August 2019 – The Last Castle by Denise Kiernan

Photo Aug 27, 7 06 51 PMWe’ve had some rainy weather so far in August!  Last night we gathered at the home of Laura Lee Gentry (thanks for hosting sweet friend!) which is always a fun night.   She and her hubby have an incredible edible garden out back – I’m inspired!  My favorite was the chocolate peppermint (think Peppermint Patties) and the basil.  Oh the basil!!! :::dreamy sigh::::

Our book for August is The Last Castle by Denise Kiernan.  We explored the world of the Vanderbilts and the incredible home they built in Ashville, NC.  We’ve all visited this architectual wonder.  The intrigue of the iconic Vanderbilts and the people who swirled around their social circles is quite fascinating.   Can you imagine growing up in the Biltmore estate?  I can!!!

For author Denise Kiernan bio click HERE 

For book club questions click HERE 

There are many tales of ghosts who walk the halls of the Biltmore – the most famous is George Vanderbilt himself!  Upon my last visit years ago, I of course asked the staff (in hushed tones of course – much more fun that way) ifthere were INDEED tales of ghosts.  With a very serious glance around to make sure no one was listening, they confirmed that YES there are certain wings and rooms of the Biltmore that are avoided like the plague due to unusual occurrences happening.  Doors opening or closing – voices echoing when no one is there, foot steps on upper floors.  George Vanderbilt died in the Biltomore  so you KNOW it HAS to be HIIM!  It’s more fun to think it is anyway!

We enjoyed The Last Castle very much – we hope you do too!

Until next time!

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Feb 2019 – Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

AF7A58DC-063D-415C-B2E5-8E92F95A7913 2Thanks to everyone who made the trip North of the city on a rainy traffic filled night to nest at Claire’s home for book club!  We seem to have had a ‘rainy season’ descend upon the South and it’s completely sucked beans for weeks now …or has it been months.  It’s been a long rainy while I’ll tell you that.    Jenny and I actually were able to grab a pre-book club cocktail at Blue Grotto right around the corner from Claires!  All about the cocktail baby!  A big thank you to Claire for hosting!  Always a wonderful day when we get to see Claire.

I remember seeing this book on Reese Witherspoon’s book club list and I added it to ours.  I’m so glad I did!  A wonderful story woven in the marsh of North Carolina.   A love story, a coming of age so many things author Delia Owens wrapped in this wonderful story.

For author bio click HERE  

For book club questions click HERE 

We talked of how painful to think of leaving a 6 year old girl alone to fend with a raging violent alcoholic father who may or may not be present was mind-blowing.  The way Kya learned how to take care of herself was inspirational.   We loved that Kya became an author and expert of the area and natural world that she loves.   The ending was a twist we were not expecting!!!  I brought up the query of how her mother’s sister didn’t send for the children when the mother showed up?  I thought that was bizarre and cold.

It was a delightful read – very much able to visualize where Kya lived, the marsh and nature that inspired and kept her safe.

P.S. we really DID have an issue opening that bottle of friggin’ wine! Holy snap!

We all enjoyed the book — for those who couldn’t join us you were missed!

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Nov 2018 – Courting Disaster by Julie Edelson

Photo Nov 26, 8 37 46 PM*Make sure you follow our book club blog so that you don’t miss a book! 

Thanksgiving 2018 November

The year has flown by!!!  We hope our fellow bibliophiles have had a wonderful year and hope your holidays will be fabulous!

We gathered in Amy’s lovely home! Thanks for hosting!!!  You know we all come just for the pug!!!!

Our November book was Courting Disaster — recommended to me by a client we did an estate sale for — he’s a retired professor —  I could NOT get through the book!  Thank for for those who could and did!!!  Several enjoyed it once they were a good 3/4 of the way in.  Bravo!!!  I hardly EVER put a book down.    The characters were not well developed to me and the language was just over the top — even for me and we know it must be because I can handle foul language.    It was recommended in the vein of the it being Thanksgiving. No clue whatsoever how that connection was made for this book.   That’s what book club is about!!!   Reading something that you would not normally be drawn to.  And getting through it – sadly I failed on this one.   I’m ok with that.  :::sigh::::

We ended up asking and answering questions about our own Thanksgiving traditions, family gatherings past and present.   Always enlightening sharing your own experiences with others – especially once a few glasses of wine have been consumed!!! Share freely!!!  I shared my Thanksgiving ritual as a small girl — when we were on break for Thanksgiving my older sister and I would pull out the Monopoly game and play for the entire week!  I coveted that time with her – I was the pesky kid sister you know (I really was not – I think she was just grumpy)  I was a bit of a finicky eater – and would hide undesirable food in my socks especially at Thanksgiving.   Of course my dog Brownie would be the happy recipient of said food at a later time.

