Friday, September 22, 2017

October Book

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

An extraordinary insight into life under one of the world’s most ruthless and secretive dictatorships – and the story of one woman’s terrifying struggle to avoid capture/repatriation and guide her family to freedom.
As a child growing up in North Korea, Hyeonseo Lee was one of millions trapped by a secretive and brutal communist regime. Her home on the border with China gave her some exposure to the world beyond the confines of the Hermit Kingdom and, as the famine of the 1990s struck, she began to wonder, question and to realise that she had been brainwashed her entire life. Given the repression, poverty and starvation she witnessed surely her country could not be, as she had been told “the best on the planet”?
Aged seventeen, she decided to escape North Korea. She could not have imagined that it would be twelve years before she was reunited with her family.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Summer Book



No previous biography of a president has given so complete a picture of how private lives and political questions intersect uniquely for the residents of the White House. Nor has any history of WWII so fully documented the domestic life of the nation during the international crisis. Narrating the events of the war from the vantage point of the White House, Goodwin (Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream) reveals a political drama fought in Congress, within the cabinet, in the press and in the living quarters of the executive mansion. As Goodwin makes richly evident, Eleanor was a homefront counterpart to Winston Churchill, a partner and provocateur whose relationship with FDR was rarely smooth and often frankly confrontational. Previous works on the Roosevelts have suggested that, as an adviser, Eleanor was her husband's political and social conscience; Goodwin shows in stunning detail that even more, she was his astute political partner, lobbyist and goad. 

May Book


The Rockville Stories
The Life and Times of a Small Boy
By Steven Dickman
Steve Dickman, grew up in Rockville, Utah and fortunately for us has written stories about his childhood. Although these stories were penned for his family, his wife Annette, asked it we could read his book.  Who knew that rural Utah could be such an exciting place to grow up!  Steve was very gracious and accepted our invitation to attend book club - what an unforgettable evening - thank you Steve! 
Drawing of Steve - by his son Brian Dickman

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

April Book




Leif Enger's debut is an extraordinary novel—an epic of generosity and heart that reminds us of the restorative power of great literature. The story of a father raising his three children in 1960s Minnesota, Peace Like a River is at once a heroic quest, a tragedy, a love story, and a haunting meditation on the possibility of magic in the everyday world.

March Book



If it hadn’t actually occurred, the friendship between Ruth Dayan (born 1917), the first wife of Israeli politician Moshe Dayan, and Raymonda Tawil (born 1940), the mother-in-law of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, would seem not merely improbable but impossible. This joint biography from David (coauthor of Once Upon a Country) traces the women’s lives prior to 1970, the year of their meeting, and the collaboration that followed, one peppered with “standard quarrels” but forged by a mutual commitment to peace. In addition to noting the preeminence of politics in Dayan and Tawil’s lives, David opens up their personal lives: their childhoods, their children, their travails (Dayan’s divorce, Tawil’s house arrest), and their enterprises (Dayan’s Maskit, a craft and design collective employing immigrant women; Tawil’s news agency). 

Saturday, January 28, 2017

February Book



Written by gifted storyteller Winston Groom (author of Forrest Gump), The Aviators tells the saga of three extraordinary aviators--Charles Lindbergh, Eddie Rickenbacker, and Jimmy Doolittle--and how they redefine heroism through their genius, daring, and uncommon courage. From Winston Groom, the best-selling author of Forrest Gump, Shiloh 1862, and Vicksburg 1863, comes the fascinating story of three extraordinary heroes who defined aviation during the great age of flight. These cleverly interwoven tales of their heart-stopping adventures take us from the feats of World War I through the heroism of World War II and beyond, including daring military raids and survival-at-sea, and will appeal to fans of Unbroken, The Greatest Generation, and Flyboys. With the world in peril in World War II, each man set aside great success and comfort to return to the skies for his most daring mission yet. Doolittle, a brilliant aviation innovator, would lead the daring Tokyo Raid to retaliate for Pearl Harbor; Lindbergh, hero of the first solo flight across the Atlantic, would fly combat missions in the South Pacific; and Rickenbacker, World War I flying ace, would bravely hold his crew together while facing near-starvation and circling sharks after his plane went down in a remote part of the Pacific. Groom's rich narrative tells their intertwined stories--from broken homes to Medals of Honor (all three would receive it); barnstorming to the greatest raid of World War II; front-page triumph to anguished tragedy; and near-death to ultimate survival--as all took to the sky, time and again, to become exemplars of the spirit of the 'greatest generation'"--

