Hello, and let me introduce myself! I’m Rebecca and I’m thrilled to be the official ‘Or So She Says …’ Assistant Editor and Marketing Consultant. Basically, I get to brainstorm fun ideas with Mariel and use my marketing and copywriting/editing background to help make this blog the best it can be!
In the small moments of free time that I manage to find as a busy wife and mom to three young kiddos, you can almost always find me reading. Three years ago (wow how time flies!) I shared a post on how to start a book club. Hopefully many of you have discovered the fun and growth that come from participating in a book club! I’m proud to say that our little book club is still going strong after almost six years together and 60 books read!
I recently went through our list of completed books and thought I’d share my thoughts on a few of my favorites with you. Maybe you’ll find a little gem to add to your “to read” list!
The Seven Daughters of Eve by Bryan Sykes – Talk about getting pushed out of my comfort zone! This book challenged me intellectually but in an entertaining way. The author explains how he discovered a particular strain of DNA that passes unbroken through mothers and which can be traced all the way back to prehistoric times and to seven women. Fascinating! The science is presented and explained in an engaging and understandable way, and then he takes it a step further and describes each woman and what her life may have been like. I didn’t love this part of the book because it contained too much of his imagination and guess work. However, it made me think what life would be like when 35 was considered old age! THEMED REFRESHMENT: I mentioned in my first post that the hostess in our book club generally tries to serve food that was either mentioned in the book or somehow goes along with the theme of the book. So, for this book I went with the “Eve” theme and served crumb-topped apple pie, apple-pear salad and caramel toffee apple dip.
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys – This is an unforgettable book that I simply could not put down. The topic is heavy – the suffering caused by Stalin – but the author somehow left me feeling uplifted, hopeful and so grateful. The author shines a light on a period of history that only recently has come to light, but it’s a story that needs to be shared. This book deserves to be read by everyone! THEMED REFRESHMENT: The starvation that the characters in this book face is horrific, but it made me so grateful for the food I enjoy. The characters basically lived on bread, but at one point managed to acquire a small piece of chocolate which is shared by many. Some variation on bread and chocolate would make a fun tribute to the story.
The Help by Kathryn Stockett – Many of you probably know this book by the movie that came out in 2011. Our little book club read the book way before the movie was released, but we did go together to see the movie when it came out (a fun idea to switch things up one month for book club). This book is not only a fascinating insight into life in Mississippi in the 1960s but is also full of insights about female relationships and roles. The characters are so dynamic and real. The story is engaging and well told. And it manages to illicit crying, laughter and hope – sometimes all in the same chapter! THEMED REFRESHMENT: Chocolate pie, of course! If you want to serve a full course, then fried chicken, okra and collard greens are always southern favorites.
Still Alice by Lisa Genova – I have to be honest and say that the topic of this book didn’t initially interest me. However, I was so glad we read it, for many reasons. Through the perspective of the main character, the reader is given fascinating and scary insight into what it must feel like to succumb to early onset Alzheimer’s disease. I have a whole new understanding of this disease and what it can do to individuals and families after reading this book. I would highly recommend it! THEMED REFRESHMENT: Share one of your favorite dishes or desserts that has some strong memories attached to it; then discuss what it would feel like to loose those memories.
Freakonomics/SuperFreakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner – These books are full of unexpected answers to intriguing questions as answered by an economist and journalist. Economics books are not generally what I’d pick up to read in my spare time, but these books are two of the most entertaining and engrossing books I’ve ever read. In fact, they’re on my all-time favorites list and I’ve read them both twice (something I rarely do as a rule). The books are perfect for a book club because they leave you dying to talk about the sometimes controversial and always enlightening conclusions. They are hard books to describe, but I constantly recommend them and have never heard anyone be disappointed by them. THEMED REFRESHMENT: This book is all over the place and never really hits on food. However, anything that has a surprise center (chocolate peanut butter surprise cookies or chicken cordon bleu pockets would be high on my list) would be fun, playing off the image on the cover! I hope that gives you a few new books to dive into. For more ideas, check out one of Mariel’s past posts, Five Books I Loved Reading. Until next time, happy reading! ~ Rebecca