Gap Creek by Robert Morgan:
Judy Hardin, Alexandrian Public Library: They enjoyed the book like an old friend.
Marsha Jones, Troyer Memorial Library, La Fontaine: Agreed Julie was always hardworking and dealt with hardships from early childhood and was a survivor, although she was very vulnerable & naive. She was very innovative, resourceful and made the best of situations. Many took advantage of her. The end of the book was left to our imagination & wondered if there was a sequel.
Marsha Hutchins, Indianapolis: This was a Harlequin Western Romance. No one in the group liked it. Only one person could stomach it well enough to read it through. One person called it trite, predictable.
Catherine Campbell, Wells Co. Public Library: All in our book club were surprised at all the new information we learned about the towns we thought we were familiar with. This proved to be a very popular selection, one that was shared with family members and friends.
Lynn Belli, Jasper-Dubois Co. Public Library, Ferdinand: We didn’t like this book for discussion – too many sexual references and too confusing.
Ann Haw, Franklin: Several didn’t like the book at first. They missed a plot and more traditional format. If they stuck with it, they found that they liked it and several wanted to read it a second time.
Karen Blinn, Marion Public Library: Gilead makes a great topic for discussion!
Jean Walker, Irvington: Some of us thought the lack of chapter divisions was hard to get used to. Most of us thought it was interesting, even thought provoking, especially about his love for his son. One person didn’t care for the style of writing. We all felt like it took a while to get used to the style.
Margo English, Owensville Carnegie Public Library: A couple of participants did not “get into” book. Three loved it and said it was one of the best books ever read.
Kathleen Holling, Mooresville Public Library: A wonderful book to discuss!
Jennifer McKinley, Morgan County Public Library: Such a great discussion! People really related to this book!
Mindy Patterson, Kendallville Public Library: Comical, sometimes gross, but overall a great read!
Christie Sinclair, Danville Public Library: The group enjoyed the book and admired Zippy’s courage and “stick-to-itness.” We appreciated the discussion questions in the back of the book.
Rev. Dena Vittorio, First Presbyterian Church, Rushville: Fun book.
Catherine Campbell, Wells County Public Library: Kimmel’s memoirs brought up many wonderful memories of growing up in small towns, past holidays (aluminum Christmas trees – Yes!), wringing chicken necks – Good times!
Anita Murphy, Jasper-Dubois Co. Public Library, Dubois: People who were expecting to read a cohesive story were disappointed, but there were some of us who really enjoyed these short little “memories.” It was like sitting down and talking to a friend – one thought leading to another, not necessarily in chronological order following a specific topic.
Carolyn Williams, Marion-Grant Co. Senior Center: All expressed enjoyment of this book, to varying degrees. We liked the author’s writing style and appreciated, especially, the humor and poignancy of the stories told by “Zippy.” The discussion questions in the back of the book were particularly good ones: thought-provoking and right on point. We also enjoyed it because the setting of the book, Mooreland, IN, is only about an hour away from our hometown.
Shondra Brown, Wakarusa Public Library: We had an average discussion, half of the group enjoyed the book, the others didn’t even finish it. The majority of the time was spent discussing Stratton-Porter and her life.
Teresa Dustman, Wells Co. Public Library: Make sure to pull out a book or website of Vermeer paintings and find the ones described in the novel!
Chris Schellenberg, Vigo County Public Library: Everyone enjoyed this novel!
Gloria Marsh, Indianapolis: Very visual, from author’s main character’s viewpoint. Class discussion. Facilitator brings one positive and one negative review of the book. We all agree that we like book groups because of the exposure to other types of books than we usually read.
Yvonne Welty, Lebanon Public Library: We found a book about Vermeer that showed all of his paintings and was very informative and added to the discussion.
Debbie Itani, Zionsville Meadows: Excellent book. It was a very easy book to read. The story was easy to follow, so the participants enjoyed this selection. Discussion was animated with varied points of view about the relationship of the main characters, obedience, loyalty, greed, etc. I will show the movie to add to this reading.
Cindy Bergquist, Johnson Co. Public Library: This title was excellent for discussion. Our group was very enthusiastic about it. (We did also look at Vermeer’s paintings.)
Lorie Long, Morgan County Public Library: Bring snacks We managed to have a lively discussion about ethics, relationships, and revenge. The ladies were very forgiving of Lisbeth, not so much Blomquist. I would have liked to have a man’s perspective, though. Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a great book for discussion, as there are many themes and topics that are controversial. It was an enjoyable evening.
Kay Koppel, Osgood Public Library: The 1 man in group liked the book. The women over 50 didn’t. Felt a woman author would have done it differently. (Woman under 50 was silent.) Good discussion topics.
Vicki Windmiller, Roachdale-Franklin Twp. Public Library Book Club: Liked it.
Goodbye, Mr. Chips by James Hilton:
Billie Clements, Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library: Not very challenging.
Priscilla Palm, Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library: Everyone loved this book!
Mary Ann Dubash, Elkhart Public Library: It was a very well-liked selection!
Cindy Bergquist, Johnson Co. Public Library: Everyone loved the book, and there were lots of things in it to discuss.
Kathy Allen, Masonic Home Reading Group, Franklin: This was a huge hit with our group. The ladies all wanted to keep their copies because the story stirred their hearts as well as poignant wartime memories.
Melissa Hunt, Mishawaka Penn-Harris Public Library: Brought back many emotions for my group. Some thought the book was entertaining, and other thought Ms. Wood wrote a book making fun of the war. It brought about a great discussion and some of their real-life stories parodied some in the book, making them aware to look a bit deeper and not judge a book by the first impression.
Sallie Pease, Waterloo Grant Twp. Public Library: Enjoyed the book.
Deanna Street, Carmel-Clay Public Library: Many had read the book earlier in life and felt that each time they read it the book improved. The themes are relevant today and the use of language masterful.
Whitney Hall, West Washington Jr./Sr. High School, Campbellsburg: Students found it challenging but liked it.
Ann Haw, Franklin: This book was well received, and the discussion was probably the best in our 10+ year history. Even after we ended the discussion, people didn’t want to leave and were still discussing the book.
Marsha Jones, Troyer Memorial Library, La Fontaine: Talked about Pellagra, Rickets, malnutrition, the trust among them. Everyone in the same predicament & all tried to help one another. Ma was the strong one & kept the family together. Tom changed because of Casy. Al really grew up & took responsibility. Ruthie & Winfield were the future. Talked about the changing of the land and the redeeming spirit.
Wendi West, Tipton Public Library: We had a great discussion about this book. Several of our members shared information about Fitzgerald and Zelda’s life together, enhancing our disucssion of the era of Gatsby. As a group, we gave The Great Gatsby four stars.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society:
Anita Sautter, South Whitley Public Library: Some really liked the format of letters and some did not.
Jennifer McKinley, Morgan County Public Library: Great book, and wonderful discussion!
Judy Kessler, Quest Club (Kendallville): Wonderful discussion. Several people enjoyed reading this book for a second time.
Donna Browne, Muncie Public Library: I’m not a fan of this book, but it was very well-received by my group and we had an excellent turn-out. They liked the colorful characters and WWII setting and engaging voices of the various residents.
Liz Osisek, Anderson Public Library: Everyone loved the book!
Melissa Hunt, Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library: This was a really fun book to read. Though the letter format was a little confusing at first, those who persevered really enjoyed the story.
Marsha Jones, Troyer Memorial Library, La Fontaine: The group felt that besides Juliet that Elizabeth was the most important character in the book. We felt so many, especially Dawsey, were really changed & blossomed by being involved in the Society. We felt Kit had many of the same qualities of her mother & Juliet. All enjoyed the historical facts about Guernsey during WWII and you wanted also to meet the people on the island & visit the island.
