Sunday, February 3, 2013

Field Trip?

Thanks to Kath for hosting last week's book club!!  After a long, lengthy discussion about what our next read will be, I think we finally came to a consensus with, The Healing by Jonathan Odell and Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard.  Although some are not too jazzed about Killing Kennedy (eh-hem Kath), most agreed that Bill O'Reilly had very little to do with the writing and if we read it, Dr. J might join us for our next gathering!!  Some suggestions were tossed out about our next meeting being a Southern inspired field trip, so let the idea floodgates open... Bars, restaurants, what-have-you...  We were thinking sometime towards the end of March, so if there are dates that do/don't work for you, please send those in as well.   Happy reading my book club friends!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Gone Girl and A Reliable Wife



Book club will be meeting this Friday, January 25 at 8pm.  Please shoot me an email if you need the address or directions to Kath's house.  Elmwood Park can be a shady place to drive around if you don't know your way :)  Kidding Kath, Kidding!!   

When I come to book club on Friday night, I am going to make sure that I:

A) Bring wine.  This club is called Boozing with Books, after all. 
B) Read the books.  They haven't made these into movies yet, sadly :(
C) Bring my appetite.  These ladies can make a mean appetizer... or twenty.   
D) All of the above. 


(Some questions courtesy of
  1. At the beginning of the book, did you find Amy and/or Nick Dunne sympathetic? At what point do your sympathies begin to change (if they do?)
  2. Nick insists from the beginning he had nothing to do with Amy's disappearance. Did you believe him, initially?
  3. How would you describe the couple's marriage?  Were there any redeeming moments?  Was there anything that stood out as highly dysfunctional?
  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. What does the author gain by using two different voices?
  6. A skillful mystery writer knows which details to reveal and when to reveal them. Were there any clues that you picked up through out the course of the book that you found interesting?
  7. What role did the "Amazing Amy" books play in the novel?
  8. Did you suspect Nick's big secret? Did you suspect that Amy was behind the disappearance?  Which twist in the novel shocked you the most?
  9. Do you think anyone is to blame for... The unraveling of the Dunnes marriage? Amy's behavior?  The way the public/media treated Nick?  If so, who?
  10. Movie time: who would you like to see play what part?

  1. The novel’s setting and strong sense of place seem to echo its mood and themes. What role does the wintry Wisconsin landscape play? And the very different, opulent setting of St. Louis?
  2. Ralph and Catherine’s story frequently pauses to give brief, often horrific glimpses into the lives of others. Ralph remarks on the violence that surrounds them in Wisconsin, saying, “They hate their lives. They start to hate each other. They lose their minds, wanting things they can’t have” (page 205). How do these vignettes of madness and violence contribute to the novel’s themes?
  3. Catherine imagines herself as an actress playing a series of roles, the one of Ralph’s wife being the starring role of a lifetime. Where in the novel might you see a glimpse of the real Catherine Land? Do you feel that you ever get to know this woman, or is she always hidden behind a facade?
  4. The encounter between Catherine and her sister, Alice, is one of the pivotal moments of the novel. How do you view these two women after reading the story of their origins? Why do the two sisters wind up on such different paths? Why does Catherine ultimately lose hope in Alice’s redemption?
  5. The idea of escape runs throughout the novel. Ralph thinks, “Some things you escape.... You don’t escape the things, mostly bad, that just happen to you” (pages 5–6). What circumstances trap characters permanently? How do characters attempt to escape their circumstances? When, if ever, do they succeed? How does the bird imagery that runs through the book relate to the idea of imprisonment and escape?
  6. “You can live with hopelessness for only so long before you are, in fact, hopeless,” reflects Ralph (page 8). Which characters here are truly hopeless? Alice? Antonio? Ralph himself? Do you see any glimmers of hope in the story?
  7. Why, in your opinion, does Ralph allow himself to be gradually poisoned, even after he’s aware of what’s happening to him? What does this decision say about his character?
  8. Why does Catherine become obsessed with nurturing and reviving the “secret garden” of Ralph’s mansion? What insights does this preoccupation reveal about Catherine’s character?
  9. Does Catherine live up in any way to the advertisement Ralph places in the newspaper (page 20)? Why or why not?
  10.  Did you have sympathy for any of the characters? Did this change as time went on?
  11. At the onset of A Reliable Wife the characters are not good people. They have done bad things and have lived thoughtlessly. In the end how do they find hope?
  1. Both Catherine (at the beginning of the novel) and Amy describe themselves as cunning and marvel at their ability to carry out a "plan."  Do you find other similarities between these characters?  What do think the authors are trying to say about "cunning" women?
  2. What do these books say about the institution of marriage and love?  Is their message similar?
  3. Both book deal with a great amount of deceit, which begs the question, can you ever truly, know another person? 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Next Meeting

Hey Ladies,

Mark your calendars for our next meeting this Friday, January 25 at 8pm.  We will be meeting at Kath's house in Elmwood Park.  I'll send out more information and the discussion questions later in the week.  Hope you all have a fantastic weekend!!  Happy reading!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Still Going Strong

Did Jacob do it?!  I guess we will never come to an agreement on that one, even though I think both sides proved excellent points (my side most eloquently and importantly!).

A big thanks to Aunt JoAnn hosting the last book club.  The food was absolutely amazing and I'm pretty sure we all put on about 10lbs after all of those treats!  Recipes are on their way!!  Now that we are back in the groove, here are the next thought provoking selections: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (which is not a movie!) and A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick.  We are planning on getting together after the holidays so please let me know if any of the following dates work:

Friday, January 4
Saturday, January 5
Sunday, January 6
Friday, January 18
Saturday, January 19
Sunday, January 20

I hope everyone has a fantastic holiday and I am looking forward to seeing you all for our next gathering of the boozing book club that refuses to quit!!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Correction!! Correction!!

