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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Dec 2018 – First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen

Photo Dec 17, 7 05 49 PM*Make sure you follow our ladies of Historic College Park Book Club blog! Don’t miss a book! 

I have to apologize to the book club gals!! I put the incorrect address on the evite for book club last night! Yikes!  I inadvertently put Amy’s address instead of Angie’s! There’s a first for everything.  Thankfully they both live on the same street!

Thanks to Angie for hosting our end of year book club meeting!  It’s also a  white elephant gift exchange (or Dirty Santa gifts some call it).   Our December book is by Sarah Addison Allen called First Frost.  I try to choose a holiday themed book for December.  Sarah also wrote Garden Spell which Angie said is delightful.  First Frost reminded me of the movie Practical Magic just a wee bit.  I love the aspect of people creating magical affects through cooking, or organizing or… cutting hair?  Thanks to Angie for our special cookie cake reading “Merry Chirstmas HCPBC!’ so sweet!  And to our dear Kelly who actually baked the recipe for the special bread – it was divine!!

For author bio click HERE 

We enjoyed the book very much.  It was in the vein of women and communities coming together – their relationships and the magical world Sarah Addison Allen creates is wonderful as it unfolds before you as you read.

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We nibbled and sipped hard cider as we went through book club discussion questions.   We gathered for our white elephant gift exchange – with a few gifts being stolen as laughter ensued.  We’ve been doing this meeting once a month since 2007 when we began our book club.  There were just a few of us when I decided to begin our adventures.   Many of us are in multiple book clubs – because yes we love to read.   Some are definitely more strict than ours – some even are an excuse to get together and just drink and talk!  Ours is somewhere in between those two extremes.   Many have come and gone through the years.   One thing remains – a small group of gals who love to read, discuss, giggle, be serious, drink (a given) and gather as friends in our quaint historic district just SW of Atlanta.   Some meetings are more intense than others.  Most are just enjoyable as we discuss and go along the paths of discussion where the subject matter takes us.

See you in 2019!!!  Cheers!!!

 

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!

 

Sept 2018 – Beneath A Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan

Photo Sep 18, 6 17 08 PMReading brings to light people places events and things we would never cross paths with in our lives.  We were completely delighted with Beneath A Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan.   I’ve never associated WWII and Hitler with Italy – our eyes have been opened!

Mark Sullivan brings to light Pino Lella’s experiences and choices during WWII.   It’s completely captivating through and through.   Highly recommend reading.  I have found several photos of Pino being that this is based on a true story – there are wonderful photographs out there!

We gathered in my home for September, La Petite Maison de Joie (the Little House of Joy lovingly named by dear friend Sherry Gaines).   Delightful evening ladies. Truly.  I look forward to book club every month and what it brings out in discussions.  We each bring our own unique perspective to every meeting.  And that my friends…. is the entire point! If we were all the same how very boring it would be!!!

For author bio click MARK SULLIVAN 

I came across a video from Wagner College and a group called High Society – Very interesting…  Click HERE to view

*For those reading our book club blog, make sure you follow us so that you don’t miss a book! Cheers!

 

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!

Aug – I am Malala

AF7A58DC-063D-415C-B2E5-8E92F95A7913Wonderful meeting ladies! We gathered at the quaint cottage of Julie A. for our August book I am Malala by Christina Lamb and Malala Yousafzai.

Imagine if you will – living in a land where you had to risk your life as a girl to go to school.  Your burning desire to learn and be free was far greater than risk of death – until that alone becomes a realistic factor – death.  Being shot for fighting to attending school, this book I am Malala is riveting.   She’s the youngest person to ever receive the Nobel Peace Prize.  

For author bios

Malala Yousafzai 

Christina Lamb 

Many lines of conversation took flight speaking about differences of our world here in the United States to that of many Middle Eastern worlds.   How incredibly lucky we are to live in such a free and wonderful (for the most part) world.

Thanks for hosting Julie as always! I have my favorites in your home and enjoy discovering something new every time I’m there.

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

Sept 2016 – The Color of Light by Karen White

img_7187Rainy night in Georgia.    Yes that song ALWAYS comes to mind when it rains in Atlanta – especially on a book club nights.

We had a wonderful group of gals come out in what seemed like torrential rains.  We were soaked as we carefully made our way through puddles huddling under umbrellas.  I for one have been DYING to see Stephanie’s lovely yellow Victorian style cottage.  She has a very spacious front porch where we were originally going to sit – however we would have been sponge-like if we had.  Thus we moved inside to the front parlor.   Did I mention I ADORE your home Stephanie??  :::shaking head gleefully::::

Once inside we were greeted by her sweet kitty cat who looked as if she were ready for Halloween — a slight skin rash had previously prompted a sheering of Ms. Kitty.

We had a few I haven’t seen for quite some time (Colleen aka super girl (flight attendant) and our gloriously curly headed Carol (hugs!) and Claire-Bear.  Love seeing you all!   For those who could not attend — you were deeply missed.  Completely.   Prayers and hugs go out to our sweet Emily and the Robinson family.  Continue love and support for our Julie A.  What a great group of women we have in our midst.

On to the book!   Author bio on Karen White (who lives in Atlanta by the way can be seen >>HERE<<.    Everyone who read the book pretty much liked it.   Eileen felt that the author let some of the characters off too easily —  and maybe too much hot steamy sex (although some of us enjoyed that – ahem).   We dove into book club discussion questions which can be found at the end of this post right before the photos.   Thanks everyone for all the wonderful pics!  Anda you rock!

We discussed also that bonding with your child is so very important.  Sometimes if you haven’t had that love from a mother/father it may be hard for you to bond with your own children.  Hopefully you eventually do.

Thanks to Stephanie for having our meeting in your home! Next month is at Claire’s.  Nov and Dec are at the Pritchards.   I need January host!  Thanks again for everyone coming out on this rainy night in Georgia.  I loved seeing everyone.   Keeping our book club going strong!

After I left on my way back to Birmingham, I put my book into one of our many Little Free Libraries in Historic College Park.  Magical indeed.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  • In what ways are the constellations important to Jillian? Why do they hold such a fascination for her?
  • What role does forgiveness play in the novel? For whom is it important and in what different ways is it asked for and given?
  • Discuss the different ways motherhood is represented in the novel. Are they positive or negative? Why?
  • Why does Linc disguise his identity from the community? Is this effective
  • How is Jillian’s failed marriage related to her difficult childhood
  • How is Jillian’s relationship with Linc different from her relationship with Rick? How is it similar?
  • On page 303, Linc thinks to himself that he and Jillian “had always seen the core of things that existed under all the surface flaws.” Why does he think this, and how do he and Jillian demonstrate this in their lives?
  • How do the townspeople feel about Linc returning to Pawley’s Island?
  • Why is Janie’s plastic flower garden important to her?
  • How does the epigraph by Alfred Lord Tennyson relate to the story to come?
  • Why is Jillian afraid of the dark? How does she finally overcome that fear?
  • When does Jillian realize that it was she who drove Rick away? What brings her to this realization and how does it change her?