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Book Club for Winos (and Pregos) — Little Bee

Yep, 50% of last night’s book club representation was pregnant. So, the wino aspect isn’t quite so merlot right now. We still had a good time catching up, and though much of the conversation was centered around neausa, heartburn and baby bumpers, we still managed a teensy, tiny bit of talk around the book, Little Bee.

What surprised me most about this book is that it wasn’t nearly as surprising as I had expected. After reading multiple reviews exclaiming, “we’d tell you what it’s about, but then this shocking story would be given away before you even opened the book,” I had this crazy idea in my head that the inside held this ungodly secret that would be slowly revealed until reaching the final page, 288.

That said, I feel like I can give you a little glimpse without giving it all away.

It’s a political book told through two different points of view – that of a Nigerian refugee, and that of the British woman whose life she enters. The book is inspired by the immigration struggles of those with nothing, alongside the personal struggles of those who seem to have it all. I must also add that there was another ongoing storyline – oil is a demon, and the sooner our world can live without it, the closer we will be to living in peace (while not a new theory, this book brought it down to a personal, human level as opposed to a far-away, war-driven place).

If you enjoy reading about politics and social injustice, this is a great book. If you like things that are a little more lighthearted, don’t feel like you missed out on the big “secret.”

I say, it’s an intriguing book that’s worth reading for something different. My wine-drinking/child-bearing friends say, “good book, not a fan of the ending.”

:::::A BOOK ON THE SIDE:::::

I somehow managed to fit two books into my life this past month. Based on  recommendations by many of my dog-crazy friends, I also read The Art of Racing In The Rain.

So, here’s another book for anyone who’s ever loved a dog. It was sweet, sincere, unique and readable. The narrator is actually the dog, which puts a clever spin on the storyline. (I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in wondering what my dogs would say if one day they opened their mouths and real words started coming out)…

Tito: Hello, Mom. Good morning. Can we please stop by your parent’s home today so I could show our nieces and nephews how truly spectacular I am at catching tennis balls with my mouth? Oh, and it wouldn’t hurt to leave Frankie there for a day or two now would it?

Frankie: Yipeeee! Did you say “Grammy?!?” I wanna go! I wanna go! And then I can lick her, and jump on her lap, and maybe even sneak into the kitty room and grab a few bites of cat food before she sees me. Yaaaayyy! I loooove you Titooooo!!

Anyway…back to the book:

It doesn’t provoke the stream of tears that Marley and Me did. And though it does have a few National Geographic references here and there, it doesn’t have nearly the thought-out, breathtaking, wolf-to-dog depth that Merle’s Door had. But, still, if it’s been a while since you’ve done your dog the duty of devoting your reading time to everything canine, sit beside your pup and open up the book.

And if you’re only going to read one, read Merle’s Door. It’s awesome.
And it made me cry. And love my dogs. Even more.

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Book Club for Winos

I’ve found it surprisingly difficult to find a good, easy-to-ready blog about books –  specifically books that match the interests of my wine-motivated book club. I’m sure they’re out there, I just haven’t had the time or patience to look hard enough. If I had that extra time on my hands, I would love to devote my own blog to the compelling dynamics of our club, and the books we choose to devour (and by devour I mean read passionately, not read at all, read a little, skim and/or just give up and watch the movie…).

But, lo and behold…there aren’t enough hours in my day. So that time-consuming pipe dream will now be a recurring post on my blog. After all, what we choose to read – and whom we spend our nights drinking wine and chatting for hours with – really is a transparent piece of our own Living Rooms.

Now, to reword an annoyingly overused (and overly paraphrased) tagline, “What happens at book club, stays at book club.” Don’t get me wrong…us girls don’t do anything crazy. But we definitely get chatty (like I said, it’s a wine-motivated book club). And since the girls in the club aren’t sitting around writing blogs about me, I don’t think I should be writing about them.

I do, however, love a good book review. And I figured you might like one too. We try our best to read a book a month. But being a mix of hard-working teachers, sales-reps, writers, bartenders, wives, mothers and mothers-to-be, that doesn’t always happen.

So here are my thoughts – with a touch of my recollected feedback from my book club companions – about what we have read in the past 6 or so months…

1. Eat, Pray, Love

If you’re still in Italy, put  down the book and go to the theater…it doesn’t get any better. I likened the book to grabbing a drink with an old friend you haven’t seen in a while, and spending the entire night listening to her pout about how hard it was to spend three months eating great food, seeing beautiful places and meeting new men…and as she rambled away, all that my cynical mind could think was, “really you got divorced and when all your money ended up with your lawyers, you came up with a clever marketing scheme to get rich, and see the world. This pinot better be on you.”

Now, I have heard a lot of people say they liked it. And I did like the idea of the book. But, I feel like it lacked depth. I can see how the movie would be much, much better (a rarity), as so much is based on the beauty of these three cultures (Italy, India and Indonesia). And of course, it’s been a while since we’ve gotten to see Julia Roberts shine her pearly whites.

The book wasn’t for me. The overall response from book club — “eh.”

 

  2. The Glass Castle

 

Now this is a memoir worth reading!  I so, so, sooo loved this book! My favorite book-club choice by far.

Just imagine the most self-absorbed, nonsensical, outrageous couple you know…and give them 4 children. The world these kids were brought up in is almost too outrageous to believe, but that’s what makes the story so spectacular. Seriously, you couldn’t make this stuff up. It not only dips deep into your imagination, but makes you stop and think about nature vs. nurture along with what goes on among some aspect of our nation’s homeless population (I’m not in any way saying that all those in poverty live this way).  The book is written by one of the 4 kids in the family, and I thought she was brilliant.

I highly recommend this read. The overall response from book club — “wow.”*

*…”wow” is from what  I recall. One or two might have thought it was just, “okay.”

 

3. The Help

Interesting premise. Kept my attention. It wasn’t the greatest book I’ve ever read, but everyone else in book club really, really enjoyed it.

Set in the 60’s, it’s a very clever story told from three points of view — one, a wealthy, white southern girl; the other two, the hired “help.” It definitely felt inspirational, and had some great historical relevance that helps people from my generation get a glimpse about how much our parents and grandparents have seen and overcome. The dialect was a little tricky for me at first, and I felt like some of the parts were just left hanging, but I still think it’s worth the read. I can see my own children having to read this for a literature class some day.

I say check it out. The overall response from book club — “a must read!”

 

4. The Other Boleyn Girl

Deception, romance, royalty…I was so engrossed in this book.

I’ve never really known much about this family, so, to me, this book was an absolute page-turner.  However, since a lot of the girls in my book club had either watched The Tudors or seen The Other Boleyn Girl movie, they found the book to be long and slow. So if you know what happens, it’s probably not worth picking up. But, if you’re like me, and this is all new to you, definitely read it.

I say if you’re curious, read it. The overall response from book club — “we knew what happened.”

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Have you read any of these books and agree/disagree? Let me know! I’d love to hear your thoughts!

 Have any ideas on what we should read next? We’re always looking for something new, so let me know if you have any suggestions!

Our next book club is around the corner. We read The Beach House by Mary Alice Monroe. I thought it was fantastic, but I’ll wait till I’m with the girls to give a review.

Happy reading!

– Emily

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