Looking Back at 2016

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"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one."

~George R.R. Martin, A Dance with Dragons.

 

What a fantastic year! We read 10 more books and added loads more to our To-Be-Read (TBR) lists. We discovered more about our world and each other through lively discussions, great food, and deepening friendships. What could be better than that?

Take a look back with us over the past year to see a bit of what happens when this super-cool group of book lovers meet to Read More, Discover More, and Enjoy More!

 

The Books We Read

The Handmaid's Tale Book Cover
The Life We Bury Book Cover

Member Faves

With so many different personalities and tastes in books, it's always fun to see which ones end up being favorites (or not so favorites!). 

 

DeeAnn
 
 
Eleanore & Park 
"We read many good books this year, but I think my favorite was Eleanor and Park. It was a delightful, yet haunting love story. There were parts that were sweet and funny, and could be anyone who has experienced young love."

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Kelly

 

I haveshtumCover_ two favorites for 2016.  First, SHTUM.  I have a coworker with
an autistic son and found this selection to really make me think about the challenges he faces every day--loving his son, caring for his son, and the financial and emotional challenges of providing for his son in the present and future.  This book gives us a glimpse of what life might be like loving someone with special needs. 

Second, The Art of Racing in the Rain.  I have to admit, after reading the description of the book among RacingRainthe other choices for the month--this read was not my first choice. But, as you can see, it was one of my favorites.  It was very easy to read and I found myself not wanting to put it down.  This book brings new meaning to seeing something from a different perspective.  Just when you think there are two sides to every story, there's a third--the dog's perspective.  The book was funny (why dogs eat stuffed animals), sad (the Mom dies), loving (a Dad's journey to keep his daughter), hateful (relatives trying to take a daughter from her father), driven (a man following his dream), and a tear jerker (it all works out in the end).  Just a great, warm story. 

I have loved participating in this book club.  Joining has provided a structured environment where I've enjoyed the opportunity to read books I wouldn't have chosen myself.  I tend towards reading non-fiction and while I still enjoy those books, I've found the selections chosen by members to be interesting, challenging, and the discussions at the meetings very engaging and satisfying."

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Catherine

 

Sympathizer

"My favorite was by far and away The Sympathizer. I learned a lot that I did not know before about this important period in history, including why the Vietnam War was fought and how the Vietnamese people felt about it.  It was interesting to hear a Vietnamese perspective for once, one that somewhat told "both" sides of the story. The central characters were extremely well developed, and overall it was an extremely well-written book.  I could not put the
 book down.

GoldfinchThe Handmaid's Tale Book Cover

My next favorite books from the book club were The Handmaid's Tale and The Goldfinch.

 
 

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Carol
 
 
"My favorite book this year was The Sun Also Rises. I loved Hemingway's writinHemingwayg style; he conveys so much in so few words. He gives powerful, short descriptions of surroundings and emotions. I was amused by the characters, often disturbed by their behavior, and slightly confused that there didn't seem to be a plot to the story. There is a lot of symbolism in the story that offers insight and depth to the otherwise aloof characters, but you have to pay attention to pick up on it. I didn't at first and thought the entire story was pretty shallow. Then in contemplation and discussion I began to understand the symbols and was taken aback at how clever Hemingway's writing was. In the end I loved the story and now realize why Hemingway is considered to be one of the greatest writers of the 20th century.  
 
I am super excited to have accomplished the 2016 Extreme Book Nerd Challenge through our public library; 50 books, each in a different category. I really enjoyed it, although I have never read at that pace before! A couple of my favorites from the challenge are The Alexis Carew Series by J.A. Sutherland, Victoria 4:30 by Cecil Roberts, and a wonderful first-time experience with a book written in verse,  Audacity by Melanie Crowder.

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Dawn

 

handmaid

"I love thSympathizere diversity of our book club and the selections.  As I look back at the year, there isn’t one book that stands out and says “this is my favorite”, unlike the previous year.  I’m grateful for our book club, the books that we read and the friendships we have built.  I did read the Sympathizer twice, just to make sure that I didn’t miss anything (as I was the host for that month).  I was shocked at the Handmaid’s Tale as I really don’t want to think of how quickly that could happen to us now.  

I did read (listened) to some others - most of them were enjoyable...Me Before You by Jojo MoyesThe Storied Life of AJ Fikry by Gabrielle ZevinThe Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz, and A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, to name a few."

 

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Book Club Mojo

Our meetings this year were enjoyable, as always. The discussions were enlightening, the food was delicious, and the friendships are cherished. It's impossible to say any one meeting is better than another but there were a few I must mention, such as Kelly's unique and fun experience of having our book discussion in the hot tub and fishing laminated questions out of the water, an outstanding pilgrim's meal and highlights of Catherine and Sarah's 500 mile pilgrimage across Spain, and a couple group activities (a concert by the river and an evening of Bingo at a nearby casino).  Go Novel Gobblers! 

Here's a few snapshots of our get togethers. We'd have more for you but we're usually so involved in the meetings that we forget to take pictures!

Novel Travels Thru Space & Time

Where did our reading take us? Our literary travels crossed the globe and spanned the early 1900's to the not so distant future. Now that's a lot of space and time!  And what about physical travels? One of our members visited Pamplona, Spain as in The Sun Also Rises and carried our very own Rocky Livingstone 500 miles across Spain!

 

How to use the map: Hover over the red dots marking specific locations, click on the images to enlarge them, click on the x in the corner to close them, or even pan and zoom in the map to see more detail. Alternatively, you can scroll through the travel list shown below the map.

 

 

A pretty fantastic year, right?  Thanks for joining us.  Please stay awhile and come back often!

 

Read More ~ Discover More ~ Enjoy More

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2 thoughts on “Looking Back at 2016

  • January 16, 2017 at 9:31 pm
    Permalink

    Great memories. You did such a great job putting this together, Carol. I especially love the map. It is so cool to be able to see where all the books take place.

    • January 16, 2017 at 10:28 pm
      Permalink

      Thanks, Catherine. I’m so glad you like it. I like the map, too. It gives a whole different perspective about the books we read.

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