Make Sure To Get Your Vote Counted

Hey everyone!  We are coming down to the last couple of days for the November Vote (see post below titled “Hope You’re Hungry For A New Read”) and I am very excited to see what book we will be reading.  I would like to say welcome to all our new readers and I hope you will find a comfortable chair and read with us awhile. 

Meanwhile in “the real world” that is living in Okinawa, my other book club, “Lit & The Island” met last night at Transit Cafe on the Sunabe Sea Wall over looking the East China Sea.  There we discussed “The Memory Keeper’s Daughter” by Kim Edwards.  It was our October book and though it wasn’t the best written story we’ve read (nothing has been able to compare to “Middlesex” by Jeffrey Euginides which we read in 2006) I was amazed at just how much stuff happened in this book and kept us talking and discussing for a couple of hours.  Yes we went off on tangents but we always seemed to come back to the book. 

“Lit & The Island’s” November book is “Buddha – A Story of Enlightenment”by Deepak Chopra.  I’ve already started it and I am very optimistic about this book.  It is reading very well and very visual.  I’ll keep you posted. 

A Story of Enlightenment

Discussion Questions for “The Year of Magical Thinking”

I found some good discussion questions over at Book  Please take a moment to leave your answer with us.  Make sure to note which question you are answering. 

1.  Consider the four sentences in italics that begin chapter one. What did you think when you read them for the first time? What do you think now?

2.  Discuss the notion of “magical thinking.” Have you ever experienced anything like this, after a loss or some other life-changing occurrence? How did it help, or hinder, your healing?

3.  Consider the tone Didion uses throughout the book, one of relatively cool detachment. Clearly she is in mourning, and yet her anguish is quite muted. How did this detached tone affect your reading experience?

4.  One word critics have used again and again in describing this book is “exhilarating.” Did you find it to be so? Why, or why not?

 5.  Discuss Didion’s repetition of sentences like “For once in your life just let it go”; “We call it the widowmaker”; “I tell you that I shall not live two days”; and “Life changes in the instant.” What purpose does the repetition serve? How did your understanding of her grief change each time you reread one of these sentences?

6.  Didion is adapting The Year of Magical Thinking into a play bound for Broadway. How do you imagine its transition from page to stage? Would you want to see the play?

Book Review ~ The Year of Magical Thinking (Was It Really THAT Magical?)

The Year of Magical ThinkingOctober’s book was “The Year of Magical Thinking” by Joan Didion.  I finished it last week and though the story was a good one, the “magical thinking” aspect did not really grab me.  I understand that it was more of a way for the author to record the most terrible year of her life and recount the thoughts and actions that kept her going.  I can’t imagine having such tragedies hit so close together (though her daughter did survive). 

I wasn’t a big fan of the author’s writing style and had a hard time staying with parts of the book.  I would be interested in seeing the play of this book.  To hear the words and see the actress would probably make the tale a bit more meaningful to me. 

I suppose you might think that I didn’t like this book.  I did relate to the part about John believing that they weren’t having any fun.  I believe that if you don’t try to make the best of everyday, be it get your to-do list done, take a moment to enjoy the breeze, play with the family pet or enjoy a few pages of your book that one day you will wonder where your life went.  What did I really do?  I will keep it on my shelf and if tragedy affects my life I will hopefully find the words to be helpful in the way that the author intended them. 

I’m curious to know what you thought of this book.  Please share your review and thoughts on “The Year of Magical Thinking”.  Good, bad, bored, loved it, whatever. 

I Hope You’re Hungry For A New Read!

It’s that time again.  Time to vote for next months book.  Thanks to one of our readers and her brilliant idea to make the theme of our November vote FOOD.  I have done some research and came across four books about cooking schools, food critics, and all the food that effected their lives.  I am looking for cooking and baking inspiration as the holiday season grows nearer. 

Our four choices start with “The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry: Love, Laughter, and Tears at the World’s Most Famous Cooking School” by Kathleen Flinn.  Second, there’s “Garlic & Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise” by Ruth Reichl.  Next we have “The Man Who Ate Everything” by Jeffrey Steingarten and last but not least there’s “The Making of a Chef: Mastering Heat at the Culinary Institute”by Michael Ruhlman.

