Tag Archives: Book Club

The Watch That Ends The Night: Voices From the Titanic ~ Book Club

The Watch That Ends The Night

I cannot say enough about how much I enjoyed this book. It is historical fiction with a poetic twist. Anyone who enjoys reading about the Titanic will thoroughly enjoy this book.

The Watch That Ends The Night is written by Allan Wolf. We all know the story but Mr. Wolf takes the information, the facts, and uses them to create a whole new story – to bring the people to life, so to speak. He gives them character, family, emotion, hope, fear, and dreams.

Each page, sometimes two, is a new speaker. These are the thoughts and actions and emotions of each of the people who were on board this magnificent ship when she floundered and failed. The speaker has a way with words that varies from person to person, just like in life. Each person speaks a different way, using a different type of poetry.

These voices tell us the story of the Titanic from a unique perspective. Meet the voices of this disaster:

Olaus Abelseth – the immigrant
Thomas Andres – the shipbuilder
John Jacob Astor – the millionaire
Joseph Boxhall – the navigator
Harold Bride – the spark (wireless operator)
E.J. Smith – the captain
Jamila Nicola-Yarred – the refugee
The Iceberg
The Ship Rat
. . . and more.

p. 7 – The Iceberg

I am the ice. I see the tides ebb and flow.
I’ve watched civilizations come and go,
give birth, destroy, restore, be gone, begin.
My blink of an eye is humankind’s tortoise slow. . .

p. 175 – The First-Class Promenade

Like figures on a crousel,
around the upper-crust rondelle,
they swagger, sway, sashay, glissade;
Titanic‘s first-class promenade. . .

These are just a couple of examples of the differences in the poetic voices used to tell the story of the ship building, the launch, the sailing, the disaster, the rescue.

Mr. Wolf has done an incredible amount of research and used this information to put together this new and interesting vision of the Titanic. It is a fascinating and interesting read. There is much information that I had not heard before or a new take on it that helps me see the people on board the ship as real.

As with all historical fiction, there is some information that is included from lore and legend, some that is changed or unverifiable. However, Mr. Wolf does a complete job of trying to make the reader aware of where those changes or legends occur by include a as-true-as-is-known biography of each of the voices in the story. This final closure is a wonderful ending to this unique story.

This is one to add to your list. No doubt about it. You can find a partial preview and read some of the story online.

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As always, please visit Wendy’s Ladybug Daydreams blog to see what she read this month and is up to now. Thanks for reading along!

Book club:Ladybug Daydrams and At Home where life happens


Your Second Life Begins When You Realize You Only Have One ~ Book Club

You Second Life

This is a compelling little book that was handed to me by my MIL the other day. She just said “Do you want to read this? It looks neat but it is way down in my pile and I can’t read it yet.” So I did. It grabbed me from the beginning and I was riveted.

Your Second Life Begins When You Realize You Only Have One

Written by Raphaelle Giordano, this book has been translated into English. I believe it was originally written in French. It does take place in Paris, I believe. (I am guessing a little but the places mentioned all seem to fit Paris.)

We meet Camille at the beginning of the book and are quickly introduced to her hectic, busy, unfulfilling, unhappy/happy life. She is married to one she loves and has a little boy. They have a good place to live and she has a solid job. But she is feeling out-of-sorts, discontented, and unhappy. Which doesn’t make sense to her with such a “good” life. On the day we meet her, she has an accident with her tire and ends up in the middle of nowhere knocking on a stranger’s door. And with all that has happened, she ends up pouring out her story and discontent to him.

And he responds incredibly – I can help.

He listens and offers her his card. From there, he tells her that he understands (sometimes that is the most powerful part, isn’t it?) and that she can change her life. She is intrigued and contact him for help after she gets back to the city. What she finds is someone who wants her to success, to have a “happy” life, and a listening ear. She also finds significant encouragement and unusual tactics that help her focus, change, and redirect her thoughts and her life.

By the end of the story, we find a new Camille – happier, directed, focused, healthy, and energetic. She knows who she is and what she wants.

So many of the ideas and life changes are things that the reader can relate to. They can be addressed and changed in the reader’s life, as well. I find that fascinating. Yes, this is a novel but there is much to be learned from the approaches and the ideas in this book. If you are feeling rooted in discontent and want to find a way to redirect your life, pick this book up and give it a read. The ideas just might help you challenge your status quo and become someone you really admire and want to be. You just might end up following your dream.

