Book #33 Release

March 22, 2009

This time we’re mixing it up and reading a novel that is NOT exactly This Charming Man as mentioned in previous comments; but keep it on the back burner for future reading, because it’s still on our ‘Must Read’ list. Instead, our official book #33 selection is Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult, another new author to our bookclub. As with all our new authors, Picoult gets the warmest of welcomes as we embark on yet another reading adventure. Will she pay us a visit along the way? We’ll keep our fingers crossed on that!

Have you got the drill down yet? If not, here’s what to do next – download an audible copy, borrow from the library, purchase from your favorite bookseller, or visit Amazon in support of our club: Handle with Care. Then stay current with our discussion timeline by visiting the book #33 web page under ‘Books‘ in the right-hand sidebar.

Simple as 1-2-3.

Will you join us this time around? Bring a friend & win a prize!


Discussion #2 & Final Wrap-Up: Very Valentine

March 20, 2009

Lo and behold, we’re actually ready for the final discussion and wrap-up of book #32, Very Valentine. Here are a few more questions from Trigiani’s reader guide to help us along:

  • Tradition is another theme of Very Valentine. Her sister Tess calls Valentine traditional, yet Valentine disagrees. “I guess I appear to be one of my tribe, but the truth is, whenever I have the opportunity to walk the hard line of tradition, I balk.” Is Tess right, does Valentine represent tradition? How does she balk at it, as she claims? Which sister has the more realistic view?
  • Valentine ponders the question: “How do we survive in a contemporary world without losing everything my great-grandfather built?” Is there a role for tradition and traditional craftsmen and artisans in our technologically dependent modern world?
  • Describe Valentine’s love interests, Roman and Gianluca. What does each man provide that the other doesn’t? Did you prefer one to the other? Do you think she could be happy with either of them—or someone like either of them?
  • When Roman tells her that he will be few days late meeting her in Capri, what do you think about her reaction to his news? What about when he cancels on her?
  • What role did the trip to Capri play in Valentine and Roman’s relationship?
  • The Roncalli family offers numerous insights, both profound and humorous for Valentine. Her mother tells, “You see, that’s when you know for sure somebody loves you. They figure out what you need and they give it to you—without you asking.” What do you think of this view of love?
  • What do you think of Teodora’s news? Why do you think she kept her relationship a secret all those years?
  • At the end of the novel, Valentine turns away from both Roman and Gianluca. “In this moment, I choose art.” Is this the right choice for her? What might it mean for her and for the Angelini Shoe Company? Does she have to choose love and career?
  • Finally, now is your chance to rate Very Valentine on a scale from 1-10 (1=horrible, 10=superb). What do you give this novel?

Post your thoughts! And don’t forget to pick up our next bookclub selection, This Charming Man by Marian Keyes. (Formal announcement and timeline coming soon.)


Discussion #1: Very Valentine

March 7, 2009

Yes it’s that time, Chicken Lit’ers – time for our first discussion of book #32, Very Valentine by Adriana Trigiani. As before, stop right here if you haven’t reached the end of chapter 7. (Spoiler alert!) Otherwise, read on and take a gander at these questions:

  • Valentine Roncalli begins her tale with the words, “I am not the pretty sister. I’m not the smart sister either. I am the funny one.” How does her outlook color her actions? What do you think of Valentine? Do you agree with her assessment or do you think she might be selling herself short?
  • One of the major themes of Very Valentine is family. Describe the Roncalli family. How does their bond enrich Valentine’s life? How might it affect her adversely, both in her romantic and professional endeavors? Offer some examples from the novel.
  • What defines family for the Roncallis? How would you fit into Valentine’s family? What defines family for you? What is your family life like now and what were your experiences growing up?
  • Compare Valentine with her mother, Michelina (“Mike”), and her grandmother, Teodora. What elements of her personality does Valentine get from both women? Does she take after one more than the other?
  • Valentine’s sister-in-law, Pam, has a difficult time fitting into the Roncalli family. How much of this is the result of her own actions? Are the Roncalli sisters responsible as well?
  • What does tradition mean for your life? Are there any you particularly cherish that have been handed down through past generations? How do you keep traditions alive? How can you start new ones?
  • Romantic love and the yearning for it infuse the novel. Valentine is a single woman in a world seemingly defined by marriage. Can a woman be fulfilled and yet remain single? Can she be happy without a man?
  • Mike also advises her daughter, “I believe in setting goals that one can achieve. Low expectations make for a happy life.” Can not expecting much make you happy? How? What would happen to Valentine if she followed this advice?
  • Throughout the novel, Valentine works hard to save the Angelini Shoe Company. If she is successful, she gains stability. What do you think will happen if she fails?
  • Valentine describes the art of making shoes: “My grandmother has taught me that the palette for leather and suede is limitless, like musical notes.” What do our shoes say about ourselves? How is Valentine’s passion, making shoes, a metaphor for her life?
  • And finally, how do you feel about Adriana Trigiani’s writing style? Read any of Trigiani’s books before this one? Willing to read more of her novels in the future?

Feel free to answer all, some, or none of the above – we just want to know your thoughts. Not meant to be homework-like, Chicken Lit’ers.


Book #32 Release

March 1, 2009

Yes, it’s that time once again for the formal announcement of our next bookclub selection, which just so happens to be #32 (we’re getting up there!), Very Valentine by Adriana Trigiani. This author is another newbie to our bookclub, so let’s warmly welcome her with open arms, shall we? Perhaps she’ll even pay us a visit? We can only hope. And beg. Perhaps groveling is a little much? Ok, prayers go a long way, too.

You know the spiel – download an audible copy, borrow from the library, purchase from that local bookstore you know and love, or visit Amazon’s site in support of our bookclub: Very Valentine. Then keep a lookout on the book #32 web page under ‘Books‘ in the right-hand sidebar where you can find our reading timeline and discussion posts. Easy peasy.

C’mon Chicken Lit’ers, let’s read!