Friday Morning Bookclub

February 22, 2012

Is Your Book Club All Business?

Filed under: Literary Tidbits,The Friday Morning Book Club,Unbroken — susanbright @ 6:07 pm

Yesterday, while on vacation I had the pleasure of attending a local book club meeting. When I saw that they were reviewing the book Unbroken, I couldn’t resist. Why not go? I had read the book close to a year ago but it was one of those books that you don’t quickly forget. I was not sure what to expect and thought it would be interesting to see how another book club operates.

The BallenIsles Book club met in their club house and sat around a huge, formal conference table which had to fit at least 16 people as opposed to the relaxed living room atmosphere of the cafe where we meet.  Unfortunately there were more people than spaces at the table so several of us sat along the wall on the outskirts of the table. As I was there for the first time and wasn’t sure how much I would actually have participated in the discussion this was fine with me.

After a brief discussion about future books and meetings and the announcement that they were no longer going to go around the table, asking each person what they thought of the book (the leader mentioned that he wanted to avoid hearing the “I didn’t read the book” comment) the discussion began.

The book was introduced by the member who had recommended it in the first place. A brief bio of Laura Hillenbrand was read as well as a few glowing reviews of the book and then the discussion took off. The group was much more diverse than our all ladies between the age of 50-65 group. There were actually men in this group!  The discussion was very enlightening and in additional to a discussion of the book itself seemed to focus on war in general, Japanese/American relations, world power and yes even politics.

Thrown in were some personal stories, one woman whose brother piloted the same type plane as Zamperini and a grandmother who mentioned how her grandson was bullied, comparing it to how prisoners of war are beaten down. Another member talked about a psychological experiment conducted at Stanford University where students were assigned the position of prisoner or guard. This experiment which was supposed to last 2 weeks was ended after only 6 days because of the way it affected the participants.  The “prisoners”  became depressed, whereas the “guards” actually became sadistic. What does this experiment say about human nature in general? Does this help explain why throughtout history people have been willing to do such horrific things to others?

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this group of articulate, thoughtful people. Amazingly, even with this size group, there were no cross conversations. Our book club tends to break down into little groups every once in a while!  They didn’t hang around after discussing the book and talk about their kids, their vacations or where they were going for dinner. No talk about diets, movies or husbands and no food!  This book club was all business.  Next time I am going to arrive early and sit at the big table!

Tell us about your book club.  Are you all business?


March 13, 2011

March Bookclub & Little “K”

Filed under: The Friday Morning Book Club,The True Memoirs of Little K — annwalter @ 3:48 pm

Our book club group was only four this month, but that made for some interesting discussions on the March book “The True Memoirs of Little K” including: our expanded knowledge of the Russian royalty and the revolution that killed the Royal family, comparison of the book’s story to Mathilde Kschessinskaya’s actual history (the menage a trois seemed more real in historical accounts than in the book), the media representation of ballet dancers as basically competitive, conniving, self-indulgent prima donas ( in 1896 Little K was named Prima Ballerina of the St. Petersburg Imperial Theater), and, lastly, how hard Russian names are to keep track of (there were too many names mentioned in the book — I gave up on all but the main characters).

Three of us had recently seen F.W. De Clerk speak at the Meyerhoff and Janine shared additional insights from her South African family experiences. We also touched on topics as diverse as cell phones causing cancer to kids not doing what we want them to do. While we missed those who weren’t there, it was intimate and a lot of fun.

If you want to know more about the book, Esther wrote a review for Adrienne Sharp’s “The True Memoirs of Little K” published in the “Baltimore Jewish Times”.

And, for more on the author, an interview with Adriennne Sharp, is available at


(You will come to a screen, and on the right side is a list of topics.  Click on “The True Memoirs of Little K”)

January 7, 2011

A Week For Thank- You’s!

Filed under: The Friday Morning Book Club — susanbright @ 5:38 pm

The Friday Morning Bookclub received a note of thanks for our donation to Reach Out and Read, in honor of our brave men and women in the military.  This program’s mission is to “prepare America’s youngest children to succeed in school.” 

For more information on this worthwhile initiative, check out:

December 13, 2010

2010: A Review

Filed under: Literary Tidbits,The Friday Morning Book Club — susanbright @ 9:39 am

The Friday Morning  Bookclub has had an exciting year. We have met 12 times this year and have read a diverse genre of books. We have gone to the movies  several times to see some of our books on the big screen,  attended a book fair in Gaithersburg and  have shared ideas with people from all over the world via our blog.

For years we have talked about reading one of the classics and this year we actually did. Pride and Prejudice was the perfect choice. Although a little harder to read than some of our more contemporary novels it was well worth the effort and is on my list of all time favorite books. 

After winning 15 free copies of The Memory Thief, we enjoyed a phone chat with the author Rachel Keener, another first for us! We all agreed that we liked the book even better after hearing about Keener’s background and listening to her perspective on the story.

We invited out husbands to read and discuss the book The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, a book all the men seemed to enjoy over a delicious potluck dinner. This has become a tradition and we are in the process of selecting a book for this years “couples” meeting.

Although we have read many wonderful books, there is always someone who just doesn’t love the book. This year we had our first 5 omelet book. Everyone that voted agreed that The Linnet Bird by Linda Holeman deserved 5 omelets.

We have been searching for a way to give back and this year The Friday Morning Bookclub is sponsoring a child through the Reach Out and Read Military Program.