Kathy Allen, Masonic Home Reading Group, Franklin: This beautifully written book is very rich in little-known facts/events of WWII and the German Occupation of Guernsey. Since most of our participants are in their 80s & 90s, they had much to add and to wonder about! We had extended conversations about the many topics raised by the good people of Guernsey!
Catherine Campbell, Wells Co. Public Library: My group LOVED the book, even the ones who have read it before. The books were in great condition and we are very grateful for the service!
Kimberlie Hall, Muncie: We enjoyed learning more about the German occupation of islands during WWII. We felt many themes were relevant to today.
Anita Murphy, Jasper-Dubois Co. Public Library, Dubois: Enchanting!
Sharon Elliott-Fox, Jeffersonville Twp. Public Library: Some found it slow going initially – may have been “put off” by literary device of letters – but almost all said they did not want the book to end, want to know what happened to all the characters, want to visit Guernsey.
Emily Crickmore, Hamilton North Public Library: The book is beautifully written and is very relevant to the women’s rights debates of today. This is a must read!
Kara Pickens, West Washington Jr./Sr. High School, Campbellsburg: Students overall enjoyed the book; it promoted really excellent discussions!
Hard Times by Studs Terkel:
Cheryl Miller, Shelbyville-Shelby County Public Library: Thank you, Novel Conversations, for helping us all discover Studs Terkel! Most people in the group did not read the entire book, but hopped around throughout, picking and choosing from the table of contents menu. Rather than coming in with a set of discussion questions as usual, I had everyone come with at least two of their favorite passages identified. This process proved to be an excellent way to hear how each reader was affected by the “Hard Times” experience.
Janet, Bicknell-Vigo Twp. Public Library: Very informative.
Marsha Jones, Troyer Memorial Library, La Fontaine: During depression years, country people sustained themselves because they were self-sufficient and some didn’t realize when the stock market crashed until it began to affect them. Men sometimes had to leave the family to find work. Found hobos jumping off trains to find a meal or work. Politics became important with controversy over FDR & New Deal. Socialism, Communism entered and also separation of classes (rich & poor). Lots of interesting stories from our book club attendees. Start of unions, WPA & other programs.
The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers:
Lynell Wolff, Mishawaka Penn-Harris Public Library: The book is very well written but a little dark. We had a good discussion.
Sue VerHage, Eckhart (Auburn) Public Library: The group did not like the characters. The group discussion leader (myself) loved the book.
Shannon Phipps, Switzerland Co. Public Library: Several group members commented on how much they enjoyed this book and the discussion, despite the fact that the book is rather dark.
Roberta Brooker, Indianapolis: It was a group that either loved or were troubled by this book. Everyone agreed it was a very well written and insightful book, but the subject was too dark to be discussed during the winter.
Jane Cruz, Delphi Public Library: Hard time getting through it because it is very sad. Very good at evoking a time and place.
The Heirloom Brooch by Kate Nixon
Becky Gremore, Covington Public Library: Most didn’t care for the book because of too many characters and time spans.
Louise Wolpert, Adams Public Library, Decatur: Actually group wasn’t happy with book, too many characters introduced . . . hard to keep track of them all.
Kay Koppel, Osgood Public Library: The book was an eye-opener and an occasion for reminiscing.
Peg Dermott, Lakeland Leading Edge High School: We had a good discussion.
Paula Zellers, New Albany-Floyd Co. Public Library: Special book discussion during Black History Month. Very good discussion – most everyone really enjoyed the book. (Served Chick-Fil-A bites, salad, and chocolate pie.
Sharon Elliott-Fox, Jeffersonville Twp. Public Library: Really enjoyed the book – used the discussion guide from Readinggroupguides.com. 5 stars!
Shondra Brown, Wakarusa Public Library: The first week we watched the movie, and then the following week was our discussion night. The ladies LOVE doing movie/book combos in January! Someone even brought in “Minnie’s Chocolate Pie” for the group! Our discussion time was a big lengthy, as there were many topics to talk about. One lady was from the South, and the senior citizens all had lots to share!
Sabrina Frederick, Fort Branch Public Library: Lively discussion. Varied ages that some had lived during that turbulent time. Others too young to remember. Interesting history lesson.
Read Nancy’s review.
Here on Earth by Alice Hoffman:
Wendi West, Tipton Public Library: Excellent book! Must read Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte – stories are so similar!
Steven Smith, Knox Co. Public Library: Overall, our group found the book interesting and had a lot to talk about in it. Since this was a modern adaptation of Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, we also talked some about that and its similarities and differences. Topics we discussed included: passion and obsession; the duty of motherhood; alienation; adolescence; and the role of animals in our lives; among others.
Cynthia Webb, Paoli Public Library: Mixed reaction!
High Tide in Tucson by Barbara Kingsolver:
Mary Hartman, Kendallville Public Library: Not a favorite, however, one person really related to Kingsolver.
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
Laura Jones, Argos Public Library: Very mixed emotions regarding the book – most either loved or hated it. Discussion went well because everyone had a lot to say about it, both positive and negative. This is a very involved book, and group leader read it twice in order to keep discussion going.
Holes by Louis Sachar:
Cheryl Miller, Shelbyville-Shelby County Public Library: This was another favorite for the group! Only one group member, who chose not to attend discussion, said story was too unrealistic for her. But the rest agreed it has qualities to make it a classic. It will stick in our memories for a long time.
Mary Ann Dubash, Elkhart: The subject of Indiana had great appeal for the group.
Stori Snyder, Brown County Public Library: Everyone enjoyed it. It was a good selection for our community.
Sallie Pease, Waterloo Grant Twp. Public Library: The group really enjoyed this book and wants to read more of the Harmony series.
Marsha Jones, Troyer Memorial Library, La Fontaine: Talked about the characters, those we liked & those we disliked. Everyone enjoyed the humor throughout the book and all the good quotes.
Brenda Woodard, Jasper-Dubois Co. Public Library, Ferdinand: Light-hearted enjoyable read.
Phyllis A. Hawkins, Four Seasons Retirement Center, Columbus: They enjoyed the privilege of being in Novel Conversations. I enjoy Jan Karon’s books.
Bill Fox, Jeffersonville: An interesting trip back to the public schools & rural Indiana in the 19th century. Interesting story, lively presentation of the rural dialect and ways of looking at things.
Teresa Dustman, Wells Co. Public Library: My group enjoyed this more than I thought they would. Lively discussion comparing present day to book’s time period.
Traci Stewart, Walkerton-Lincoln Twp. Public Library: The group found this book difficult to read. One participant finished but wouldn’t have if not for the club. The story struck us as immoral and trite.
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford:
Priscilla Palm, Indianapolis: Comment: “I really liked this book. I was moved by the story. Felt I was reading non-fiction instead of fiction.”
Cindy Bergquist, Johnson Co. Public Library: Great story! Many things to talk about.
Janis Small, Morgan Co. Public Library, Morgantown: Great discussion.
Billie Clements, Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library, Granger: “Very enjoyable” and “Nice to read a pleasant book.”
Shirley Mooney, Marion Public Library: Most all really enjoyed this book. Excellent, sad, touching, poignant.
Jan Harris, Lafayette: We all enjoyed this book and learned something more about this time period.
Kathy Allen, Masonic Home Reading Group, Franklin: The ladies truly enjoyed this book on so many levels. It was insightful and educational; most of us had little knowledge about the Evacuation and Internment of the Japanese Americans. It was an insight into the generational changes among all immigrants as well. We all loved the love story!
Mary Leffler, Marion Public Library: Great for discussion. The group was very interested in the history of the Japanese internment camps. I brought in history books from this era with lots of photographs which they enjoyed perusing.