**** on a wonderful note of discovery — our sweet member Kelly brought her incredible peanut stuffed dates rolled in sugar.  Sounds gross but oh my WORD WERE THEY ADDICTIVE!!!!  Kelly said it’s her grandmothers recipe.  Thank you Kelly!

For a glimpse into the author click Julie Edelson 

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

 

Oct 2018 -See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

Photo Oct 23, 5 53 12 PMA wonderful Fall night finally in Atlanta!!!  You know how the South is….  crisp cool air wearing boots in the evening then the next day we’re in flip flops shorts.   Thanks for hosting Wendy!!!!  Always love coming to your quaint home and seeing the furbabies!

We were greeted with delightful aromas as Ari (Wendy’s guest from Costa Rica) made empanadas! They were delightful! So nice to finally meet you Ari and thanks for contributing to our feast and for the conversations!  So very happy to see Eileen, our very special Julie A and Claire!!! What a delight!  Ginger B joined us along with Julie S.  Fun group for sure!

Here’s article on our author and book from the NYTimes 

For author bio on Sarah Schmidt click HERE  

For a PEAK inside the Borden home which is now a B & B click HERE 

Almost everyone I dare say has heard something about the infamous Lizzie Borden murders.   Our October book tries to fill in some of the ‘cracks’ if you will in the historical case of Lizzie Borden murdering her parents.  Although acquitted of the crimes, everything seems to point to her being guilty.

We pondered as a group thinking she surely had some type of mental disorder and also that she was a sociopath to boot.   Without having any real eye-witness to her daily life, from the stories we’ve read and from this book she had erratic behavior.   The movie that has just been released called Lizzie is another twist suggesting she was romantically involved with Bridget.   There’s really no account of her being romantically involved with anyone male or female.  The group discussed perhaps the oddness of her uncle John with inappropriate affection it seems.   We spoke of the longing of Emma to be free of Lizzie, and the toxic relationship between the girls and their parents.  Well… what family doesn’t have dysfunction…. right?

We meandered off the path  – which is the fun of any book club.  We talked about the wonderful dating adventures of Wendy —  about other serial killers (no one Wendy’s dating I assure you just serial killers in general).    We spoke of experiences with step-mothers and our own parents.

For the most part we all enjoyed the book and the fact that the author came up with creative ways for filling in gaps – such as the reason Emma chose to leave Lizzie 10 years after the trial for reasons unknown.  Perhaps because she found out she WAS indeed guilty?  Just like the center of a tootsie roll pop we will never really know.

Make sure you follow our blog so that you don’t miss a book club meeting!

Dare to BARE your SOUL at book club ladies!

March 2018- The Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

Photo Mar 27, 6 12 59 PMThanks Angela for making a tasty dinner for us (so THATS what an oven is used for…… ah ha! ) You are too kind!   Your home is lovely – as are your kids and kitties! Welcome new member Susan Gatehouse!

Our March read was The Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly.  Click HERE for author bio and click HERE for Book summary.  

We were super happy to have our Sherry join us from Chattanooga! Sherry and I started early to chat at our very own ‘secret’ speakeasy The Duck Club for pre-book club cocktails and catch up! Miss you soooo much Sherry -sooooo good to see you!

We completely loved The Lilac Girls.  Each chapter intertwines the lives of these very different women living through Hitler’s horrific madness.  As events happen the knot tightens pulling these women together in a loop you’ll never forget.  This is Martha Hall Kelly’s first book which landed on the NY Times best seller list!   Ms Kelly writes in historic fiction based on real people living through the growing panic in WWII.  Ms. Kelly researched for years finally producing a wonderful story that captured our hearts and minds.

