Wednesday, March 2, 2011's the magic number...

I seem to be posting about four months back consistently. Here is another re-cap of the last four months of book club 'goings-on.'

In October I hosted the book club for Ella Minnow Pea...a grammatically-based novel about a fictitious island off the east coast. The book was challenging to read for most of us as the first half included rarely used and difficult words, while the second half of the book was missing most of the letters of the alphabet. Interesting to decipher. I served split pea soup, fresh baked rolls, dulce de leche apple pie, caramel popcorn and warm buttered cider. The fire was lit and we had a great discussion. It was a nice night.

November/December book club was hosted by Kristen, for Mother Theresa's book No Greater Love, and it was a wonderful night. Kristen was prepared with a beautiful spread of food for us to choose from, savory and sweet alike....for me, the highlight was the hot chocolate. It was warm and creamy....we will need to get that recipe. Kristen was also prepared with extra information about Mother Theresa. We all shared favorite quotes and talked about how we can become better people, mothers and citizens. Uplifting, to say the least.

January book club was hosted by Peggy, for A Study in Valor. This was BY FAR our best attended book we had Clarence Bramley (the 'main character' in the book) as our guest. Peggy went all out with food and desserts (the cake balls were ah-maze-ing). Brother Bramley was a real live hero who, repeatedly bore his testimony, raising the spirits of all in attendance. Personally this was one of my favorite book club nights.

February brought us over to Mary Lou's, diner. Mary Lou had so many different types of food for us to pick from...clam chowder, delicious drinks, fresh fruit, apple pie and red velvet cake. We couldn't stop chatting amongst ourselves to even discuss the book, The Rescue by Nicolas Sparks. But...overall, the book was typical Sparks...with way too much drama, predictability and romance...but on the up side, we all agreed that it was an easy read that required little brain power or general investment. A welcome relief after the 'heavy' book of January. We all enjoyed ourselves immensely and left feeling like we had a 'night away.'

Coming up...

March's book is The Art of Racing in the Rain and will be hosted by Cari. Dogs are welcome to join. Just kidding.

April will find us reading Black Heels and Tractor Wheels and will be joint-hosted by Shauna and Kelci at Kelci's home.

May's book will be Someone Knows My Name and will be graciously hosted by Lorraine.

Happy reading.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Mao, Movie, Menagerie, Murder....

That was a feat, I tell you. Trying to find a word that begins with the letter "m" to identify each of the past FOUR months of book club. I have to say "I'm sorry" to all my millions of devoted readers out there, for my lack in posting. Alas, I have moved again and with that comes some kind of insanity....not leaving time for things like blog updates and hours spent at computers, thinking of clever words to entertain and inform.

So here it is, my attempt to update you on the book club goings on. In June we met at Diana's home to discuss Mao's Last Dancer, a non-fiction read about General Mao and the young children who danced in his school, Chinese communism, American immigration and general cultural differences. Diana had a lovely little tea set for us to sip warm herbal from and sweet potato chips that represented a sad part of the book.

In July, Peggy hosted a Book Club movie night at her home. We were entertained by "The Secret Life of Bees" movie and Peg made an array of different popcorns....that I hear were wonderful. I was unable to attend, but I heard that Keiko mixed the sweet and savory popcorn and is still talking about it! Must have been delicious.

In August, we met at the Kirsten's home to discuss Cheaper By The Dozen. This endearing classic features a menagerie of 12 children and the parents' amazing story of how they raised them. Karen helped Kirsten with the food and the room was full of women discussing the efficiency of the home life. This was an easy and quick read. Kirsten also had a quiz for us to take and Morse code on the walls. Very clever.

September's meeting was hosted by Chari and we came together to discuss The Persian Pickle Club. This book was a quiet and simple story that takes place in the countryside in Harveyville, Kansas during the depression...but don't be fooled by the its quilted exterior, there just so happens to be a murder involved. Chari had a quilting block up and a 'persian pickle' pattern on the fabric that was stretched across the beams (ie. paisley). Peg taught us Beverly's way to tie a quilt and we all helped put a knot or two on the blocks as we discussed the book. Chari had rhubarb pie in honor of Queenie's swiss chard mishap from the book. We tied two quilts that will go to two sisters in our ward who are having little ones this year.

Now for the up and coming. I will host in October. We will be reading Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn and our meeting will be on October 26th at 7 pm.

Kristen will host on December 7th and we will read No Greater Love by Mother Teresa.

Peggy will host in January and our book will be A Study in Valor (Come see a special guest speaker! Peggy is ordering in bulk off Amazon, call her to secure your copy).

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Black South, Jewish Orthodox and the Lepers of Hawaii

March and April have come and gone with successful book club meetings. I've been crazy busy and preparing for a move up the California coastline to San Francisco.

In March, we met at the home of Kristen to discuss The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Kristen did such a great job hosting, with delicious caramel cake and mud pie as well as yummy black and white cookies for each of us. We all loved this book so much and had a very interesting discussion on racism and the changing of times....and the lack of change as well. It was a great night of new friends and good conversation.

