The Ides of March

I’m blogging on a Monday!  And it’s a “holiday”!  (From Wikipedia:  The Ides of March (Latin: Idus Martiae) is the name of March 15 in the Roman calendar. The term ides was used for the 15th day of the months of March, May, July, and October, and the 13th day of the other months.[1] The Ides of March was a festive day dedicated to the god Mars and a military parade was usually held. In modern times, the term Ides of March is best known as the date that Julius Caesar was killed in 709 AUC or 44 B.C. Julius Caesar was stabbed to death in the Roman Senate led by Marcus Junius Brutus, Gaius Cassius Longinus and 60 other co-conspirators.)

No military parades or stabbings here, but a slow return to “life after vacation.”  Luckily it was a nice day, weather-wise, so there wasn’t too much of a shock to my system.  We arrived in Rochester at 2AM and I slept til 8, read til 9 and then worked half a day.  A good, gradual re-entry to the real world.  I’m afraid I’m still on vacation time, so I hope I get to sleep at a decent hour tonight or tomorrow morning will be rough!

I didn’t do as much reading as I had hoped on vacation, because sun-worshiping is so much easier with your eyes closed!  But I finished the “Friday Night Knitting Club” before I left, so I was one book lighter.  I can’t wait to discuss it, as I ended up not liking it as much as I did initially.  Wondering what everyone else thinks about it?

I did start and finish Ann Bancroft’s and Liv Arneson’s book, “No Horizon is So Far,” and I loved it more than I expected to!  As I said, memoir/nonfiction is not my typical choice, but the determination and passion that these women had from a young age was really remarkable.  I can’t wait to meet Ann on Wednesday and hear her story.  The book was about their 2001 trek across Antarctica and since that time she and Liv have been to the north pole.  Again, more interesting than I thought!

I also picked up the book “Gift from the Sea” by Anne Morrow Lindbergh.  I bought it at the Shell Museum on Sanibel Island.  Anne wrote the book in 1955 while staying on Captiva Island, just north of Sanibel.  It is a jewel of a book and will probably be a gift to many of my women friends!

And on the plane ride home, I started “Peony In Love” by Lisa See.  I don’t know what it is about Asian historical fiction that I love, but I do love it.  I’m just breezing right through it.  It was a book I received free from Random House as a book club promotion.  Lisa has a few other books out that I’d like to read eventually. I hope that it puts me to sleep tonight, though.

Off to read!

Monday Monday

I thought I’d do Monday posts, but one slipped by me!  I guess because I was sleeping with the kiddos at Dana’s house and suffering from a little post-Oscar exhaustion.  So it’s really Tuesday!  One of my favorite days of the week because I get to sing!  Singing is good…

And so is reading!  I’m about 3/4 through the “Friday Night Knitting Club” and enjoying it.  I can’t wait to discuss it – we still need to set up the Rochester Branch date.  I’m leaving tomorrow for Florida and plan to bring it along, along with a pile of others!  I have Ann Bancroft’s memoir “No Horizon is So Far,” and since she’s visiting my school next week I’m excited to read that a little.  Not usually a memoir lover.   I also will bring Oprah magazine and whatever else is in the pile waiting to be read!  Maybe “The Girls from Ames”?  Not sure if that’s the book that we’ll read in April or not.  I suppose it depends on its availability at the libraries. 

What are you reading?

Off to read!  (And then to sing!)

March Meeting

Just home from the March meeting of the Walkie Talkies, Rochester Branch!  We talked about “The Moment Between” by Nicole Baart.  We gave Sarah some spoilers, but hopefully she’ll finish the book anyway!  The reasons I liked the book are the honest way it dealt with mental illness, and I was excited to read her Christian way of dealing with intense grief and suicide.  It wasn’t predictable and didn’t have a trite, perfectly wrapped up ending, but it had a good ending.  With hope.   I’ll keep you posted on the “gift pack” I get for posting a review!  🙂

Anyone else have thoughts about the book?  I gave away my LAST copy yesterday!  Yeah!

Next we’re going to read “The Friday Night Knitting Club” by Kate Jacobs and “SLAM” by Nick Hornby.  Ambitious!  But “SLAM” is a YA (young adult) novel and the Knitting Club is a fast and fun read.  We haven’t set a date yet, but Sarah threw some dates out there… March 22 or March 29 or April 5 (all Mondays).  The library books are due 3/25, just as a point of reference.  They can be renewed, but that’s what we’ve got now.  Spring break for Rochester is 3/26 – .  Any one of those dates will work for me – right now.  I need to set up a book club meeting for my school book club (Ann Bancroft’s “No Horizon is So Far”), so the earlier we set something up the better.

We talked tonight about what to read next, and I propose that we read “The Girls from Ames” next!  Thoughts?  I’ll check library availability.  Seems like we checked Fillmore County libraries and all copies were checked out… thoughts?

Off to read!

Sarah’s Book Club Plan!

March: The Friday Night Knitting Club or SLAM (or both!)
Also, I think we should meet the last Monday of March instead of the first week in April.  (I’m open for a different date… with Easter and spring break there’s room for flexibility!)

April: The Glass Castle and Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls. The Glass Castle is a very quick read and Half Broke Horses looks to be quick as well.  (Saw both books listed on Random House website (see links on the side!).  Look interesting! You own both?)

May: Olive Kitteridge or The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy (I haven’t heard of the second one… but I’m game!)

