Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Book Club Meeting

We had our October Book Club Meeting (we really have to find a name for our club) at Fresh Grounds today. We reviewed Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford. We all really liked the book and the setting and especially the love story. Here are some of our answers to the Reading Group questions in the back of the book:
1. Father-son relationships are a crucial theme in the novel. Talk about some of these relationships and how they are shaped by culture and time. For example, how is the relationship between Henry and his father different from that between Henry and Marty. What accounts for the differences? We thought that father-son relationships everywhere are hard at times. Henry's relationship with his father was encumbered because his father wouldn't let him speak Cantonese at home and Henry couldn't explain things to his father so he could understand. Both fathers (Henry and Mr. Lee) kept things from their sons which made it harder for the sons to understand the fathers. We discussed various relationships in our own families where fathers and sons had trouble relating to each other.

3. If you were Henry, would you be able to forgive your father? Does Henry's fatherThis was kind of a tough question. We said that when Henry was an adult, he probably understood better the reasons his father had for hiding Keiko's letters, but we all agreed it was a nasty thing to do. That said, we also agreed that everyone deserves forgiveness.
 deserve forgiveness?

We talked about the struggles our own ancestors had when they immigrated to America. My sister and I have Irish ancestors and we go to a Church that was founded by Irish immigrants. At the time, noone would sell land to the Irish so they could build a Church--much like the folks who would not sell gasoline to the Japanese in the story), so the German immigrants who lived in our town bought the land, then sold it to the Irish. Our ancestors got into many scrapes due to the fact that they were Irish and they were Roman Catholic.

14. Do you think Ethel might have known what was happening with Henry's letters? We were rather intrigued by this question and didn't know how to answer it. We couldn't decide whether we thought she knew or not. Ethel loved Henry. She eventually married him. How could she have kept it from him if she had known about the letters. I don't think she could have. We decided we might have to ask Jamie Ford the answer.

15. The novel ends with Henry and Keiko meeting again after more than 40 years. Jump ahead a year and imagine what has happened to them in that time. Is there any evidence in the novel for this outcome? We are all romanticists, so of course we said "they lived happily ever after." We really think they would have because both their spouses died and they had every right to be together. They obviously loved each other all those years. Their love was so sweet, it couldn't have ended any other way.

We also spent some time talking about whether it was right for the government to move all those people and keep them locked away. It doesn't feel right to punish everyone for something their countrymen did, but what would we do today? We have much tighter security after 911 and some people are questioned just because of their nationality. It still doesn't feel right to me.

For November, we are each reading a book with a Christmas theme. I am reading The Autobiography of Santa Claus by Jeff Guinn. Betty is reading a Debbie Macomber book with a Christmas theme, and Mary is reading a Christmas book with two stories in it. Our next meeting will be December 1st since the last Wednesday in November is the day before Thanksgiving and we will all be busy preparing for the feast!

Come back in early December and check out our Christmas booktalk.

Monday, October 25, 2010

It's Monday already!

I can't believe I haven't posted anything since last Monday!

This week I continue to read Fortunata and Jacinta by Benito Perez Galdos--I'm on page 439.

I'm also reading A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf--page 67 of the essay (it starts with page 1 partway through the book, so...). Virginia Woolf is amazing. I love the way her mind works. I think we could have been friends.

AND I'm also reading Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris--I'm on page 72. It's the first of the Sookie Stackhouse books. The 101 Fantasy Reading Challenge went perpetual but there is a mini-challenge that lasts until January 31, 2011, so I decided to read this book for the mini-challenge.

How's that for eclectic reading?

Monday, October 18, 2010

It's Monday! What are YOU Reading?

This is a reading meme hosted by One Person's Journey Through a World of Books.
This week I continue to read Fortunata and Jacinta by Benito Perez Galdos, but I am also reading A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf. The last book I read was Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford (for book club) and the next book I plan to read is Days of Gold by Jude Deveraux. Our book club is reading a Christmas book for November and a biography/autobiography for December & January. If you have any suggestions for either of those I would appreciate it.

Happy reading!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Follow Friday!

To join the fun and make new book blogger friends, go to the Follow My Book Blog Friday Host { } and grab the Follow Friday button. Place it in a post on your blog so people can stop and say Hi in your comments. Follow and the Featured Bloggers -

Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing.

Go down (or up) the list and Follow Follow Follow as many blogs as you can.

If someone comments and says they are following you, follow them back. Spread the Love...and the followers.

Definitely come back and Follow Me, comment and let me know, so I can stop by and check out your blog!

I love getting comments and new followers!

It looks like we have a question this week, too:
What is your reading suggestion this week?

I suggest "Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet" by Jamie Ford. I just finished it and it was wonderful. See my opinion here. 

Happy Friday!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and SweetHotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book read really quickly. If I wouldn't have been interrupted by "life" I would have read it straight through. The love story was sweet--I cried at the end--and the depiction of the Chinese and Japanese families in that era was enlightening to me. The characters felt very real and the relationships between family members believable. I'm a musician, so I appreciated Henry's love of jazz and carrying the symbol of the 78 record through the story was very significant to me. I was worried this book would be depressing and I guess it could be to some people, but the love story kept it above the line. It was a wonderful book.

