Tag Archives: Book Club

Book Club update and next selection

Life happens, doesn’t it? Sometimes things just move at the speed we think they should or that we plan on and sometimes they move so fast we are holding on for dear life! It just happens. But we do have the next selection for you!Women Heroes of WWII

We are reading Women Heroes of World War II: 26 Stories of Espionage, Sabotage, Resistance, and Rescue by Kathryn J Atwood. I am about halfway through and have found these stories inspiring and fascinating.

I don’t have the book in front of me but I believe that there are discussion questions in the back of the book, which is good since I cannot find any online.

We will be posting a bit later than normal for June, posting on the second Thursday (June 8) instead of the first.

Wendy and I are also excited about the books we have lined up for July and August! Things just march right along sometimes. Enjoy reading and I’ll meet up with you in a couple of weeks to discuss these heroes!

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The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion ~ Book Club

All Girl Filling Station Book Club

At the end of the last Book Club post, I mentioned the book we expected to be discussing this month. It was a very obscure one and I don’t think we realized just how obscure until we tried to get our hands on it. So, we made the decision to change and I neglected to let you all know. I apologize for that!!

We jumped over to The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg. Most people are at least a little bit familiar with Fannie Flagg’s work but don’t know it. Fannie Flagg also wrote Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café. Yes, the book on which the movie was based. Anyhow, The All-Girl Filling Station was a wonderful read. I highly suggest that you take a day or two and enjoy the fun read.

Before you move on to my summary and questions, I wanted to update this with Wendy’s link. She had some very good thoughts so please head over to Ladybug Daydreams and read her post about the book.

SUMMARY: Sookie has finally married off the last of her girls and feels like, other than her aging, somewhat-exuberant, always in the middle of something mother, she is finally free to relax. Sookie’s husband is a local dentist so she is very conscious of who she is at all times and who she represents when out and about. In addition to that, her mother has always insisted that Sookie be dressed well and, well, just insisted. About everything.

One day, though, Sookie finds out that there is a secret in her past. As she begins looking into that hint of something different, she finds a big twist that she never expected or saw coming. So much for relaxing with an empty nest! She finds herself looking far back – 1909 to be exact – and off in Poland. That is where Sookie’s story began.

Stanislaw Ludic Judabralinski left the dangerous life of Poland and headed to Chicago at the age of 14. There he lived, worked, fell in love, and married. With his wife Linka their family began. They worked hard and owned a filling station (here is where the title begins to make some sense). After having a gaggle of girls, war came, death came, and the girls had to step up to help the family. In order to attract customers to their filling station during the war (we are in WWII now), the girls advertised the all-girl filling station. They worked hard for their family and kept them together during the rough times.

But, even rougher times were ahead and one of the girls, Fritzi, decided she needed to do something more. She joined the WASP and moved to Texas to train. The WASP training was interesting and challenging and do we ever get to see a big bit of Fritzi’s character! It is fun.

All of this jumps back and forth from present day, with Sookie searching out all of this information, to the past to help us learn Sookie’s history. As we near the end of the book, the history is all making sense and well, there are still plenty of surprises for you to find out.

This is a terribly fun, interesting, and engaging story. I had such joy reading it. (I had also read another Fannie Flagg book earlier so I kind of knew what to expect with her jumps from time to time and character to character.) A definitely recommendation.

All-Girl Filling Station

Questions come from LitLovers:

1. A lot of Southern identity is wrapped up in one’s family history. “Now, just who are your people?” is an oft-quoted phrase around the region. Sookie’s biggest crisis comes when she realizes that her “people” aren’t actually who she thought they were. How does Sookie’s discovery of her true family affect her identity?

Sookie’s discovery was a shock. She felt she was an imposter, a big fake. Even a liar. She wasn’t but that is how much it impacted her. You can be an imposter or a fake or a liar when you didn’t know that what you were purporting was incorrect.

2. Though Sookie tells us that Lenore’s nickname, “Winged Victory,” came from the way she entered a room—as if she were the statuesque piece on the hood of a car rushing in—how might “Winged Victory” reflect Lenore’s personality in other ways? Does her representation as a classical goddess serve to heighten the air of history and tradition that surrounds her? How might the image of a winged woman tie Lenore in with the ladies of the WASPs?