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Visit Ladybug Daydreams, if you have a moment. I don’t know if Wendy is able to post for the Book Club this month or not but I’d love it if you would visit her blog for a moment or two.

Book club:Ladybug Daydrams and At Home where life happens

The Good Pilot Peter Woodhouse ~ Book Club

Book club:Ladybug Daydrams and At Home where life happens

I picked up this new book by Alexander McCall Smith at the library a couple of weeks ago. I have read many of his books over the years and enjoyed them. So his name caught my attention. I turned it over to see what it was about and my intrigue was caught.

This is a story about a young lady in WWII England. She has joined up with the Women’s Land Army. This was a group for young women to join and they were sent to help in places where they were needed – mainly working the land on farms and businesses that needed manual labor now that the male workforce was fighting in the war.
Good Pilot Peter Woodhouse

At about 20 years of age, Val starts work on the farm. She helps Archie with anything he needs now that he is getting on in years and his son was off in the war. She learns quickly and is a good companion for Archie, as well as a hard worker.

One day, a man from the local US air base comes looking for fresh eggs. He arranges for Val to bring eggs to the base a couple of times a week. While there Val meets Mike and they fall in love. During their courtship, Val and her cousin Willy rescue a dog that was being abused. Willy had named the dog Peter Woodhouse. When the dog could no longer be safely kept at Archie’s farm, Mike takes him to the base and he becomes a mascot there. The whole base loves him.

Peter Woodhouse becomes such a good mascot that the men begin taking him along on their flights, as good luck. Until one day, when they are shot down. Mike and the dog are both presumed lost. How does Val continue on? What is to become of her now that she is expecting a baby?

This is a very good look at yet another way the war affected the normal people of the world. Often we hear about the way the cities were endangered during the war with all the bombings and lack of food and such. But the farms in the country were affected, also. And The Good Pilot Peter Woodhouse, while a fictional story, was an easy read that helped bring another perspective to the war. Especially after some of the unexpected turns that happen in the story come about.

It is a great read and I definitely recommend it.
Head over to Ladybug Daydreams to see if Wendy has a new book to share about for our August Book Club.

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Jan Karon’s Mitford Cookbook & Kitchen Reader ~ Book Club


Book club:Ladybug Daydrams and At Home where life happensYears ago, I read the Mitford book series and really enjoyed getting to know the down-home characters who lived a small-town life full of the small-town joys often found in books. In fact, so much of the appeal was that it portrayed life so accurately – the joy, the hope. the hardship, the friendship, the neighbors, the help. the disagreements, the holding onto hurt and the innate ability to forgive. Neighbors become friends, and so do those who you just aren’t sure about. Yes, it is somewhat idyllic – what with the gorgeous setting and all – but it was such a joy to read those books.

July Book Club

I found the same enjoyment reading through Jan Karon’s Mitford Cookbook & Kitchen Reader. If you have read much of the series at all, you know food plays a large role in the interactions of the people in the books. So Jan Karon took those interactions and placed them in this Kitchen Reader alongside the recipes for the foods that are part of the story.

You will read an excerpt from one of the books in the series and then it is followed by the recipes for the food that was mentioned. It might be one recipe and it might be four. There are lots of yummy looking recipes (such as Esther Bolick’s Orange Marmalade Cake) and some that I can dream about but would never dream of making (Cynthis’a Leg of Lamb).

There are plenty that I am going to try including Cynthia’s Toasted Pecans, anything that features new potatoes (there are tons of these and they all look good), Cynthia’s Glazed Rosemary Onion, and Father Tim’s Christmas Morning Casserole.

Throughout there are sprinkled little statements that Jan Karon writes about things that she wants to share thought on: aprons, dishwashing, her spice cabinet, kitchens, the last meals of different people, and more. Everything is interesting and well-written. This was a cookbook that I enjoyed reading.

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My co-host, Wendy from Ladybug Daydreams, is hoping to post about an interesting she has read this month. For the next couple of months, we are going to each share about what we read. So head over to Wendy’s blog to see what she read this month.

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Sinking the Sultana ~ Book Club

Book club:Ladybug Daydrams and At Home where life happens

Book Club is late this month. Life was busy and I had no idea that it has snuck up on me until it was past time to post. I had been reading an interesting book titled Sinking the Sultana. It is written by Sally M. Walker.