April brought us to the newly remodeled home of Mandy to discuss The Ladies Auxiliary by Tova Mirvis. Mandy blessed us with some Jewish traditional foods and culture. It was delicious. Challah bread, an almond spread, a cream cheese noodle dish (made by Lorraine), bagels and other great treats. We seemed to be divided on this book....with like and dislike. Maybe it hit a little too close to home for some of us. Did you see yourself reflected in one of women in this book? I personally loved the book and found it wonderfully interesting to learn about the rites of another religion.

May will be Moloka'i by Alan Brennert and we will be meeting at Jennie's home at 7 pm. Hope to see you there.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Cari hosted our February book club in her home. It was a great night and another "packed" house. Cari served beef...which was a very prominent food in the book (Half-Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls). That wasn't all, there was also delicious cheesy potatoes, fresh fruit with dipping chocolate and sugar cookies in the shape of cacti and boots.

Conversation often went back to Jeannette's first novel, The Glass Castle (one of our book club favorites). We also got to hear about the author's recent visit to California from Kristen and Chari, who were able to go hear her speak.

The consensus on this book was positive.

March's book is The Help by Kathryn Stockett and will be hosted by Kristen on the 31st at 7 pm.

April's book will be The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver and will be hosted by Mandy.

Our January Trip

I was happy to host the book club for the month of January. The book was Nicolas Sparks memoir, Three Weeks With My Brother.

It was wonderful to have 14 or so women attending and noshing on foods from 11 different countries (places that Nicolas and his brother visited in the book). Since it has been a while, I will do my best to remember all that I goes: corn chips and guacamole from Peru, alfajores de dulce de leche (shortbread cookies filled with caramel) from Argentina, empanadas from Chile, fresh fruit from the Polynesian Islands, Lamingtons (chocolate and coconut covered pound cake squares) from Australia, Kolo Dobo (small round bread crackers) from Ethiopia, gummy buys from Cambodia and hot dogs wrapped in fresh bread from Norway. Of course the water was labeled in red with "don't drink the water."

We had a great discussion about the book, about how we seemed to associate well with Nicolas and even like him a little more after reading about his childhood and history. We talked until about 10 p.m., which may be a new "late night" record.

All in all, it was a great evening due to all you lovely women who continue to come devotedly.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Updated January Locale

A slight change to January meeting location.

Cari Ann and I (Karalea) will be swapping months.

I will host the January 26th meeting at 7 p.m., my home, the book is Three Weeks with My Brother by Nicolas Sparks.

Cari Ann will host the February 23rd meeting (Half Broke Horses by Jeanette Walls)

Can't wait to see everyone!!! Please come, read or un-read.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Lost Symbol....and a tamale...

Lorainne Beckett graciously hosted our book club meeting tonight. She is always a delight to visit with. Her home is immaculate and her decor is so unique. I love it. Thank you, Lorainne for welcoming us into your home. Dan Brown's new novel, The Lost Symbol had no clever food references...and so, as Lorainne put it..."I decided to make whatever I wanted!" And I know I'm not the only one who is thankful that you did! Delicious and beautiful enchiladas, two types of tamales, lemonade, limeade, ice water and a whole tray of assorted cookies to choose from. The perfect spread. And it must be noted that the plates she used were paper...but looked so beautiful, I thought they were glass. Blue and white with an Italian flare.

Book discussion was a mixture of religion, Dan Brown's seeming desire to "un-earth" the secrets within religions/societies, the shock of how the entire book only spanned one day in the life of Robert Langdon, and some it's "unbelievable" qualities. I must say though...this man does do his research and I am so thankful for the small peek into other religions, cultures and ideas. It was an experience in expansion of ideas and thoughts. Thanks, Dan. Oh, and thanks to Chari for giving the tutorial on the Kindle. Christmas lists are all being revised as we speak!

January's book will be Three Weeks With My Brother by Nicolas Sparks the meeting will be at Cari Ann Olsen's home. Here is a little synopsis to get you hooked:

As moving as his bestselling works of fiction, Nicholas Sparks's unique memoir, written with his brother, chronicles the life-affirming journey of two brothers bound by memories, both humorous and tragicIn January 2003, Nicholas Sparks and his brother, Micah, set off on a three-week trip around the globe. It was to mark a milestone in their lives, for at thirty-seven and thirty-eight respectively, they were now the only surviving members of their family. Against the backdrop of the wonders of the world and often overtaken by their feelings, daredevil Micah and the more serious, introspective Nicholas recalled their rambunctious childhood adventures and the tragedies that tested their faith. And in the process, they discovered startling truths about loss, love, and hope.Narrated with irrepressible humor and rare candor, and including personal photos, THREE WEEKS WITH MY BROTHER reminds us to embrace life with all its uncertainties...and most of all, to cherish the joyful times, both small and momentous, and the wonderful people who make them possible.

February will be Half Broke Horses: A True Life Novel by (one of our favorite authors) Jeanette Walls (The Glass Castle). Karalea Richards will be hosting that month (that's me! yippee!)