Andrea Basinger, Garrett Public Library: Good discussion – opinions differed.
Nancy Wellons, Kouts Public Library: Discussion book. Group was split on whether they liked it or would recommend it.
Lynell Wolff, Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library: This is a nice, light read – well written. A mystery that isn’t easy to figure out.
The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros:
Lynell Wolff, Mishawaka Penn-Harris Public Library: We had a good discussion. Not everyone enjoyed the book, but all read it and participated in the discussion. The audio would have been better with a different reader.
Wilma Tayor, Hoosier Village retirement community, Zionsville: For some reason, most of the group did not really enjoy the book.
Rebecca Kirby, Albany Community Library: Not our favorite book, but we decided we didn’t have the background to relate, not fond of writing style.
How to Make An American Quilt by Whitney Otto
Shirley Mooney, Marion Public Library: Many of us didn’t care much for the book. Others did. But we had a good discussion.
How to Murder a Millionaire by Nancy Martin:
Emily Crickmore, Hamilton North Public Library: Everyone enjoyed the book, but the actual discussion was very brief.
Teresa Heidenreich, Washington Carnegie Public Library: Many of the group intend to read additional books by this author. We loved the sarcasm.
Cheryl Miller, Shelbyville-Shelby County Public Library: Overall, I’d say people have a “love-hate” feeling about this book. Everyone enjoyed discussing it, several said they went out and bought their own copies along with the rest of the trilogy. One by one, the readers shared their predictions about “what’s going to happen next”. We continuously came back to the topic of “what does this (the subject matter and its popularity) say about our culture?” Thank you!
Helen Hudson, Crawfordsville High School: Thank you so much. We read together, discussed, went to the film – all focusing on the “strong woman” motif. How does Katniss differ from other female protagonists you know (ex. contrast to the Twilight series!)
Christine Sterle, Thorntown Public Library: It helped a lot that I had located a study/teaching guide for the series (Scholastic?) via Internet. We identified similar directions our country is headed. But the bottom line is that these are children who are being exploited. Fast pace to read puts it into a page turner. One lady planned to read the trilogy, and in prep for discussion with her, I have a new appreciation for the series. Collins’ ideas came from respectable pieces of literature and her interests (e.g., gladiators). I suggest including the source for study guides with books. It helped me!
Jane Goldsberry, St. Joseph High School, South Bend: Teacher was very appreciative of receiving these books so fast and for being allowed to use them for a long time period. [Note: We borrowed the sequel, Catching Fire, from the Indiana State Library Book Club Kit last week. Both services are wonderful!!
Mary Leffler, Marion Public Library: Great discussion. The group wants to read the rest of the trilogy.
Wendi West, Tipton Public Library: As adult readers, it took a little while to “get into” this book. Many found the dystopian concept disturbing – and surprised the genre is so popular with young adult readers. We did enjoy the book. Overall we gave it 4 out of 5 stars.
Shannon Phipps, Switzerland Co. Public Library: Many were surprised they liked the book. Several had seen the movies. A few people refused to read it because of the subject matter. Good discussion about why teens like dystopia fiction, how reality TV has become popular & bizarre.
Becca Feirer, Bloomfield Eastern Green Co. Public Library: This was a great discussion. I think it was so good because so many of the teens were already familiar with the book & movie.
Melissa Robertson, Sullivan County Public Library: Some members found the book depressing. But most of us enjoyed reading it and learned quite a bit about what it would be like to have a child with a mental illness.
I Am the Cheese by Robert Cormier:
Suzanne VanReed, Vigo County Public Library: Good discussion on author’s writing style, the three storylines and the truth at the end. We discussed the appropriateness of the book for young people, and had a retired 8th grade English teacher and a young man with a 14 year old daughter share their perspectives with the rest of the group.
Icy Sparks by Gwen Hyman Rubio:
Wendi West, Tipton Public Library: It was okay. Not anyone’s favorite, but most finished the book.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
Paula Hearn, Ivy Tech Community College, Indianapolis: Our discussion started with a mini-lesson on cell culture from Dr. Nailah Orr, an adjunct professor in our Biotech department. Dr. Orr spent 17 years at Dow Agro and not only gave us a glimpse of cells that we could understand and appreciate, but also gave us her insights from the scientific community on issues of ethics, privacy, profits, etc.
All participants were first of all struck by the human suffering endured by the Lacks family….It made it so much worse that the Lacks family members were poor and uneducated, thus setting up cycles of superstition and suffering.
All of us could relate to at least one of the many positive contributions from the HeLa cell line…this story made personal many scientific contributions.
Most felt that it was not the responsibility of the pharmaceutical companies or Johns Hopkins to pay them for Henrietta’s cells….however, everyone applauded the author’s creation of a foundation for the family.
We thought the author’s tenacity was amazing and believe her contribution to people’s understanding of science is significant. We are going to encourage all of our Health Sciences deans and program chairs to use this book in their classes.
Jean Walker, Irvington: Everybody liked it. “Beautifully crafted” describes the book well.
Tania Said, Ball State University: Absolutely an excellent story for understanding the impact of science on our everyday lives and how education affects our understanding of its opportunities and risks.
Diana Kooy, Jasper Co. Public Library, Wheatfield: Some thought it was too technical with all the medical terms and phrases. Very good discussion from their extreme poverty to the way medical practices were then, and how much some of the research practices have not changed to this day.
Billie Clements, Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library: Thought-provoking, much to discuss.
Catherine Campbell, Wells County Public Library: Our little group talked for 45 full minutes on this book. Everyone had stories and opinions re: this powerful subject.
Wendi West, Tipton Public Library: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is a well written book of science, race, and a family searching for answers. Nonfiction that reads like a novel – highly recommended. We gave the book an average of 4 stars.
Shannon Phipps, Switzerland County Public Library: Even people who said they never read nonfiction liked reading it. Although a few found it disturbing, all enjoyed the discussion about medical ethics & we learned a lot from it.
Sharon Elliott-Fox, Jeffersonville: Intense discussions.
In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash by Jean Shepherd
Donna Browne, Muncie Public Library: People loved this book!!
Melissa Hunt, Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library: Book was well written, loved the descriptive paragraphs. Thought of when I was young and the scenes/memories apply worldwide. Made me want to watch “The Christmas Story” [movie made from the novel].
Sondra Harrell, Wabash: So-so, some very funny stories.
Christine Sterle, Thorntown Public Library: I located a great biographical source from Current Biography, 1984 edition. The library has a showing of “The Christmas Story” movie in 2 days.
Mary Ann Dubash, Elkhart Public Library: The group enjoyed the humor and familiarity with the area of their childhood.
In the House of Blue Lights by Susan Neville
Cynthia Webb, Paoli Public Library: Not a favorite, but very positive comments about the author’s writing style and power of observation.
Drew Shermeta, Muncie Public Library: Very well received book. Great for discussion topics about the way the book was organized, about what people thought really happened, and about some great characters to dissect.
Cynthia Webb, Paoli Public Library: Liked the book!
In the Mouth of the Wolf by Rose Zar
Jalynn Whittymore, Scott County Public Library: Showed survival instincts at its best.
Melissa Hunt, Mishawaka Penn-Harris Public Library: It made me think how intricate life was for a persecuted person, but in a different way than Anne Frank. Rose was gutsy. It was sad to think of all who died and the few who made it, then had nothing.
Meagan Lacy, IUPUI University Library: We had an excellent discussion over a catered lunch from Indian Garden – Broad Ripple.
Jacqueline M. Pimentel-Gannon, Indianapolis: Great writer – the stories are very well written, but our group found them kind of depressing. At least the last story was more positive! The stories did lead to good discussion, though.
Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
Priscilla Palm, Indianapolis: Interesting and informative but not a fun read – too tragic.
Lisa Lanham, Indianapolis Re-Entry Facility: The review from the men was mixed — none of them could relate to the “because it’s there” mentality – but we had a fun discussion.
Invincible, Indiana by Nate Dunlevy
Sallie Pease, Waterloo-Grant Township Public Library: Really enjoyed the book. This was a very good expression of [high school] basketball.
Jean Walker, Indianapolis/Irvington: We all enjoyed the book! We had mixed feelings on whether we should go back to no-class basketball, but we all agreed Dunlevy had excellent arguments for no-class basketball.
Billie Clements, Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library, Granger: Enjoyed the book.
Anita Murphy, Dubois Co. Public Library, Dubois: This is a great book for those of us who remember the days before class basketball. Led to a lively discussion on several levels.
Phyllis A. Hawkins, Four Seasons Senior Living Community: One of the twelve did not read nor attend book club discussion. All but one who did read and attend discussion/share time enjoyed this book.
Jalynn Whittymore, Scott County: We had a wonderful discussion about this book! Would highly recommend to other groups.
Read Nancy’s review
Mary Ann Dubash, Elkhart: Be prepared for some readers to have comments regarding “fantasy” scenes and some confusion, eventually resolved!
Robert Mixner, Bartholomew Co. Public Library: This book inspired some strong emotional reactions. That’s good, but it also led to some people relating personal that one attendee (speaking with me later) didn’t feel contributed to what she was looking for from the group. I think the book’s structure & Ellison’s semi-hallucinatory style made it difficult to discuss for some.
Judy Stolz, Lexington Book Club: Book was informative. Sounds like he truly was a rebel at heart. We watched clips on DVD from his 2 movies (East of Eden and Rebel without a Cause).
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Lorie Long, Morgan Co. Public Library: We all thought the hardest part was the first ten chapters that covered Jane’s childhood. It was painful and difficult to read these chapters. Provoked a lot of emotion in readers.
Helen Cawley, Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library: Perennial favorite. Enduring popularity of themes makes this everyone’s classic pick in discussion.
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
Wendi West, Tipton Public Library: Enjoyed the story! Most finished reading this time. One person brought her Mah Jongg game to share.
Judy Stolz, Lexington Book Club: Plenty of discussion about customs and stories they passed to each generation. Realized it was a mother & daughter story.
Kathy Allen, Masonic Home Reading Group, Franklin: Tip – Read the chapters about each woman and daughter to better make the mother-daughter relationship between each pair. It worked for me!
Kaaterskill Falls by Allegra Goodman
Wendi West, Tipton Public Library: Interesting characters – great discussion about Jewish religion and culture.
Traci Stewart, Walkerton-Lincoln Twp. Public Library: Book was not very interesting. Would not recommend book.
The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara
Donna Browne, Muncie Public Library: One of our best discussions ever! People were much taken by discussing whether Confederate soldiers (professional) were traitors.
Billie Clements: Mishakawa-Penn-Harris Public Library: Challenging, interesting read.
Rebecca Kirby, Albany Community Library: All liked it – enjoyed learning more about generals, battle; thought a field trip to Gettysburg might be good!
Read Nancy’s review.
Nancy Hawkins, Franklin Co. High School: Good book to use in school.
Kelly Hladek, Morton High School, Hammond: We enjoyed Kindred very much. The ending startled everyone, but it gave us more to talk about.
Sondra Harrell, Wabash: Every member who attended all commented that they couldn’t put the book down. This book was very well received.
Billie Clements, Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library: Enlightening.
Dave Miller, Bartholomew Co. Public Library, Hope: This was a good book, and our group enjoyed it. It was a quick read, but led to lots of lively discussion.
Wendi West, Tipton Public Library: This was a great story with fabulous characters. Will definitely recommend to others!
Shannon Phipps, Switzerland Co. Public Library: We enjoyed discussing the characters and the historic accuracies/inaccuracies of the story.
Deanna Street, Carmel Clay Public Library: Approximately half of the attendees liked the book. The others thought it was too much like a soap-opera. The recipe for molasses cake in the “A Conversation with Kathleen Grissom” section is very good and was a nice addition to our book group.
Amy Dalton, Johnson Co. Public Library, White River: For the author’s first novel, she did an excellent job of developing the characters. Accurate portrayal of slavery of the times.
Sharon Elliott-Fox, Jeffersonville: Excellent book. Good characterization; well researched; fascinating story. This is the 1st book our group has read in the 2 1/2 years we’ve been together that was unanimously voted a 5 star book (rating 1 to 5 with 5 being the best).
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Cynthia Webb, Paoli Public Library: They loved the book, found it disturbing but good.
Debbie Itani, Zionsville Meadows: Great book of cruel realities and description of war, religion, social division and the opportunities that life gives to make something good out of terrible circumstances. The group found the contents touching and hard to absorb, but the book is well-written in description and historical facts. I was able to give some background on Islam, and Middle Eastern customs, which helped my participants understand some words, meaning of characters’ names, social hierarchy, etc. Great discussion was sparked from the current situation of the US military in Afghanistan and the many versions and information in the news. I included a list of interesting questions that helped guide our discussion.
Whitney Hall, West Washington Jr./Sr. High School: Students loved it!
The Ladies Auxiliary by Torva Mirvis
Shannon Phipps, Switzerland County Public Library: Thank you! This was one of our favorites from book group.
Wilma Taylor, Hoosier Village retirement community: Group enjoyed the book. Good discussion of local Jewish community.
The Ladies of Covington Send Their Love by Joan Medlicott
Ann Haw, Franklin: This was a great book for older women. We could all relate to it.
Luann Dillon, Monroe Co. Public Library: Most participants enjoyed the book. I found the recipes for Grace’s sugar cookies & prune meatballs & passed them out. People enjoyed debating the merits of the recipes. The discussion was better than I expected.
Kathy Allen, Masonic Home Reading Group: Very lively conversation! We were able to make connections on many levels!
Kalie Steele, Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library, Harris Branch: Interesting comparison to the Downton Abbey TV show. We had a very lively discussion. Some people liked the book more than others. We all were fascinated with the historical back story of Highclere Castle.
Lynell Wolff, Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library: Historic content very interesting. Several memorable quotes and observations. Good discussion.
A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines
Donna Browne, Muncie Public Library: …this was our biggest turnout yet, despite 2-3 people away on vacation- and they loved this book! Not at all turned off by the heavy subject matter – actually they seemed to enjoy pondering the bigger issues. We even learned that one of our ladies had taken part in a lunch counter sit-in in support of civil rights! People reported crying when reading the section on Jefferson’s diary. That’s great writing.
Lisa Lanham, Indiana Re-Entry Education Facility: While the work lent itself to discussing issues stemming from criminal justice, then and now, the heart of our conversation centered on what it means to be a black male.
Lynell Wolff, Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library: We enjoyed the book very much. The characters were well developed. Although at first the language seemed “modern” for the era, we were fortunate to have the author with us and learned people during WWI and WWII really did express themselves this way. Highly recommended!
June Goldstein, Novel Ideas group, Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library: Author Jessica Brockmole made a guest appearance at our meeting this month and gave us insights into her writing process. Currently residing in our community (Granger, IN), Jessica and her husband lived in Scotland when she wrote Letters from Skye. Her novel captured the culture of several generations in a series of letters between a mother who is a poet and her American fan during the years before and through WWI. Her daughter also begins a correspondence several decades later with an RAF pilot at the beginning of WWII. Our discussion was enriched by the generosity of Jessica answering our questions and sharing her plans for future books. (Two have been accepted for publication.) We are looking forward to reading more from this writer.
