Tag Archives: Book Club

Talking As Fast As I Can – Book Club

Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham

Blowing through a book in under two days and laughing out loud while reading are not my norm these days. But, oh, this book was such a joy to read. Lauren Graham has been a favorite since we discovered the TV show Gilmore Girls. We loved the first few years of it and her character was quirky and fun. Turns out, she writes just like that – quirky and fun.

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Reading Talking As Fast As I Can really gave me a sense of talking with a good friend, laughing and sharing inside jokes, which she does a great job of including the reader in. (See her part on “medical, medical”, page 45, for a good example.) Her story includes you in her childhood and brings you up through the end of the Gilmore Girls, part II. I know that’s not what they called it but “reboot” seems a strange word for it since we all knew it wasn’t a starting of the series again. Anyhow, reading this makes you feel a part of her life, like a friend might be. Fun, quirky Lauren just keeps on being herself and brings you along for the ride.

Some of my favorite parts were, um, all of it. Seriously. I read the whole thing in about a day and love it. Want to know about funky things on Gilmore Girls? She gives you a season by season breakdown of the show, including how it is so different from today’s world to fun things that happened or people that came by. Want to know about the second Gilmore Girls? She kept a diary and gives you many days worth of insider information on the filming and the people.

Through out, you get a good feel for the quirky side of Lauren Graham. She talks about the difficulty of being an actor and the joys it brings to her life. She shares about the struggles and the ease. She brings us to see how she stumbled into writing and shows us just how blessed we are by her free time. (We got some good books out of her having some free time!) There are even tips in there for writers that I can see implementing for myself when I would like to accomplish some things that just aren’t getting done.

If you are looking for an enjoyable read, this is it. I can’t recommend it enough. There is little, if any, language in it. (I truly can’t remember any at all but I could have skipped over something and not remember it.) It is fun and funny. What a pleasure it was to read and I am looking for her novel and the printing of the graduation speech she gave.

More good reading, I hope.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

December Book Club Selection_ Talking As Fast As I Can

The Finest Hours ~ Book Club

The Finest Hours

This month’s selection is by Michael J Tougias and Casey Sherman. It is titled The Finest Hours: The True Story of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Most Daring Sea Rescue.

I had read a review of this book on A Net In Time and immediately went to the library site and put it on hold. It sounded fascinating and I was not disappointed.

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In 1952, there were many large oil tankers that had been produced during WWII still a float on the sea. Often, they were now de-commissioned from the armed services and being used by commercial groups. This was not unusual and the men on them served their companies well.

In the winter of 1952, mid-February, New England was slammed by a nor-easter. It was a terrific storm and wrecked havoc all up and down the sea coast. However, it was on the water where the worst was happening.

In the early hours, an oil tanker sent up a distress call. They were floundering and knew they were unlikely to survive the storm. Their hull was cracking, quite literally. Manufactured quickly during the war, the materials used were not quality and they were breaking apart. While the Coast Guard sent boats to their rescue, it was hard going. The Coast Guard typically used smaller vessels to head out to sea to help and these small vessels were having to battle waves that were 70 and 80 feet high, much taller than their small ships. However, they set out to help the oil tanker.

The Coast Guard, however, was in for a huge surprise. While looking for the oil tanker, a plane noticed an oil tanker broken in half. Yet, it didn’t appear to be the one he was looking for. Sure enough, a second oil tanker had broken in half during the storm before they were able to get a distress call off. By luck, they were found and additional rescue boats were sent their way.

The Finest Hours details the rescue of the men on the two oil tankers and the lives of the men who set out to rescue them, knowing they were likely to not return home. These were definitely “the finest hours” of the Coast Guard rescue teams.

Based on a true story, this one is worth reading. It is captivating and invigorating. It was one I could not put down and read into the night to find out what happened. As you might imagine with this type of storm and this many people involved, not everyone survived. Without the Coast Guard, though, it is likely none of the men would have survived. This is a story of possibility because of the men who went out in those small Coast Guard boats.

A Must Read.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

The Accidental President: Harry S. Truman and the Four Months That Changed the World ~ Book Club

The Accidental President

If you want to know about the end of WWII, this is the book you need to read. The Accidental President: Harry S. Truman and the Four Months That Changed the World is written by author A. J. Baime covers just four months but it is perhaps the most important four months in the 20th century.

Harry Truman was elected vice-president without any expectation that he would ever end up as president. The whole country was shocked by the sudden death of Franklin D. Roosevelt in April of 1945. Now President Truman had been kept completely out of the loop about everything – the economics of the country, the war, the agreements made with other Allied leaders, the secret development of the atomic bomb, and more. He had a lot of catching up to do and few thought he could do it. He was a calm and quiet man. Many thought he had no power to make decisions.

