but not with the same grouchy attitude.

We never seem to have difficulty keeping the discussion going in book club.  As we enjoyed the tasty snacks, these are some of the questions we addressed:
1.  Who was your favorite character?  Why?  (Which also lead to some least favorite characters or least favorite attributes of some of the characters.)  What do you think about Eilonwy, Taran, Gwydion, Gurgi, Fflewddur, etc.?
2.  What did you think of the bad guys?  Too many?  Any disconnect?
3.  How did Taran's perception of the other characters change as the story progressed?
4.  What did Taran want at the beginning?  Did he get it or did he come to realize that he wanted something else?
5.  Why did Medwyn ask Taran if he would like to stay?

There were some interesting insights with this book.
-Many Lord of the Rings connections were made.  Did anyone else feel that Gurgi was very Gollum-like?
-Shirley thought that there wasn't enough of a final battle before Taran passed out to satisfy her.  What do you think?
-Laura told us that the author wrote himself into the book as Fflewddur Fflam.  Interesting!  She also mentioned this book is a great read-aloud for kids.
-How old do you think Taran is?  We unofficially agreed that he must be around 14-15.  We came to the conclusion that the author never tells us so that we can picture him in our own way.

It was an enjoyable book and an enjoyable night.

Is anyone else going to read the entire series to find out what Hen-Wen told Gwydion?

Remember to read Charlotte's Rose by A. E. Cannon for next month's meeting.