The Bookies

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The Bookies is the name of the book club I belong to.  We formed in September of 1998.  It is a great group of women who meet once a month to discuss a book that we all have read.  We also drink wine, eat good food and discuss anything else that catches our interest.  

The bookies.jpg (541616 bytes)  Here we all are...except Nancy

It is the first "club" I've ever joined.  Here's the reading List, so far :

2005 Reading List

My Antonia - by Willa Cather
Like the music of Erin Copeland, this book painted a picture of the American pioneer and the great plains

Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson
Set in winter, this story is of the coldness that can settle over the hearts of good people when they fear or when they are hurt or when they hate.

The House of the Seven Gables - By Nathaniel Hawthorne
Hawthorne would have made a great screen writer.  This classic paints a movie in your mind.

Dreams from My Father - A Story of Race and Inheritance - by Barack Obama

St Maybe by Anne Tyler - I have a hard time with this author.  I do not like her writing style and did not care for this book.

Before Women Had Wings by Connie May Fowler
This was a sad book and the only really uplifting character in it was hard to believe in.  A story of a dysfunctional family in 1960's Tampa.

The Dive for Clausen's Pier by Ann Packer
 I loved this one and would like to see a sequel.  The story of how something can happen in a moment that changes not only your life, but the lives of all those you touch...and how your need to  live your own life is ultimately the right thing for you and for the lives of those you touch.

2004 Reading List

Savage Beauty - The Life of Edna S. Vincent Millay by Nancy Mitford - 
The life and interesting times of one of my very favorite poets

The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie - 
Wait for the annotated version of this one folks... a wild ride with nods to Swift, Carroll the Koran and who knows who else without the annotated version!!

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neal Hurston - 
a beautiful story of another time and culture

The Life of Pi by Yann Martel - 
a whopping good yarn... or as the author would say, a compelling story.

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd - A sad and sweet reminder of a time I can recall when most of us white people didn't think for ourselves and so could not do the right things... also a reminder of how important a father's love is to a girl.

Death in Venice by Thomas Mann - 
Nope, I'm not going to risk a one-liner review of Mann.  A real classic.  

Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amos - 
This book really resonated with the bookies who had lived the life in academia but I found the hero insufferable.

A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley -
The rivalry of siblings, the controlling influence of the head of a family, the rape of young girls by their father and the blind eye turned by a mother... the things we women put up with for men we love, or think we love.  

Look Homeward Angel by Thomas Wolf - Re reading this brought back my high school years and made me realize how much influence the story in this book had on me.  But reading it now, I was simply carried away by the use of language and not the plot...

Reading Lolita in Teharn by Azar Nafisi -This book works on three levels:  it brings life in 1980-90's Tehran for women into focus; it contains terrific literary criticism of some great authors and it puts forth the strongest case for reading and writing fiction and its importance in understanding the world.

2003 Reading List

A Room of One's Own by Virginia Wolf
Reflections of a woman of intellect written in a time hopefully now gone forever

Barbara Jordan American Hero by Mary Beth Rogers - non fiction - biography

Straight On Till Morning by Beryl Markham
Lovely anecdotes of an interesting life

The Bostonians by Henry James
An interesting look at male and female ego and how it needs to assert itself... or be dominated

We Band of Angels by Elizabeth M. Norman - non fiction account of the nurses left behind on Batan

Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare - This was a "Shakespeare in a Box" production, poolside...
shrew3.JPG (33559 bytes)  you had to be there...

Atonement by Ian McEuen
This was a lovely read and made me appreciate the beautiful art of writing fiction all over again.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
I read this when I was very young and on re reading it I still enjoyed it - 

To Have and Have Not by Ernest Hemmingway
Not one of his best - unlikable people doing unpleasant things - supposedly depicting the class struggle but all seem morally bankrupt rich and poor alike...

2002 Reading List

Dreams of My Russian Summer by Andrei Makine
A beautifully written book that explores how you can base your whole life, or sense of yourself,  on a set of ideas that may turn out to be completely incorrect.

Brothers & Sisters by Bebe Moore Campbell
Life in post Rodney King LA as seen through the eyes of an upwardly mobile middle management banker whose view of people is largely determined by her race and/or theirs.

Cross Creek by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
An excellent and delightful vision into life in rural Florida in the 1930's

Robert Louis Stevenson - His collected works.  I missed this meeting and so didn't read one.

The Hours by Michael Cunningham
A strange book.  A look into the heads of three sets of people in three times and places.  Explores a lot of the internal thought processes of depression.

Edith Kermit Roosevelt by Sylvia Morris - Proving that even if you wish to be a private person, someone can still write a book about you

Mrs. Warren's Profession by George Bernard Shaw

Possession by A.S. Byatt

Falling Leaves by Adeline Yen Mah

The Pilot's Wife by Anita Schreiver


2001 Reading List

The Saving Graces - Patricia Gaffney
Female bonding and friendship is explored in four voices.  A good book for the beach.