View all my reviews

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A New Review

The Secret History of the Pink Carnation (Pink Carnation, #1)The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was fun. I actually thought I knew who the Pink Carnation was from the beginning--and I was almost right--but there was a twist at the end. I love twists. Lauren Willig is a great writer! The pace is quick and there is always something happening. Amy gets herself into scrape after scrape and I could definitely picture her in my mind. I thought this book was entertaining, funny, exciting and wonderful.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

BOOKTALK at Fresh Grounds

On Wednesday, September 29th, our book club met at the Fresh Grounds for our monthly meeting. Fresh Grounds Coffeehouse & Cafe is an upscale coffeehouse with an array of fine specialty coffees & teas, fruit smoothies, retro sodas, pastries, gelato, etc. It is a gathering place where singers & bands perform. Meeting rooms are available for meetings, study groups, etc. Our book club has been meeting here all summer and we feel very welcome.

We had all read a different book, so each of us gave a review of the book we had chosen. Here are the books we read:

The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton

Betty read 6 books in the last two months, but The Wednesday Sisters was her favorite. It is a story of 5 mothers who took their children to the park to play and met each other. They shared each other’s lives. This book is set in the ‘60’s and the events of that era are intertwined with the women’s stories. Betty really liked this book because she was a young mother in that era and she remembers many of the events and happenings that took place then and how it affected her family. She gives this book 5 of 5 stars.

Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum

Mary read Those Who Save Us which is set at the beginning of World War II. A young girl in Germany meets a Jewish doctor and falls in love. She gets pregnant, but her Jewish doctor is taken away. Later, the young girl gets involved with an SS officer. The story is about the little girl she had and this girl’s search for her real father. The little girl grew up thinking that the SS officer was her father and didn’t discover the truth until she was an adult. Mary says this book was good, but she was disappointed in the ending. It is based on a true story.

Clarence Thomas – My Grandfather’s Son by Clarence Thomas

Stella read this book about Clarence Thomas. He was raised by his grandparents and went to Catholic schools and eventually Holy Cross College. He got his law degree from Yale. He always thought he would go back to Savannah, Georgia to help the people there. George Bush asked him to be on the Supreme Court. Stella enjoyed this book but was surprised to realize that people were still suffering from integration woes today.

Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

Linda read Nineteen Minutes after reading My Sister’s Keeper also by Jodi Picoult. She says it is one of those books you can’t put down. It is about a school shooting. Jodi has the ability to give the same story from several different character’s perspectives. As always in Picoult’s books, there is a twist at the end. Linda highly recommends this book.

Scent of the Missing by Susan Charleson

Pat wanted to read something different, so she read Scent of the Missing about rescue dogs and how they are trained. She liked it very much and discovered how much more goes into training rescue dogs than she expected.

Fortunata and Jacinta by Benito Perez Galdos

I continue to read this book. It is 818 pages and I am on 400 something. It is the story of two women who are/were involved with the same man: Fortunata was his lover and Jacinta is his wife. Fortunata has a son and Jacinta desperately wants to have a child. Fortunata’s son is placed with orphans because she can’t afford to keep him and Jacinta discovers that he exists and goes about trying to rescue him and bring him home with her to be raised as her own. There are many interesting characters in this book. Some of them are very funny and the things that happen are quite amusing. The length of this book will no doubt be intimidating to some, but it portrays life in Spain in that era quite well and, if you are interested in those things, it is well worth the time put into reading it. It isn’t a page-turner, but it is worth reading.

After our booktalk, we also exchanged several books that members had brought. We decided to read Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford for October and have another booktalk session on Christmas books in November. Normally we do not have a meeting the last week in December due to the Christmas holidays, so we decided to read a biography or autobiography for December/January. That wraps up our September meeting!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

City of Bones, the movie!

I just read this press release on Cassandra Clare's blog on Goodreads:


* Screen Gems has teamed with Constantin Film and Unique Features to develop the motion picture franchise MORTAL INSTRUMENTS based on The New York Times Bestselling book series The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare. Jessica Postigo penned the script which is based on the first book in the series, City of Bones. Constantin Film’s head of Film & TV Martin Moszkowicz will executive produce and Robert Kulzer will produce the project via the Constantin Film banner along with producing partners Michael Lynne, Robert Shaye, and executive producer Dylan Sellers via their Unique Features banner.

* In “City of Bones”, set in contemporary New York City, a seemingly ordinary teenager Clary Fray, discovers she is the descendent of a line of Shadowhunters, a secret cadre of warriors dedicated to driving demons out of our world. When Clary's mother disappears, she must join a daring group of young Shadowhunters on an adventure, which leads her through a city filled with mischievous fairies, eccentric warlocks, werewolf gangs and other strange creatures.

* MORTAL INSTRUMENTS marks the third Screen Gems project for director Scott Stewart. He directed Screen Gems' PRIEST which is currently in post-production and due out in theatres in 3D on May 13, 2011. Additionally, the studio released his directorial debut, LEGION.

* The Mortal Instruments is a series of novels published by Margaret K. McElderry Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., including City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass, and the upcoming City of Fallen Angels.

* Clint Culpepper, Screen Gems’ President, and Eric Paquette, Screen Gems’ SVP of Production, will oversee the project for the studio.

I know that I said I was disappointed in Clockwork Angel--see my review here--and I was because The Mortal Instruments series is so amazing. I hope Screen Gems does justice to the book. Who do you think they will cast as Clary and Jace?