Friday Morning Bookclub

Let Us Know What You think!

We would love to hear from you.  All comments are welcomed! (Almost!)


  1. I thought we had an enthusiastic discussion on our book club selection “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett the last meeting at the Village Cafe in Cross Keys , over delicious breakfasts of Oatmeal with fresh berries or Toasted bagels with cream cheese,lox,tomato and onions !
    Everyone thoroughly enjoyed this story of young white southern “Ladies” in the early 1960’s and the black maids who cared for and nurtured these society ladies young children.
    We were all surprised at the injustice endured by these household workers having to use bathrooms outside the house, not being allowed to eat with the white families and being trusted with the children but not the silver pieces. Only one white woman ,Skeeter, rose up to voice these indignities.
    Our group related their own memories of maids in their households growing up, some who were not allowed to use the house forks & spoons and others who were treated like family .
    I would like to think that times are different now.

    Comment by Bonnie Caplan — December 10, 2009 @ 1:37 pm | Reply

    • Hi!!! Love seeing another book club take themselves and their books so seriously… yet still know how to have a spectacularly fun club!! You all look like a great group. I’m in Moms Reading ( – check us out if you have a minute. I LOVED The Help and Olive Kittredge… both amazing books. My book club didn’t read them though. Right now, we’re reading the Hunger Games trilogy, starting this month with Hunger Games. Next month, we’re going to try to read both Catching Fire and Mockingjay. Have you all done any YA titles? We figured it’d give us some variety. A couple of years ago we read the YA title The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak and it was unanimous that everyone was blown away by this stellar book. Loved seeing the pic of you all and the Finny author. How cool is that? We’ve had the chance to meet a couple of authors and it is always a delight. Have fun and happy reading! ~Kerrie

      Comment by Kerrie — January 20, 2011 @ 2:00 pm | Reply

      • Kerrie,
        We also read The Memory Thief, an intriguing book, no matter what your age. I agree, meeting the authors( even if it is a phone chat) helps to see a book in a whole different light! I left a message on your blog… but not sure that it went through. Loved reading about each of your members!

        Comment by susanbright — January 20, 2011 @ 2:51 pm | Reply

  2. Today we had a small group meet before the big storm to discuss Olive Kitterage. The book is a collection of 13 vignettes of the lives of the residents of a small town in Maine. The residents weave in and out of each others’ lives to different degrees, but the one presence they all have in common is Olive Kitterage, a lifelong resident of the town who is a schoolteacher, mother and wife. In these vignettes we see the different emotional challenges each of the characters must contend with and how they struggle to get the love they want. Olive’s life is the most detailed and the readers see how, over time, her different relationships either unravel or transform. The club was mixed in its’ feelings for the book; some of us really enjoyed examining these different characters and their intimate conflicts but some of us felt that the vignettes were too short and disconnected to be interesting. There was also different opinions about Olive and how responsible she was for pain she caused in the lives of her husband and son. There was a comment made that this book could be best appreciated by readers who are at least middle-aged, people who have reached a time in their lives when they know that sometimes different relationships require compromise or resignation. What I found intriguing about these stories were the differing strength of bonds between the various characters and their families and by examining these bonds I could ponder whose outcomes would be better than others’.

    Comment by Carol VB — February 5, 2010 @ 3:12 pm | Reply

  3. Want an absorbing book to read for the next snow blast this week? Rush out before the flakes start falling and get The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova. (I did not read Kostova’s first novel, the Historians.) The Swan Thieves is a long book (570 pages) and laid out in great detail, but the story is absorbing and suspenseful. The story is a psychological study, a mystery and a review of art history. Kostova has a marvelous way of crafting sentences and descriptions. This is not a fluffy beach book;rather,it is a story that stays with you after you have finished the book. I am really anxious to hear if anyone else has read The Swan Thieves and what other readers think about this new New York Times bestseller. Curl up with The Swan Thieves the next time you are snowbound.

    Comment by Lois Rothberg — February 8, 2010 @ 9:20 pm | Reply

  4. Thanks Lois. I will definitely put The Swan Thieves on my list! I am just starting The Hotel On The Corner Of Bitter and Sweet. Has anyone read it?

