Books and friends – perfect together

Image: Pinterest
Image: Pinterest

Some book clubs come and go, but mine has been around for sixteen years.  We started out as young mothers and have watched our babies grow and head off to college.  We used to meet late, after the babies went to bed.  Now we meet early so we can get to bed!

We’ve read a lot of books over the years.  Some of them were great and some were clunkers.  Sometimes we go off topic, and sometimes we go way off topic, but we always have fun.  We are a perfect combination of great friendship, laughter, support and a little bit of gossip and spice!

We started in 2001 with The Bonesetter’s Daughter by Amy Tan and are still going strong.   Here’s a list of what we’ve read.  I think our selections follow a typical reading trend.  What have you read in your book club?


2001

The Bonesetter’s Daughter by Amy Tan
While I Was Gone by Sue Miller
Girl with a Pearl Earring  by Tracy Chevalier – 5 star read
Girl in Hyacinth Blue by Susan Vreeland
Fortune’s Daughter by Alice Hoffman

Girl with a Pearl Earring


2002

Sula by Toni Morrison
The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
Follow Your Heart by Susanna Tamaro
The Bee Season by Myra Goldberg
The Shipping News by Annie Proulx
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
The Dive from Clausen’s Pier by Ann Packer
The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden


2003

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant – 5 star read
Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult
The Hours by Michael Cunningham
The Family Orchard by Nomi Eve
Five Finger Discount – A Crooked Family History by Helene Stapinski
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
Gift from the Sea by Ann Morrow Lindbergh
Beloved by Toni Morrison
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis – 5 star read

the-red-tent    the-lion-the-witch-and-the-wardrobe


2004

All He Ever Wanted by Anita Shreve
The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown – 5 star read
Atonement by Ian McEwan – 5 star read
Princess:  A True Story of Life behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia by Jean P. Sasson
Back Roads by Tawni O’Dell
Peace Like a River by Leif Enger
Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi
The Center of Everything by Laura Moriarty
Youngblood Hawke by Herman Wouk – 5 star read
The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler

the-da-vinci-code     Youngblood Hawke pic


2005

Nickel and Dimed:  On (Not) Getting by in America by Barbara Ehrenreich
Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts
Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons by Lorna Landuik
How to Be Good by Nick Hornby
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress by Susan Jane Gilman
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett – 5 star read
Remember Me by Trezza Azzopardi
Children of God by Mary Doria Russell

bel-canto


2006

White Oleander by Janet Fitch
Under the Banner of Heaven – A Story of Violent Faith by John Krakauer
A Short History of Tractors in Ukranian by Marina Lewycka
The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield
Little Children by Tom Perotta
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini – 5 star read
Pigs in Heaven by Barbara Kingsolver
The World to Come by Dara Horn
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards
The Optimist’s Daughter by Eudora Welty
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

the-kite-runner


2007

An Inconvenient Truth by Al Gore
The Ha Ha by Dave King
Wicked by Gregory Maguire
The Keep by Jennifer Egan
Brick Lane by Monica Ali
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls – 5 star read
Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson
Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Black and White by Dani Shapiro

the-glass-castle


2008

Confederates in the Attic by Tony Horwitz
Good Faith by Jane Smiley
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
The Double Bind by Chris Bahjalian
The Russian Concubine by Kate Furnivall
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer – 5 star read
First Mothers by Bonnie Angelo
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen – 5 star read
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
The Giver by Lois Lowrey – 5 star read

from Goodreads     sense-and-sensibility     the giver pic


2009

The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie
Peony in Love by Lisa See
The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood – 5 star read
Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates
The Shack by William P. Young
The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe
A Mercy by Toni Morrison
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith – 5 star read
A Map of the World by Jane Hamilton
The Twist in the Road by Rob Hanlon

the-blind-assassin     a-tree-grows-in-brooklyn


2010

The Soloist by Steve Lopez
The Financial Lives of the Poets by Jess Walters
Straight Man by Richard Russo
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – 5 star read
Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez
Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
My Antonia by Willa Cather
Mennonite in a Little Black Dress – Rhoda Janzen
Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann – 5 star read
Game Change by John Heliemann/Mark Halperin
Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris

To Kill a Mockingbird pic     let-the-great-world-spin


2011

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
The Lotus Eaters by Tatjana Soli
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier – 5 star read
The Hunger Games by Susanne Collins
The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua
In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
Room by Emma Donoghue
Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey – 5 star read

rebecca     one-flew-over-the-cuckoos-nest


2012

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
Little Bee by Chris Cleve
The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
Loving Frank:  A Novel by Nancy Horan
The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell – 5 star read
Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls
The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach
We Hear the Dead by Diane Salerni
Defending Jacob by William Landay
A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote

Gone with the Wind book cover


2013

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones
Wonder by R. J. Palacio
The Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
Mayflower – A Story of Courage, Community and War by Nathanial Philbrick


2014

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – 5 star read
Me Before You by JoJo Mayes
The Pieces We Keep by Kristina McMorris
What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
The Caged Graves by Dianne Salerni – 5 star read
The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer – 5 star read
The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin
Mary Coin by Marisa Silver
The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace by Jeff Hobbs
All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner

the book thief pic     the caged graves pic     the interestings pic


2015

The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
A Sudden Light by Garth Stein
The Dinner by Herman Koch
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott
Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel
State of Wonder by Ann Patchett


2016

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
After You by Jojo Moyes
The Hours Count by Jillian Cantor
Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight
All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy
Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr – 5 star read
Traveling Mercies – Some Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott

all the light we cannot see


2017

The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant

 

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Book Club Mom’s rating system

Book Club Mom’s Rating System

I rarely read reviews before I’ve read a book.  I’m afraid they will be full of spoilers and I’m afraid someone else’s opinion will become blended into mine.  I try very hard to give you exactly what I’ve thought, separate from popular opinion.

I think 5-star reviews should be saved for the books that truly do something to you, the ones you think about years later, whose characters become real people to you.  Books that change the way you think, the way you feel.  These are the great classics, the old ones that still ring true and the new ones you just know will hold their meaning years from now.  To me, the 5-star review is the Hall of Fame for the greatest books ever.  Too often, people slap 5 stars on their reader reviews and what we wind up with is a top-heavy collection of what are definitely very good books, sitting next to the best of the best.  If you do that, then how do you distinguish between them?

I don’t give a lot of 5 stars.  I save them so they have meaning.  I give 4 stars to books I think are really great.  And 3 to books I’ve enjoyed a lot.  I don’t give out a lot of 2-star and 1-star reviews because I can usually see something good in what I’ve read.  And if you’ve ever read some of those 1- and 2-star reviews, you will know that they are mostly just opinionated rants.  But if a book is a true clunker, I might give it a 1-star!

So here’s my rating system, jazzed up a little with a brand-new graphic!

The best of the best!
5 book marks

Great read!
4 book marks

Very good!
3 book marks

Okay
2 book marks

Not so good
1 book mark

What do you think?  Do you like this system?  Do you think I’m too easy or hard on books?

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