January Book



Based on a remarkable true story.
Seven-year-old Chellamuthu’s life is forever changed when he is kidnapped from his village in India, sold to a Christian orphanage, and then adopted by an unsuspecting couple in the United States. It takes months before the boy can speak enough English to tell his parents that he already has a family back in India. Horrified, they try their best to track down his Indian family, but all avenues lead to dead ends.

Meanwhile, they simply love him, change his name to Taj, enroll him in school, make him part of their family—and his story might have ended there had it not been for the pestering questions in his head: Who am I? Why was I taken? How do I get home?

More than a decade later, Taj meets Priya, a girl from southern India with surprising ties to his past. Is she the key to unveil the secrets of his childhood or is it too late? And if he does make it back to India, how will he find his family with so few clues? 

From the best-selling author of The Rent Collector, this is a deeply moving and gripping journey of discovering one’s self and the unbreakable family bonds that connect us forever

Sunday, November 27, 2016

December Book

 
 Wonder is a book about August ‘Auggie’ Pullman, a 10-year-old boy that loves Star Wars and who is born with a disorder called Mandibulofacial Dysostosis (Treacher Collins Syndrome) that severely affects his life (I won’t tell you too much – read the book!) In the book he describes himself as ‘I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.’ Due to prolonged stays in hospital for treatment, he had to be home-schooled by his mother. He lives with his mum, dad, sister Olivia (Via as she is known by close friends and family) and Darth Daisy (their dog). But when he turns 10, he makes the massive decision to enroll at a busy school.
The book follows Auggie and his roller coaster of a journey at his school where he finds it difficult to make friends but easy to make rivals. The interesting thing about this book is that in each chapter, it is told from the perspective of the different main characters. For example, the first chapter is told by Auggie in the first person and the next one is told by Via. This is a really effective way to tell the story as there is a major plot point which at first seems quite unclear but then another person who was involved in the incident then tells the story how they saw it and it makes you think twice about the whole scenario. The book is quite an emotional one yet has that sense of comedy as well to lighten the way. It can make you feel several different emotions with each sentence!
Would I recommend this book? Of course I would! Anyone above the age of ten (as there are some older themes). It is a gripping read that makes you want to read more! Also if you finished the main book, there are bonus chapters available for purchase as well. 
theguardian

Friday, November 4, 2016

November Book




Ron Hall and Denver Moore became best friends through Ron's wife, Deborah. When she was dying of cancer Denver helped Deborah carry on the ministry she had started. The story goes into the developing personal friendship between two men of different upbringing, and the struggle that is required to make and maintain such a friendship across a wide cultural canyon.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

October Book



Best-selling author Kristin Hannah is known for her mother-daughter fiction and her sensitive probing of the relationship of sisters. In The Nightingale, her twenty-first novel, she uses her considerable skill as a storyteller to transport us to France during World War II and bring us the story of Isabelle and Viann, who are sisters but not friends. The result is an epic love story and family drama that portrays two young French women who are plunged into unimaginable chaos by a country at war, yet who must find within themselves the courage to face the forces of destruction in order to keep their families together.
Hannah, a popular writer of fiction about women, sets out the central issue of the book in the first paragraph: “In love we find out who we want to be; in war we find out who we are.” As we read, we find out what Isabelle and Viann are willing and able to do to survive, and we are confronted with the haunting question: would we risk our lives for our children, our friends, the strangers in our midst?
Propelled in her efforts to write this novel by her observation that the actions of women in wartime are often overlooked, at best, and typically eventually forgotten, Hannah followed her instinctive belief in the value of women’s untold stories. She probed historical documents to find evidence of women who saved Jewish children during World War II, even if they had to pay a terrible price for their heroism, and was rewarded with many poignant stories. The result is this tender, compelling, character-driven novel, which takes us along on the journey toward the choices these women were forced to make to rescue their children and preserve their way of life.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Summer Book