Sondra Harrell, Wabash: Some members were unsure, prior to reading, if they would like the book since it was told through letters. However, they enjoyed the format and felt the characters were fully developed because of it. Some readers felt connected to the story because they too had a history of connecting to a loved one with letters during long separations. Overall, members liked the book and we had very good discussion.
Kathy Allen, Masonic Home Reading Group, Franklin: This book is a great segue to some rich discussion topics. We loved it!
Ann Haw, Franklin: We did not like this book as much as some we have read largely because it does not have a plot. It did, however, provide much discussion.
Shannon Phelps, Switzerland Co. Public Library: The book generated a lot of discussion about food memories with family and friends. No one in the group particularly enjoyed the book. We could not relate to the main character.
Sondra Harrell, Wabash: Great book – everyone thought it was well written and discussion was good. Everyone had comments on the story and characters. Highly recommend this for book clubs.
Jalynn Whittymore, Scott Co. Public Library: Would recommend to others. Much discussion on Tom and his decisions. Descriptions of the ocean and lighthouse well done.
Melissa Hunt, Mishawaka Penn-Harris Public Library: Everyone managed to finish this short, easy book. Some said the ending was very predictable.
Light On Snow by Anita Shreve
Cynthia Webb, Paoli Public Library: Members loved this book! A very poignant, well written story. Many thanks!
Shondra Brown, Wakarusa Public Library: 70% of our group enjoyed the book! They found it interesting that there were two different versions of the book (some are missing one paragraph, author’s choice to remove, then reinsert it). I would definitely note that for the group and discuss the differences!
The Lightkeeper’s Daughter by Colleen Coble:
David Muck, Roachdale Public Library: They seemed to enjoy it.
Crista Steier, Corydon Central Jr./Sr. High School: Students loved it! Thanks.
Angela Stillson, Mishawaka High School: The students read the books in class and loved them. They had good discussions and were able to watch the movie afterwards.
Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
Jennifer McKinley, Morgan County Public Library: Mixed reviews for the book, but we had a lively discussion! Great conversations came from the theme of “mystical realism” exemplified in this book!
Gloria Marsh, Indianapolis: Interesting discussion about whether tradition was actual or warped by the bullying mother to suit her own purposes. Symbolism of cooking , colors, knitting of bedcover. Was Tita’s cooking her emotions into the food deliberate or involuntary? Traditions enhancing lives or used to make people miserable, depending on how you approach things.
Debbie Itani, Zionsville Meadows: Good book!
The Lincoln Nobody Knows by Richard N. Current
Shirley Mooney, Marion Public Library: Most of us enjoyed reading this book.
Jan Harris, Lafayette: Many found this book difficult to read – more for research.
Mary Ann Dubash, Elkhart: Generated much discussion and interest related to current geo-politics!
Marsha Hutchins, Indianapolis: Surprisingly enjoyable albeit somewhat annoying characters (i.e. super macho).
Karen Palmer, Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library: Everyone really enjoyed the book and the stories from “real people.” People were able to relate to almost all of them and enjoyed that aspect of the book.
Deanna Street, Carmel Clay Public Library: The book generated good discussion.
Wendi West, Tipton Public Library: Our book group really enjoyed this title and had a great discussion with the questions in the back of the book. Overall we give this novel 4+ stars out of 5.
Janet Palin, Crawfordsville District Public Library: Classic book with good moral and family values. Should be required reading for schools.
Christine Sterle, Thorntown Public Library: Several did not complete the book – tiny print, busy schedules, etc. Discussed the author’s background at length, which helped all ‘appreciate’ the book more. Book was chosen to precede March by Geraldine Brooks. I discovered I had never completed the book earlier, but now enjoyed Part II (able to identify with characters) more than in my childhood reading. Tough to read without a dictionary!
Amanda Wisler, LaGrange Co. Public Library: Everyone enjoyed re-reading a childhood favorite, especially during the Christmas season.
Shannon Phipps, Switzerland Co. Public Library: Most of the participants had read the book as children/teens so it was interesting to discuss how reading it as adults provided a different perspective.
The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler
Sheila Urwiler, Starke County Public Library: Those who finished enjoyed the book. Several had a hard time getting through it.
Debbie Itani, Zionsville Meadows: Good book. Mixed reviews about it. 1/2 liked it, 1/2 did not. I supplemented with some information about how influential the author was for detective novels of today.
Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen by Susan Gregg Gilmore
Julie Hart, West Central Middle/Senior High School, Francesville: We had Dilly Bars as we discussed our book. We all liked the book but had many interesting viewpoints that differed from each other’s.
Nicole Kirchoff, Shelbyville Middle School: Loved this book! One said this was the best book club read so far!
Lost Horizon by James Hilton
Donna Browne, Muncie Public Library: A very good and lively discussion…I put together a chronology of world events in the 1920’s-1930s to put this book in historical context and show why it struck such a profound chord with readers when it was first published. The group found this very helpful.
Janis Small, Morgantown Branch, Morgan Co. Public Library: This is an excellent book for all women to read. I am going to give a copy to each of my older daughters. this group had a wonderful discussion. Each woman found a special chapter that really resonated with them: solitude, girlfriends, faith, mirror, mirror, and mortality.
Anita Murphy, Dubois Co. Public Library, Dubois: Best book we have read so far! Lots of material to discuss and laugh over.
Bonnie Deakins, Thorntown Public Library: Most ladies liked it – they have shared many of the same experiences. A couple of people read some of her novels.
Brian Daniels, Timbercrest, North Manchester: They all enjoyed the book.
Kathy Allen, Masonic Home Reading Group: I was surprised at the nearly-unanimous dislike of the book by my dear senior ladies. They found Quindlen’s writing style boring and felt that many of the opinions left them flat.
Read Nancy’s review
Shondra Brown, Wakarusa Public Library: Combined book discussion with a movie night, the ladies loved comparing the two! Read the FAQs on The Lucky One from the author’s website, the ladies enjoyed learning the inspiration of the book, hearing the author’s notes, and listening to the FAQs answer some of their questions.
Jackie Richards, Crestwood Village East, Indianapolis: Everyone liked the book. Of course some more than others. One had a hard time getting into it. Most of us had a hard time putting it down. We all loved Zeus, the dog.
Sallie Pease, Waterloo Grant Twp. Public Library: A really good book. They all wanted to check [the movie] out, too.
Cynthia Webb, Paoli Public Library: Easy read. Liked it.
Bill Fox, Jeffersonville: Well written book. Balanced presentation of the circumstances which led to the August 1930 lynching in Marion, IN. Comparison of how officials handled a similar situation in 1885 was instructive. Good presentation of how reaction to the lynching affected race relations and law enforcement in Marion in later years.
Deanna Street, Carmel Clay Public Library: Our group really enjoyed reading and discussingMadame Bovary. The language is descriptive, the characters well-developed and the themes very modern.
Cynthia Webb, Paoli Public Library: Great book! We loved it! Is there a sequel?
The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington
Deanna Street, Carmel Clay Public Library: The participants were very enthusiastic about the book. We could have continued longer, if time allowed.
Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson
Donna Fields, Friendship Club, Peru: “Good book”, not spellbinding, but interesting to get insight of British and Pakistani life.
Nancy Miller, Kendallville: We enjoyed “the read” and had two great discussion sessions at our church.
Diana Kooy, Jasper County Public Library – Wheatfield: This book discussion got all members talking, making comments, and giving opinions. There were so many issues to discuss from this book. Prejudice, falling in love as an older person, snobbery, peer pressure, family demands, class system in society, how Americans were portrayed in this English rural community, and I could go on. Everyone enjoyed the book!
