Book #35 Release

April 29, 2009

Our book #35 selection is Summer Blowout by Claire Cook, an author we already know so well from a previous book selection. What better way to start thinking about summer again than with another beach read, don’t you think?

Remember how to get started? Either download an audible, borrow from the library, purchase from your local bookstore, or visit Amazon in support of our club: Summer Blowout. Then be sure to keep your eye on the book #35 web page under ‘Books‘ in the right-hand sidebar, because that’s where you’ll find discussion timelines, etc.

Still sitting on the fence, not sure if you want to read with us? Why is that? Join us – we haven’t bitten anyone yet!


Discussion #2 & Final Wrap-Up: Belong to Me

April 27, 2009

Ready for discussion #2 of book #34, Belong to Me? We hope so! Let’s hear what you have to say about these questions:

  • Who has changed the most by the end of the novel? Why & how?
  • Near the end of the novel, Lake says that everything she’s done has been for Dev. Is this acceptable? Is it okay to lie to protect the people you love?
  • How would you describe Cornelia’s childbirth experience? How does it lead her to make a decision that would change the lives of the people in her life?
  • What does “family” mean, and how is this explored in the novel? Is is possible for one person to belong to another?
  • Rating time: What do you give Belong to Me on a scale from 1-10 (1=blech, 10=superb)?

Wait!!! Don’t forget to nominate a book for our next selection, lest our readers be forced to make a choice without your input. Now that wouldn’t be very fun for you, would it?


Discussion #1: Belong to Me

April 17, 2009

Here goes discussion #1 for book #34, Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos. Before reading any further, make sure you’ve read the first 10 chapters so as to avoid those dreaded spoilers:

  • When we meet Cornelia’s neighbor Piper, she is commenting on Cornelia’s lawn and home, suggesting changes. How do you think Cornelia should have reacted? Have you ever had any similar experiences with neighbors?
  • Dev is embarking on a quest to find his father. How do you feel about Lake’s hiding of his father’s information from Dev? Is she being fair?
  • Do you think Clare and Dev’s relationship is an accurate depiction of first love? How does their relationship differ from the other romantic relationships in the novel? What do you think will happen between them in the future?
  • Cornelia compares life to the movies. What, if any, movie does the novel remind you of? To what movie(s) would you compare your life?
  • With Marisa de los Santos being our newest bookclub author, what are your thoughts on her writing style? Have you read any other novels by this author? Do you think you might be interested in reading more of her books?

Your turn!


Book #34 Release

April 12, 2009

The next official bookclub selection is Belong to Me by Marisa de los Santos. Yes Chicken Lit’ers, we’ve chosen yet another new author, one who has received much praise from her readership. WELCOME, Marisa!

So here’s what you do next – download an audible, borrow from the library, purchase from your favorite bookseller, or visit Amazon in support of our club: Belong to Me. Be sure to keep a lookout on the book #34 web page under ‘Books‘ in the right-hand sidebar, precisely where discussion timelines will be posted.

You don’t want to miss this one! Seriously.


Discussion #2 & Final Wrap-up: Handle with Care

April 12, 2009

Now with the final discussion and wrap-up of book #33 Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult. To help finish up, let’s give these questions a try:

  • All the characters in the book are telling their stories to Willow. Willow doesn’t have a voice until the end of the book. How is that effective to the entire story? Does it seem that the characters can be more honest in their feelings when they’re directed to Willow?
  • The author inserts recipes throughout the book that highlight certain baking techniques such as tempering, blind baking, and weeping. How do these recipes provide further insight into the story and into Charlotte’s character in particular?
  • Discuss the roles that honesty and deception play in this novel. How do the characters lie to themselves? To each other? Is it sometimes better not to know the truth?
  • Amelia, understandably, has conflicting emotions concerning Willow. How does Amelia show her compassion? How does she show a lack of such? What are your feelings toward Willow? Toward Amelia? How do you think Amelia’s testimony affects the outcome of the case?
  • We follow Marin through the search for her birth mother, and what she eventually finds out about the circumstances surrounding her conception are truly devastating. Why do you think she thanks her birth mother for this information? Discuss Marin’s reaction to what she learns.
  • How do you feel about the ending? Why do you think the author chose to write it this way?
  • What rating do you give Handle with Care on a scale from 1-10 (1=awful, 10=amazing)?

Simply… wow.


Discussion #1: Handle with Care

April 1, 2009

Let’s get started on our first discussion of book #33, Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult. Have you finished reading Part II? If not, read no further lest you run into spoilers! Otherwise, hit us with your best shot at these discussion questions:

  • Charlotte and Sean are faced with a very difficult decision when presented with the option of suing for “wrongful birth.” How did you feel about the lawsuit? The matter is complicated in many aspects, but especially because of Charlotte’s close friendship with Piper, her ob-gyn. How might the O’Keefes have considered and entered into the lawsuit if they had not had a personal relationship with Piper? Would your own reaction to it have changed?
  • (p. 38) Charlotte says “I would never have wished for an able-bodied child, because that child would have been someone that wasn’t you.” Do you agree? Discuss.
  • (p. 46) Sean is angry and wants to get payback for the way he and his family were treated by the authorities in Florida. What is your initial reaction: to do so or forget it? (p. 98) Charlotte asks Sean the perfect question, “How come you were perfectly willing to sue Disney World and half of the public service system in Florida for cash? What’s the difference?” Is there a difference? Discuss the irony of Sean’s feelings initially and then how he changes with the wrongful birth lawsuit. Being played the fool was worth it but getting help for forever wasn’t?
  • How does Amelia deal with her position in the family…being a preteen, having low self-esteem, being, and the healthy sibling of a very ill child?
  • Charlotte is confident that the potential end of her lawsuit will justify the means, but Sean can’t handle the idea that the “means” may leave Willow thinking she is unloved or unwanted. Clearly they both love their daughter, but express it in drastically different ways. What do each of their approaches say about love? Do Charlotte’s actions speak louder than Sean’s words?
  • Now for our usual new-bookclub-author question, how do you feel about Jodi Picoult’s writing style? Have you read any other Picoult novels? Will you read more by this author?

Thoughts?