Crouching down, I reached out my hand to him. He walked the space of maybe a yard, placing his tiny hand in mine, and then we somehow melted into each other. With my arms around him, I felt like I'd been his mama forever, but also only for a minute. I'd loved him always, but was just now feeling his little body next to mine."
This inspiring, three-part story chronicles one American family's adoption of a young boy from the faraway Democratic Republic of Congo. Readers accompany the family through the trying waiting period, intriguing time in Congo, and first adjustment years home. Guided by candid and expressive narration and interspersed with reflective questions for adopting parents, it delivers both a gripping human-interest story, and a valuable resource for adopting families. Amidst faith and humor, the struggles and surprises of international adoption come to light, as a family searches for their son and finds themselves along the way.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

May Book




The saying "be careful what you wish for" has arguably never been more apt in literature than it is in this classic novel. When the young Victorian heartthrob Dorian Gray is influenced by Lord Henry Wotton's warning that he only has "a few years in which to live really, perfectly, and fully" due to the transiency of his youthful beauty, he wishes for his portrait to change with time instead.
Little does he know that he will soon stumble down the rocky road of moral corruption, committing one bad deed after another, destroying relationships with the people he meets at the same time as any good reputation he used to possess.
Although the mannered society of the late 1800s may seem far removed from that of today, I was struck by the similarities. For example, the obsession with self-image which leads to Dorian's wish in the first place can easily be associated with 2014 and how teenagers of today measure their attractiveness in the number of Facebook 'likes' on profile pictures. Just as Dorian wants to increase his social rank by going to the most fashionable dinner parties and plays with the highest class people, the popularity of people today is often reflected in the number of 'cool' parties they are invited to. The way Dorian's social aspirations lead to his downfall therefore makes the novel an interesting moral commentary. Rather than pursuing, as Dorian does, pleasure for its own sake with no regard for any people he may harm – such as his first love, the actress Sybil Vane – Wilde presents in Dorian's exploits an example of a man whose hedonistic principles should not be followed.

Friday, March 25, 2016

April Book

KIRKUS REVIEW

Originally published in Sweden, this charming debut novel by Backman should find a ready audience with English-language readers.
The book opens helpfully with the following characterizations about its protagonist: “Ove is fifty-nine. He drives a Saab. He’s the kind of man who points at people he doesn’t like the look of, as if they were burglars and his forefinger a policeman’s torch.” What the book takes its time revealing is that this dyed-in-the-wool curmudgeon has a heart of solid gold. Readers will see the basic setup coming a mile away, but Backman does a crafty job revealing the full vein of precious metal beneath Ove’s ribs, glint by glint. Ove’s history trickles out in alternating chapters—a bleak set of circumstances that smacks an honorable, hardworking boy around time and again, proving that, even by early adulthood, he comes by his grumpy nature honestly. It’s a woman who turns his life around the first time: sweet and lively Sonja, who becomes his wife and balances his pessimism with optimism and warmth. 
In the contest of Most Winning Combination, it would be hard to beat grumpy Ove and his hidden, generous heart.

Author Heather Dixon

Debi and Heather Dixon 
Thanks to these lovely ladies for such a great evening!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

March Book

The bonds of love are sometimes strained by outside forces. Misunderstandings and even death can destroy the bond as though it never existed.
In Entwined by Heather Dixon you embark on a journey of magic, danger, evil and romance. When Princess Azalea loses much of what she holds most dear, she and her younger sisters turn to the one thing that makes the happy - dancing. Yet this holds heartache as well for they are forbidden by their father the King as they are in mourning.
Always young rascals, they find a place of magic and beauty hidden deep within the palace where they can dance away their nights, with no danger of being caught and punished. Little do they understand the danger they have invited into their lives. When evil comes to call they are unprepared for the destruction or danger, not only for themselves but to all that they now hold dear.
 Dixon has given us a fairy tale with fun and exciting characters. Each of the young men who are looking to wed the princess is amusing and in some cases just silly. Even with such faults there is also strength and humor involved.   
Mark your calendars - Heather Dixon will join us on March 24th to talk about her book.