Louise Wolpert, Adams Public Library (Decatur): Had it at nursing home.
Donna Browne, Muncie Public Library: Everyone loved this story! Its comparison to a Jane Austen novel is apt, with important and universal themes disguised in a charming, small town story. We were surprised at the blurred lines between English and American and Pakistani character traits. Style and substance – highly recommended.
Shirley Mooney, Marion Public Library: Many of us enjoyed the “English manners comedy.” Others not so much. Good discussion, though, and all participating.
Cheryl Miller, Shelby Co. Public Library: It was interesting… One person started our group discussion on Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by saying I think this is the best book we’ve read so far! followed others who indicated they had a tough time getting into it. (Two who listened to the audiobook said they thoroughly enjoyed hearing it narrated with an English accent.) The rest of the seven who attended (usually we have 10-12) said they were glad they stuck with it and finished the book. The amount of descriptive detail was like one of those olden-day novels that were written when folks read not only for entertainment but to pass the time as well. Perhaps it was the author’s way of depicting the laid-back English lifestyle, especially that of the retired Major Pettigrew. In any event, the story lead to our group (most of us retired like the Major) whiling away an hour and a half discussing it! It opened conversations about mixed-culture relationships and those formed in grief, gender and age differences, and family traditions and obligations. The group enjoyed “analyzing” Pettigrew’s shallow-minded son, as well as some of the wealthy and/or self-centered characters, and we celebrated Jasmina and Ernest’s focus on being happy together despite the community’s criticism. (Chapter 22 was so worth the wait!) There was much to learn and reflect on in this book. After all was said and done, my Shelby County group deemed it a winner and looks forward to seeing the movie when it comes out.
Jennifer McKinley, Morgan Co. Public Library: Most folks enjoyed the book, along with its dry British humor/comentary. Some thought it was rather hard to “get into.”
Sharon Elliott-Fox, Jeffersonville: Due to the ages of participants, this book elicited good discussion on aging and lots of personal sharing.
Anni Bruns, Eckhart Public Library, Auburn: Book started very slow and most had a hard time getting into it. Those who stuck with it until the end truly enjoyed it.
Rachel Kuhn, Jasper Co. Public Library: This was a great book and we had excellent discussion. Wonderful characters, humor and descriptions of people and places. Discussed cultures and “castes.”
Shannon Phipps, Switzerland Co. Public Library: Some felt the characters were stereotypical. Most enjoyed the book. We had a good discussion about relationships between adult children & parents and the challenges of modern communication methods (text, cellphone).
Marsha Jones, Troyer Memorial Library, La Fontaine: Mrs. Ali, the Major, and Grace were the favorite characters. Most unliked were Ferguson, Daisy & Roger. Observed the cultural clash, domestic comedy & late-life romance. A bit detailed but very entertaining.
Bill Fox, Jeffersonville: We found the book humorous, well written, and inhabited with enough red herrings amid the real clues to make a fascinating tale.
Nicole Kirchoff, Shelbyville: Good book. No one said they would read more in the series, though.
Jennifer McKinley, Morgan County Public Library: We had a great discussion. Some felt that March was a “weak” character and didn’t resemble the man in Little Women. Others felt that he was a victim of his own humanity and idealism. Great book!
Sondra Harrell, Wabash: If you are a group leader, I would suggest doing some research on Louisa May Alcott and her father. Background info on Bronson Alcott would facilitate good discussion. Members either seemed to like the book or totally dislike it.
Janet Palin, Crawfordsville District Public Library: Good book for a discussion. I would recommend reading review on the internet to help with any discussion questions. One of our longest discussions.
Christine Sterle, Thorntown Public Library: Many liked March better than Little Women (it moved along). It was great to read Alcott one month, and Brooks the next. We (most of us) had not completed Alcott as children, but the discussion together made it more interesting.
Kathy Hyman, Westminster Village, West Lafayette: Some did not like reading about: 1) the cruelties of slavery; 2) women (wives, sweethearts, mothers) not being consulted before men chose to go off to the war.
Jean Walker, Indianapolis (Irvington): Most of us liked the book. One person wasn’t sure Louisa May Alcott would approve of the book. However, we all were quite impressed with the research done to write this book. I think we were all glad to have read it.
Mary Ann Dubash, Elkhart: Excellent participation & enthusiasm for this book!
Starr DeJesus, Mitchell Community Public Library: Everyone enjoys a good dog story and this group was no exception. They shared stories about dogs they had owned and dealt with throughout their lives. Fortunately, none were quite as misbehaved as Marley!
Sondra Harrell, Wabash: Most attendees did not care for this book. However, we did have a good discussion because we could all relate to memories that the book evoked. We just didn’t care for the way the book was written.
Chrisynthia Casper, La Porte Co. Public Library, Kingsford Heights: Great conversation after reading this book.
Matthew Etzel, Huntington City-Township Public Library: Members very much enjoyed the book and the contrast between U.S. culture & Japanese culture. Tip – get some background info to share for members on Japanese culture. We also enjoyed comparing the book to the movie.
The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards:
Sue VerHage, Eckhart Public Library: Good book, good discussion
Sharon Elliott-Fox, Jeffersonville Twp. Public Library: Used the ReadingGroup.com guidelines for discussion (although this group needs little prompting). Made for a good discussion about the ramifications of family secrets.
Cynthia Webb, Paoli Public Library: Quite gripping. Excellent characterization.
Jan Harris, Lafayette: Book read by 7. Found interesting history of business in Tippecanoe County, Indiana, and the founding of Purdue University, 1831-1876. Some could not “get into the book.”
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
Natalie Long, Morgan County Public Library: All loved this book. A “10” all around!
Emily Crickmore, Hamilton North Public Library: Eugenides is an intelligent author – the book does delve a little too much into family history, but the book is excellent after p. 150 or so. It’s a great way to talk about taboo subjects such as incest and gender identity, particularly the specifics of hermaphroditism.
Ruth Gehlhausen, Jasper-Dubois Co. Public Library, Birdseye: This book really sparked a lot of discussion! It was our third meeting and we are all women. I think we were able to identify with the characters and situation easily.
Barbara Borg-Jenkins, South Haven Public Library: Everyone loved it. Usually, if everyone likes a book, it makes a dull discussion, but this book generated a lot of discussion.
Becky Gremore, Covington Public Library: The ladies really enjoyed this book. We have a Christian Fiction Book club and this book worked well for it.
Royetta Ingle, Mooresville Public Library: Loved it.
Phyllis A. Hawkins, Four Seasons Senior Living Community: Thoroughly enjoyed – want more of Miss Julia!
Cynthia Schmid-Perry, Ohio Co. Public Library: Discussions on: role of women in American culture; social services; role of pastors/lay people as community leaders; what-ifs: adulterous spouse, abandoned children, abused women. We all enjoyed this book.
Ann Haw, Franklin: There was a great deal of laughter during our discussion.
AnnaMarie Fallon, Danville: We got discussion questions off LitLovers. We had a good conversation with different viewpoints and insights. Everyone really enjoyed this book.
Lynell Wolff, Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library, Granger: Book is very well written – several plan to look for more books by Larry Watson. A fast read – hard to put down. Some questions left unanswered – recommended.
Mary Ann Dubash, Elkhart: Well-liked book.
Cynthia Webb, Paoli Public Library: Group enjoyed the book but complained about the repetitious narrative. Onnie’s main character was courageous and the group admired her. Prejudice towards African Americans was a fascinating thread in this book.
Vicki Windmiller, Roachdale-Franklin Twp. Public Library: This was a very long book for 1 month. We would recommend dividing it in 2 months. We had trouble finding book club questions – used the general questions.