The nickname certainly gives a larger-than-life expectation and Lenore lived up to that. She brought all eyes to her and she was the center of attention. This is the type of expectation that goddesses had in their stories – center of attention and the expectation of complete obedience and service from all. Lenore had that same personality.

I don’t know if the image of the winged woman was intentional to tie in the WASP but it certainly does. Especially when you know that the mascot of the WASP was actually a winged girl. And the WASP were women who flew, helping provide victory during the war in every way they were allowed.

3. Sookie’s best friend, Marvaleen, is constantly trying different suggestions from her life coach, Edna Yorba Zorbra. From journaling to yoga to the Goddess Within group, which meets in a yurt, Marvaleen tries every method possible to get over her divorce. How does Sookie’s approach to dealing with her problems differ from Marvaleen’s? Do you think her friendship with Marvaleen might have helped push her to confront the question of her mother?

Marvaleen was quite a character. She never really faces her problems; she just searches for another magical fix. This is where her crazy life coach comes in. I think Marvaleen was a good balance for Sookie, helping her recognize over-the-top when it showed up.

4. In The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion, we learn about a mostly unknown part of American history—the WASPs of World War II. These women went for thirty-five years without recognition because their records of service were sealed and classified. Were you surprised to learn about this? What parts of the WASPs’ story spoke to you?

Actually, not at all surprised. We have studied this recently and we were able to visit the WASP Museum in Sweetwater, TX, not too long ago. The WASP stories are amazing and the women are quite inspiring. They definitely faced things head-on!
Want to read about our visit to the museum? We’d love to share it with you!

5. “Blue Jay Away,” Sookie’s brand-new invention, keeps Sookie’s house finches and chickadees fed, while also making Sookie famous. Who do you think have been the blue jays in Sookie’s own life? Has she learned to manage them successfully?

I don’t know that we ever are able to “manage” the blue jays in our lives. We manage ourselves around them and become more confident in who we are. I think that is what happened with her mother, in particular. Sookie became more confident once she understood more about her background and was able to be more herself, rather than fitting into what someone else expected of her. That is a very freeing thing.

6. A major theme in this book is accepting your home. Sookie experiences a homecoming many times—after she first meets Fritzi and returns to Point Clear, when she goes to Lenore’s bedside at Westminster Village, and when she flies to Pulaski for the All-Girl Filling Station’s last reunion. What is your favorite part about going home? Who are the people who make home a home for you?

Home is where comfort abides. Family makes a place home. So do friends.

I truly enjoyed this read and will be reading more of Fannie Flagg’s writing. It was a joy. Watch for Wendy’s post to come up. I’ll try to remember to share it with you when it becomes available. Also, once we have decided what we will read for the coming month, I will share that, too. Thanks for joining me again for Book Club.

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Book club:Ladybug Daydrams and At Home where life happens

GIANTS : The Dwarfs of Auschwitz – Book Club

Book club:Ladybug Daydrams and At Home where life happens

This month, Wendy and I decided to read separate books to share about. We have very different tastes, which is really good. However, she had one she really wanted to read and I did, as well. So, we each read our own and are sharing about them today. Wendy wrote about The Girl On The Train.giants-the-dwarfs-of-auschwitz

GIANTS: The Dwarfs of Auschwitz – The Extraordinary Story of the Lilliput Troupe
by Yehuda Koren & Eilat Negev

In most books, I don’t read the Foreword or the Introduction. This one, however, was filled with fantastic information. Telling the background of how this story came about was fascinating. So, I start out by saying, “Don’t skip this.”

Meet the Ovitz family. Meet each of the interesting people, these unique souls. It begins in 1866, long before the horrors of the story come about. We meet the ancestors who formed the character of the Ovitz family and the fortitude with which they faced life.

The Ovitz family was made up of seven dwarfs and their tall family members. They are an all-dwarf performance group during the 1930s and 1940s in Eastern Europe (Transylvania, specifically the town of Rozavlea). They traveled all over and we very well known.

However, one major problem arose for this well-known and loved group – they were Jewish and they didn’t fit the Nazi German idea for a normal person. This family was rounded up with so many millions of others and sent to a concentration camp – Auschwitz to be specific. They stayed together, as their mother so often had reminded them to do before passing on from this life. And that probably saved their lives. Seven dwarfs in a single family arrived together and caught the attention of those who were told to watch for twins for Dr. Mengele.

