Welcome to Storie delle Sorelle

Welcome to the blog for SdelleS. To learn more about our book club check out my first blog entry or read about our members. Or check out our ReadingGroupGuides.com interview here! Using the links to the right, you can browse the books we've read and rated or visit some of my favorite sites for book clubs on the web. How about some questions to consider as you read a book? This site is meant to provide a wealth of information for all readers so I hope you enjoy your visit! Please post a comment or contact me with any questions or thoughts. :)

Monday, March 29

Meeting Recap: The Help

This month we read THE HELP, by Kathryn Stockett. Both Nancy and Bev nominated this book and it got lots of votes in our last round of book picking.

One of the first things we discussed was how popular this book is right now. Many members were surprised at how many times they were approached while they were reading/carrying the book in public – it seems that everyone has either read it or wants to read it.

The two characters who were favorites with the group were Aibileen and Miss Cecilia. Many of us hoped for more from Cecilia’s storyline but felt that she was incredibly well written. And there wasn’t a single one of us who didn’t love Aibileen. The least favorite character was Hilly (she was so believable and we all hated her) followed by Miss Lefolt (for her lack of care for her daughter and her “wishy-washy-ness”).

Part of our discussion focused on racism in different parts of the county. In general racism is visually prevalent in the South and more of an undercurrent in the North, at least in our combined experiences. We also discussed the current trend of racism toward people of Hispanic and Middle Eastern descent.

As you can tell from the votes below, most of the group really enjoyed this book. We agreed that it wasn’t perfect but that it had many excellent qualities. One thing that didn’t sit well with us is how “safe” everyone seemed to be, despite the dangerous nature of their actions; most of us were expecting something horrible to happen to at least one of the characters.
  • Nancy = 9
  • Heather = 8
  • Cyndie = 8
  • Melissa = 8
  • Lissa = 8
  • Jennifer = 8
  • Beth = 8
  • Tracy = 6
With 8 ratings, we get an average of 7.9 for this book.

Thanks to Melissa for hosting at her church and to Nancy & Beth for preparing for and running the meeting. Our next book is THREE CUPS OF TEA, by Greg Mortenson, and we’ll be meeting at Reynold’s Tavern for high tea.

Wednesday, February 24

Meeting Recap: Alias Grace

This month our book was ALIAS GRACE, by Margaret Atwood. Jennifer nominated this book after having it recommended strongly by her sister.

For the meal Jennifer suggested “comfort foods” – things that would make us feel better if we were in prison. Offerings included potato soup, cheesy bread, sausage/spinach bread, chocolate chip cookie pie, ice cream, and wine. It was all delicious!

This book definitely gave us a lot to talk about. The 6 of us at the meeting all really enjoyed reading it. The two members who didn’t like it couldn’t be there, which is unfortunate as we would have loved to hear their opinions.

Our discussion included:
  • Our love of Atwood’s writing style and how she so realistically created the voice of a 19th century woman (something that is not done well all that often in our experience)
  • The issues of gender, class, and repressed sexuality that were raised in the book
  • The fascinating (and sometimes horrifying) details of life at this time – the daily chores, the prison system, current thought in the medical community, and so on
  • The ambiguity of the ending was appealing – we each had our own opinions on what we thought “the truth” of the whole story was
  • Atwood’s version of events versus the extremely few actually known facts about Grace Marks
We welcomed a new member this month as well. Lissa is a friend of Melissa and we're thrilled to have her join us.

  • Heather = 8
  • Jennifer = 9.5
  • Nancy = 8.5
  • Kelli = 8
  • Melissa = 8.5
  • Lissa = 9
  • Cyndi = 2
  • Beth = 5
This gives us an average rating of 8.

Next Time: We're meeting on 3/20 to discuss THE HELP, by Kathryn Stockett.

Tuesday, February 23

Meeting Recap: Half Broke Horses

I forgot to post this back in January, sorry!

This month we read HALF BROKE HORSES, by Jeannette Walls. Kelli suggested this book because we had all enjoyed Walls' THE GLASS CASTLE a while back. Unfortunately this one didn't live up to our expectations. We agreed that it wasn't a bad book, it just didn't compare at all to her first book.

Five of us read the book and we rated it as follows: 4.5, 6, 7, 7, 8. That gives us an average rating of 5 out of 10.

