Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Overbooked -- November 6, 2023

Overbooked met in November to discuss the National Book Award winning title The Round House by Louise Erdrich. Told in first person perspective by Joe Coutts, the story centers around the assault his mother suffered when he was 13 years old and the ensuing investigation that pulls in several members of the community who reside on an Ojibwe reservation in North Dakota. Growing frustrated with the abysmal investigation into his mother’s case, Joe sets out with the aid of his friends to seek justice on her behalf and learns too late that some actions lead to life-haunting consequences.

 Some members initially admitted to being lost at different points in the story due to the scattered dialogue. Other members however believed that may have been intentional as it was reminiscent of the fractured thoughts of a 13 year old boy being retold by his adult self. Yet members all agreed on the profoundery of Erdrich’s writing with members reading aloud passages that resonated with them. This was a novel that members stated is a deeply thought provoking work of literature for anyone that appreciates this genre of books and that greatly benefits from group discussions. The Overbookers all expressed interest in reading more of this author’s work for future book discussions.

The Round House received an overall positive response, averaging a 4 out of 5-star rating.

 

The Readers -- November 15, 2023

 

The Readers Book Club met recently to discuss The Sweet By and By by Todd Johnson. The story is told through the first-person perspectives of five women. Lorraine is the ever-patient nurse in a nursing home, taking care of the steady but sharp-tongued Margaret, and her friend and sidekick, the wacky Bernice. Rhonda is the hairdresser who takes on an extra job as the hairdresser for the home, and comes to love the residents. There is also April, Lorraine's daughter, who works hard to become a doctor, the profession she dreamed of as a child. 

Unfortunately, the group did not care for the book, only giving it a rating of 1.83 out of a possible 5 stars. Most of the members felt that the book had no purpose and left them with the feeling that reading it was a waste of time. The characters, while likable, had no depth and the stories were not developed. The book was confusing, as there seemed to be no flow from one character's story to the next. The time jumps in the plot happened without wrapping up anything that occurred before. It was as if the author was trying to be Steel Magnolias, but fell short. 

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Night Owls - November 13, 2023

The Night Owls book club met in November to discuss The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley. It received 3.3 out of 5 stars. 

It is the summer of 1950 and at the once grand mansion of Buckshaw, a young Flavia de Luce, an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison, is intrigued by a series of inexplicable events. A dead bird is found on the doorstep, and a postage stamp is bizarrely pinned to its beak. Then, hours later, Flavia finds a man lying in the cucumber patch and watches him as he takes his dying breath. 

For Flavia, who is both appalled and delighted, life begins in earnest when murder comes to Buckshaw. "I wish I could say I was afraid, but I wasn't. Quite the contrary. This was by far the most interesting thing that had ever happened to me in my entire life." 

Though the group thought the plot was slow at times, and overall stamps are pretty boring, everyone found Flavia to be a delightful protagonist. Witty and smart, her dialogue and interactions with the other characters helped compensate for the slow progression of the mystery. 
 

Monday, November 13, 2023

Once Upon a Crime -- November 7, 2023

The Once Upon a Crime book club met in November to discuss The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the book and it received 4.3 out of 5 stars.

A woman suffering from the fear of going outside her home watches out her window to see the neighbors and what is going on around her. Without actually being out, she sees her neighbor lady, who had just visited her, be murdered. Unfortunately, no one believes her. She had been in a car accident that claimed both her husband and her daughter, to whom she still "talks" and she just doesn't have much credibility among law enforcement. When she calls the police, they do investigate, but the person she claims she saw get killed, clearly was not, so who was it?! 

This book was very interesting with lots of quirks and tiny little hints of what is truly going on. Some clues a few a group members didn't pick up on until the group discussed it! There were a lot of surprises, including the ending.

The group all agreed this was a great read and hard to put down.
 

Thursday, November 9, 2023

Questers - November 9, 2023

Out of the Clear Blue Sky by Kristan Higgins introduced the Questers to Lillie Silva, who suddenly finds herself alone when her son leaves for college and her husband leaves for another woman. Up until the moment Brad announces he has found someone else who helps him find his "joy", she thought they had an ideal family and marriage, and was even planning a European vacation for the two of them. The news prompts her to get closer to the sister she grew distant from in adulthood and forces her to navigate her rocky relationship with her own mother, since her in-laws abandoned her also. 

The book offers glimpses of humor as Lillie allows herself some vindictiveness toward her husband's mistress, but when she meets his soon to be step-daughter, her heart begins to soften. She finds herself thrust into the role of midwife for the young and beautiful Melissa, the object of Lillie's disdain. 

The Questers liked the book, giving it 3.3 stars out of 5. The humor helped to balance the sadness of the destruction of this marriage. The mother-daughter relationships in the story provided the growth in characters needed for it to not spiral into a chaotic, depressing tale. 
 

Clubbing in February -- Part 2

The Questers discussed Only the Beautiful by Susan Meissner in February. The book is set between 1938 and 1947 with the earlier years focu...