New Bookclub Format

May 31, 2009

Hey there, Chicken Lit’ers ~

Can you say, “SIMPLIFY”? Of course you can! So here’s what we’re going to do to make our bookclub simpler:

1. Free of Timelines. That’s right, we’re throwing those reading timelines out the window. What does this mean for you? It means you can pick up and read at your own pace. If you choose to read one of our bookclub selections and then finish it, just come back and post a review/rating of the book. It’s that easy!

2. Free of Discussions. What? Does that mean we won’t have any more questions to answer? Yes & no. If you want to post a question in your review of the bookclub selection, you are completely free to do so. But from now on, we will be free of all those scheduled discussion questions waiting for your input.

3. Review Anytime. So you just finished book selection #2 when book #75 just posted? So what! Just click on the book #2 web page and review/rate the book you finished. We’ll always want to know how you rated our book choices no matter where we are in the selection process.

We’re all about making things simple. Oh, and do keep in mind that recommendations are always welcome, even if you just want us to review a certain book for you before you decide to jump in and read it.

That’s all, peeps – HAPPY READS!

Chief Chicky Lit’er


Discussion #2 & Final Wrap-Up: Reconstructing Natalie

May 28, 2009

So? Did you make it to the end of Reconstructing Natalie? Alrighty then! Let’s wrap it up and post our thoughts on these questions:

  • In the breast support group, Natalie meets and befriends a group of women, all very different from one another, who have this disease in common. Have you ever found yourself connecting with someone so different than you as a result of one shared experience? What lesson might there be in this?
  • Natalie’s cancer and treatment compels her to rethink her life and, as a result, make major changes. Has your life ever done a similar about-face due to a life-changing event?
  • Andy, Natalie’s neighbor and best male friend, is a rock for her throughout her treatment and yet, by the end of the book, their relationship has changed and grown into something deeper. Do you thank it’s possible for a man and a woman to be close friends without becoming romantically involved?
  • Jane is a kind and loving example of someone whose faith sustains her even through the darkest hours. Do you have that same kind of faith, and would it provide you comfort and hope if you found yourself in a situation similar to Jane’s?
  • Let’s rate it: How do you rate Reconstructing Natalie on a scale from 1-10 (1=horrific, 10=most excellent)?

Last but not least, what do you recommend for book #38?

Discussion #1: Reconstructing Natalie

May 25, 2009

Yes, this book is completely unputdownable, but we’ll take a breather anyway and open our first discussion for Reconstructing Natalie with these questions:

  • Natalie is only 27-years-old when she’s diagnosed with breast cancer. Do you think her age and the fact that she isn’t married make that frightening diagnosis even more difficult? Do you think it would be easier to hear this if you were a married woman in your 50s or 60s?
  • Some people pull away from or abandon Natalie once she tells them she has breast cancer. Have you ever had a friend leave or abandon you during a difficult time?
  • Natalie makes the choice to have a prophylactic mastectomy so that she won’t have to live in fear of her cancer recurring in the non-cancerous breast. Did that seem like a drastic step to you? Would you consider taking such a step if you had a similar diagnosis?
  • Some people at Natalie’s church say thoughtless things to her when she’s first diagnosed. Do you think they were being mean or just clueless? Have you ever had someone at church or work say something insensitive to you when you were going through a trying time? How did you handle it?
  • What are your thoughts on Laura Jensen Walker’s writing style? Are you finding yourself interested in reading more of her novels? Why or why not?

No holds barred – juicy stuff completely welcome!

Discussion #2: The Wildwater Walking Club & Final Wrap-Up

May 20, 2009

That’s right – we’re actually ready for discussion #2 and final wrap-up of book #36, The Wildwater Walking Club. So let’s get this chat started with these questions:

  • What do you think the three women’s reaching out to Annalisa, who is essentially a stranger, says about them? About women in general?
  • How does each of the three main characters—Noreen, Tess and Rosie—change during the course of the novel? What triggers these changes?
  • Have you ever had to decide whether to tell a teenager’s mother you saw her/him sneaking out/smoking a cigarette/ etc.? Where do you think you should draw the line between doing the right thing and minding your own business?
  • Do you believe men like Michael-Don’t-Call-Me-Mike are essentially redeemable? Why or why not?
  • Rating time: How do you rate The Wildwater Walking Club using our famous scale from 1-10 (1=complete garbage, 10=top notch)?

So? What shall we read next? Got any ideas for our next selection?

Discussion #1: The Wildwater Walking Club

May 16, 2009

So how about if we get started with discussion #1 for book #36, The Wildwater Walking Club? If you’ve read through chapter 18, then give us your take on these starter questions:

  • Noreen takes a buyout from Balancing Act partly because of Michael’s influence. Have you ever let a career decision be influenced by a man you were dating? Kind of dating?
  • If you were Rosie, would you have uprooted your family and moved them to the lavender farm to help your father? If not, which of your siblings might have stepped up?
  • Balancing Act sneakers and slogans include: Dream Walker. (You’ll Swear You’re Walking on Clouds.) Step Litely. (Do These Sneakers Make Me Look Thin?) Feng Shuoe. (New Sneakers for a New Age.) If you were creating your dream sneaker, what would you name it and what would its slogan be?
  • Do think clotheslines should be outlawed or encouraged? Why?
  • Which character in The Wildwater Walking Club is most like you? Which one would you most like to hang around with?

Or maybe you have other questions you’d rather discuss? Bring it on!

Discussion #2 & Final Wrap-Up: Summer Blowout

May 10, 2009

So? Finished yet? Alrighty then! Let’s move on with discussion #2 and “wrap up” book #35, Summer Blowout, with these questions:

  • Do you think it’s harder or easier to forgive a family member for a big betrayal than it is a friend? How do the rules of family and friendship differ?
  • How important is it in our contemporary lives to remain connected to our families?
  • Sean Ryan gives Bella the business idea of a lifetime. If you had to start a business tomorrow, what would it be? What’s stopping you?
  • Which scenes in Summer Blowout made you laugh the hardest? Brought a tear to your eye? Could have happened in your family?
  • Rating time: What is your rating for Summer Blowout on a scale from 1-10 (1=in the trash, 10=on a pedestal)?

With that, got any book suggestions for our next read? We’re all ears!

Discussion #1: Summer Blowout

May 5, 2009

Alas! It’s time for discussion #1 for book #35, Summer Blowout by Claire Cook. If you have finished reading through chapter 16, we’d like to know your thoughts on these questions:

  • Which character in Summer Blowout did you most identify with, and why?
  • What needs are driving the affair between Sophia and Craig? (Okay, besides lust.)
  • Do you know a guy with a comb-over like Lucky’s? (Other than The Donald, of course.)
  • Even though he’s of Irish decent, Lucky Shaughnessy, the father in Summer Blowout, is a huge Italiophile. Do you think it’s common for someone of one ethnicity to think another culture is more glamorous?
  • Are you worried about the fate of Precious/Cannoli? Why do you think Bella fell so hard for the little pooch? Do you believe in canine love at first sight?

Well? Tell us!