Thursday, January 28, 2016

February Book



Although the focus of this memoir is the author's struggle to be loved by a family that treated her cruelly, it is more notable for its portrait of the domestic affairs of an immensely wealthy, Westernized Chinese family in Shanghai as the city evolved under the harsh strictures of Mao and Deng. Yen Mah's father knew how to make money and survive, regardless of the regime in power. In addition to an assortment of profitable enterprises, he stashed away two tons of gold in a Swiss bank, and eventually the family fled to Hong Kong. But he was indifferent to his seven children and in the thrall of a second wife who makes Cinderella's stepmother seem angelic. His first wife, Yen Mah's mother, died at her birth, and the child, considered an ill omen, was treated with crushing severity. But she was encouraged by the love of an aunt and eventually made her way to the U.S., where she became a doctor, married happily and, ironically, was the one her father and stepmother turned to in their old age. In recounting this painful tale, Yen Mah's unadorned prose is powerful, her insights keen and her portrait of her family devastating. 

Friday, December 18, 2015

January Book




– Ahmad, what is your book The Gardener of Baghdad about?
– A historical romance set in the golden era of Baghdad. It reflects life in two periods of time, present day Baghdad, and the 40’s and 50’s of this great city. Adnan, a bookshop owner finds a fifty years old memoir, and discovers through the eyes of Ali, The Gardener of Baghdad, that one can restore the belief of hope, and love even in the darkest times.
“Two people, one city, different times; connected by a memoir. Can love exist in a city destined for decades of misery?”

Thursday, December 3, 2015

December Book




Unselfish is quickly becoming one of the most talked about books in the country.  One reviewer said, “This book should be on the coffee table of every home in America.”   Another called it “An absolute must read, and the perfect gift for Moms, Dads, and Grads.”  Former Gold Medalist US Women’s Soccer player Julie Foudy said, “Let’s make Unselfish mandatory reading for all ages.”
Unselfish contains 99 inspiring stories and photographs of people who have put others before themselves.  For example, Jon M. Huntsman, Sr., whose wife, Karen, relates a story of how Jon was giving long before he had the means to give.  Or the story of Liz Howell, whose husband Brady was killed in the 9-11 attacks on the Pentagon, but she was determined to rise from the ashes and live a life dedicated to selfless service.
As “selfies” take over the internet, Unselfish turns the camera around and celebrates acts of kindness and extraordinary sacrifice.  Beautiful photographs accompany each short story, making Unselfish the perfect inspirational coffee table book.
Intentionally timed by the publisher, Unselfish released the same day (May 5) that a book of vastly opposite material released:  Kim Kardashian’s Selfish  “We feel very strongly that the stories in Unselfish need to be told, and what better release date than when the majority of the country will be focusing on a book of selfies titled ‘Selfish’.  Unselfish is certainly the counterbalance.”
Popular LDS authors Richard and Linda Eyre said this of Unselfish:
“To have this wonderful book about unselfishness come out on the same day as the Kardashian book on selfishness is the ultimate juxtaposition.  And the very future of the world may hang on which side the majority of us gravitate toward.”
Part of the proceeds from Unselfish will be donated to the Cambodian Children’s Fund, a charity started 10 years ago by former Hollywood executive Scott Neeson, who left the Hollywood lifestyle to save children and families in Cambodia.  His organization now cares for more than 17,000 people annually.

Friday, November 6, 2015

November Book



David McCullough, two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize, tells the surprising, profoundly American story of Wilbur and Orville Wright.

Far more than a couple of unschooled Dayton bicycle mechanics who happened to hit on success, they were men of exceptional courage and determination, and of far-ranging intellectual interests and ceaseless curiosity, much of which they attributed to their upbringing. The house they lived in had no electricity or indoor plumbing, but there were books aplenty, supplied mainly by their preacher father, and they never stopped reading.