Dr. Mengele was very happy to have a group of so many dwarfs, along with their tall siblings, to add to his medical experiments. While the dwarfs lives were spared for these experiments rather than being sent to the gas chambers or the incenerators like 9 out of every 10 who arrived at  Auschwitz, their lives were made absolutely miserable (not a good word but no other word comes to mind) by this doctor. They were poked, proded, injected, had specimens taken from them, and a million other variations of private invasion to see if the doctor could determine just what he wanted to know.

This family survived and were able to leave the concentration camps but they still had a long road ahead of them. These who were so well-off before the Nazi invasions were now destitute. And in a world where everything they needed had to be specially made, this was a great hard-ship, even with their able bodied siblings alongside. Moving to Israel, the family begins the slow process of rebuilding their lives.

My thoughts:
This story was absolutely fascinating, though incredibly difficult to read at points. I still struggle to understand how the world had something like the Nazi regime occur and how the atrocities that went on were approved of by men who thought themselves right. The awful, disgusting experiments that were done on the Ovitz family and so many, many others are unbelievable. But this story is one that will touch you deeply.

The love of the family for each other and for their heritage and religion is beautiful to read. I enjoyed reading about the Ovitz family because it brought another layer of understanding to my knowledge of WWII. To read about the world this family came from and the one they died in and all that was between is to read and feel the human story of life in some of the brightest days and some of the darkest of humanity.

I highly recommend this book to adults. There is certainly too much in it for most teenagers to be reading when it comes to the detail of the experiments that were performed. But it is a good book to read and see the resilience of humanity and the neighborliness that can exist, even when things are dark.the-whistler

Next Month:
In April, we will posting about the book The Whistler by John Grisham. This will be interesting. I used to love to read John Grisham so we’ll see if I still enjoy it. 🙂

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Beric The Briton – Book Club

This is going to be pretty short. I have not finished Beric The Briton so I don’t have tons to say about it. Two reasons I didn’t finish: 1) life and 2) Henty gets kind of wordy sometimes. 🙂

beric-the-briton
Beric is really quite interesting but the first 150 pages of the book (PDF format that I have) took quite a bit of work to get through. Interesting and informative and necessary to understand the rest of the book but difficult, none-the-less. There are lots of names, many unusual, in this story and Henty doesn’t clearly identify who is who and how they are related or which group of people they belong with. Once I got past that and understood who all of the people were, I have really started to enjoy the story.

Beric takes place in England (Briton) when Rome was taking over the world. The native peoples of Briton had been beaten previously in battle and Beric, the son of one of the chiefs, was taken prisoner. As a prisoner of Rome, he was treated really well. He was educated with a Roman tutor and taught Latin and their beliefs and understandings. He grew to understand them very well. After several years, he was released to his people.

Several actions on the part of Rome happen that cause the Britons to rise up against Rome. Many battles take place and the Britons are eventually beaten pretty severely. Beric is taken prisoner again but this time, he is going to be transported to Rome.

The point I am at in the story is where Beric is being taken to Rome. They are not there yet.

I find that I really enjoy the Henty novels because they are laden with history, viewpoints you don’t get from history books, and perspectives that help you view others differently. They are so full of learning and ideas. But, they can be difficult to really get into. Once you do though, they are very much worth the effort of having pushed on.

I would really enjoy hearing from you if you have read any Henty novels. Which have you read and which was your favorite?

The book club had some hiccups this month so I don’t believe that Wendy got a post up but I do believe that next month we will be reading The Whistler but John Grisham.

EDIT: We will post about The Whistler on April 6. The March post (March 2) will be whatever you want. I’ll have to decide what I am going to read and share. I’ll throw up a quick post soon in case someone wants to read along with me.