It has been a wonderful year and Justin Kramon will be joining us at our first meeting of 2011 to discuss his book Finny. We hope you join us for another exciting year!

November 24, 2010

Give Thanks To Military Families Through Books!

Filed under: Literary Tidbits,The Friday Morning Book Club — susanbright @ 3:02 pm

This year The Friday Morning Bookclub is going to sponsor a child through the Reach Out and Read Military Program.  The goal of this program is to ” help build routines and strengthen family bonds, which are so important to families dealing with separation and deployment.” What a great way to let our brave American service men and women know how much we appreciate what they are doing for us.

 According to Reading Group Choices, forty-four military bases are participating in the Reach Out and Read program. Check out this program which allows you to buy books for a child or sponsor a child growing up in a military family! Perhaps your book club would like to join us and sponsor a child too.

November 22, 2010

Gift Giving For Book Lovers…… Chinese Style

Filed under: The Friday Morning Book Club — susanbright @ 11:42 am

This year we are exchanging gifts at our December meeting, a first for The Friday Morning Bookclub. Afterall, who doesn’t like getting a gift. To add to the fun we are going to play the Chinese Gift Exchange game, also called a White Elephant Gift Exchange or Chinese Auction. Why it is commonly called a Chinese Gift Exchange, no one seems to know as it has nothing to do with the Chinese and everything to do with just having fun.

 To play, everyone brings a wrapped gift which is put on the table in full view. One by one, each person gets to select a  gift, unwrap it for everyone to see and then potentially lose it to someone else and have to select again.   This game is so much fun (as long as you do not become too attached to a gift!) as your gift can be “stolen” at any time.

For our game, everyone is bringing a gift that has something to do with reading or books and does not cost more than $15. There are so many possibilities, some funny and some practical and that’s what makes the game so much fun!

September 22, 2010

Little Bee: A Review By Dana

The book Little Bee, by Chris Cleave , primarily takes place in Britain where the author makes us aware of the existence of  immigration detention centers that imprison refugees for years at a time regardless of their criminal activity. The focus is on a young Nigerian girl who goes by the name Little Bee and her chance encounter with a young married couple, Sara and Alex, while they are vacationing in Nigeria.   Her life, as well as those of the other characters involved, continuously deals with thoughts of running away and a fear of being discovered.  This takes place in two different countries on a few different fronts.  While Little Bee  deals with the true to life situational fleeing of a refugee, the others deal more with  fleeing  from their own relationships.

Some of the powerful questions addressed in the book have to do with how responsible one is for the particular circumstances they may find themselves in, and how often does one take unnecessary risks in life? Risks that often have everlasting irreversible effects.  For instance,  Sara and Alex’s decision to take advantage of a free vacation in an unstable country changes their lives forever.

At the end, the question is “ Can two very different people living very different lives, somehow help the other and how does one balance the desire for their own survival with that of someone elses?” The book  also addresses the concept of the “goodies and the baddies” as represented by Sara’s son’s continuously worn Batman costume as well as his reference to people in this way. The question to be asked here is, “Is it always so obvious as to who is who?”.

All in all the book was a fast read that was at times captivating and culturally informative, but dealt with depressing subject matters with some uplifting components. Personally, I could have used a few more uplifting components.

August 23, 2010

My Blog- Blind Date

Filed under: The Friday Morning Book Club — susanbright @ 1:11 pm

The other day I went on my very first blog- blind date. Well, perhaps not exactly a date, but definitely blind! Lois has been a Friday Morning Bookclub Blogger almost from the blogs inception. She learned about our blog through her daughter, who learned about it through my son. Isn’t it wonderful when your children take half an interest in what you do!  Lois has frequently commented on the blog and has given us numerous book recommendations. We have sent messages back and forth via the blog and decided that it would be fun to meet in person.  So we exchanged cell phone numbers incase we had trouble recognizing one another, and planned to meet at Barnes and Noble. Finding each other was not a problem, as we both had the same hmmmmm, which one is she look on our face. Lois and I talked for an hour about books, life and everything in between. I have a new friend! Thank you Friday Morning Bookclub and thank you Lois!

July 20, 2010

Our Meetings

Filed under: Book Discussions,The Friday Morning Book Club — janinefrier @ 4:22 pm

While this blog started out, mostly being a resource for our Friday Morning Book Club, we have gained quite a following.  So for those of you who might be interested, here are some photos from our last meeting.  We usually meet for breakfast, once a month, and lately it has been at the Village Square Cafe in Crosskeys, Baltimore.  This venue works perfectly for us, with a varied delicious menu, to meet everyone’s needs, comfortable sofas, usually reserved for our group and a great atmosphere conducive to sometimes lengthy book discussions.  If you live in Baltimore and have not been to the Village Square Cafe yet, take yourself down there and enjoy.

If you belong to a book group, where does your group meet?

July 15, 2010

Help Us Give Back!

Filed under: The Friday Morning Book Club — susanbright @ 10:31 am

The Friday Morning Bookclub will be entering the ReadingGroupGuide’s 10th Anniversary Contest.  This is an opportunity for us to win $200.  At our last few meetings we had discussed the idea of turning our bookclub into a philothropic book club,  and supporting a local literacy group. Perhaps a local school library? This $200 would be a great start! Do you know of a group that can use our help?

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