Book Review ~ Where The Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

Summary ~ “Billy, Old Dan and Little Ann – A Boy and His Two Dogs… A loving threesome, they ranged the dark hills and river bottoms of Cherokee country.  Old Dan had the brawn, little Ann had the brains – and Billy had the will to train them to be the finest hunting team in the valley.  Glory and victory were coming to them, but sadness waited too.  And close by was the strange and wonderful power that’s only found… Where the Red Fern Grows.”

Monday, I finished “Where the Red Fern Grows” by Wilson Rawls.  Though I needed a box of tissues to get through the end of the book, I loved every exhilarating, loving and heartbreaking word.  I sat there with my dog Rocky laying in my lap and read the last pages about Billy’s childhood and the little hunting dogs who changed his life. 

“Where the Red Fern Grows” is a story about a determined boy with a terrible case of “dog-wanting disease” set in the Ozarks of northeastern Oklahoma during the Great Depression.  After saying a prayer asking for help with getting his hunting pups, Billy Coleman spent two long years working to earn and save $50.00 to buy two little hunting puppies he had seen listed in a fisherman’s discarded magazine.  With the help of his Grandfather, his prayer is answered. 

   “I wanted so much to step over and pick them up.  Several times I tried to move my feet, but they seemed to be nailed to the floor.  I knew the pups were mine, all mine, yet I couldn’t move.  My heart started acting like a drunk grasshopper.  I tried to swallow and couldn’t.  My Adam’s apple wouldn’t work. 
   One pup started my way.  I held my breath.  On he came until I felt a scratchy little foot on mine.  The other pup followed.  A warm puppy tongue caressed my sore foot.
   I heard the stationmaster say, “They already know you.”
   I knelt down and gathered them in my arms.  I buried my face between their wiggling bodies and cried.  The stationmaster, sensing something more than just two dogs and a boy, waited in silence.”

And that was the beginning of a beautiful friendship that carried those three through the valleys, riverbanks and mountains of the mighty Ozark Mountains.  Billy’s loving and supportive family consisted of Papa, Mama, three little sisters, Grandma and willy old Grandpa.  After training his pups to hunt ring-tail raccoons with a coon pelt, the adventures this trio experience during hunting seasons are endless. 

The vivid words jump off the page and create the lush, dark, mysterious, and beautiful land in my mind’s eye.   Not only did I feel that I was following along with Billy as I listened to him telling me what his dogs were doing as they were hunting but I could feel the same rush as the hunts were coming to an end and a hide was the prize. 

As I was reading “Where The Red Fern Grows” I thought about the plot that Rawls was getting across to me as the reader.  It was simple.  Boy wants dogs.  Boy gets dogs.  Boy trains his dogs to hunt and with that skill mastered to perfection by Old Dan & Little Ann, the story takes off.  The dangers that hunting can entail fill the pages of this book with breakneck chases and sneaky raccoons tricking the dogs but the power of the canine nose winning out in the end almost every time.  

I have never been an advocate of hunting and the idea of going out to hunt for sport and not food isn’t my idea of ethical but when reading this book, those feelings were cast aside and I happily read about treeing raccoons, vicious fights with claws and teeth gnashing out and the final moment when a dog’s steel trap of a jaw settles in until the last breath of a raccoon or some other animal marks a win for a spirited hunter. 

I read this book as a child and I would recommend anyone from the fourth grade and above to read this magical tale of unconditional love you can only find with man’s best friend. 

{Rating ~ 5 out of 5}

Rocky & His Raccoon 

Here’s Rocky with his toy raccoon.  I took this picture this morning and he willingly posed perfectly for all of you out there. 

Wiki Wednesday ~ June 25, 2008

Over at Verbatim, Karen has a great little game for Wednesday’s.  Wiki Wednesday!  Time to learn something!
1. Go to Wikipedia.
2. Click on “Random article” in the left-hand sidebar box.
3. Post it!
Here’s what I got this week:

Toby Morse is the vocalist for hardcore punk band Fight Staras well as one of the vocalists for Hazen Street.
Morse started his music career by being a roadie for hardcore punk band Sick Of It All. Sometimes, when there was no opening act, Morse and others would perform a song, “My Love is Real”. From that, fans encouraged him to give it a try, and H2O formed out of that. They became part of the New York hardcore scene.
In 2004, Morse started collaborating with David Kennedy, best known for being in Tom Delonge’s side-project Boxcar Racer. Out of this came Hazen Street, which included Toby’s friend Freddy Cricien, of another New York hardcore band Madball, as a co-vocalist. Toby also started a clothing line called Straightedge o.g. or S.E.O.G.
Toby resides in Los Angeles with wife Moon and their son Maximus.

