Friday, November 2, 2012

November: Divergent

Can you believe it's already November?  And that it still feels like early October outside?  Here's hoping that in spite of the lovely, warm temperatures we're having, you're ready to curl up inside with this month's book, Divergent by Veronica Roth.  After all, it's been a while since we read anything dystopian, so this should be fun.  Here's the usual blurb about the book:
"In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue--Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent).  On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives.  For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is--she can't have both.  So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself. 

"During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are--and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen.  But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death.  And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her."
We will meet on November 28th, the last Wednesday of the month, at 7 at Becky's house.  This will be the last time we meet this year since we decided December would just be too hard to fit one in with the holidays, so after that we will meet again on January 30, 2013.  Happy reading!

Monday, October 15, 2012

October: The Berlin Boxing Club

I'm sorry, everyone, that I've been so late posting these last two months.  I really will try to be better.  October's book is The Berlin Boxing Club by Robert Sharenow, and here's a synopsis from the author's website:

"Fourteen-year-old Karl Stern has never thought of himself as a Jew. But to the bullies at his school in Nazi-era Berlin, it doesn’t matter that Karl has never set foot in a synagogue or that his family doesn’t practice religion. Demoralized by relentless attacks on a heritage he doesn’t accept as his own, Karl longs to prove his worth to everyone around him.

So when Max Schmeling, champion boxer and German national hero, makes a deal with Karl’s father to give Karl boxing lessons, Karl sees it as the perfect chance to reinvent himself. A skilled cartoonist, Karl has never had an interest in boxing, but as Max becomes the mentor Karl never had, Karl soon finds both his boxing skills and his art flourishing.
But when Nazi violence against Jews escalates, Karl must take on a new role: protector of his family. Karl longs to ask his new mentor for help, but with Max’s fame growing, he is forced to associate with Hitler and other Nazi elites, leaving Karl to wonder where his hero’s sympathies truly lie. Can Karl balance his dream of boxing greatness with his obligation to keep his family out of harm’s way?"

Sounds like a good one.  We will meet on Wednesday, October 24th this month which isn't technically the last Wednesday of the month this time, but Halloween is the last Wednesday so we're trying to avoid that.  We'll meet at 7:00 at Becky's house, and feel free to bring a friend whether they've read the book or not.  Hope to see you all there!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

September: Wonder

Gah!  I can't believe I'm so late posting this!  I think I texted most of you about the book this month, but if this is the first time you're hearing about it, I'm really sorry.  We are going to be reading Wonder by R. J. Palacio.  We will be meeting at Becky's on Wednesday, September 26th at 7:00 p.m. to discuss it, as well as to figure out when we want to meet in October since the last Wednesday of next month will be Halloween.  Here's a blurb about the book from Amazon:

"I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.
"August Pullman was born with a facial deformity that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. WONDER, now a New York Times bestseller, begins from Auggie’s point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others. These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance.

"In a world where bullying among young people is an epidemic, this is a refreshing new narrative full of heart and hope. R.J. Palacio has called her debut novel “a meditation on kindness” —indeed, every reader will come away with a greater appreciation for the simple courage of friendship. Auggie is a hero to root for, a diamond in the rough who proves that you can’t blend in when you were born to stand out."

See you soon!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

August: Till We Have Faces

I can't believe it's already almost August!  Thanks, everyone who came to bookclub tonight.  We'll see you again on Wednesday, August 29th, same bookclub time (7:00 p.m.), same bookclub channel (Becky's house).  The book we will be reading this month is Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold by C. S. Lewis.  Here's more about it from the back of the book:

"In this timeless tale of two mortal princesses--one beautiful and one unattractive--C. S. Lewis reworks the classical myth of Cupid and Psyche into an enduring piece of contemporary fiction.  This is the story of Orual, Psyche's embittered and ugly older sister, who possessively and harmfully loves Psyche.  Much to Orual's frustration, Psyche is loved by Cupid, the god of love himself, setting the troubled Orual on a path of moral development.

"Set against the background of Glome, a barbaric, pre-Christian world, the struggles between sacred and profane love are illuminated as Orual learns that we cannot understand the intent of the gods "till we have faces" and sincerity in our souls and selves."