Linda Magers, Fairmount Public Library: 2 didn’t like it – not enough “Book Store,” too much technology. 6 loved it for the mix of old world printing books and technology.
Melissa Hunt, Morrisson-Reeves Library: [Various comments] Got lost at some points in the book. Thought this was almost a fantasy due to descriptions. Very appropriate to current changing technology trends. Glad I read it as it was interesting.
Julie Hart, West Central Middle/Senior High School, Francesville: We all really liked the book although it was dark and depressing in parts. We like the different chapters/voices of the characters.
Jill Watson, Jasper-Dubois Co. Public Library, Jasper: This book was well written and led to a lively discussion.
Traci Stewart, Walkerton-Lincoln Twp. Public Library: Everyone loves this author!
Edith Helbert, Allen Co. Public Library: Comments from group: Awesome! Couldn’t put it down! My kind of book! Read it all in one day! I liked the way she wrote it, with everybody narrating from their POV. After we lost the farm when I was a little girl, the only job open to my father was to be a sharecropper. Led to serious conversations re: race relations & class issues.
Melissa Robertson, Sullivan County Public Library: We enjoyed that the book didn’t go into explicit detail about the murder (didn’t focus on the gore or violence). It kept us all guessing throughout the book.
Angela Scott, Ligonier Public Library: It was neat for some of the members to hear the phrases in the book because they reminded them of how their grandparents would speak. They even found direct phrases and quotes in the book.
Carol Hurd, Syracuse Public Library: Everyone loved the book. It was a great choice. Good discussion, all comments were positive ones. One gentleman stated it was one of the best choices in a long time.
Mary Leffler, Marion Public Library: The group loved this book!
Deborah Itani, Zionsville Meadows: Great description. Very talented author, being a woman making a narration from the point of view of a man about other women. This was interesting for my group discussion. Great use of feminist techniques without being critical, but highlighting feminine qualities around strength, determination, self control, power, etc. Good book. All my participants enjoyed it. Wonderful topics for discussion.
Deanna Street, Carmel Clay Public Library: Good discussion.
My Life In France by Julia Child
Lynell Wolff, Mishawaka Penn-Harris Public Library: Our readers enjoyed the humor and additional information about what was happening in the world at that time. The relationship between Paul and Julia was very “modern” for the 1950′s. Her passion and scientific approach are very respected – not that anyone cooks like that. She brought the art of French cooking to the American people. Excellent book.
Jackie Osting, Hancock County Public Library: All loved the book & got very hungry while discussing it. Quotes: “My first foray out of Indiana cooking was Mastering the Art of French Cooking” – one member. “This book is her love letter to France.” “Julia Child as a person – upper middle class, exceptionally tall, important to have good food, relationship with husband – was marvelous. All in all a fascinating person.” “Remembering in great detail the smell, taste and appearance of her first meal in France.” “Like the way Paul is portrayed in Julia & Julia – pretty true to life.” “Really a trailblazer when no Americans wanted to cook. In 50s had just gone through the war years, when there was little choice. Also women worked and weren’t in the kitchen. In ’50s had beginnings of frozen dinners and cake mixes.” “Her approach to people.” “McCarthy accused her.” “Enjoyed themselves.” “What a childless couple can do.” “Remembered every meal she ever had and the wine that went with each course.” “Renees in Broad Ripple has reopened.”
Melissa Robertson, Sullivan County Public Library: We felt the book was enlightening on Julia’s life and French cooking. However, our group was mixed on our enjoyment of the book. The book was full of lines in French that were not translated or clear from context. So those of us who don’t know the language felt somewhat frustrated by that.
MaryLeffler, Marion Public Library: Everyone enjoyed the book. Great discussion!
A Name of Her Own by Jane Kirkpatrick
Suzanne VanReed, Vigo County Public Library: Group enjoyed the book. We had a good discussion, particularly on changing women’s roles.
Carolyn Konnert, Linton: Very interesting. Good history.
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
Lynell Wolff, Mishawaka Penn-Harris Public Library: The book was enjoyed by all. The discussion was very engaging.
Cheryl Miller, Shelbyville-Shelby County Public Library: This book evoked great discussion! One woman, who is relatively new to the group, shared openly about her experience as an immigrant from Korea. There appeared to be admiration and interest among others as she told her story of being isolated far from family like Ashima had been in America. Our conversation journeyed into the experience of lots of others’ ancestry. Then we discussed today’s immigrants and current affairs in our nation related to Hispanics in particular. It was interesting; some, but certainly not all, had the same kind of empathy for our Spanish-speaking neighbors as they had for the Indian immigrants we got to know through The Namesake.
Wendi West, Tipton Public Library: Most felt it did not really have a solid story – that it was just reading a journal.
Kathleen Holling, Mooresville Public Library: Passionate discussion! Everyone had strong opinions and we talked for a long time – great read!
Priscilla Palm, Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library: Depressing, but still true today. Hopeless situation and not likely to change.
Marsha Jones, Troyer Memorial Library, La Fontaine: Could she have done better as far as housing – no, not for 1 month and she chose high cost living areas. Perceptions of Blue Collar America – can’t make it on minimum wage. Drug screening not valid – How can this situation be improved?
Bonnie Deakins, Thorntown Public Library: Book made a great discussion book!
Mary Leffler, Marion Public Library: Interesting topic. Lots of discussion on the plight of the working poor. Many shared their own experiences of times of economic hardship. Good discussion.
Norma Newcomer, Anderson: Great discussion.
Nancy Wellons, Kouts Library, Porter Co. Public Library System: Most of the readers liked it. A few people checked it out and started it, but didn’t get past the first few pages & hated what they read. Only one of those people came to the discussion. We recommend it to other clubs.
Margo English, Owensville Carnegie Public Library: Interesting but dry. Most did not finish.
Vicki Windmiller, Roachdale-Franklin Twp. Public Library: We enjoyed the book and had a great discussion.
Lynell Wolff, Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library: This author is very entertaining. Yak, Snack has read a previous title by Bill Bryson – the English terminology is tricky but the glossary helped. Some parts of the book are laugh out loud funny – recommended.
Nancy Wellons, Porter Co. Public Library, Kouts: The majority thought it was boring and that Bryson was whining too much. One person thought it was great and took notes for a trip to Great Britain. I thought it was very humorous and enlightening, even though Bryson did go on about the new architecture and he was slightly whiny about silly things. A couple people thought it was OK.
Marsha Jones, Troyer Memorial Library, La Fontaine: Some thought he was a little too critical or sarcastic of Britain. Some were bored with the book and so many details. Those who had traveled there did enjoy it.
Nothing But the Truth by Avi
Cheryl Miller, Shelbyville-Shelby County Public Library: This book generated a wonderfulseries of conversations on school administrators, teachers, parents, and the media. Our group seems to get closer and closer as the books we share open doors for us to share our own experiences. We noted at the end of our discussion that the subtitle “a documentary novel” led us to believe that it was nonfiction, but closer inspection of the title page reveals that it is fiction. All agreed very believable fiction!
Billie Clements, Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library: Group enjoyed this book. It stirred a lively discussion and an interest in more books.
Kathy Hyman, Westminster Village, West Lafayette: Pay attention to the foreword. Enjoy the events in the life of Precious Ramothswe, as it is lived with courage and humour. A.M. Smith understands human nature.
Angela Scott, Ligonier Public Library: This book is great. If you want a good recipe to serve with it, try the lemon and condensed milk biscuits, more like cookies, they were enjoyed by all. This is a Botswana recipe and comes from Mma Ramotswe’s Cook Book.
Sharon Elliott-Fox, Jeffersonville: Good discussion of cutural/racial differences. Most really enjoyed the book & appreciated Mme. Ramotswe’s integrity.