This book will take you through the four most important months of WWII. President Truman acted quickly and decisively, keeping close to him those who he knew could give him sound advice and help get him up to speed. Chronicling Truman’s political history and the bits of his personal life that affects his choices as president, we travel through the end of the war and on into his continued presidency.

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in charming biographies, political history, war history, or US history. Reading this taught me much about this background of the war, the Cold War, presidential history, and more. It was interesting and informative.

Do you know of any additional biographies of President Truman? I found him to be an interesting man who I would enjoy learning even more about. Feel free to leave me a comment about any additional resource you might know of about President Truman.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Oct book club pin

 

 

Destination Moon ~ Book Club

September's Book Club

Oh y’all – August just blew right up and caught me completely unaware. I did not get a post up for that and gave myself permission to skip it. But, I have September’s ready and it is a lovely read on the space race.

Destination Moon: The Remarkable and Improbably Voyage of Apollo 11
by Richard Maurer

Destination Moon recounts the components of the space race from WWII until the end of the Apollo program. This gives a nice, easy-to-read chronology of the events that brought the US to the moon six times. The book brings us to know not only the astronauts that flew on the rockets and landed on the moon, but also those scientists and politicians that made sure the program kept moving forward. The political tensions and social issues are not ignored, as they all played such an important role in the space race.

The way in which the characters involved are introduced is fabulous, bringing them into the picture one-by-one, giving their history. It is easy to see how the role they each played was important.

The book contains 36 chapters and seven briefings, broken down into six parts:

  • War
  • Dreams
  • Spacemen
  • The Plan
  • Crews
  • The Moon

Filled throughout with black and white photographs of the events and people, this is a wonderful resource for learning more about how the United States made it to the moon.

Want to read another review? Check out A Net In Time. This is where I first heard of this recounting of the true story so I decided to pick it up from the library and I am really glad I did. I learned so much reading through this chronology of the events that brought US astronauts to the moon.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

There are additional resources to be found on SchoolhouseTeachers.com related to space – some to experiments and some are lessons on the spacecraft. A lesson on manned spacecraft, one on models and space exploration, one on space probes, and then some others with the space themed activities. Please consider using the link above (affiliate link – if you choose to purchase a membership with them, I will receive a small commission).

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American Moonshot ~ Book Club

 

American Moonshot Book Club

Well, July 4th finds us on another Book Club post day. I think today would be a great day to share about the book American Moonshot: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race by Douglas Brinkley.

I had a Young Reader’s Edition but it was still pretty detailed and in depth. There is an adult version of the story but I haven’t read it yet. This one did a good job of challenging me and helping me understand history.

This is the story of the intersecting of President Kennedy’s life and the shot for the moon that he challenged the US to. Only it starts way back in WWI and at the start of President Kennedy’s life. Throughout the book, the reader is introduced to people who were influential in either the moonshot or to President Kennedy. And there were a bunch.

As you read through the story, you find the connection between world politics and US life intertwining. We see how the surrender of Germany at the end of WWI and then their defeat at the end of WWII both played powerful roles in America being able to put a man on the moon. The scientists worked hard, no matter which country they were in, to do what they had in their sights, even trying to convince people of the worth of their rockets for both military and non-military uses. Because they knew what could happen but had to convince others of it, too.

I had no idea just how interrelated the space program was with the Cold War. Once again, I can see where my lack of teaching had left me without knowing much about the Cold War and where America truly was as they left the 50s and moved into the 60s. The scientists were so important in all that was going on in politics.

American Moonshot was a really interesting book to read. As the 50th anniversary approaches of the moon landing, this would be a really good book to have a middle school or high schooler read. Really, it would make a good read aloud also. I found it fascinating and am glad I picked it up when I stumbled across it while waiting on the girls in the library one day. It is a very good read.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

 

Books by Ruth Reichl – Book Club

Ruth Reichl Book Club

Today, I am going to share with you two books by an author you might know – Ruth Reichl. Ruth Reichl is know for being a restaurant critic for Los Angeles Times and the New York Times papers, as well as the food editor at Los Angeles Times. She also served as the editor of Gourmet magazine for quite some time. In addition, she has written several memoirs. I want to share two of those with you today.

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Tender At The Bone

Tender At The Bone is Mrs. Reichl’s memoirs of her youth. It tells her story of growing up, the challenges that she faced with her mother’s mental illness issues (which they didn’t realize as such until much later) and her father’s struggles to deal with the ups and downs of their life. As an only child, Ruth had a lot of expectations on her shoulders.

There are many humorous accounts that she shares about her mother’s cooking. Her mother was brave about cooking, in a very scary way – she liked to save money and more than once, Ruth shares about her mom buying leftovers from places several days ahead of a party and saving them to serve. Ruth tells about how she tried to save people’s live -she felt that very honestly – by warning them about her mother’s food.

At the same time, she had a very developed understanding of food and how flavors went together. She enjoyed learning how to cook and what things other folks cooked. She just understood food. And this book shows us a peek inside how that affected her life.