Sinking the Sultana

The Sultana was a steamboat that ran the Mississippi River during the Civil War. Its final trip up river was fatal and brings to light an awful lot about the Civil War that I had no idea about.

When I think of the Civil War, I think of blue and gray, brother against brother, industrialism against agriculture, individual freedom vs the greater good. I think of Abraham Lincoln, great men and heroes, fighting, death, and struggle. I think of the Underground Railroad and folks helping other folks because it was the right thing to do. I think of people helping and doing right because it helped someone else.

I did not think about atrocities equal to WWII concentration camps and greed overpowering humanity. I did not realize how awful some of the places prisoners of war ended up and how power and greed influenced even the basics of food and care.

Sinking the Sultana takes you through the Civil War through the eyes of some of the survivors. This chronicle begin with giving the reader some good background information on both the history of steamboats and the Mississippi. The growth of the boat industry on the river was interesting to read.

Next the reader is introduced to several of the men who will survive the disaster or whose stories are known in regards to the war and the disaster. Following this, we find out about Libby Prison and Belle Island, two of the Confederate prisoner camps. The atrocities that are documented here are horrifying and sad. So many men died in these horrifying conditions where the prisoners were not given any kind of protection from the elements or decent food.

Most did not make it out of these camps. Many of those who did met their death on the decks of the Sultana, thanks to greed. The government was paying steamboats to transport prisoners of war up river at the end of the Civil War. The more prisoners on board, the more money in the pockets of the owners and captains. The Sultana was overloaded with way too many passengers and had been poorly fixed when one of the boilers was leaking.

The exact reason the Sultana sank may never be known but there were many factors that played into it, all of which were likely preventable. Or so it seems to me by reading this book. All in all, when the Sultana boiler exploded and the boat sank, it killed more than 1500 people. Some estimates are over 1600. The problem is that the greed of the men in charge caused them to not follow procedure and the exact names and numbers of the people on board were unknown as they were not properly documented. And very few of those in charge were ever held responsible.

This is a larger disaster than the Titanic, yet fewer people know about it. I didn’t until I found this book on the shelf. It was a fascinating book to read and I am glad I stumbled across it. Makes me desire to read more about the Civil War, to find more stories about those less documented issues that arose, stories outside of Lincoln and Lee.

What have you read recently? We would all like to find new and interesting books to read so please share in the comments.

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Gusty Girl ~ Book Club

Book club:Ladybug Daydrams and At Home where life happens

The Book Club posts have really fallen off in recent months. Part of that is just me failing to continue a schedule I had set and part is that Wendy has been incredibly busy with life and its curve balls. I thought I would try to get back in the groove this month. I hope Wendy can join in again sometime after life settles back down for her family.

For this month’s pick I have to ask –

Is there a hidden adventurer in you? Do you have these dreams of doing strange or crazy things but really, you know better and you don’t do them? Well, this is the book for you.

Gutsy Girl

Gutsy Girl: Escapades for Your Life of Epic Adventure by Caroline Paul

You know it is a book of great adventure when there is more than one place where there is a disclosure statement about the lawyers saying you should not do these things and the author/publisher/fill-in-the-blank are not responsible for any injuries or death you may suffer if you dare to attempt some of the stunts from this book. 🙂

Caroline Paul recounts her adventures in this book – some of which are planned and crazy, some of which are just crazy, and some of which are just crazy but have something go wrong making them utterly terrifying. But she has lived to tell the tale. And the life lessons she has learned from it.

The stories shared within the covers of this book are fascinating and interesting. To the point that I read the book in one sitting and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. Each of her stories comes with a lesson learned, though. And these lessons are really where the value of this book is. Lessons like “just put one foot in front of the other” or “plan well, then expect the unexpected.” Interestingly enough, these lessons tend to be the chapter titles, too.

Interspersed in the stories you will also find quotes, mini biographies of other daring girls, and plenty of charts, graphs, and illustrations to bring it all to life. There are also some places following each chapter for you to journal about how you are going to brave life based on what is shared.

All in all, this was a fun book to read. And I am sharing it with you because I really, really enjoyed it. I am not reviewing it for a company or for any other reason. I think my girls will enjoy reading it and I think it will challenge them to think about stepping out of their comfort zone. I know it did me.

