Book Blogs

Are there any book blogs that you subscribe to and read regularly?  Besides this one, I mean? 🙂

I read (she just reviewed the Girls from Ames this week!).  It’s amazing how many books she gets through… crazy.

Just found so I’ll explore that a bit more.  They have giveaways every month and this month’s is “the Girls from Ames”!  Would be fun to win and give away copies of the book to friends!

I read author’s websites and publishers websites, listed on the blogroll on the side of this blog, I believe.

How about you?  Any favorites?


I just started “The Girls from Ames,” and I’m excited to read it and think about my own friendships.  I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about that lately, anyway, so maybe it’ll give me clarification? or maybe it’ll just confuse and cause melancholia!  or maybe it’ll inspire reconnection and reaching out.  At any rate, I’m excited to read it.  It’s been on my bedside table for months.

I looked up Jeffrey Zaslow’s Wall Street Journal column (might be monthly?) about “Moving On.”  The most recent column was about men’s relationships and their basis in activity rather than sharing details of their lives.  I haven’t read “The Last Lecture,” another of his books, but might have to look for it.

I feel fortunate that I do have a friendship that I’ve had for almost 40 years – goodness!  It was almost 37 years ago when my family moved to Rushford and I met Deadra and her family.  It’s amazing to think about and maybe I’ll write about it more while reading this book!

What do you notice about your friendships as you get older?  And that age old question: Do you think men and women can be friends?

Well, I had better get some reading done if I hope to have the book finished by next Monday!  I’m up for the challenge and found the first 50 pages pretty easy to get through.

Off to read!


A beautiful walk around Silver Lake today for the Rochester Walkie Talkies!  It was mostly a Talkie about things other than “The Glass Castle,” but a little discussion was held.  I just finished the book and am still processing my anger at the parents.  One of the discussion questions below is about her ability to be nonjudgmental about her parents.  Wow! that’s hard for me.  I do have empathy for them – the addiction, the mental illness – and am amazed that the children turned out at all, but I still am mad.  As I said while walking, I didn’t find the book to be depressing at all and I could even compare it to “Angela’s Ashes,” although I LOVED “Angela’s Ashes.”  Frank McCourt was a true character and his voice in that story is so interesting.  Less “matter of fact” and more “colorful.”

Was it as hard for everyone else (!) to be nonjudgmental about the laissez faire way of parenting they practiced?  Is it really laissez faire?

Anyhoo… must read a bit before bed, but wanted to get my Monday night blog in!
Off to read!

“The Glass Castle” discussion questions *** SPOILERS (for me!)

Caution! It is likely that the following questions will reveal, or at least allude to, key plot details. Therefore, if you haven’t yet read this book, but are planning on doing so, you may wish to proceed with caution to avoid spoiling your later enjoyment.

  1. Though The Glass Castle is brimming with unforgettable stories, which scenes were the most memorable for you? Which were the most shocking, the most inspiring, the funniest?
  2. Discuss the metaphor of a glass castle and what it signifies to Jeannette and her father. Why is it important that, just before leaving for New York, Jeannette tells her father that she doesn’t believe he’ll ever build it? (p. 238).
  3. The first story Walls tells of her childhood is that of her burning herself severely at age three, and her father dramatically takes her from the hospital: “You’re safe now” (p. 14). Why do you think she opens with that story, and how does it set the stage for the rest of the memoir?
  4. Rex Walls often asked his children, “Have I ever let you down?” Why was this question (and the required “No, Dad” response) so important for him — and for his kids? On what occasions did he actually come through for them?
  5. Jeannette’s mother insists that, no matter what, “life with your father was never boring” (p. 288). What kind of man was Rex Walls? What were his strengths and weaknesses, his flaws and contradictions?
  6. Discuss Rose Mary Walls. What did you think about her description of herself as an “excitement addict”? (p. 93).
  7. Though it portrays an incredibly hardscrabble life, The Glass Castle is never sad or depressing. Discuss the tone of the book, and how do you think that Walls achieved that effect?
  8. Describe Jeannette’s relationship to her siblings and discuss the role they played in one another’s lives.
  9. In college, Jeannette is singled out by a professor for not understanding the plight of homeless people; instead of defending herself, she keeps quiet. Why do you think she does this?
  10. The two major pieces of the memoir — one half set in the desert and one half in West Virginia — feel distinct. What effect did such a big move have on the family — and on your reading of the story? How would you describe the shift in the book’s tone?
  11. Were you surprised to learn that, as adults, Jeannette and her siblings remained close to their parents? Why do you think this is?
  12. What character traits — both good and bad — do you think that Jeannette inherited from her parents? And how do you think those traits shaped Jeannette’s life?
  13. For many reviewers and readers, the most extraordinary thing about The Glass Castle is that, despite everything, Jeannette Walls refuses to condemn her parents. Were you able to be equally nonjudgmental?
  14. Like Mary Karr’s Liars’ Club and Rick Bragg’s All Over But the Shoutin’, Jeannette Walls’ The Glass Castle tells the story of a wildly original (and wildly dysfunctional) family with humor and compassion. Were there other comparable memoirs that came to mind? What distinguishes this book?