There are some scenes and a bit of language. They are easy to move on past and the stories are fun to read. I really enjoyed the stories she shared and I hope to tackle a few of the recipes sometime.

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Garlic And Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise

This is the story of Ruth’s work at the New York Times as a restaurant critic. You are in for quite the humorous tales here. You see, as Ruth was on the airplane heading to New York and her new job, she finds out that there is basically a bounty on her head – many restaurants are offering their employees bonuses for recognizing Ruth when she visits their restaurants so they can make sure she gets good food and service. Well, this just sets Ruth on an adventure of creating alternate personas and figuring out how to visit restaurants in disguise so she can see how they really are.

We get to meet several of her “people” from her disguises and go along on the adventures when she visits the restaurants. It is fun to read about what she remembers (she took good notes on every adventures and visit) and how the true service and food was. I loved reading about her disguise as a much older lady who did not get treated well or get good food. The friend that she took with her brought her own friend and the three of them went to the restaurant. There, the disguised Ruth was not treated well and the friend-of-the-friend could not stand it. It is quite a funny story to read.

I also loved reading about the wig person she got involved in helping her. They worked together with a friend who had worked in make-up to create her disguises and the attitudes with which she created her characters. It is a lot of fun.

I really enjoyed reading some of her actual reviews, also, which are included in the book. Her little boy sounds like he had a lot of fun with his mom’s adventures, too.

More Options

If you do a search for Ruth’s name, you’ll find additional memoirs and books that she has written. One of those is a fictionalized account of her time at Gourmet magazine. It was also a really fun read and it is called Delicious!

I’d enjoy hearing about any books you would recommend. Just leave me a note in the comments.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

 

The Beantown Girls ~ Book Club

Beantown Girls

I am a day late (and probably a dollar short) but that’s okay. I am struggling a bit trying to find the energy to write blog posts lately because life has been crowded. It is a good kind of crowded but that means at the end of the day, when all is finally quiet in the house, I just want to veg out a bit instead of write.

So, last night, amid the spring storms, I just put off writing this Book Club post. But, it is a new day today and the house is currently quiet since it is Friday. Friday is our “down day” with only one thing scheduled at the very end of the day. So, maybe I need to move these posts to Fridays. Hmmm – something to think about. (And just an added note on Saturday – five minutes after writing those words, things were no longer quiet so this is now Saturday trying to get this post up for Thursday.)

Anyhow, the book –

The Beantown Girls by Jane Healey

I stumbled across this title on the Kindle when it was free as part of the Prime reads program, a while back. It looked interesting so I grabbed it. I am so glad I did. It was the perfect fit for an interesting but easy-to-read book a couple of weeks ago.

The Beantown Girls is set in World War II and starts in America, as a ship is pulling out heading to England with troops and Red Cross folks. Three friends have decided that they need to do something to contribute more to the war. After hearing about the Red Cross program to take coffee and donuts to the troops over in Europe, the girls immediately applied and were chosen.

After making it through the application process for the Red Cross Clubmobile program, Dottie, Vivian, and Fiona embark on quite the adventure. It is revealed quite early in the book that Fiona persuaded the other two to apply with her but she had her own agenda for wanting to be in Europe – her fiance was missing in action and she desired to find him. She felt she couldn’t just sit and do nothing. So, she didn’t and her friends were happy to do something to contribute to the war efforts, also.

The girls had to learn to make coffee and donuts in a mobile kitchen and they were taught about the rules and regulations they were to follow. Then, after just a couple of weeks of training in England, they were sent to where the troops were. They would arrive at a training facility, set up, turn on a record player, and start distributing coffee and donuts, as well as kind words and smiles. These three friends quickly became the favorite Clubmobile team. While most of the troops were thrilled to have someone from back home smiling at them and helping to keep their minds off the war, at least for a bit, some of the officers were less than thrilled since some of the Clubmobile units were sent to the front lines on the continent. One in particular made it clear he didn’t relish the thought of having to “rescue them” when they got into trouble because he felt sure they would.

While these girls were favorites with the troops, they were not the favorite of the in charge lady. So they worked hard to try to get the privilege of going to the continent. Eventually, they are sent to the war and have to make some serious adjustments and they go through some really tough things on the front lines. From friendships to love, from writing letters to serving coffee, these Clubmobile girls are go getters who are trying hard to do their part. Along the way, they are also trying to find Fiona’s fiance.

They learn so much about themselves through their experiences and you are rooting for them to succeed in all they do. This is a wonderful historical fiction book that brings to life a group of women that I knew nothing about. I had never heard of the Red Cross Clubmobile group but they were real, according to the notes in this book, and they did some amazing things for the morale of the military during the war.

I definitely can recommend this book. It was a joy to read. It was an easy read and was fun.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

 

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