Friday, November 23, 2012

December's Group Read is...

We Are All Welcome Here by Elizabeth Berg!

About the book:

Elizabeth Berg, bestselling author of The Art of Mending and The Year of Pleasures, has a rare talent for revealing her characters’ hearts and minds in a manner that makes us empathize completely. Her new novel, We Are All Welcome Here, features three women, each struggling against overwhelming odds for her own kind of freedom.

It is the summer of 1964. In Tupelo, Mississippi, the town of Elvis’s birth, tensions are mounting over civil-rights demonstrations occurring ever more frequently–and violently–across the state. But in Paige Dunn’s small, ramshackle house, there are more immediate concerns. Challenged by the effects of the polio she contracted during her last month of pregnancy, Paige is nonetheless determined to live as normal a life as possible and to raise her daughter, Diana, in the way she sees fit–with the support of her tough-talking black caregiver, Peacie.

Diana is trying in her own fashion to live a normal life. As a fourteen-year-old, she wants to make money for clothes and magazines, to slough off the authority of her mother and Peacie, to figure out the puzzle that is boys, and to escape the oppressiveness she sees everywhere in her small town. What she can never escape, however, is the way her life is markedly different from others’. Nor can she escape her ongoing responsibility to assist in caring for her mother. Paige Dunn is attractive, charming, intelligent, and lively, but her needs are great–and relentless.

As the summer unfolds, hate and adversity will visit this modest home. Despite the difficulties thrust upon them, each of the women will find her own path to independence, understanding, and peace. And Diana’s mother, so mightily compromised, will end up giving her daughter an extraordinary gift few parents could match.

I'm excited to read this! The first discussion will be December 14th over pgs. 1-66 and on December 28th we will tackle the whole book/rest of the book1 Hope you will be joining us for our last discussion of 2012.  Thanks so much for participating again! If you have any suggestinos for improvement please them in the comments!  Have a great weekend!!

Gone Girl - Discussion 2

Happy Friday!

I loved this book.  It was so messed up, but it kept me coming back for more.  I devoured it.  Horrible people and all.  When we discussed this for Books and Bars I was the only one who thought she had run away and framed him.  Some thought she had tried to leave him and he hurt her and then she left him or that he had done it.  I also felt sympathetic towards him for most of the book.  Until the very end.  Still felt slightly bad for him because I feel like he was the lesser of the two evils but yeaaaaaah.

1. In the second part of the book, once you know the truth, what did you think was going to happen with Nick and Amy?

2. Do you think someone could actually plan every detail of a set up or murder as perfectly as Amy did?

3. What did you expect to happen after Amy returned? Were you surprised by her "final precaution?" Do you think that would truly be enough to get Nick to stay? Would you have deleted your story like Nick did?

4. Nick stops strangling Amy and thinks, "Who would I be without Amy to react to? Because she was right: As a man, I had been my most impressive when I loved her -- and I was my next best self when I hated her...I couldn't return to an average life" (396).
Is this believable? Is it possible for Nick to be more fulfilled in an extraordinary relationship where he is understood even if it is manipulative an dangerous?

5. At one point, Amy quotes the advice "Fake it until you make it." Later, Nick writes, "We pretend to be in love, and we do the things we like to do when we're in love, and it feels almost like love sometimes, because we are so perfectly putting ourselves through the paces" (404).
Generally speaking, do you think this is good marriage advice? Do Nick and Amy disprove this advice?

6. In what way does Amy's background—her parents' books about her perfection—affect her as an adult?

7. Movie time: who would you like to see play what part?
Thanks for participating! Hope you join us in December!

Monday, November 12, 2012

December Group Read Suggestions

It's that time of month again! I'm so impressed that we've kept this up over the past few years.  I'm so glad I have a chance to discuss books with you ladies!

So far we've read...

Gone Girl
Prisoner of Tehran
The Wednesday Sisters
Looking for Alaska
Cutting for Stone
One Summer
The Year of Fog
Winter Garden
The Violets of March
State of Wonder
The Invisible Bridge
The Postmistress
The Scent of Rain and Lightning
Still Missing
The Sandalwood Tree
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
Something Borrowed
The Blue Orchard
Sammy's Hill
In the Woods
Shanghai Girls
The Weight of Water
Water for Elephants
The Color Purple
The One That I Want
The Secret Garden
House Rules
American Wife
Firefly Lane
The Reader
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
The Awakening
Pride & Prejudice
I See You Everywhere
What would you like to read in December? Suggestions will be taken until November 15th and then I will put a poll up on the sidebar!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Menu for the Week...