Just click HERE and cast your vote.  The poll will be open until Halloween, Wednesday October 31st.  Check back to see which title we will be reading on November 1st. 

Love, Laughter, and Tears at the World's Most Famous Cooking SchoolThe Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise

  The Man Who Ate EverythingMastering Heat at the Culinary Institute


Yesterday I finished “The Year of Magical Thinking” and to tell you the truth… I didn’t find it very magical.  I was rather bored with everything except the action of the death and illness of John and Quintana.  Maybe it was the writing style that I didn’t care for or maybe it was the depressing topic of death, grieving and no good news.  I guess I’m glad I read it and can say this title is on my “Already Read List”. 

I’m curious to learn what you thought of this month’s book.  Did you find it inspirational or dry?  Did you want to find out if Quintana survived her terrible illness or did you find yourself skipping ahead?

I will be posting discussion questions on Sunday and will post a couple of questions a day for three days.  I hope you’ll join us and share your comments and thoughts with us. 

Friday I will be posting our next voting poll and I think the list will get our stomachs a grumblin’.  It’s all about food!

Do You Have Anything You Would Like To Read?

This Friday I plan on posting four titles to be voted on for our November book.  As of this moment I do not have anything selected yet nor do I have a theme to be guided by.  If you have a suggestion and would like the title to voted on please leave a comment with this post.  I will add it to the list so check the comments section of this entry throughout the week and if there are not four titles nominated then please add your title. 

If I don’t get four titles by Friday morning, I will nominate books for the remaining slots.  It will be cool to see what has been on your To Be Read List (TBRL).

So Far

I am about halfway done with “The Year Of Magical Thinking” and I sure hope this woman has something positive happen to her during all of this tragedy.  Quintana is in the UCLA ICU at the moment and man, I can’t imagine being that sick.  I feel so terrible for her, her mother and her new husband. 

What point are you at in the book?  Are you liking it or are you a little surprised as I am with the technical information about illnesses and the the body?  I hope in the end I feel that the overall experience of reading this book helps me in the long run when dealing with the death of loved ones and that life just keeps going no matter what happens. 

Is There Anybody Out There?

I was wondering if you feel that Planet Books is a good thing and if the whole “On-line Reading Group” is worth while?  I really enjoy doing this blog for you and believing that I am reading along with friends and family all over the world is pretty cool.  Please let me know your thoughts and what you like and don’t like about Planet Books.  Your input is greatly appreciated!

Happy Reading! – K

There’s no stopping me now!

I finished “The Memory Keeper’s Daughter” this morning. I had discussed this book with my friend Rene earlier in the week when I  was a the half way mark.  At that point I was not too impressed with the story so far.  I felt that it was hard to believe that I had read so many pages already and felt that there wasn’t much happening.  Well after the trip to Aruba the story sure picked up and I couldn’t put the darn thing down.  I liked it much more than I had earlier in the book.  Things started to finally happen between the characters and to the characters on their own. 

Some posts on other blogs were from people who thought the the book should have been much better than is really was.  I can agree with that for the first half but the second half really reeled me in and kept me there till the end.  I sometimes feel that authors have a need to wrap up unraveled ends quickly and end the darn thing before it hits too many pages and though I did feel that way with this particular book, I was happy with the way most of the story was brought to a close.  I will not spoil the end for you if you haven’t read “The Memory Keeper’s Daughter” yet but I will say that there are a few twists and turns that made me gasp out loud or cry out and make my hubby look up form whatever he was doing at that moment and make sure I was OK. 

Now I am on to “The Year Of Magical Thinking” and I am happy with it so far.  I just finished chapter two and feel that the telling of the author’s year of magical thinking is about to start.  I fear the emotion that this book may churn up within me and I might not let my husband and dog leave my sight while reading it and maybe forever after finishing it.  Whatever happens, I am excited that I’m reading books that spark my interest and get me thinking.