The Intuitionist - Colin Whitehead
A weird and challenging book providing more information than you ever wanted to know about elevators... sort of film noire on paper and/or the ultimate inside joke.

The Pianist - Wladyslaw Szpilman
Another of those amazing stories of survival in Gestapo infested Warsaw.  Beautifully written is a detached voice that allows you to feel more personally for yourself.

MFK Fisher - Her collected works.  I didn't read them all... and I hated the one I did read.

Loves Labour Lost - William Shakespeare
The Bard reminds us to be careful of making promises (or taking vows) that go against our own nature, lest someone show us up to be a fool.

Crossing to Safety - Wallace Stegner
This book scared me...not recommended for women who are opinionated and controlling unless they can stand to see themselves truly portrayed on paper.

The Women - Claire Booth Luce
A Bookies 1st - the whole group read parts in this wonderful play about the catty nature of some women and the naive nature of others.

The Girl in Hyacinth Blue - Susan Vreeland
Collected stories tied together with a beautiful blue thread 300 years long.  Lovingly told.

Track of the Cat - Nevada Barr
Her first in the series of mysteries featuring a National Parks Ranger.  They get better as she develops the series... this first one isn't the standard.  This one marked another Bookies 1sr - our first out of town road trip to ride the Mystery Train.

Northanger Abbey - Jane Austin
Too many Gothic Novels can be as bad for you as too many sweets, as the silly heroine of this book discovers...

Justice Denied - M. Diane Vogt
The author was our guest speaker at our November gala dinner.  Her books are set in Florida and use lots of local color.

DianeV.jpg (493215 bytes) 
Here is Mrs. Vogt seated between Brenda and Nancy

2000 Reading List:

Dear Exile - Hilary Liftin and Kate Montgomery 
Proving that sometimes you can be closer to someone far away through letters than with the same person living right across town.  Friendship thrives when you work at maintaining it.

Song of Solomon - Toni Morrison
A magical myth from a strange time and a culture that is rich and mostly hidden from us white folks.

The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver
A fabulous book to read - four voices and a little magic...  It's always interesting to see different perspectives on the same events - but one wonders about the voices unheard.

Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
Like meeting an old friend again after many years...Pip reminds us of how clearly we can look back and see the foolishness of our youth.

Angela's Ashes - Frank McCourt
This book reminded me how important it is to have a sense of humor... especially in sad, horrible and tragic situations.

The River Midnight - Lillian Nattel
Again different voices looking at the same events...a good literary device.  A little magic here too.  A different mood in this one however...more exotic somehow.

Under the Tuscan Sun - Frances Mayes
Rich, warm, yummy, with strong golds and blues and fresh herbs and all sorts of evocative images.

Murder Must Advertise - Dorothy L. Sayers
A Lord Peter Whimsey mystery, great for building vocabulary and recalling how different English is when spoken by the English.

Barchester Towers - Anthony Trollop
A real favorite for me...full of old fashion manners and postures and reminding one how important it is not to assume.

TRUMAN - David McCullough
(In all caps because it is such a big book.)  I loved this guy... gives hope to late bloomers everywhere.  Great insight into the major events of the middle of the century, politics in general and Mr. Truman's life in particular... very well written.

1999 Reading List

The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood - Rebecca Wells
        It isn't easy being a mother...there is always the chance that in just being yourself, you'll screw up someone else's life...

All The Pretty Horses - Cormac McCarthy
        A post modern cowboy rite of passage...

Age Of Innocence - Edith Wharton
        Style, manners and repressed emotion in an age past...

Cold Mountain - Charles Frazier
        Just tryin' to get back home after the civil war to those who are tryin' to keep it together

Death in the Andes - Mario Vargas Llosa
        If you like stories about eating testicles...this one's for you!...

The Road from Coorain - Jill Ker Conway
        A memoir of childhood in Australia...

The Sixteen Pleasures - Robert Hillenga
        Restoration of erotic books, the difficulty of relationships - in Italy...

Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Goldman
        It reads and feels like non fiction...

 I was the reviewer of the book, Memoirs of a Geisha and Sandra the hostess - It was her idea that we make it a costume event.  Here is our whole group - except Brenda who missed a fun night!          
Click each thumbnail to see the full sized picture, then use your browser's Back button to return to this page.

Geisha a.tif (287816 bytes)     geisha b.tif (244169 bytes)     geisha c.tif (337406 bytes)     geisha d.tif (336005 bytes)

The Reader - Bernard Schlink
        Guilt.  Individual and collective...

The God of Small Things - Arundhati Roy
        A fascinating story by an amazing woman - filled with the child's-eye view...

The Maltese Falcon - Dashiell Hammett
        See the film - it's all there...

Personal History - Katherine Graham
        Could also have been called detached history - reportage of and by a woman who led an interesting life...

Measure For Measure - William Shakespeare
    Sexual harassment and abuse of power... sound familiar?