Mar 20, 2009


How do you feel about choosing? Do you like to make choices? Last night was book club at my house. Once a year we have a book club meeting where we choose the books we will read for the next year and last night was that meeting. Everyone brings whatever books they want to recommend, we go around the room and everyone talks about their books. In the end everyone gets 10 , very precious, votes to vote for their top ten favorite books. Only ten because we only meet for 10 months out of the year.

By the end of the day I was tired of making choices. I had to choose what refreshments to serve. I had to choose which books I was going to bring to book club. I had to choose whether to clean both downstairs bathrooms or just one :)

But I finally did choose 6 books that I was going to bring. It is so hard to limit myself. I am one of those girls who from day one has always brought a huge stack of books home from the library. Since I know everyone is always looking for something new to read let me tell you what books I brought and then I will tell you which 10 books were chosen so you will have 16 new book ideas when you are done reading my blog today.

I brought:

Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns
This is a great story told by Will Tweedy who is 14 and lives in the VERY small town of Cold Sassy, Georgia. It is about his grandpa whose beloved, saintly wife dies at the beginning of the book and how grandpa shocks the town, by very soon after the death marrying a young milliner in the town by the name of Miss. Love. It talks about how the town deals with this, how they gossip, how mean they are, and how things finally work out.

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
This is a true story a woman wrote about her growing up years. She is a well known journalist and for years hid from the public how she had grown up. She had nomad parents who were very free spirited, stubborn, non conforming people. They rarely had money and just were not very responsible parents. But she writes about her experiences growing up in a very generous way. And it is very interesting to see how she and her siblings survive and how they succeed despite their parents. At times the book is a little shocking but I love it because you can have a great discussion when you read this book. And I am always all about the discussion I mean, how fun is it if you have nothing to say about the book?

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
I resisted reading Rebecca for a long time. But the minute I picked it up I was sucked into it. It was written in the 30's and was extremely popular. It is a romance, suspense. And how do I get you to read it? Let's see there is handsome, rich Maxim who has a secret. He marries again after Rebecca dies and brings his second wife back to his estate, Manderlay, and all sorts of fun starts.

Outliers by Malcom Gladwell
An "outlier" is a superachiever....I am one :) Don't you want to know how people succeed? What causes them to succeed? What your chances of success are? What Bill Gates and the Beatles have in common? Malcom Gladwell also wrote the Tipping Point and Blink and they are all super interesting....even though I have not yet read them :) but I totally believe all the reviews. Trust me, Malcolm has a gift for explaining anything to anyone.

Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
My sister Sarah told me about this book. Stephenie Meyer, you know.... the Twilight author ?, highly recommends this book on her website. I bought it for Madeline for Christmas since I really wanted to read it and Madeline loved it. It is about an America in the future that is a TV dominated dictatorship run from a city called the Capital and the highlight of the year for the 12 districts is the Hunger Games, a bloodthirsty reality TV show in which 24 teenagers are chosen by lottery to fight each other in a desolate environment called the arena. It is about a girl whose little sister gets chosen by lottery to participate in the Hunger Games and about how the older sister volunteers to take her sister's place. I fear it may be violent but I am still too curious to not read it.

Expecting Adam by Martha Beck
Raise you hand if you do not know who Martha Beck is... she is Hugh Nibley's daughter. She is not a Mormon. And I confess I do not know how to tastefully describe how I feel about her. So I won't. But this book is interesting. All about her pregnancy with her Down Syndrome child. I think from a Mormon perspective what interests me about this book is how she has so many spiritual experiences and yet refuses to acknowledge them for what they honestly are.

Our 10 books that we are reading this year are:

Deep Survival by Laurence Gonzales
I am very anxious to read this one. It is all about how who lives, who survives and why. "True stories of miraculous endurance and sudden death."

Princess Bride by William Goldman
I have always wanted to read the book. I have heard so many people say it is great. But I do not know what could beat actually seeing it :)

Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns

The Perfect Mile by Neal Bascomb
My 18 year old Madeline decided to join book club and she brought this book. It is about 3 men in the 1950's who all thought it was possible to break the 4 minute mile and about how they set goals and suffer setbacks to achieve this goal.

The Watermelon King by Daniel Wallace
This book is a tale of a young man's search for answers. And the few reviews I read about it were good.

The Life of Pi by Yan Marten
This is a young adult book that I have seen in the bookstore and the library tons of times but never actually picked it up. So I am interested to finally see what it is all about.

The Dog Says How by Kevin Kling
This book sounds very funny. It is just 29(?) short stories all from Kevin Kling's life. Incidentally, the author has performed widely on NPR as a storyteller. Kevin has a withered arm so he has a voice-activated computer and he got the title to his book from the fact that whenever his dog barks the noise sensitive computer says"how" and whenever his cat meows the computer says"why." I could find nothing but great reviews on this book also.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
I confess I have never read this book. I think I own it and I know I have heard about it. But I have no idea what it is about so I am really looking forward to reading it. I again read some reviews about it and I am very intrigued by the compliments for the style of writing in this "coming of age" tale.

Vienna Prelude by Brodie Thoene
Have you ever seen a book and known you had read it but you realize you can not remember when? That happened to me when I saw this book last night at book club. I knew I had read it....actually I am thinking now that maybe Kay recommended this series to me. :) Vienna Prelude is the first in the Zion Chronicles and I am interested to read it again and see if I can remember where I was when I read it the first time. It drives me crazy when I can not visualize where I was when I read a book.

In The Heart Of The Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick
Nathaniel Philbrick also wrote The Mayflower. And I loved that book. I find his writing style very enjoyable. This book is about the tragedy of the whaling ship the Essex. It covers the whaling ships voyage around Cape Horn into the South Pacific and all about the ship being rammed and capsized by an enormous sperm whale. Apparently the Essex capsizing in the 1820's was huge news in New England and New York and 8 of the crew survived. Yes, you guessed it I am excited to read this one also.


Kristy said...

Looks like you have some great books this year! I have read several of your recommendations, but there are others that I haven't heard of yet. Thanks for the suggestions!

Topher said...

Oh, I'm so excited. I thought "wow, a book club of a librarian's wife, I'm not going to know anything she's talking about" but can you believe I've not only heard of two of those, but actually READ ONE OF THEM?! I read The Life of Pi a few years ago and really, really liked it. The ending's great/complex. That's all I can say about it.

Hannah said...

Wow! I really really miss your bookclub. Have fun!acifro

Melissa said...

Love your book choices! Can I join? Mine is kind of lame and really into fantasy which I am not...

Whitney Mockler said...

This looks like a great selection. I'm excited to know what you think of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. I read it and loved the first half but felt the second half was a waste. It seemed like a rush to fit details in towards the end, whereas the first half is heartbreakingly endearing and realistic as an account of life in the NYC tenements in the early 20th century. Anyways it was still a great book and i enjoyed every page despite feeling some were more valuable.

Rachel said...

Sister Baird:
I ran across your blog this morning and loved the book list- I wrote down a few for my summer list. As I was reading, I wanted to suggest A Tree Grows In Brooklyn- it's one of my favorite books ever...but it's already on your list!! I hope you enjoy reading it!!