See you next month as we begin The Hidden Light of Northern Fires by Daren Wang

Happy reading ladies! See you next month if not before! Cheers! #HCPBookClub

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June 2016 – The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom

FullSizeRender (5)June meeting was held in the lovely home of Eileen Murphy.  Thanks for hosting!

Recap:

Four of us for book club:
Linda Gravitt
Linda Pritchard
Judy Bean
Myself
All read the book. Although Linda P. read it some time ago. Author’s first book. We predict she will write a follow up to the story.  Wonder which characters she will follow?
Author Bio – Kathleen Grissom 
Judy felt she had read this story before – Jefferson and his Sally Hemings.
I admitted this genre is not one I would have picked but I read it because I was hosting the event. However, I did learn something regarding indentured servants that I didn’t know before. We all agreed that being in a book club exposes you to different types of books and that’s why we belong.
Linda G. struggled to get into the book because of the subject matter.
We all agreed that the secrets kept by various main characters were used to move the plot along.
As usual we had trouble staying on task and ended up talking more about what’s going on in our lives than the book!
* An unfortunate event occurred in our neighborhood re: the Annual Historic College Park Arts Festival —  this was a great loss to our community that is was not approved (are we even sure what in the world happened?) and was discussed as well.
#bookclubrocks

July 2015 – Being Dead is No Excuse by Gayden Metcalf and Charlotte Hays

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Did you girls realize we arrived home at 10pm last night???  Holy Smacks! GREAT conversations.  Just wonderful.

Ok. So. For those who could NOT attend we completely talked about you all in great detail — in that we MISSED YOU so much! he he he!  We met at Linda’s home and carpooled (sorry you were in the VERY back Eilieen – far far away) to Patricia and Jerry’s new digs in Vinings.  Just lovely!  And those views!  We played tag with the elevator to see who could run up the stairs to the next floor before the elevator got there.  I’m completely kidding on that one :::giggling::::::  We miss you terribly Patricia (Jenny and I won’t miss you too much because we’ll be at the beach with you for a few days come Sunday! Woot! ).  It was great to see Jerry & Alex at the end of the meeting.  Cooper missed me like CRAZY (the cutest Havanese IN the ENTIRE WORLD I might add).

This month’s book was Being Dead is No Excuse by Gaden Metcalf & Charlotte Hays.  A very humorous look at funerals in the South specifically the Mississippi Delta in this case study.  It’s a recipe book as well – thus we had the curry chicken salad, tomato aspic (I had to ASK what aspic actually is in the car on the way to book club —  remembering that it was also in the movie Julie & Julia being that Julia Child has a recipe for it in her book.  Diane’s came out VERY well — and she even MADE mayonnaise.  Holy Smacks Bat Girl!  That alone unnerved me (non-cook here – ahem).

We had a wonderful tour of the new Vinings pad (bread crumbs were scattered to be sure we found our way back to the wine – er er I mean kitchen – he he he)  Once we were back to our starting point we perused the goodies everyone made and brought.  I contributed two bottles of wine with one counting as a food item.  We had a very cool spread with some of the recipes from the book finding their way to our table.  The chess pie was to DIE FOR along with the chicken salad and tomato sandwiches.  The sausage balls with mango chutney were quite delicious too.  I devoured a few on the trip up (Thanks Linda) we were lucky there were any of those little puppies left!

Once settled in for a good eat, drink and book club talk our discussion turned to funerals we have attended over the years.  No one EVER likes funerals however there were some GREAT giggle moments and sad ones as well as we took a stroll down ‘funeral memory lane’ for the evening.   Being that we have an international sort of book club group it was very interesting to hear the differences of funerals in the UK and S Africa versus here in the US and even breaking that down by church affiliation.  We all sort of threw our ‘what we want to happen to us’ at the end of our lives too.  I vote for huge party and scatter mine off Sullivan’s Island in SC.

I apologize to Linda Gravitt I completely forgot to add you for evening’s festivities!!! Next month I hope! Super happy you can attend!

Our next book is on our website HCPBoookClub.com be sure to follow our blog so that you don’t miss a minute of our book club escapades here in Historic College Park just SW of the big ATL! Woot!

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