Time To Vote For Planet Books’ JULY/AUGUST Book

Hello There!!  I am really excited about the nominated titles for the July/August book and I hope you will be too.  I spent a while reading book blogs,,,, as well as, and Barnes & and finally came up with three great books that I hope you will enjoy learning about and then cast your vote below.  Voting polls will close Friday, June 27th at Midnight EST!

The first title is Elizabeth Noble’s “The Friendship Test”.  I have read Noble’s “The Reading Group” and loved it and I think this one sounds great too.  Below is a summary of “The Friendship Test” from Elizabeth Noble’s web site.  You can read an excerpt of the book HERE

A Novel

THE FRIENDSHIP TEST ~ “One late wine- and gossip-fueled night, four friends on a lark create a fateful test of friendship — one that challenges the very principles and boundaries of their alliance. To pass it means to never, at any cost, betray one another. Twenty years later, they must face that ultimate test.
We meet them at the dawn of their camaraderie in the 1980s and already each woman is distinguished from the other: Tamsin, the compassionate mother hen; Reagan, the brazen and clever overachiever; Sarah, the seemingly perfect beauty; and Freddie, who despite being far from her U.S. home, finds strength in her friends. We forward to today, and as promised they are still firm friends… that is until a crisis occurs and the principles that define their friendship test are challenged. Exquisitely rendered by Elizabeth Noble, The Friendship Test is a powerful testament to the depth and capacity of female relationships.”

The second book nominated is “The Position”by Meg Wolitzer.  “The Position” sounds intruiging and spicy which I thought could make for interesting discussions if this is the book to win the vote.  Below is a summary of the book and as with all three nominated books, you can read an excerpt HERE

A Novel

THE POSITION ~ “In1975, Paul and Roz Mellow write a bestselling Joy of Sex-type book that mortifies their four school-aged children and ultimately changes the shape of the family forever. Thirty years later, as the now dispersed family members argue over whether to reissue the book, we follow the complicated lives of each of the grown children and their conflicts in love, work, marriage, parenting, and, of course, sex — all shadowed by the indelible specter of their highly sexualized parents. Insightful, panoramic, and compulsively readable, The Position is an American original.”

The last book on the list is Kate Christensen’s “The Great Man”.  I had heard an INTERVIEW with Christensen on NPR’s Fresh Air last month and became interested in this story of “…secrets, love, and legacy in the New York art world.”  “The Great Man”  won the PEN/Faulkner Award this year.  Below is a summary of the book and you can read an excerpt HERE.

The Great Man

THE GREAT MAN~ “Oscar Feldman, the renowned figurative painter, has passed away. As his obituary notes, Oscar is survived by his wife, Abigail, their son, Ethan, and his sister, the well-known abstract painter Maxine Feldman. What the obituary does not note, however, is that Oscar is also survived by his longtime mistress, Teddy St. Cloud, and their daughters.
As two biographers interview the women in an attempt to set the record straight, the open secret of his affair reaches a boiling point and a devastating skeleton threatens to come to light. From the acclaimed author of The Epicure’s Lament, a scintillating novel of secrets, love, and legacy in the New York art world.”