    Comment by susanbright — February 9, 2010 @ 9:40 am | Reply

  5. The Swan Thieves looks wonderful! I’ll have to download it on my kindle – since I’m not going to be able to get out to the bookstore or library!!
    Susan – Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is a great book! I couldn’t put it down!

    Comment by Esther — February 9, 2010 @ 6:44 pm | Reply

    • Please let me know what you think aobut The Swan Thieve after you read it.

      Comment by Lois Rothberg — February 11, 2010 @ 10:56 am | Reply

    • I read The Swan Thieves over a year ago and I enjoyed the book. The author came and spoke at the Enoch Pratt library too. Another bright women author.

      Comment by ilene gold — September 5, 2011 @ 9:37 pm | Reply

  6. Hi Lois! Did you to read The Heretic’s Daughter? We would love you to help rate our books and vote!

    Comment by susanbright — February 11, 2010 @ 2:04 pm | Reply

  7. Hi all in MD,

    Just wanted to share another great book suggestion for you all! Molokai’ by Alan Brennert! Such an awesome fiction book we all loved it here in my AZ book club. I was the host this month so emailed the author who skyped with us for over 40 minutes and answered all of our questions and it was so awesome!!! He said he is working on another novel and when he goes on tour for that one he will notify us to stop by in AZ!! We are reading The Thirteenth Tale for June…anyone read that yet?

    Comment by Nancy Singer — May 6, 2010 @ 11:52 am | Reply

  8. Looking for beach books? I just finished several books that were predictable, but fun reads: Heart of the Matter by Kristin Hannah (author of Firefly Lane) and Promises to Keep by Emily Griffin (author of Something Borrowed). Just put on your sun screen, sit back and turn the pages of these entertaining novels.

    Comment by Lois Rothberg — July 5, 2010 @ 6:08 pm | Reply

  9. I just finished reading Half Broke Horses by Jeanette Walls (author of The Glass Castle) This story is about her grandmother and gives great insight into how her mother turned out the way she is. Her grandmother was quite a character! A very enjoyable read and would be great for discussing how difficult life was for women in the early 20th century.

    Comment by moondance38 — July 20, 2010 @ 9:48 am | Reply

    • Wecome Moondance and thank you for the suggestion. We all loved The Glass Castle!

      Comment by susanbright — July 20, 2010 @ 10:10 am | Reply

  10. Just finished reading a good book, Look Again by Lisa Scottoline. Such an easy read & hard to put down. It had drama, suspense, humor & a deeper message. Will make you think twice when you see “missing children” reports.

    Comment by Sue Breitenother — July 27, 2010 @ 9:24 am | Reply

    • Hi Sue! I bet some of our readers are going to be wondering who you are! Sue is my sister in law! This book looks really good! I definitely want to read it!

      Comment by susanbright — July 27, 2010 @ 1:32 pm | Reply

  11. Hi
    I just received your blog address from a friend. We have a small bookclub and just finished reading “The Cookbook Collector” by Allegra Goodman. I noticed it was not on your list of books read and want to recommend it wholeheartedly. There are many themes running throughout this book: love, betrayal, loyalty, and even a little Kabbalah thrown in. The sensuality of the food, crisis in the corporate world, and familial relationships give something to everyone. It is a quick read and has a lot of “food” for thought. Susan

    Comment by Susan B — October 19, 2010 @ 8:31 pm | Reply

    • Welcome to one Susan B from another Susan B! Thank you for your recommendation. I think we should add The Cookbook Collector to our list! What is your book club reading this month?

      Comment by susanbright — October 19, 2010 @ 10:03 pm | Reply

  12. Have you read The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O’Farrell? I highly recommend it as a book club selection. It elicited a lively discussion in my book club a few months back.

    Comment by moondance38 — November 22, 2010 @ 10:48 am | Reply

  13. Moonndance We have not read The Vanishing Act. Thank you for all of your suggestions.I don’t know what to read first.