Apparently, reading a calendar is too challenging a task for me :(

The corrected book club date is Saturday, December 1 at 1pm.  Sorry for the confusion!! 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Better Late Than Never Book Club Brunch


Hey Ladies,

I can't apologize enough for the delay in getting in touch with all of you regarding our end of summer book club meeting!!  Although, I am happy to report that we have our next gathering all set up for Saturday, December 2 at 1pm at Aunt JoAnn's house.  We will be discussing Defending Jacob by William Landay as well as Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.  Please shoot me an email if you can make it and I can pass along driving directions.  I hope this proves to be a great time to get together before the craziness of holidays begin!  I put the discussion questions below and can't wait to see everyone.

  1. How would you have handled this situation if you were Andy? Would you make the same choices he made? Where would you differ the most?
  2. Before and during the trial, how would you have handled the situation if you were Laurie? Do you feel she made strong choices as a mother and a wife?
  3. Is Andy a good father? Why or why not?
  4. Do you believe Jacob is guilty?
  5. Is Jacob a product of his upbringing? Do you think he is he a violent person because his environment makes him violent, or do you think he has violent inclinations since birth?
  6. Bulleying is such a hot topic in today's media. How did the author incorporate it into the story, and do you think it's role had anything to do with Jacob's disposition? How do you think people should stop adolescent bullying?
  7. How much of a factor did Jacob's age play into your sympathies for him or lack thereof? If Jacob were seventeen, would you view him differently? What about nine?
  8. Do you think Neal Logiudice acts ethically in this novel? What about Andy? What about Laurie?
  9. What was the most damning piece of evidence against Jacob? Was there anything that you felt exonerated him?
  10. If Jacob hadn't been accused, how do you think his life would have turned out? What kind of a man do you think he would grow up to be?

  1. Pride and Prejudice is probably Austen's most famous, most beloved book. One element, the initial mutual dislike of two people destined to love each other, has become a cliché of the Hollywood romance. I'm sure you can think of numerous examples.
  2. This book has been described by scholars as a very conservative text. Did you find it so? What sort of position do you see it taking on the class system? It has also been described as Austen's most idealistic book. What do you suppose is meant by that?
  3. In 1814 Mary Russell Mitford wrote: "It is impossible not to feel in every line of Pride and Prejudice...the entire want of taste which could produce so pert, so worldly a heroine as the beloved of such a man as Darcy.... Darcy should have married Jane."
  4. Would you have liked the book as well if Jane were its heroine?
  5. Have you ever seen a movie version in which the woman playing Jane was, as Austen imagined her, truly more beautiful than the woman playing Elizabeth?
  6. Who doesn't love Elizabeth Bennet?!!
  7. Two central characters in Austen have her own first name.
  8. In Emma: Jane Fairfax is a decorous, talented, beautiful woman.  In Pride and Prejudice: Jane Bennet is everything lovely.  What do you make of that?
  9. Lydia and Wickham pose a danger to the Bennet family as long as they are unmarried and unchecked. But as a married couple, with little improvement in their behavior, this danger vanishes.
  10. In Pride and Prejudice marriage serves many functions. It is a romantic union, a financial merger, and a vehicle for social regulation. Scholar and writer Mary Poovey said that Austen's goal "is to make propriety and romantic desire absolutely congruent."
  11. Think about all the marriages in the book with respect to how well they are fulfilling those functions.  Is marriage today still an institution of social regulation?  What about it would change if gay marriage were legally recognized?
  12. Austen suggests that in order to marry well a woman must be pretty, respectable, and have money. In the world of Pride and Prejudice, which of these is most important? Spare a thought for some of the unmarried women in the book—Mary and Kitty Bennet, Miss de Bourgh, Miss Georgiana Darcy, poor, disappointed Caroline Bingley. Which of them do you picture marrying some day? Which of them do you picture marrying well?
  13. Was Charlotte Lucas right to marry Reverend Collins?
  14. What are your feelings about Mr. Bennet? Is he a good father? A good husband? A good man?
  15. Darcy says that one of Wickham's motivations in his attempted elopement with Georgiana was revenge. What motivations might he have had for running off with Lydia? (Besides the obvious...)
  16. Elizabeth Bennet says,".... people themselves alter so much, that there is something new to be observed in them for ever."
  17. Do any of the characters in the book change substantially? Or do they, as Elizabeth says of Darcy, "in essentials" remain much as they ever were?
  18. 10. Elizabeth is furious with Darcy for breaking up the match between Jane and Mr. Bingley. Although he initially defends himself, she changes his mind. Later when Lady Catherine attempts to interfere in his own courtship, he describes this as unjustifiable.
  19. Should you tell a friend if you think they're about to make a big mistake romantically?
  20. Have you ever done so? How did that work out for you?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Summer Reading

Phew, my apologies!!  I have finally recovered from the last book club (all I have to say is that we, eight ladies, managed to finish 1 HANDLE of Grey Goose, 2 bottles of Peach Champagne and 1 1/2 bottles of wine... oh me, oh my) and have gained my composure enough to begin to think about our summer reading list. 

We decided to dip back into the classics and read Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice along with the New York Time's Best Selling Defending Jacob by William Landay.  I will reach out to you all around the end of August to come up with our next meeting date and time.  I hope you all have a wonderful summer, enjoy some good/trashy books (I may or may not be reading Fifty Shades of Grey) and I look forward to us all getting together, once again, in the fall (for our 3rd year!!).