Sunday Salon ~ June 22, 2008

This weekend has found me reading “Where The Red Fern Grows” by Wilson Rawls.  The last and first time I read this book was back in 1984 when I was a fourth grader.  I can’t remember if it was required reading for class or if I had ordered it from the Scholastic Book Fair and read it on my own, but I do know that I absolutely loved it.  That’s proving true this time around too.  I find myself remembering what is about to happen in the next few pages when my memory is jarred by a passage and it’s the coolest thing.  Billy, Old Dan & Little Ann are like old friends I haven’t seen in ages and I feel like a little girl again and I’m following them around Billy’s folks land in the Ozarks of Oklahoma.  Watching them go on their night time hunts and playing down on the riverbank below their home is as exciting as it was the first time. 
I’m actually reading the same copy that I read those many years ago and I laugh every time I come across a word that has been underlined in pencil.  When I put a book down for the day, I would underline the word I was to start back up with when it was time to get back to reading.  My fourth grade handwriting is on the inside cover showing my name, teacher’s name and my phone number (in case I lost the book it could be returned to me). 
As a child and again as an adult I am the proud owner of a beautiful silver Cocker Spaniel.  Lightening struck twice with me and I feel so blessed to have loved twice when it comes to dogs.  Growing up my dog’s name was Maxwell and he was my best friend.  I could tell him anything and he would listen with all ears and heart.  I got him in the summer of 1981 and he lived until the summer of 1993.  He was the family dog but I believe (and my dad backs me up on this one) that because of my pleading and carrying on for a dog like Lady in “Lady & The Tramp” for a couple of years, my parents finally gave in and we got Maxwell.  He was the best, most adorable doggie.
Now as an adult I have the shear luck of being the proud owner and “mother” to Rocky.  He’s the most beautiful, intelligent, funny dog I’ve ever known.  My husband and I love him and because we don’t have children he fills a lot of shoes in our home.  Dog, confidant, child, protector, playmate, teddy bear, and couch pillow.  We got him from an ad in the Little Rock, Arkansas newspaper when we were living in Memphis, TN five years ago.  We drove two and a half hours to a little double-wide trailer in Cabot, AR and there was our little Rocky.  We bought him for a whopping $125.00 (same price my parents paid for Maxwell back in 1981) and took him home with us.  Now he is a world traveling dog with Okinawa, Japan as an address.
As I have been reading “Where The Red Fern Grows”, there have been moments when I think about the fact that Rocky will join Maxwell in time and won’t be with us anymore.  In those sad moments, I hug Rocky and tell him I love him with all my heart.  Below is a picture of Rocky when we brought him home on Memorial Day weekend 2003.  He was eight weeks old.
8 week old Rocky, May 2003

Guest Post & Book Giveaway From MATRIMONY Author Joshua Henkin

                                    *This Contest Has Concluded


Planet Books’ MAY/JUNE book club selection was MATRIMONY by Joshua Henkin.  I am delighted to say that Josh has taken time to write a very in depth and wonderful guest post here at Planet Books.  Without further adu, I would like to welcome author Joshua Henkin!


A Novel


Joshua Henkin

Guest post

Planet Books


I counted the other night, and I have now participated in 55 (!) book group discussions of MATRIMONY in person, on the phone, or online.  At each one, I confess that it took me ten years to write MATRIMONY and that I threw out more than three thousand pages.  Whenever I say this, I’m met with a collective gasp.  Why, people want to know, did it take me so many years, and how did I manage to stick with it?  The simple answer is that I’m a stick-with-it kind of guy and a novel takes as long as it needs to take.  But book groups have forced me think more deeply about this question.  What specifically about MATRIMONY made the process so drawn out?


The broadest answer is that I was learning how to write a novel.  You never learn exactly (or, better put, you’re always learning), in that every novel poses its own unique challenges.  But what I mean here is that I wrote short stories in graduate school (I still do.  I love short stories), and the form of the story is so different from that of the novel.  Then I wrote my first novel, SWIMMING ACROSS THE HUDSON, which, though it didn’t literally grow out of a short story, nonetheless has the sensibility of a longer short story.  It’s told from a single point of view and takes place over the course of about a year.  MATRIMONY, by contrast, is told in more than one point of view and covers a period of twenty years.  So it was new territory for me.


More specifically, there were four big problems I was struggling with, and it took me a long time to figure them out.  First, how do you write about a twenty-year period without turning the novel into a boring chronology:  this happened, then that happened, then that happened.  I reread Richard Russo’s Empire Falls and found it very helpful.  Russo does a really good job of skipping time—of deciding what to fold in through back story and when to pause for scene.  In his book, you often find out very important information after the fact.  Rereading Russo’s novel reminded me that when and how things get told is often at least as important as what gets told.  And it was from rereading Empire Falls that I finally figured out the structure of MATRIMONY—the jumping in time and place from section to section of the book, such that you skip four or five years, like in presidential elections.  I was able within this structure to figure out what to include and what to exclude, what to skip over and what to reveal through back story.


Second, the role of Carter.  Sometimes in real life you have a friend you’re really close to in college whom you never see again.  That’s fine.  But what’s fine in life isn’t always fine in fiction.  In fiction, it’s hard to have a character be really important for 100 pages and then just drop him.  So I needed to figure out how to keep Carter important (he is important, after all), even as his role in the book becomes less central on a day-to-day level, thanks to the fact that he’s living elsewhere, has made different decisions, and so on.  Originally, I had Carter appear only in the college section at the beginning of the book and then not again until the end, at the college reunion.  But that struck me as a too easy (and therefore contrived) symmetry.  I needed to find a way for Carter to be present in the middle of the book so his reappearance at the end wouldn’t feel too narratively convenient.  I did this through brief references of him throughout the book, but most centrally through the long section when Julian goes to Berkeley for Carter’s law school graduation.  Once I figured out that section (and the middle of the book in general), everything else fell into place.