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T – Middle School Books ~ Blogging Through the Alphabet & Book Club


Today’s post is a combo of the ABC blogging I have been participating in and the Book Club that Wendy and I have been posting monthly. The reason? This past month has flown past me and so has this week.  So, I’m combining today.

For the Book Club, we are just going to share all of these but my favorite was The Twinkle Tales. Wendy has been a bit busy with a busy turn of events in her life so I haven’t even talked Book Club with her. The book I thought I would be sharing about – Tom Hanks’ Uncommon Type – turned out to be a HUGE disappointment. It was not a good book at all. For me, it was not just not good to read; it was unpleasant and contained themes that I would never intentionally share. So, if you picked that book up on my suggestion? I apologize.

Now. On to the books I did like.

Twinkle Tales

Twinkle Tales by L. Frank Baum

Yes, the author of the Oz series, specifically The Wizard of Oz, wrote some other things. These are really quite fun, but strange, tales. It is a series of stories that are connected to each other through the characters of Twinkle and Chubbins. Twinkle is a little girl and Chubbins is her friend. These are strange, wonderful stories that are full of imagination, adventure, and fun. We used this as a read aloud and it was just delightful. It would do just as well as a personal read because it is just so fun and different. I think my favorite was the story titled “Policeman Bluejay.” In this story the children become little birds (larks) and enjoy many adventures before they are able to return to little children. In one story Twinkle and Chubbins end up as prairie dogs in a prairie dog town and in another they become a couple of “sugar people”, a group that lives at Sugar Loaf Mountain. These are just fun, but surprising tales.

Thick as Thieves

Thick as Thieves by Susan K. Marlow

As you know, we really enjoy the books Susan K Marlow writes. The Andi series is a lot of fun and brings Christian values to the story. While Andi gets into tons of situations that a regular person would not, they are interesting to read and the lessons learned are valuable. This is the first book in the Circle C Milestones series, which features Andrea Carter (Andi) as a teenager. You can read more about the story in our previous review of the book.

Here is a summary of the books from my review:

Set in the 1880s, Thick As Thieves opens with 14 year old Andrea Carter tenderly caring for Taffy, her beloved horse who is about to foal on the family’s ranch, Circle C. Andi trusts her gut instincts, something that is hard to do as the youngest in a family, and pesters her older siblings until someone listens to her about Taffy having difficulty with the foal. It turns out that Andi was right to think something was wrong but with the help of her older brother, Taffy gives birth. This birth brings new challenges and many changes to her life.

As the book moves along, Andi is struggling with many things as she grows up. She wants to continue with her life as it is but her mother and older sister think it is time for her to begin acting like a young lady. Andi doesn’t enjoy school much because the work isn’t challenging for her and she loves to be outside with her horses. As Andi continue to work on being a good student and a good horsewoman, she is given a much more difficult challenge at school. Her new seatmate is a difficult girl who seems bent on causing Andi problems. To make matters even more of a struggle, there are cattle rustlers in the valley causing problems for everyone.

That’s it for today. Thanks for joining me for the letter T. I am going to see what I can dig up for the letter U next week. As of right now, that line in my ABC blogging plan is blank!! Eek!

I hope to have a better update for Book Club next month and perhaps I can find a good one to read that I can share early enough that those of you interested could read it ahead of time. 🙂

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Book club:Ladybug Daydrams and At Home where life happens


The ABC linkup is hosted by Hopkins HomeschoolDoodleMom’s Homeschooling Life and Biblical Womanhood.

My previous posts in the series:

A – All-of-a-Kind Family and Adventures of the Little Wooden Horse
B – Ballet Shoes and A Bear Called Paddington
C – Counting by 7s and Cheaper By The Dozen
D – Door In The Wall & D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths
E – The Endless Steppe & Ella Enchanted
F – Family Tree & Fog Magic
G – Great Turkey Walk & The Great Brain
H – Half Magic & Horse Diaries
I – Indian in the Cupboard & Island of the Blue Dolphins
J – Journey to America & Julie: An American Girl – 1974
K – Kite Fighters & Key to the Extraordinary
L – Little Women & Long Way From Chicago
M – Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle & Mistakes That Worked
N – North Child & Number the Stars
O – One and Only Ivan & Our Only May Amelia
P – Pollyanna & Prism of Wings
Q – Quanah Parker & Quake!
R – Robin Hood & Rilla of Ingleside
S – Sisters Grimm & Singer of All Songs

Also linking up with the Homeschool Review Crew weekly linkup.


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