Tuesday, February 16

New Club Guidelines [revised]

Here are the guidelines we've adopted to help strengthen and grow our club:
  1. Choosing Books – This will remain the same; everyone agreed that the way we’ve been doing it recently is fair and makes a lot of sense
  2. Planning/Running Meetings – If the book you nominate is chosen, you will be the host for that meeting. This does NOT mean you have to host at your home, just that you will be in charge of planning. You will need to do the evite or email, pick a food theme, prepare discussion questions and additional info if desired, and lead the discussion.
  3. Locations – To cut down on housecleaning stress we will meet at one of three churches during the winter months (and Chevy’s during the summer, plus our pool party). If you are hosting a meeting (see #2) you need to choose which church location works for you. Of course, if you would LIKE to have us at your house, that is still an option – feel free to volunteer whenever you like.
  4. Meetings – Each meeting will begin with socialization. This will give us time to catch up with each other before discussing the book. It will be the host’s job to get the meeting started after we socialize, and everyone should avoid side conversations during the discussion.
  5. New Members – We are again welcoming new members into the club. As before, you are welcome to bring a friend to one meeting. If the group agrees that the new person is a good fit then she will be invited to join the club. This “one-meeting-trial” will hopefully prevent any problems with overbearing or otherwise problematic new members.
  6. Help – I’m willing to help any of you with planning a meeting, especially those who have never done it before. Please don’t hesitate to ask for suggestions or assistance if you need/want it.
These decisions were based on the emails I received when I asked for suggestions, the discussion at our January meeting, and input from all our current members. Hopefully these guidelines will give everyone more ownership of the club and spread the responsibilities more evenly.

Friday, December 11

Meeting Recap: My Life in France

Because of the business of Thanksgiving, we pushed our November meeting to December 1. Tracy hosted us in her newly remodeled home - it was lovely!

Our book this time was Beth's pick, MY LIFE IN FRANCE, by Julia Child. To make things more fun, Tracy encouraged everyone to make one of Julia's recipes for the meeting. Four people took the challenge ...
  • Nancy made one of Julia's turnip dishes - according to Julia, this dish will make anyone a fan of turnips! Everyone agreed that it was tasty but I don't know that anyone will be making it again ...
  • Beth made Julia's Potato and Leek Soup. Julia says everything must be chopped by hand and not pureed. The soup was quite good! I'd have liked some bacon or cheese topping but it was delicious regardless.
  • Annette made Julia's Apple and Pear Tart. This reminded me of the amazing pear pies we'd make when I was a kid. This tart was absolutely fantastic - I don't think there was much left after the meeting!
  • Tracy made Julia's Chocolate Mousse. There is a funny story with this one .... Tracy made this around 11pm the night before the meeting. The recipe said to add 1/4 cup of coffee; she did so, but kept thinking that the resulting mix was rather grainy. Her husband checked the recipe and pointed out that she was supposed to add COFFEE, not COFFEE GROUNDS. Oops! That's what late night cooking will do to you! By this point she was out of eggs so she sent him down to the Chinese restaurant on the corner to see if he could buy a few eggs so she could redo the mousse. Luckily they were willing to help out. In the end the mousse was decadent and delicious ... and not grainy in the least!
We had such fun with the food this time around that the book took second place. And that's good, because I was the only one at the meeting who finished reading. One other person read the whole thing (Melissa) but couldn't make it at the last minute. Everyone else read no more than a third of the book. In most cases it didn't keep their interest, which I found surprising as I really enjoyed it (my review is here).

Despite the lack of literary discussion we all had a wonderful time. I think everyone has been exhausted with the busy-ness of the season (and it hasn't even really begun) and family issues (it seems we each have our own at the moment) and this was a chance to sit back, relax, and just enjoy each other's company. Cheers! Or as Julia would say, "Bon Appetit!"

Meeting Recap: The Unlikely Disciple

Our October book was THE UNLIKELY DISCIPLE, by Kevin Roose (my review is here) and Jennifer hosted us at her home for a lovely brunch. This is the book I nominated so I was very happy to be reading it. It seems the rest of the group was as well. We had a great discussion about Kevin's experiences at Liberty University and whether we would have wanted to go there (or for our children to go there). Kevin's willingness to be open-minded made some of us hopeful for the future while others dismissed his outlook as mere naivete.

The book was well written and an enjoyable read; we agreed that we're likely to hear more from this author in the future.

Friday, November 6

Book Club Book Suggestions

I thought you all might find this interesting - it is a list of 10 somewhat lesser-known books that are suggested for book clubs, along with the reasons for reading them.

Check out the list here.