When they worked together, no problem seemed to be insurmountable. Wilbur was unquestionably a genius. Orville had such mechanical ingenuity as few had ever seen. That they had no more than a public high school education, little money and no contacts in high places, never stopped them in their “mission” to take to the air. Nothing did, not even the self-evident reality that every time they took off in one of their contrivances, they risked being killed.


In this thrilling book, master historian David McCullough draws on the immense riches of the Wright Papers, including private diaries, notebooks, scrapbooks, and more than a thousand letters from private family correspondence to tell the human side of the Wright Brothers’ story, including the little-known contributions of their sister, Katharine, without whom things might well have gone differently for them.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

October Book

PRINCESS: A TRUE STORY OF LIFE BEHIND THE VEIL IN SAUDI ARABIA by Jean P. Sasson is a true story based on information given to the writer by a Saudi Arabian princess. Sultana was born the tenth daughter of a prince of Saudi Arabia and grew up in a world of luxury. That luxury was belied, however, by the oppression of women that took place all around her as Sultana grew up. Sultana would suffer some of this oppression herself when she was forced into marriage to a man she barely knew before she was seventeen and when that husband would later tell her he intended to take a second wife because she could no longer give him children. Princess is a non-fiction story of the outrage that is forced upon women throughout Saudi Arabia even today, a story that leaves the reader praying for change before it is too late for the next generation of girls growing up in Saudi Arabia.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Summer Book

A novel to live in, learn from, and feel bereft over when the last page is turned.” — Booklist

WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE
From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the beautiful, stunningly ambitious instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.

Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.

Doerr’s “stunning sense of physical detail and gorgeous metaphors” (San Francisco Chronicle) are dazzling. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, he illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another. Ten years in the writing, a National Book Award finalist, All the Light We Cannot See is a magnificent, deeply moving novel from a writer “whose sentences never fail to thrill” (Los Angeles Times). - See more at: http://books.simonandschuster.com/All-the-Light-We-Cannot-See/Anthony-Doerr/9781476746586#sthash.8fHeBos8.dpuf
WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE
From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the beautiful, stunningly ambitious instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.

Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.

Doerr’s “stunning sense of physical detail and gorgeous metaphors” (San Francisco Chronicle) are dazzling. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, he illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another. Ten years in the writing, a National Book Award finalist, All the Light We Cannot See is a magnificent, deeply moving novel from a writer “whose sentences never fail to thrill” (Los Angeles Times). - See more at: http://books.simonandschuster.com/All-the-Light-We-Cannot-See/Anthony-Doerr/9781476746586#sthash.8fHeBos8.dpuf
WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE
From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the beautiful, stunningly ambitious instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.

Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.

Doerr’s “stunning sense of physical detail and gorgeous metaphors” (San Francisco Chronicle) are dazzling. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, he illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another. Ten years in the writing, a National Book Award finalist, All the Light We Cannot See is a magnificent, deeply moving novel from a writer “whose sentences never fail to thrill” (Los Angeles Times). - See more at: http://books.simonandschuster.com/All-the-Light-We-Cannot-See/Anthony-Doerr/9781476746586#sthash.8fHeBos8.dpuf

Friday, February 20, 2015

March Book























THE NEW YORK TIMES AND INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER

December, 1943: A badly damaged American bomber struggles to fly over wartime Germany. At the controls is twenty-one-year-old Second Lieutenant Charlie Brown. Half his crew lay wounded or dead on this, their first mission. Suddenly, a Messerschmitt fighter pulls up on the bomber’s tail. The pilot is German ace Franz Stigler.........