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Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – Book Club

Book club:Ladybug Daydrams and At Home where life happens

It’s that time again – Book Club. This month Wendy challenged me. A lot! She asked if we could read Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. I admit that I almost told her no, even after knowing that her son had read it. You see, I had picked the book up before and thought it sounded really interesting. Then, I opened it. I was really creeped out by the photos. So badly that I put the book back on the shelf and resolved not to pick it up again. Visual things stick in my mind for a long time, even well written descriptions, so I avoid things like this for my peace of mind. I figured if the photos creeped me out so badly what would the book and all its detailed descriptions do? Then, Wendy brought the request to read it for this month. I decided that part of the challenge of the book club was to read and experience genres and books that I wouldn’t necessarily choose to read of my own accord. This one certainly fell in this category. So, I decided to be brave, said yes and here we are, pleasantly surprised.

miss-peregrine-at-the-book-club

Synopsis:

Jacob Portman has been told stories all his life. As he grew, he quit believing they were real. But what if they were? What if his grandfather’s stories were not fairy tales about peculiar children that could levitate? Or were invisible? Or could create fire? Or all those other strange abilities? When Jacob grandfather is killed, Jacob struggles with what to believe, with who to believe. Perhaps a trip to the island his grandfather always talked about would help remove the mist from the stories, to put these peculiar children and their pictures behind him and allow Jacob to get on with his life. Or perhaps the trip will turn into something much, much more.

As always, a spoiler warning is in effect. The questions come from LitLovers.

1. What effect did the photographs have on how you experienced this novel? In fact, what was your reading experience of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children? How did it make you feel? Were you disturbed…or fascinated…or something else?  Did the book hold your interest?

As I mentioned above, I was NOT going to read this book simply because of the pictures. But, I was able to get around that when I checked the ebook out from the library and read it using the OneClick app on my Kindle. I was able to skim past the photos without looking at them. There was enough description in the book that there was no need for me to spend any time on the pictures. The book was fascinating and the story propelled me along without the photos and I am thankful that I didn’t need them to get through the story.

2. What’s wrong with Jacob Portman? What’s his problem?

I don’t think anything is wrong with Jacob Portman. I think he is just a kid trying to figure life out.

3. What about Abe Portman, what kind of character is he? What kind of a world does he create in his stories for young Jacob? Why do the stories intrigue Jacob so much?

Abe Portman was a grandpa who loved his grandchild. He wove stories for him, teaching him things he needed to know in a way that wasn’t scary. His stories brought to life much of what he went through and wanted to prepare Jacob for. It was a fun, fascinating, wonderful world that he taught Jacob about. He did such a good job telling his stories that it was hard to differentiate between the real and the unreal.

4. As he moves into adolescence, why does Jacob begin to doubt the veracity of his grandfather’s stories? In what way does he think they may be connected to Abe’s struggle under the Nazis?

He begins to doubt the stories because he is trying to connect them with things that he is being taught as fact, as truth, as real and possible. Yet much of the stories cannot be connected with fact and truth, real and tangible, because too many people don’t know it. It is difficult to continue believing something when the majority of people tell you it is made up.

5. What makes Jacob think his grandfather’s death is more sinister than what the official miss-peregrines-homeversion claims?

He saw the scene and the creature. He talked to his grandfather during those last moment of his life, when his grandfather was going through trauma and extreme fear.

6. Talk about the house in Wales. When Jacob first lays eyes on it, he observes that it “was no refuge from monsters, but a monster itself.” Would you say the house serves as a setting to the story…or is its role something else—a character, perhaps?

I did not see the house as something bigger than a setting. It was a foundation for the story, anchoring what Jacob knew to what he was seeing and experiencing throughout the story.

7. Are you able to make sense of the “after,” the time loop? Can you explain it? Do you enjoy the way Riggs plays with time in his novel?

The time loop was hard for me to understand the first time it was experienced in the story but after that, it made sense and was interesting. It played a pivotal role in how the story works and to have come up with that idea, to employ it in this way was interesting. The ability to pass through or manipulate time has long been fascinating to mankind and I think Riggs does a wonderful job of using the ideas of time travel and what can be done through it in his story.

8. Were you surprised by the direction that the story took? Were you expecting it to go elsewhere? Were you able to suspend disbelief enough to enjoy the story’s turn of events?

I can’t say that I was surprised, except by the lack of ending. It just stopped. But as for expectations with the twists and turns of the story, I didn’t really feel like I was expecting something but rather just enjoying the ways the paths ran through the story.

9. Talk, of course, about the peculiar children. Which of their oddities and personalities do you find most intriguing?

I don’t know that I liked one more than another. Each was unique and added a lot to the story. I will say I found it rather disturbing that the author spent such time thinking up strange and creepy ways for these children to be “peculiar.” It did make the story interesting in a way it could not have been with normal, ordinary children.