            Third, Mia’s sleeping with Carter.  The fact of this was true from the beginning, but what kept changing was when Julian found out, and from whom.  Everything is different if Julian were to find out at the time of the betrayal, or nine years later, if he were to find out from Mia, or from Carter, or if he were to discover on his own what happened.  This reminded me of the important lesson (in fiction and in life) that the how, when, and why of things is at least as important, usually more so, than the what, and that fiction (again like life) is about meaning and interpretation more than it is about pure event narrowly construed.


            Fourth (and in some ways this was the biggest struggle of all) was the question of writing about a writer.  Writers are told not to write about writers—that to do so is narrow and self-regarding.  Writers are supposed to get out of their own experience and live.  They’re supposed to run with the bulls in Pamplona and hike the Himalayas.  Never mind that this is bad advice (if a writing student of mine asked me whether it would be better for her as a writer to spend the year trekking through Nepal or to hole herself up in the library reading the classics, I would, without hesitation, say the latter).  The taboo of writing about writing runs deep.  I had this internal voice telling me I shouldn’t write about a writer, and so in early drafts of MATRIMONY I ended up doing it without owning up to doing it.  I was doing it with a wink and a nod, in other words, the effect of which was that the book (certainly in the writing sections, but in general, really) took on a more outlandish, farcical tone.  It was a much more deeply comedic book, and while I’d like to think that the published version has funny moments too, MATRIMONY is at core a domestic drama.  By writing it as farce, I was writing away from my strengths.  At some point in the writing process, I thought, This is ridiculous.  If I were writing about a chef, a lawyer, an engineer, a secretary, or a mobster, and he took his work seriously, then I would take his work seriously as well.  So why shouldn’t I do the same for a writer?  What happened, in the end, is that I gave myself permission to write about a writer straight-on, honestly, without apology, and when I did this, the whole tone of the book changed for the better—not just the writing sections, but all of it.


            So what’s next for me?  My publisher may be asking the same thing, since my new novel was due last month and, like a chastened college student, I had to ask for an extension.  But I’m starting to make some progress.  A lot could change, so everything I say about it is tentative, but for now, the novel, at this point titled THE WORLD WITHOUT YOU, takes place over a single July 4th weekend.  Four adult sisters and their spouses/significant others return with their parents to the family’s country house in the Berkshires, the occasion for which is the fifth anniversary of the brother’s death; he was a journalist killed in Iraq.  When he died, he left a pregnant wife, who is now the mother of a four-year-old.  She, too, comes to the reunion, along with her son.  She’s an anthropology graduate student, living in Berkeley, and she’s seriously involved with another man.  She may marry him, and even if she doesn’t, she’ll likely marry someone else down the line, and that person could end up adopting the child.  So the book is about what happens over the course of this weekend, but more broadly, it’s about the struggle over this child.  To the grandparents and the aunts, he’s the embodiment of the dead brother, but to his mother, he’s just her child, and she’s moving on.  In this sense, the novel is about what, to one extent or another, most of my fiction is about:  the way the past pulls on/holds sway over the present.


            OK, that’s all, folks.  While I’m at it, I want to remind you that MATRIMONY will be out in paperback the last week of August and that I remain available to speak to book groups.  Paperback MATRIMONY will have a brand spanking new cover.  In fact, you can already get a sneak preview of that cover online.  Go to Amazon or Barnes




Joshua Henkin has offered to give one lucky Planet Books reader a signed hardback copy of MATRIMONY!  To be eligilbe for the random drawing please share with us your personal definition of the word MATRIMONY in the comments section of this post.  The contest will end on Monday, June 30th at Midnight EST.  Remember to check back here on Tuesday, July 1st to find out who is the winner.  


Booking Through Thursday ~ Flavor

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Think about your favorite authors, your favorite books . . . what is it about them that makes you lovethem above all the other authors you’ve read? The stories? The characters? The way they appear to relish the taste of words on the tongue? The way they’re unafraid to show the nitty-gritty of life? How they sweep you off to a new, distant place? What is it about those books and authors that makes them resonate with you in ways that other, perfectly good books and authors do not?