Monday, January 5, 2015

February Book

 
The Boys in the Boat celebrates the 1936 U.S. men’s Olympic eight-oar rowing team—nine working class boys who stormed the rowing world, transformed the sport, and galvanized the attention of millions of Americans.
The sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers from the American West, the boys took on and defeated successive echelons of privilege and power. They vanquished the sons of bankers and senators rowing for elite eastern universities. They defeated the sons of British aristocrats rowing for Oxford and Cambridge.  And finally, in an extraordinary race in Berlin they stunned the Aryan sons of the Nazi state as they rowed for gold in front of Adolf Hitler.
Against the grim backdrop of the Great Depression, they reaffirmed the American notion that merit, in the end, outweighs birthright. They reminded the country of what can be done when everyone quite literally pulls together. And they provided hope that in the titanic struggle that lay just ahead, the ruthless might of the Nazis would not prevail over American grit, determination, and optimism.
And even as it chronicles the boys’ collective achievement, The Boys in the Boat is also the heart warming story of one young man in particular. Cast aside by his family at an early age, abandoned and left to fend for himself, Joe Rantz rows not just for glory, but to regain his shattered self-regard, to dare again to trust in others, and to find his way back to a place he can call home.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

December Book

Lewis bet his career that he could create an inclusive workplace at one of America’s biggest corporations where people with disabilities could not just succeed, but thrive. No Greatness without Goodness is the powerful story of a corporate executive who, after watching the world through the eyes of his own child with autism, Austin, realized that we all have a greater responsibility to make the world a better place for everyone, including those with disabilities.
As the Senior Vice President of Walgreens, Randy Lewis has created thousands of full-time jobs for people with disabilities.No Greatness without Goodness offers a firsthand account of what it takes to lead with courage in order to change people’s lives for the better. Randy’s motto is “What’s the use of having power if you don’t use it to do good.” In this book, you’ll learn how to start working for good no matter where you are or how much power you hold.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

November Book



Much has been written about Abraham Lincoln, our 16th president, but The Lincoln Hypothesis by Timothy Ballard is an account unlike any other.
It is not a biography, it is not a political history, and it is not a religious history.
It falls somewhere in between all three.
Timothy Ballard, the author, calls this book in his preface an “investigative journey—an exploration.” While there are certainly many historical facts in this book, and much historical context, it also explores Mr. Ballard’s “unsubstantiated, yet compelling ideas that [he believes] are also worthy of serious consideration.”
I believe reading the preface and introduction are really essential to understanding the book and the theories he presents.  In short summary, the book jacket offers this: “A modern-day abolitionist investigates the possible connection between Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and Abraham Lincoln.”
Mr. Ballard researches and gathers evidence throughout the book to support his hypothesis that Abraham Lincoln may have read the Book of Mormon and that his understanding of it may have influenced the decisions he made during his presidency—and during the Civil War.
Once I got used to the writing style, I did find the subject matter interesting and learned quite a bit about Lincoln and his presidency that I did not know before. I have read many books about Lincoln and the Civil War over the years and I have never failed to be impressed by the enormity of the trials he faced, the decisions he made and the way in which he conducted his life.
Did Lincoln read the Book of Mormon? We’ll probably never know for sure—at least not in this life. But it would not surprise me. More importantly, the evidence presented in this book at least for me overwhelmingly points to a man of great faith who had a sincere desire to do what he felt was right before God. Now it’s up to you to read it and see what conclusions you draw from the evidence.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

October Book


Crandall delivers big with a coming-of-age story set in Mississippi in 1963 and narrated by a precocious 9-year-old. Due in part to tradition, intimidation and Jim Crow laws, segregation is very much ingrained into the Southern lifestyle in 1963.... Assisted by a black schoolteacher who shows Eula and Starla unconditional acceptance and kindness, both ultimately learn that love and kinship transcend blood ties and skin color. Young Starla is an endearing character whose spirited observations propel this nicely crafted story.
Kirkus Reviews

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Summer Reads

Regardless of party or philosophy, current and former U.S. presidents have bonded in an exclusive group where they consult, advise, and help each other. A new book, ‘The Presidents Club,’ traces the exclusive fraternity from its beginnings with Truman to the present with Obama.
The idea of an Ex-Presidents Club sounds like a punchline. The idea that former presidents eagerly consult each other, let alone have their own clubhouse seems a little absurd. In fact, it’s even been the basis of a long-running Saturday Night Live skit that featured them as superheroes. But the group actually does exist. It’s not a formal organization with Jimmy Carter taking down minutes of the meetings and George W. Bush collecting dues; but it plays an important, albeit underappreciated, role in running the country.
In The Presidents Club Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy examine how this ad hoc fraternity was formed when, after suddenly ascending to the presidency upon Franklin Roosevelt’s death, Harry Truman reached out to his only living predecessor, Herbert Hoover, and how it has influenced the nation up to the present day. 
Read both or select just one!