10. Some readers have complained about the inconsistency of the narrative voice, that it was perhaps too sophisticated for a young boy, even an adolescent? Do you agree, or disagree? Does the narrative voice change during the course of the novel?

I kind of liked the way the narrative grew and changed as the story unfolded and Jacob experienced more and more, realizing where reality lay. As he matured in his knowledge of the stories of his grandfather, I think is right that his narrative voice would mature as well.

11. Does the end satisfy? Are loose ends tied up….or left hanging? This is the first book of a planned series. Will you read future installments? Where do you think Riggs will take his readers next?

Leaving the story unfinished was pretty lousy, in my opinion. I like to have reason to continue reading the next book but I don’t like it when the story is left completely unresolved, with more questions than it even began with. I don’t know if I will read the next ones or not. It was a fun and pleasant read but I don’t have a burning desire to follow the story, even with everything left in a shambles.

Visit Ladybug Daydreams to read Wendy’s thoughts on Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

Did you read along with us this month? If so, we would love to hear what you thought. You can connect with us by writing a comment or if you wrote a blog post about it, link it up in the linky. Then go visit others to read what they thought about the book.

Thank you for joining Wendy of Ladybug beric-the-britonDaydreams and myself on this journey through literature we might not dare on our own.

Next month, we will be reading the GA Henty novel titled Beric the Briton. I have read three other Henty novels and loved them. This one ought to be fun as well. Hope you will join us for that discussion, posting on Feb. 2, 2017.

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Someone Knows My Name – Book Club

Book club:Ladybug Daydrams and At Home where life happens

My, oh my, y’all. . . this was a book. I know – not a very intelligent statement but I’m finding it hard to write a good opening line because this book is so full of amazing contrasts. It was such a good read: easy and flowed well and grabbed my attention while being one of the hardest books I have ever read due to the content. It was an emotional book to read: touching, heart-wrenching, gut-punching, joyful, exciting, scary. The ups and downs were so big and so unexpected. It was a masterfully told story, a fictional account, of one of the most real, alive people I’ve ever encountered. It grabbed hold from the beginning and did not let go, even after the writing had all been read. I read way, way past my bedtime more than once because I could not put this book down. But be prepared, it is tough because this is real life being described. someone-knows-my-name

It is not about a real person. It is a novel. However, it is based on the lives of millions of people abducted from their homelands and brought to America as slaves. Aminata is the central character of this story and she was abducted from her home, amidst a very violent, deadly episode, when she was only 11. I. Can’t. Even. Imagine. Everything you have ever heard about slavery is brought to clear, distinct detail in Aminata’s life. She is so very real that the horrors inflicted on her throughout her life are clear, almost as if you are seeing them happen right before your eyes.

We agreed to discuss the questions from LitLovers for this book. I picked some of the questions but there are others that might be interesting for you to explore.

1 – What is the significance of the title Someone Knows My Name?your-past-didnt-matter-quote

One of the important statements that is brought to life throughout the book is that one’s name is a recognition of them as a human, as a person. So to know someone’s name is to recognize them as a real person and to show them some respect. I think one of my favorite scenes for this was when, as slaves aboard the ship bringing them to America, they would sing their names, loud and clear, proclaiming who they were and not allowing that to be lost, through all the rest of the losses that were occurring.

2 – What is your opinion about Hill’s suggestion that Aminata’s very youthfulness at the time of her abduction enables her emotional survival, even as some of the adults in her world show signs of crumbling?

This truth is seen over and over again, though accidents and injuries and all the other things in this world that try to rip us apart. The children seem best able to mold into what is needed for the next step of our life’s journey. The youthfulness of Aminata allowed her to see that she could change, to remember her father’s and mother’s instruction, and to continue on, full of survival and life.

3 – Aminata suffers some horrifying cruelties at the hands of her captors, but her understanding-others-quoterelationships with her masters aren’t always what you’d expect. How does Aminata’s story reveal the complex ways that people react to unnatural, unequal relationships?

Fear and misunderstanding drives a lot of the communication barriers that exist. I think this is clear with the story, as well. Aminata’s first master in  America was fearful and didn’t really know how to react amid that kind of fear. It almost seems that he knew how reliant he was on the slaves and was fearful that he would lost his standing without them. Yet her second master didn’t really treat her like a master. He treated her like an employer who was unsure and fearful. He wanted to do right but didn’t really know how to in the social climate they lived in. We often make decisions based on emotions and emotions do not always lead us in the way we need to go.