    Comment by susanbright — November 22, 2010 @ 11:36 am | Reply

  14. Dear Friday Morning Book Club’ers,
    Yesterday, we uploaded the first group of authors we’ve signed up for the May 21st Gaithersburg Book Festival. There are some really good book club choices among them, including Meg Waite Clayton’s “The Wednesday Sisters”, which is one of the top 30 book club books nationally, according to You can find them here:
    Hope you’ll read a few of them and come meet everybody on May 21st in Gaithersburg!
    Also, if you’d like to keep an eye on who else will be there and what else is going on, click “like” on our Facebook page:
    – Jud Ashman
    Chair, Gaithersburg Book Festival

    Comment by Jud Ashman — December 29, 2010 @ 10:31 am | Reply

  15. Thank you Jud. Last years Gaithersburg Book Festival was a wonderful event. I look forward to going again this year. I am going to put The Wednesday Sisters on my “to read” list!

    Comment by susanbright — January 2, 2011 @ 11:28 am | Reply

  16. Just finished Jodi Picoult’s newest novel,
    Sing Me Home. This book follows the Picould formula: controversial issues, each chapter from the perspective of a different character,easy to get into. I really enjoyed this one, which makes me continue to rank Jodi Picoult among my favorite authors. Let me know what you think.

    Comment by Lois Rothberg — March 12, 2011 @ 10:44 pm | Reply

  17. Hi Lois! Jodi Picoult manages to find and write about one controversial topic after another. Sing Me Home sounds like a fascinating read. Thanks for the recommendation.

    Comment by susanbright — March 13, 2011 @ 2:03 pm | Reply

  18. I did forget to mention that there is one unique thing about this Picoult book. A CD is included with the book. The lyrics were written by Jodi Picoult. Her friend, to whom the book is dedicated, wrote the music and sings on the CD. The songs’ messages coordinate to each chapter of the book. So, each song explores what the characters are experiencing at that part of the novel. I had never seen a CD of original songs packaged with a novel. Enjoy the story and the music!

    Comment by Lois Rothberg — March 13, 2011 @ 8:24 pm | Reply

  19. What do you get when you combine Jane Austen & P.D. James? Apparently you get “Death Comes to Pemberley” — a new mystery sequel to “Pride and Prejudice,” due to reach the States in December. Here’s the scoop:

    Comment by J. Wynn Rousuck — October 14, 2011 @ 1:31 am | Reply

    • Thanks Judy! You know how much I love Pride and Prejudice! One of my all time favorites!

      Comment by susanbright — October 14, 2011 @ 4:43 am | Reply

  20. Susan & I saw Karen Zacarias’ “The Book Club Play” at Arena Stage in Washington Thursday. A must-see for book club members!

    Comment by J. Wynn Rousuck — October 14, 2011 @ 1:32 am | Reply

  21. I just finished reading 2 books with connections to Baltimore. I know your group read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. I thought it was a fascinating story. Her writing style was very easy to read and she made the scientific parts very understandable. On a road trip to Florida this week, my husband and I listened to The Other Wes Moore written (and read) by Wes Moore. It parallels the life’s of 2 black men who lived in Baltimore, had the same name but their lives took completely different paths. One man ended up in prison for life and the other (the author) was a Rhodes scholar and successful businessman. It would be a very interesting book for discussion!

    We also read a novella called The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett. It’s a delightful story with typical British humor about the queen discovering the joys of reading. It was especially fun to listen to the story told by the author with his stuffy accent!

    Comment by Harriet hardy — October 31, 2011 @ 7:14 pm | Reply

    • Hi Harriet! Thanks for the reminder. We had talked about reading The Other Wes Moore, but somehow never got to it. We did read The Uncommon Reader. What a clever, amusing little book! Did you read Not In My Neighborhood by Antero Pietila?

      Comment by susanbright — October 31, 2011 @ 10:24 pm | Reply

  22. Okay readers, it is time to start planning what you will be reading during one of our snows this winter. (I am sure that we will have at least one chance to hibernate and read, read, read. I have several recommendations of books to reserve at the library, buy at a bookstore or be ready to download on your Kindle.

    The Last Letter From Your Lover (Noyes) is a riveting love story. Like Sara’s Key, this novel links the lives of two strangers, one living in the 1960s and one living in 2003. Like The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, the book describes a lifelong search for a former love. Besides being a great story, The Last Letter From Your Lover points out the changes in the role and obligations of women over a forty year time period. Heartwarming twists at the end. Enjoy the book!