Now that I'm back to work and my dinner planning/prep time isn't as relaxed as it was during the summer I am really pushing myself to menu plan.  I hate when I am making multiple trips the grocery store for crap aka spending more than we need to when I seem to have a plethora of pantry/freezer items.  This week I'm feel super good about myself because we used up a lot of freezer stuff and pantry items.

For breakfast my husband made us pancakes and we had leftovers that we froze so that I can give them to Isla during the week.

Lunch -
We re-purposed our Taco Pie leftovers from the night before and made them into nachos.  Yummm.

Dinner -
My husband used up a ton of chicken we had in the freezer that needed to be used up and made homemade chicken noodle soup.

Breakfast -
I made egg mcmuffin sandwiches with coffee for the adults.  Milk for the child.

Lunch -
Leftover chicken noodle soup

Dinner -
Ribs, baked potato and homemade chocolate chip cookies for dessert

For the rest of the week's dinners we have:

Monday - Chili made in the crock pot (LOOOVE my crock pot!)
Tuesday - leftovers
Wednesday - BBQ Pork Shoulder in the Crock with baked potatoes and corn
Thursday - leftovers
Friday - Teriyaki Chicken withe veggies and pasta

My biggest thing for the week is to have leftovers every other night or sometimes like last week enough for three meals! I always try to make it slightly different with different sides or turning it into something else.

What is on your menu this week?

Friday, November 9, 2012

Gone Girl - Discussion 1

Hola! Wow, so this book is creepy.  And um who is telling the truth??? And why lie? How much hate can you have for a person? So many questions and just wow.  This book is giving me anxiety over how crappy everyone is!

These questions are based on the first part of the book!

1.  Consider Amy and Nick Dunne as characters. Do you find them first? Talk about the ways each reveals him/herself over the course of the novel. At what point do your sympathies begin to change (if they do)?

To be honest, I never liked Amy.  From the beginning she seemed dumb or needy or just ridiculous and I kind of related to Nick.  However, the further into the book I got, the more fucked I think they both were hahaha.  About the time Nick admitted to his affair is about the time more of his asshole ways started coming out. Oh and when the lawyer told him to end things with Andi, and he did it easily.

2. Nick insists from the beginning he had nothing to do with Amy's disappearance. Did you believe him, initially? When did you begin to suspect that he might have something to do with it?

I believed him.  As soon as he mentioned his wife's favorite vase leaning agains the wall instead of smashed I thought she set him up.  And her diary entries seemed to be all lies.  Only when he started seeing her all bloody did I doubt, but I honestly didn't think he did.  I feel like she screwed him over big time.

3. On their fifth anniversary, Nick wonders, "What have we done to each other? What will we do?" Is that the kind of question that might present itself in any marriage? Yours? In other words, does this novel make you wonder about your own relationship? And can you ever truly know the other person?

4. Amy and Nick lie. When did you begin to suspect that the two were lying to one another...and to you, the reader? Why do they lie...what do they gain by it?

5. Do you find the Gillian Flynn's technique of alternating first-person narrations compelling...or irritating. Would you have preferred a single, straightforward narrator? What does the author gain by using two different voices?

I liked the back and forth.  I will admit that it got me a little to anxious because I was getting so ANGRY with Amy for lying in her diary about Nick.  I apparently decided to take Nick's side ha.

Thanks for participating! The last discussion will be on November 23rd!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Mistaken Identity

I've been meaning to read a Lisa Scottoline book for a couple years now.  I picked this one up last summer at the library's used book sale it was fast paced and kept me entertained.

Bennie Rosato is a defense lawyer who specializes in cases involving corrupt police.  She semi-retired from it but then gets a special phone call from an inmate.  When she shows up to the meeting she gets a shock.  The inmate, Alice Connolly, claims to be her long lost twin.  Bennie gets sucked into Alice's case and starts questioning her own life.

 Alice is awaiting trial for the murder of her boyfriend, Detective Anthony Della Porta.  Of course nothing is as it seems and Alice is adamant that she did NOT kill Della Porta and that the police are framing her.  Bennie doesn't believe her at first but as she takes over the case she learns that her previous lawyers did NOTHING to prepare for Alice's capital murder trial which alarms her. 

The storyline was good, the characters entertaining and the writing was decent.  The only thing that irked me were the last 10ish pages of the book.  It was a rough ending and I think it should have been a bit different (who ACTUALLY killed Della Porta and the way Scottoline ended the police conspiracy drama).

Have you read any books by Lisa Scottoline?