I tend to favor books that have a voice that I like to “listen to”.  I love “Cal” in Middlesex as well as “Suyuri” in Memoirs of a Geisha.  The story telling that these two characters seem to be capable of draws me in and keeps me reading with hopes that the story will never end.  The authors ability to create a character and a story with such a strong voice and influence is truly magical in my eyes.   I think that the times in which I read a book is important too.  I read Memoirs of a Geisha when we found out we were moving to Okinawa three years ago.  I had put off reading this book for over three years for no good reason and now the time had arrived where I wanted to learn more about Japan (though the book is a work of fiction).  I couldn’t put it down and loved every syllable I formed in my head while reading it.  In the spring of 2007 I had an opportunity to visit Kyoto with a spouse’s club.  I went back to re-read some passages in Memoirs of a Geisha to help prepare for it.  Once there, I went to Gion, where the geisha originated from and still perform to this day.  If this book hadn’t been as memorable as it was for me I don’t know if I would have enjoyed my visit to Kyoto as much and even visited again this past February with the hubby. 

Not many books impress themselves on my brain as well as Memoirs of a Geisha, Middlesex and the book I am reading now.  Where The Red Fern Grows is a book I was required to read in the fourth grade and am now re-reading for the first time since then.  As I read I remember what’s coming next and the fourth grade happened twenty-four years ago.  I can remember the passages almost to the t and am amazed.  I also haven’t been able to read it without crying at least once a reading session and hugging my dog as if I was a little girl again, realizing that he wasn’t going to live forever.  Books are very very powerful!

Today’s Favorite Song

One of my all time favorite groups are The Indigo Girls.  The voices, the guitars, the lyrics and the harmonies made them a college favorite among my girlfriends and me.  I attended college at Shenandoah University in Winchester, VA and was a student of their conservatory program.  I majored in both Vocal Performance and Music Business along with a few of my close friends.  All of us could sing well and we would spend countless hours singing The Indigo Girls tunes.  My first semester, at the request of Angela, Samantha, Kim & Jamie, I learned the melodies and harmonies to the complete self titled Indigo Girls cd.  Because of my range I could easily jump from the lower harmonies to higher lines of melody.  For the most part though I sang harmony and the others sang melody. 

My best friend from college, Angela, and I continued to sing The Indigo Girls hit “Closer To Fine” when ever we got together.  One of my fondest memories of singing this song with her was during a visit she made to Maryland in August 1999.  We had gone into D.C. with some of my friends and were in Georgetown where we had just heard my friend Bruno’s band “No Da Da” perform at a little Italian restaurant that boasted a modest jazz band line up on the weekends.  Angela and I were standing outside on M Street and after a little coaxing from friends and passersby, we sang “Closer To Fine” a capella, right there on the sidewalk.  It was probably one of our best renditions of that wonderful song.   

Book Review ~ SAIL

Summary: “Since the death of her husband, Anne Dunne and her three children have struggled in every way. In a last ditch effort to save the family, Anne plans an elaborate sailing vacation to bring everyone together once again. But only an hour out of port, everything is going wrong. The teenage daughter, Carrie, is planning to drown herself. The teenage son, Mark, is high on drugs and ten-year-old Ernie is nearly catatonic. This is the worst vacation ever.  Anne manages to pull things together bit by bit, but just as they begin feeling like a family again, something catastrophic happens. Survival may be the least of their concerns.  Written with the blistering pace and shocking twists that only James Patterson can master, SAIL takes “Lost” and “Survivor” to a new level of terror.”


“Sail” was not the book that I read about above.  Maybe I went in slightly skeptical and not wanting it to be very good, but it really ended up not being very good.  I never connected with any of the characters and plot lines so it was hard to be committed.  I think I probably could have read “Sail” in three days but instead I wasn’t turning each page with anticipation and at a “blistering pace” so it took me a long five days to finish it. 

Anne Dunne takes her not so happy children out on a summer sailing trip on the family sailboat, “The Family Dunne” (pronounced DONE).  She has remarried since the untimely death of her first husband to Peter Carlyle, Esq.  Carlyle is a shark of the legal world but he may also be the ‘shark’ that tries to end the lives of his new family.  The sailing trip is lead by Anne’s former brother-in-law, Jake Dunne.  After some unfortunate ‘accidents’ in the first few days of the trip on “The Family Dunne”, a storm of tremendous fury takes the boat on a rip roaring trip that takes the family further into a perilous vacation. 