Get-To-Know-You Questions

One of my favorite books was written by my “friends,” the Satellite Sisters. They had an amazing upbringing and each contributed chapters to the book. Most people know that I have followed the Sisters since I read the book – their radio show, their radio show on podcast, then after the demise of the show, through their blog and now one Sister’s blog and podcast The Chaos Chronicles.

So my close friends, the Satellite Sisters, posted this blog about using these questions to get to know the women in your life a little better. I thought a few were interesting and so I thought I’d post them, as well!

Comment away!
Off to read….

What would you rather win– an Oscar or a Nobel Prize?
What job are you not qualified for?
Did you ever abuse “hold” or “layaway” privileges?
In what fashion trend do you most regret taking part?
If you really wanted to shake up the Supreme Court, who would you nominate?
Do you lie to your doctor?
What great book do you claim to have read, but never really have?
If you could change any part of you with plastic surgery, what part would it be?
Are you intimidated by your hairdresser?
What’s the worst job you ever had?
Where were you when you heard about the death of Princess Diana?
What is you personal theme song?

Must Get Reading!

It’s been a blur of busy-ness this last week and I finally finished March O Magazine!  But have barely started on “The Glass Castle”!  At least it’s been a fun busy!  Watching the kids, watching Bon Jovi, watching “Whip It,” watching the Des Moines Derby Dames, watching the highway go by under my tires… 🙂

I have been listening to an audiobook during all that car time.  It’s certainly not great literature, but light and breezy.  It takes a lot of time to listen to an audiobook – this one is about 10 hours.  I’m listening to too many great podcasts lately so my book listening has dramatically decreased.  As an ‘uber’ visual person, it really is funny how I have trained my brain to listen to audiobooks.  I’ve listened to a lot of memorable stories, including “Bel Canto,” “The Poisonwood Bible,” “The Red Tent,” “The Life of Pi,” and many books by Bill Bryson.  I was having trouble finding books at the Rushford Public Library that I wanted to listen to, as I’d already read many of those that I was interested in, so it’s fun to download audiobooks to my iPod from the Rochester Public Library.  I haven’t downloaded any great and memorable books yet, but I’ll keep looking!

Any favorite or memorable audiobooks?

Well, off to read!

I want the other ending!

Another nice night at book club – we grabbed the book (“Friday Night Knitting Club”) off the shelves at B&N for the discussion questions and discussed our likes and dislikes about the book – and then walked! My personal dislike of the book happened when the whole cancer thing happened.  Blah.  I didn’t want the book to end the way it did and we wondered what would have happened if James had never come back into their lives… how would their lives have changed?

It is an interesting time we live in for families.  I know my situation as a single mom is very unlike Georgia’s, in that I had incredible  parental support.  But my daughter has never met her dad.  We started emailing a few times a year about 5 years ago, and it is interesting.  My daughter just doesn’t seem to care.  We talked about it a lot after the flood but she says she is fine with the family she has and isn’t interested in more.  So maybe that’s why I disliked the book so much after the cancer happened.  I am the “only” for my daughter and I don’t want to leave her too soon.   I want the other ending.

We decided to meet in TWO weeks to discuss “The Glass Castle” by Jeannette Walls – a memoir.  I’m going to get it started tonight!   Our next book will be “The Girls from Ames” by Jeffrey Zaslow.

Have you ever re-written the ending to a book?

Off to read!