April Book

Days before the outbreak of World War One renowned explorer Ernest Shackleton and a crew of twenty-seven set sail to attempt the first crossing on foot of the Antarctic continent. More than eighty miles from their destination, however, their ship Endurance was trapped and then crushed by ice. The crew were left stranded on ice blocks, set adrift as castaways for the next five months in the most savage of climates and terrain. After five months in open boats on freezing seas, tackling overland treks across savage glaciers the crew made it to safety, astonishingly without one single life lost. First published in 1959, and a bestseller ever since, Alfred Lansing's Endurance is not only the best of the many books about Shackleton's famous 1915 expedition, it is also one of the best - and most popular - adventure books ever written. Lansing consulted with ten of the surviving members and gained access to diaries and personal accounts by eight others to produce this remarkable account of a daily struggle just to stay alive. This is a tale of human courage, inspirational leadership and one of the most riveting stories ever told.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

March Book

The New York Times

“Semple’s characters are marvelous: They have untold secrets, personalities with multiple dimensions, moments of failure and grace. Maybe this is what Semple learned writing for the television show “Mad About You.” Before she left Hollywood — like Bernadette, Semple now lives in Seattle — she was a producer on“Arrested Development,”and there is quite a bit of that show’s unexpected, antic plotting in this novel. Its many twists and turns are genuinely surprising. Semple has written a fantastic, funny novel. Its affecting characters, not-necessarily-nice humor and surprising plot twists make this novel an enchanting ride.”

Saturday, January 25, 2014

February Book


Madonnas of Leningrad is an astonishing debut novel that captivates and moves the reader. Debra Dean’s novel tells the story of Marina, a young woman enduring the siege of Leningrad during World War II. Years later, as she begins to suffer from Alzheimer’s, her adult daughter struggles to understand her mother’s experiences during the war. Emotional but sentimental, powerful but never overwhelming, Madonnas of Leningrad should absolutely not be missed.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

January Book

Tito Momen was raised Muhammad Momen. Born in Nigeria, he was taught to observe the strict teachings of Islam. Beginning at age five, he woke at 4:45 every morning to attend the mosque and perform dawn prayer with the other men in his village. At age six, he began memorizing the Qur'an by copying the entire book word for word. He was preparing to become a cleric capable of leading a jihad, or holy struggle, to convert nonbelievers to Islam. But Tito's path took an unexpected turn when he was introduced to Christianity. His decision to believe in Jesus Christ cost him his family and his freedom. Sentenced to prison, Tito expected to spend his remaining days enduring a life sentence in an uncivilized Egyptian prison. For fifteen years, he suffered and waited and prayed. "I never gave up hope," Tito says. "I never stopped believing." Although he was falsely imprisoned, beaten, and ridiculed, Tito's remarkable true story is one of faith and forgiveness, as well as a witness that God does hear and answer prayers.

Friday, November 22, 2013

December Book



A lot of us endure setbacks in life, but few are lower than what a 15-year-old aspiring athlete experienced when he heard his mother’s parting words as he walked out the door with his worldly possessions in one small duffel bag: “I wish you’d never been born.” Little did he know, those would be freeing ones.
Sam Bracken eventually forgave his mother for that comment and choices she made that hurt him as a child. He realized that her following words that day – that he’d one day thank her, were in fact, true.
The book, “My Orange Duffel Bag; a Journey to Radical Change” is a creative, uplifting work of art in words, pictures and design. It is a combination story about Bracken’s difficult childhood to his realization that he had to change if he wanted to live. It spotlights his emergence as a standout football player and honors graduate at Georgia Tech, and follows his decision not to pursue his initial desire to play in the NFL, but to help others. It is also a guidebook of sorts, with questions that provoke and challenge those who want to change in their lives.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