4 – During the course of the story, Aminata marries and has a family. Although she is separated from them, she is reunited from time to time with her husband and one of her children. What does the work tell us about the nature of love and loyalty?

Love and loyalty are natural, God given blessings that provide us with strength and courage when we choose to embrace them. Aminata was often driven forward by the loyalty she felt to her family, enveloped by the constant hope that she would find them again one day.

5 – Aminata struggles to learn and master all sorts of systems of communicating in the new world: black English, white English, and Gullah, as well as understanding the uses of European money and maps. How do her various coping mechanisms shed light on her character?

Aminata has a flexible, eager mind that allows her to learn and to continue to learn. She was encouraged to learn by her father and mother and she never forgot that. She knew that learning was a way in which she could move forward, even when she didn’t know where “forward” was leading. This ability to learn made her very valuable to others because she could help them while helping herself.

6 – What does the novel tell us about survival? Which characters fare best and why?if-i-spent-my-time-hating-quote

Survival is making it through. The characters that fare best are those who are willing to try, to keep an open mind (or at least one that is willing to allow for other’s dictation), and to see that there is more out there. Many of the characters that survive do so by pushing forward in spite of the hardships, cruelty, or severity of inequality they faced. They were willing to look forward towards that unknown possibility of something better. They had HOPE.

7 – What do you think would be the challenges involved in writing a realistically painful novel that still offers enough light and hope to maintain the reader’s interest and spirit?

I’ll be honest with you – when I first started reading this and realized it was not quite what I thought it was going to be, I just about quit. I was forced to read a very graphic, very disgusting novel in high school about slavery and it has turned me off to reading anything about slavery. That novel from high school was designed to create disgust, hatred of slavery, and elicit sorrow for the slaves. While those are not bad ideas to foster in the reader of a novel about slavery, it was done by sensationalizing the horrors of slavery, the mistreatment of slaves, and more. It was terrifying to read and I remember having trouble sleeping because of it. I have looked with disdain on all books about slavery because of it.

Hill’s book has changed that for me. He has done an amazing job of creating disgust over the treatment and abduction of millions of innocent humans, hatred of slavery, and eliciting sorrow for all of those swallowed up by slavery. However, he did it by creating a human character that tells the story in an emotional way that the reader can connect with.  Hill created Aminata in such a way that her HOPE resonates throughout the story, even through those darkest time, sometimes through those she has shared HOPE with when she cannot feel that HOPE herself. This story needed the drastic detail but it is done with care and concern, recognizing that these were people being treated in such horrendous ways. The detail does not sensationalize the events but rather treats with honor and respect the characters going through horrific events, eliciting that honest sorrow for the character.

Truly, I thoroughly enjoyed this books and will highly recommend it to anyone who asks. I am thankful to Annette from A Net In Time for the review she originally published about it and the discussions we had about it while she was reading it. She opened my mind to it and then suggested it while I was trying to decide on a book for this month to suggest to Wendy. This has been a great read.

Please visit Wendy at Ladybug Daydreams to read about her experience with this book and her thoughts. She will be answering some of these same questions. I expect Annette from A Net In Time to join us as well.

For January, we will be posting on Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. This one, I’ll admit, I am going to be brave about. I’ve picked it up before and thought the synopsis was interesting but the pictures? Well, let’s just say the induced me to put it right back down. I’ve agreed to be brave and give it a fair shot for January though. Will you join us?

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The Bronte Plot – Book Club

Book club:Ladybug Daydrams and At Home where life happens

Welcome to the Book Club, hosted by myself and Wendy from Ladybug Daydreams. This month’s selection was fun and easy for me. The novel focused on a lady who loved books. She sold antique books at a very reputable antique dealer. Her reputation was growing and the influence and advice of the antique dealer (Sid) was helpful. With the help of her books, she met and fell in love. When she met his grandmother, her world began to change. How much she doesn’t know until her becomes the escort for the grandmother on an overseas trip. Will her life ever be the same? Will her love survive the changes? Will she?

the-bronte-plot

We chose to use questions from Reading Group Choices, but these are the same questions that are in the back of the book. There are actually 13 questions in the book, but we will stop at 10. Don’t forget to check out Wendy’s discussion on the book and see her answers to the questions.