Wendi West, Tipton Public Library: As a group we gave this book 4 out of 5 stars. We enjoyed the simplicity of the writing style, the character of Mma Ramotswe, and the ease of the “short story chapters.” A nice little mystery.
Kathy Allen, Masonic Home Reading Group, Franklin: Oh my! We had such fun discussing this amazing story! Going over each “case” made it easy to remember some of the humorous incidents. Everyone had something to contribute!
Peggy Horton, Monon Public Library: Good discussion on a classic! We all enjoyed. Thank you!
Suzanne VanReed, Vigo County Public Library: Compared the women figures from this book to A Name of Her Own. Discussed the themes of the land, cycle of life and death, life and expectations of women at that time, marriage.
Cyndi Currie, Owen Co. Public Library: Enjoyed re-reading this classic novel with a very modern heroine. The discussion in our group centered on the character of Maria and whether she carries the blame/guilt for the lover’s tragedy, and whether that point-of-view was a product of the time the book was written.
Kay Koppel, Osgood Public Library: Made the land a character in the book, not just the setting. Alexandra and author similar in temperament? Discussed what is or makes a book a “classic.”
Ann Haw, Franklin: Our ladies liked this book.
Wendi West, Tipton Public Library: Everyone really liked this book. The discussion was more open than question-led L most had not read this before and would like to read more Steinbeck.
Angela Dubinger, New Castle-Henry Co. Public Library: The book was not a bad one for generating discussion, and I was pleasantly surprised when our attendees were able to make several applications of the themes of the novel to modern times, especially regarding the loneliness people felt in the novel and in our world today.
Deanna Street, Carmel Clay Public Library: Everyone in the group wanted to contribute to the discussion. Most books do not get this kind of positive response from everyone.
Ruth Gehlhausen, Jasper-Dubois Co. Contractual Public Library, Ferdinand: We loved this book! Our discussion time was over, and we could have doubled our time. This is a very well written book. Each chapter, or short story, kept you wanting for more. We were amazed in the transformation of our opinions of Olive.
Ellen Keese, Lawrenceburg Public Library, North Dearborn: This was a really good book to discuss. Half the people hated the book and the character, Olive. The other half loved it and saw the complexities of Olive’s personality. Some found it confusing because there were so many characters.
Jean Walker, Irvington: Although only 4 of us attended the discussion, some others emailed comments. We all thought the book a bit depressing, but the character of Olive and some of the other characters were very well developed. Sometimes we liked her; sometimes we felt sorry for her; sometimes we didn’t like her at all. We also thought the format of the book a little difficult to follow.
On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C.J. Walker by A’leila Bundles
Roberta Brooker, Indiana State Librarian: Learned a lot about black struggles in Indianapolis during the late 1800’s-early 1900’s. Madam Walker was amazing.
Ann Haw, Franklin: This is really a historical document. It was not easy reading but was definitely worthwhile.
Janis Small, Morgan Co. Public Library, Morgantown: Interesting discussion. We knew little about Madam Walker!
Debbie Itani, Zionsville Meadows: We had toured the Madam Walker building & facilities in Indianapolis, so it was good to read about her life & experiences. Most of the book was based on speculation, but provided for a great account of the many historical events that occurred all over the U.S. Good read. A few of my participants were bored with so many names and dates, others enjoyed the book very much.
Jean Ehrman, Fort Wayne: Sorry we didn’t get to discuss this book (meeting cancelled). I loved it!
Once Upon a Town: The Miracle of the North Platte Canteen by Bob Greene
Jalynn Whittymore, Scott County Public Library: Great spirit of giving and community outreach in hard times.
Donna Marsh, Hoosier Village retirement community, Indianapolis: They loved this book. We had a great discussion about WWII, etc. Highly recommended for senior citizens.
Sondra Harrell, Wabash: This book was well received. A common comment was “This is a feel-good book.”
Shondra Brown, Wakarusa Public Library: While many thought the book was poorly written, it was a great subject matter! A very discussable topic, even if they didn’t read the entire book. 75% of the group would recommend this title to others!
Jackie Richards, Crestwood Village East: This book was loved by one of our ladies who served during WWII. A couple of them couldn’t get “into” it and for a few the print was too small. I myself really enjoyed the book. It’s too bad America can’t be like that today – American!
Andrea Basinger, Garrett Public Library: This book was well liked by our group. Very good author. Hard to put down this book!
One Thousand White Women by Jim Fergus
Katie Hamilton, Zionsville Meadows retirement community, Zionsville: They really liked this book.
Wendi West, Tipton Public Library: Several from the group loved this book! Thank you!
Roberta Brooker, State Librarian: After reading this book we all learned about the Indian ways of community living and compared it to what women were living through in the “white world.” It was a lively night at Book Club.
Marsha Jones, Troyer Memorial Library, La Fontaine: We decided even though it was mostly fiction, it could have been very true. These women all were very adventurous and courageous, but were also escaping other situations. The author captured the West very well and also perceptions & emotions of women. Some favorite characters were May & Little Wolf, Phemie, Gertie, Gretchen, and Martha.
Dana Caylor, Fisher: We liked his honest approach to the subject. The pioneers committed atrocities as did the Indians. There were good deeds and good intentions and honorable behavior at times on both sides. Very good discussion.
Ordinary People by Judith Guest
Donna Browne, Muncie Public Library: A wonderful discussion with enthusiastic readers. These complex characters’ troubles and motivations enabled lots of speculation as to their backgrounds and future actions. An excellent book club title!
Cheryl Miller, Shelby County Public Library: We had a nice conversation on female writers writing in the male voice, about depression, and mostly about family role expectations.
Shannon Phipps, Switzerland County Public Library: This book prompted discussion on how families are affected by tragedy and mental illness. There was a lot of discussion about how and why the author developed the characters the way she did.
Donna Marsh, Hoosier Village retirement community, Indianapolis: Good discussion and stimulating book. Small print is always a problem for senior citizens.
Fran Paarlberg, Kirklin Public Library: Great book! Everyone in our group really enjoyed it & now, want to learn more about Orphan Trains.
Marsha Jones, Troyer Memorial Library, La Fontaine: Discussed Foster Care and how it has iproved and progressed since the Orphan Trains. Discussed the museums and how the birth records were kept secret till 1960s and ’70s. Discussed why Vivian didn’t share her story sooner. She had a lot of regrets and had low esteem of herself. A large percent settled in Indiana.
Donna Mitschelen, Elkhart Public Library, Osolo Branch: Loved the book.
Cindy Bergquist, Johnson Co. Public Library: Everyone enjoyed this historically accurate story and wanted to learn more about orphan trains.
Dave Miller, Bartholomew Co. Public Library, Hope: This book was well liked by our group, one of our favorites.
Christie Sinclair, Danville Public Library: They were amazed about the differences between the 2 young men as adults when they had started out in such similar circumstances. They also felt this showed how important family is in a young person’s life.
Cheryl Miller, Shelby Co. Public Library: This book generated passionate conversation. Some were educated about poverty, while others could very much relate. There were many stories about youth in our own community and a resulting feeling of wanting to help in some way. Several people were recommending the book to others, including teachers.
Barbara Cleveland, New Hope Presbyterian Church: Had a great time discussing this book. Had planned on a 45 minute program but lasted 1 1/2 hours. Breakfast was also delicious.
Melissa Robertson, Sullivan County Public Library: Our group thoroughly enjoyed reading the book – it helped illuminate an area of history for which we were less familiar. We also had a Q&A session with the author by phone that was excellent.
Lynell Wolff, Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library (Yak, Snack & Read): The talk with Mr. Lottes was very interesting. Each attendee had a chance to share observations from her reading experience. the story was interesting – a little more character development would have brought it to life.