November Book

Julie, a self-centered, nominal “Christian”, headed for a weekend shopping binge finds her charmed life shattered when she sits with Jesus on a train to New York. When she gets off she’s in India. Her divine assignment? Care for 11 “filthy orphans” living on a garbage dump before she can return home.
Can she protect them from a predator who steals and maims children and sends them out to beg? How will God provide food when her wallet is stolen? Can she find safe homes for the children? As she rescues them will they rescue her from her stone cold heart?

Monday, September 30, 2013

October Book

From an award-winning novelist and sought-after public speaker, an eye-opening memoir about life before and after illegally emigrating from Mexico to the United States.
After publishing two acclaimed and award-winning novels about the Mexican immigrant experience and the families forced to navigate its twists and turns, celebrated author Reyna Grande reveals her own troubled and triumphant story as an illegal immigrant in the heartfelt memoir The Distance Between Us.
Born in Mexico and raised by her grandparents after her parents left to find work in the U.S., at nine years old, Reyna enters the U.S. as an undocumented immigrant to live with her father. Filled with hope, she quickly realizes that life in America is far from perfect. Her father isn't the man she dreamed about all those years in Mexico. His big dreams for his children are what gets them across the border, but his alcoholism and rage undermine all his hard work and good intentions. Reyna finds solace from a violent home in books and writing, inspired by the Latina voices she reads. After an explosive altercation, Reyna breaks away, going on to become the first person in her family to obtain a higher education, earning a college degree and then an M.F.A. in Creative Writing.
At a time when immigration politics are at a boiling point in America, Reyna Grande is an important public voice for Mexican Americans and immigrants of every origin. The Distance Between Us has the power to change minds and hearts.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Summer Book


The Great Gatsby is probably F. Scott Fitzgerald's greatest novel--a book that offers damning and insightful views of the American nouveau riche in the 1920s. The Great Gatsby is an American classic and a wonderfully evocative work.
Like much of Fitzgerald's prose, it is neat and well--crafted. Fitzgerald seems to have had a brilliant understanding of lives that are corrupted by greed and incredibly sad and unfulfilled. The novel is a product of its generation--with one of American literature's most powerful characters in the figure of Jay Gatsby, who is urbane and world-weary. Gatsby is really nothing more than a man desperate for love.

Friday, April 23, 2010

An Evening With Ben

Author/Potter Ben Behunin
The Ladies with Ben
It is hard to describe the evening we spent with Ben. We learned that he is known to many as Bishop Behunin. The night far exceeded my expectations, I am so grateful for the opportunity we had to listen to the events that took place in his life prior to writing Remembering Isaac. His story was enthralling - I could have listened to him all night - an amazing young man.
Thanks so much to Annette Dickman for hosting - her evening was crazy, but no one would have guessed that her infant grandson was on his way to the hospital duirng book club - grace under pressure.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Breaking Our Twenty Plus Year Tradition


NO MEN ALLOWED!!

This has been our motto for over twenty years. This month we are going to break that tradition - MEN WILL BE ALLOWED!! Steve finally won.......you all know that is a first right? So girls bring your favorite beau - one with a fat checkbook would be preferable - and be ready to grab a piece of pottery . You won't want to be late for this one, so sorry Annie.

Ben will share his experiences about writing his first novel after years of being one of Utah's favorite potters. I for one want to move to Niederbipp, visit the bakery, then stop by the pottery shop...........care to join me?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Author Bridget Cook






Bridget Cook visited our book club this month, what a great evening - she was a tremendous speaker. She shared her experiences about co-authoring the book 'Shattered Silence'. I can see why Melissa Moore wanted Bridget to help tell her story. Thanks Judy for hosting and to everyone who came!

Visit her website:
http://www.mbridgetcook.com/

Bridget is in the top row middle long dark hair. Such a great group of friends.