  1. The Lewis quote at the front of the book describes an aspect of Lucy at the beginning of this story. Why do you think she’d lost the power to enjoy books? Is there something in our lives that we can fail to see clearly and lose enjoyment for?Lucy has lost the power to enjoy books because her focus had changed. She was no longer reading them herself but trying to persuade others of their value. For me, music has kind of taken on the same status. I struggle to enjoy it like I used to and a big part of that is because of a change of focus.
  2. Sid is one of the author’s favorites. What character trait do you think she found so attractive? She doesn’t tell you a lot about his background—any thoughts as to his story?Sid is quirky and unique and has this massive ability to bring joy. That is very attractive. I imagined him as one without family but plenty of friends. That’s about as far as I took the thought.
  3. Was James justified in feeling so hurt when he found the forged inscription? How did he perceive Lucy’s struggle? Was it a betrayal, like he claimed?I do think James was justified in his hurt because he had trusted Lucy’s word. I don’t think that he really understood the internal struggle Lucy was having. For that reason, I think he was wrong in calling it a betrayal.
  4. Why did Helen hold on to the watch? Was she really afraid to let go? What did it cost her along the way?I think Helen held onto the watch at the beginning because it was a connection she wanted to hold fast to. She wasn’t ready to break that connection since it ended in a way she wasn’t prepared for. In the end, it cost her giving her all in her relationships.
  5. In London both women begin to change. Why? Do you think James is right that “strings pull tighter at home?”This statement is pretty true but it is clearer to me when I think about it as fitting into a mold. We act certain ways at certain places and that can be hard to change. Being in a new or different place allows us to think and see things differently.
  6. Lucy talks about “boiling a frog.” What does she mean?This refers to the illustration that is used when someone gets used to something difficult little by little. It is said that by place a frog in cold water and turning the heat up, the frog doesn’t notice that the water is changing temperatures little by little and so does not know to jump out or it will be boiled to death.
  7. What changed in Lucy at Haworth, even before her wandering to Top Withens? And at Top Withens, why did Edward Rochester’s journey make such sense to her?At these places, Lucy was able to clearly see how she had let all the little choices lead to bigger ones that were more impactful; how the “little” untruths had led to much more harmful ones. She was more clearly able to see herself. She saw that she had to find a way to go back so she could start over. She declared she would rise again.
  8. Do you agree with Lucy that each person has his or her own worldview? How did hers change? How did James’? Helen’s?Yes, each person has their own worldview because a worldview is shaped by faith, beliefs and experiences. No two people have exactly the same of all of those so their worldviews are not exactly the same, though they could be very, very similar.Lucy has changed by acknowledging the hurt that existed, the wrongs done. She stepped forward, choosing a new worldview shaped by truth- from her and how she saw things after meeting her father. No more rose-colored glasses for her outlook.

    James’ changed by acknowledging the struggle Lucy had and all that his grandmother had dealt with and was dealing with. It also changed when he acknowledged how he wanted to approach the world with his work.

    Helen’s became more joyful as she let go of the past and faced her future with truth and courage.

  9. How do you think Helen’s journey will affect her final days with her family?Helen’s journey helped her let go of the past and see a clear, joyful future with her family. It allows her to have frank, open discussions with her family. It changed her and her relationships for the better.
  10. This story is one of choices. How do you see them playing out with each character? In your own life? Are the choices not made as powerful as the ones we consciously make? Is there a difference between them?Choices, made or not made, affect our life. To choose not to act is still a choice. Life is made of choices. Some are bigger and some are seemingly small but every choice has the possibility of massive impact.  The choices made in the story, especially the more conscientious ones, are what drives the plot. But the ones made unconsciously without much thought are strangely impactful and help us to see the human side of the characters.
     

This was a fun read and it did not take a lot of brain power. At least not until I tried to answer questions about it. Don’t forget to visit Ladybug Daydreams to see what Wendy has to say about these questions. And this month, our friend Annette from A Net In Time is joining us as well.

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Next month, we will be reading Someone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill. This book was published in Canada under the titled The Book of Negroes. The discussion questions, along with an author bio and more, are found on the LitLovers site.

 

 

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