And just in case you need more to sell you on it, here's what the New York Times has to say about it:

"Haunted by the myth of Cupid and Psyche throughout his life, C.S. Lewis wrote this, his last, extraordinary novel, to retell their story through the gaze of Psyche’s sister, Orual. Disfigured and embittered, Orual loves her younger sister to a fault and suffers deeply when she is sent away to Cupid, the God of the Mountain. Psyche is forbidden to look upon the god’s face, but is persuaded by her sister to do so; she is banished for her betrayal. Orual is left alone to grow in power but never in love, to wonder at the silence of the gods. Only at the end of her life, in visions of her lost beloved sister, will she hear an answer.

"Till We Have Faces succeeds in presenting with imaginative directness what its author has described elsewhere as ‘the divine, magical, terrifying and ecstatic reality in which we all live’ . . . [It] deepens for adults that sense of wonder and strange truth which delights children in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian, and other legends of Narnia." —New York Times
Happy reading!

Friday, June 29, 2012

July: After

Hi again, everyone!  Remember we've moved bookclub to the last Wednesday of the month, so nobody try to show up at Becky's house on the 4th of July, unless you're bringing fireworks and barbecue.  This month we will meet on Wednesday, July 25th at 7 p.m. at Becky's house.  The book we will be discussing is After by Amy Efaw.  Here's the blurb from the flap:

"Who would leave her own baby in the trash to die?  Certainly not someone like Devon--a straight-A student, soccer player with Olympic dreams, more mature than her own mother.  But desperation and panic drove her to do what most people can't even imagine.  Now Devon's in a juvenile detention center, charged with attempted murder.  If she's tried as an adult, she faces life in prison.

"Does Devon deserve that punishment?  Your answer depends on whether you believe her story--that she didn't even know she was pregnant.  Was she buried in a denial so deep that she was unable to register the seemingly obvious signs of pregnancy?  Or were her actions the result of a more devious, premeditated plan?

"With the utmost empathy and precision, author Amy Efaw carefully peels back the layers of Devon's past as she faces a possible future behind bars.  The result is a gripping page-turner that will challenge your beliefs about conscience and consciousness."

I look forward to seeing everyone at the end of July!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

June: Rules

It was good to see everyone that came tonight, and we're sad to say "goodbye" to Meg and Bekah.  Good luck in your new adventures!  I'm posting our next book right away so we'll have plenty of time to read it before our next meeting, which will be on June 27th--that's right, we are now switching to meeting on the last Wednesday of the month to avoid scheduling conflicts with our ward's temple night.  So we will meet just a few short weeks from now on Wednesday, June 27th, at 7 p.m. at Becky's house.  Becky will be leading the book discussion too, and the book she has chosen is Rules by Cynthia Lord.  Here's the summary:

"Twelve-year-old Catherine just wants a normal life.  Which is near impossible when you have a brother with autism and a family that revolves around his disability.  She's spent years trying to teach David the rules--from "a peach is not a funny-looking apple" to "keep your pants on in public"--in order to stop his embarrassing behaviors.  But the summer Catherine meets Jason, a paraplegic boy, and Kristi, the next-door friend she's always wished for, it's her own shocking behavior that turns everything upside down and forces her to ask: What is normal?"

See you on the 27th!

Monday, May 7, 2012

May: Tarzan of the Apes

Happy May, everyone.  Before I forget, let me ask you all a question--please leave your answer in the comments below.  The first Wednesday of the month has now become our ward's temple night, so we would like to once again move bookclub.  In talking to people at our last meeting, it looks like no other night of the week will work and neither will the second Wednesday of the month.  So we were thinking that maybe it would be good to move it to the last Wednesday of the month.  That will mean that we will have two meetings this month (the one last week on May 2nd and then again the last Wednesday of the month which will be the 30th).  The nice thing is there are five Wednesdays in May this month so there are still four weeks in between meetings which should be enough time to read a new book.  So, what do you all think?  Will the last Wednesday work or should we try to find another option?

Well, with that out of the way, I will introduce this month's book, Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs.  "With Tarzan of the Apes, Edgar Rice Burroughs created more than the greatest adventure hero of the twentieth century--he also manifested a legend that has since captured the reading public's consciousness.  Tarzan was by far his most popular and truly original hero. . . .This sprawling epic follows the lost scion of Greystoke from a fragile babe raised by the gentle she-ape, Kala, to his ascent as Lord of the Apes and ultimately will bring him on a journey to discover the world of man and his forgotten past.  Tarzan will face superstitious savages, wrestle vengeful gorillas, slay fearsome lions, face untrustworthy sailors and finally pursue the love of the beautiful woman, Jane."

So if the last Wednesday of the month will work for everyone, we will go ahead and meet on May 30th at 7:00 at Becky's house.  Happy reading!