With some side steps to build up the character of a DEA Agent as well as to shed light on the darker side of perfect Peter Carlyle, Esq., the story fails to deliver any real ‘shocking twists’.  I will admit that I gasped after reading one twist that I didn’t quite see coming, but for the most part I felt let down by the “#1 Thriller Author In The World”.   

I used to enjoy the books that James Patterson cranks out and back in 2001 I even attended one of his book signings but for the life of me I can’t remember which book he was promoting.  My signed copy is in a storage unit outside Memphis, TN.  I had come across a question on a book blog in my on-line travels that had asked if you think your reading preferences change over time and I think they do.  I’m not talking about before the age of twenty-one for myself but I find that my tastes have changed a bit in my twenties and now into my thirties.  I still like to read best sellers but not necessarily the self-promoting blockbusters.  I read this book based on the summary I read above which was taken from   

If you are interested in a light read to get from one airport to the other on then I will recommend this book to you.  If you are interested in reading something substantial and memorable than I would advise against “Sail.” 

{Rating 1 out of 5}

Booking Through Thursday ~ Clubbing (A Week Late)

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Have you ever been a member of a book club? How did your group choose (to, if you haven’t been, what do you think is the best way to choose) the next book and who would lead discussion?

Do you feel more or less likely to appreciate books if you are obliged to read them for book groups rather than choosing them of your own free will? Does knowing they are going to be read as part of a group affect the reading experience?

I was asked to do a guest post over at BOOKS ON THE BRAIN last month where I did write about this subject.

Yes, I have been a member of a “real life” book club.  I ran a book club here on Okinawa for two years and I called it “Lit & The Island”.  Pretty catchy huh?  Originally it started with just a few of my closest friends and then grew a bit with invitations from other members to their friends.  The group was never larger than ten people at a time but rarely did we have full attendance each month at our meetings/dinners.  With the plethora of restaurants on this island, we met at a new establishment every month.  It was fun while it lasted and we read some very interesting books for the most part.  There were some duds though so those meeting consisted of discussions about things other than the book.  Actually, there were really only a few times that the book of the month was discussed for longer than twenty minutes.  I chalk that up to the fact that some of the members hadn’t seen each other since the last meeting and had a month worth of catching up to do.  I was guilty of this bad habit myself too. 

The way we would choose the clubs books was to have a nomination/voting night every few months.  Living in Okinawa made book buying a little tricky.  The multiple base PX’s and BX (Post Exchange & Base Exchange) don’t have the largest book selection so we had to order everything on-line.  I think some people were able to find the chosen books at the library once in a while but for the most part it was order the book, wait for it to be shipped, wait for the Military mail to get it here from California and then get it from your post office box on base at the post office.  UGGHH!!!  Anyway, we would vote for three to four books at a time to make things easier.  I would always bring the longest book list of nominations.  Each person was then asked to tell the group about the book they wanted people to vote for and why.  After everyone had their turn we would write our top three of four (depending on how many months we were filling) and I would tally the books based on vote counts.  The most votes was the first book, then on down the line.  We read Elizabeth Noble’s “The Reading Group”, Arthur Golden’s “Memoir of a Geisha”, Jeffrey Eugenides’s “Middlesex”, Michael Dorris’s “A Yellow Raft In Blue Water” and many others.  These were my favorites of what we read as a group. 

For the most part, I enjoyed reading the books we assigned ourselves to read for this club.  In the beginning of the clubs existence I would read the book even if I didn’t like it but as time went on and my TBR shelf grew, I was a bit pickier with what I read.  If the book wasn’t grasping me in after about a quarter of the way through I wouldn’t stick with it.  I would have something to contribute to the discussion with hope that others could clue me in to what happened after I put the book down. 

Now I just run this on-line book club which I LOVE!  I have a little more control over the nominations and having made the time frame bi-monthly it makes it easier to read other things too.  When we move back to the States I may look into joining a “real life” book club again but for now, I am more than happy to know that I am reading a book as part of a group of readers on-line.  I don’t regret running and being a part of “Lit & The Island” though.  I believe that everything happens for a reason and it was a lovely experience. 

Let Me Tell You About A HUGE Book Giveaway!!

UPDATE:  This book giveaway is not through this blog site but actually through MAW BOOKS BLOGEveryone who has left comments here is not eligible for this giveaway.  If you just left your wonderful comment to say “Hi” and that you love Stephenie Meyer, THANK YOU!! – Karen @ Planet Books

Maw Books Blog is HOSTING a HUGE giveaway right now.  If you are a Stephenie Meyer fan than this is the contest for you.