    If you are a fan of Thrity Umigar after reading The Space Between US, you will not be disappointed by her just released book The World We Found. This novel tells the story of the friendship of 4 women who were college friends. Although separated for decades, the women have strong bonds and their past history with each other have impaced their entire lives. Most of the story takes place in India and Umigar details historical conflicts and provacative moral issues. The last few chapters of The World We Found is guaranteed to make your heart beat fast!

    I would love to hear what you think of these novels.

    Comment by Lois Rothberg — January 24, 2012 @ 9:05 pm | Reply

    • Hi Lois, Thank you for the wonderful reviews. Both books sound like “must reads”!

      Comment by Susanbright — January 25, 2012 @ 10:01 am | Reply

  23. The Street Sweeper, a 2012 novel by Elliot Perlman, is an amazing story of the relationship between an African-American ex-con and a Holocaust survivor. There are many interwoven stories in this beautifully written novel. Reading the book is a real learning experience with detailed accounts of the Civil Rights movement and the concentration camps in Europe. Get past the first 150 pages and you will sail through the rest of this engrossing story. With so many complex issues, The Street Sweeper would generate lots of discussion for a book club.

    Comment by Lois Rothberg — February 16, 2012 @ 9:06 pm | Reply

    • Hi Lois!. The Street Sweeper sounds like a fascinating read. I will check it out!

      Comment by susanbright — February 17, 2012 @ 10:48 am | Reply

  24. Hi Susan and greetings from Montana! It’s taken me awhile but I finally perused your blog and book list. Nice stuff! Although I had to admit it, I’ve only read 2 or 3 on the list but one in particular did catch my eye – Into The Void by Joe Simpson. Great tale of desperation and abandonment! I’m reading a book right now by another acclaimed mountaineer – Rick Ridgeway called The Shadow of Kilimanjaro. It’s much more about his

    Comment by Jeff M — May 20, 2012 @ 1:59 pm | Reply

    • Welcome Jeff! Wow! The Shadow of Kilimanjaro looks like quite the adventure…complete with wild lions, rhinos and elephants! Let us know what you think of the book once you finish.

      Comment by susanbright — May 20, 2012 @ 2:54 pm | Reply

    • Sorry about that last comment trailing off. Since I’m laid up recovering from foot surgery, I tried to tap the comment out from my phone, all the while keeping my foot elevated on a Lazy Boy… which worked for awhile. Realizing this was pointless, I’m now on a computer!

      To continue, the Ridgeway book The Shadow of Kilimanjaro: On Foot Across East Africa is not about mountaineering at all. It’s about his 250-mile “foot safari” from Kilimanjaro – through the wildlife parks and refuges in Kenya – to the Indian Ocean. It deals with the history & politics of big game management in that area, the ancestral hunting, poaching (ivory hunting) and power struggles within the area described in Karen Blixen’s book Out Of Africa. A good read, although not necessarily a ripper of a page turner. It has, however, lit a desire to see that part of Africa someday!

      All the best,

      Comment by Jeff M — May 20, 2012 @ 3:10 pm | Reply

      • I know exactly what you mean.You should see some of the emails I have sent from my phone. If you are interested in Africa, you may want to read Wildflower: An Extraordinary Life and Untimely Death in Africa.It is the true story of Joan Root, a film maker and conservationist who was murdered while living in Africa, Keep that foot elevated and keep in touch!

        Comment by susanbright — May 20, 2012 @ 3:48 pm | Reply

  25. Deep

    Comment by Betty Weissma — January 10, 2013 @ 5:59 am | Reply

    • Hi Betty! Great review of Once We Were Brothers! Yes it was deep, sad and an excellent read!

      Comment by susanbright — January 10, 2013 @ 11:47 am | Reply

  26. What about the book “The Butler” or any book where the movie is loosely based-like “Wall Street” or the Bourne series, even the Thornbirds, The Graduate, Great Expectations, etc…

    Comment by AirportsMadeSimple — January 20, 2014 @ 5:04 am | Reply

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