June: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo or Catcher in the Rye (Maybe in the summer we can meet more frequently and read more books???? What a dream…)

July: The Power of One or Best Friends Forever

August: The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desi or The Hummingbirds Daughter by Luis Alberto Urrea

September: Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons or Back When We Were Grownups by Anne Tyler

October: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close or Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer

November: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle or What is the What

December: A Wedding in December by Anita Shreve (haha)

This is a great plan and I’m up for adopting it in its entirety!  I haven’t heard of some but am open.  Others, as I wrote below, to think about are “The Girls from Ames” and “The Abstinence Teacher.”  Also, “What is the What” !

And now, I’m really off to read!

So many books…

The library is inspiring and overwhelming!  Sarah’s list of ideas is posted in a comment, and I’ll try to post it as its own post. Others I’d like to add are “The Girls from Ames” by Jeffrey Zaslow, “The Abstinence Teacher” by the guy who wrote “Little Children,” (Peretto?) and I’m sure many others.

Tonight we made a plan to read TWO books for March!  We’ll see how that goes.  “The Friday Night Knitting Club” by Kate Jacobs and “SLAM” by Nick Hornby.  I’m almost done with “The Moment Between” and enjoying it.  We’ll meet Monday at the mall and walk and talk!

Well, off to read!

Discussion Questions for “The Moment Between” by Nicole Baart

discussion questions (from www.nicolebaart.com)

1. “Abigail Bennett was the definition of unexpected.” Explain.  Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Why? How does Abigail change throughout the book? What is the impetus for that change?

2. Hailey’s mental illness affects everyone around her. What sort of emotions does Hailey evoke in you? Do you like her or dislike her? Do you have compassion for her or does she frustrate you?  Explain.

3. How is Abigail shaped by her youth? What role does Lou play in her life? What role does Melody play in her life? What about Hailey?

4. Abigail calls herself a “lapsed Catholic.” Why do you think she has allowed her faith to lapse? Hailey, on the other hand, seems to cling to her faith. Why is her belief system so important to her?

5. Why is Abigail so driven to atone for her sister’s death? Do you understand her motivations? Why or why not? Why does she blame Tyler? Do you agree with her assessment of Tyler’s guilt?

6. Though she doesn’t claim to be a Christian, until she finds herself obsessed with Tyler, Abigail lives an exemplary, by-thebook life. Hailey, on the other hand, is a Christian, but there seems to be a disconnect between Hailey’s faith and her lifestyle choices. What does this seem to say about faith and actions?  Do you agree or disagree? Why?

7. What does Eli mean when he asks Abigail, “What if your life is an offering poured out in a single glass?” Do you agree or disagree with his assessment of Abigail’s role in Hailey’s death?

8. In the final chapter, Abigail says, “If home is where the heart is, my heart has been homeless for a very long time.” And earlier in the book we learn that “her heart existed in many more places than simply the cage behind her arching rib bones.”  What does she mean by that? Was there ever a time in your life when you could relate to these statements?

9. The symbol of communion is used repeatedly throughout the book in both obvious and subtle ways. Locate several references to the sacrament of communion. What purpose does this symbol serve?

10. Throughout history and even today there are many religious groups that consider suicide to be an unpardonable sin. In fact, some churches won’t even allow victims of suicide to be buried in the same cemetery as people who die of natural causes. Do you agree or disagree with this conviction? Why or why not?

11. Near the end of the book, Abigail narrates, “Hailey’s death, like her life, is an unfathomable mix of brokenness. And, I think, grace.” What does she mean by this? Do you agree that Hailey’s life is a mix of brokenness and grace? Use specific examples from the book.

12. In the final paragraphs of the book, Abigail talks about the irony of snow in the Summerlands. What other ironies can you pick out as you look back over the book? What metaphors stand out to you? What symbols do you find meaningful?

“The Moment Between” by Nicole Baart

I’m almost halfway through “the Moment Between” and I’m enjoying it!  I’ll post the discussion questions here and the Rochester Branch of the Walkie Talkies plans to meet on March 1 to walk and talk about the book.  Hopefully that’ll work for all.  We haven’t picked out our next month’s book, but we should get on that!  It would be nice to have at least a four month plan.

Well, off to read!

What else are you reading?

I just finished the Young Adult book by Nick Hornby called, “SLAM.”  Wow, I forgot how good Nick Hornby was as a writer.  I think the only book of his that I didn’t enjoy was “How to be Good,” and I wondered at the time if it was because it was written from a woman’s perspective and he is better at writing from the man’s perspective.  It was just OK, rather than spectacular and brilliant.  I really enjoyed “SLAM” – a story about a 15 year old boy who becomes a father.  Heavy stuff.  Funny stuff.  Life changing stuff.  Great stuff.

Book choices we discussed on 2/1/10

“Olive Kitteridge” by Elizabeth Strout
“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” by Stieg Larsson
“The Friday Night Knitting Club” by Kate Jacobs
“Eat Pray Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert
“The Glass Castle: a memoir” by Jeannette Walls
“The Story of Edgar Sawtelle” by David Wroblewski
“The Girls from Ames: A Story of Women and a Forty-Year Friendship” by Jeffrey Zaslow
“The Moment Between” by Nicole Baart
“Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger
“What is the What” by Dave Eggers
“I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti” by Giulia Melucci
“The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison
“Best Friends Forever” by Jennifer Weiner

Any others you want to add????

I'm a multi-tasker

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