Books for Two

Our book group is growing! We reached out to a few friends to start building that sense of community around books so from now on we’ll be Books for Two or More! It’s still a no pressure book group and size doesn’t matter -we’ll be getting together once every two months to discuss our read.

Here were our Books for Two selections for October through December:

Amaro: The Spirited World of Bittersweet, Herbal Liqueurs with Cocktails, Recipes, and Formulas by Brad Thomas Parsons

This book is a gem, we learned so much in just a few pages. I’ve had two encounters with Amari over the years: Amaro Nonino Quintessentia and Fernet-Branca. Amaro Nonino was an amazing experience…Fernet-Branca, not so much, at least for me, my husband loooooves it. My friend’s husband is from Argentina and drinks it with Coca-Cola…you’ll read about that in this book…and that’s how my husband got hooked. I’m excited to try other Amari and other Fernets; its a big wide world out there! And the recipes to make cocktails and even your own Amaro at home was wonderful!

Educated by Tara Westover

This book was remarkable; the author pulls you into her life. Born in Idaho to a survivalist Mormon family, her father is the head of the home and makes that known at every turn. Paranoid of the government and the medical establishment the children receive a “home-schooled education” and are expected to work for their father at a very young age. While Tara would sometimes help her mother, an herbalist and midwife, with oils and tinctures, she was also called out to the junkyard to help her father gather scrap. The work in the junkyard is the cause of multiple injuries to family members over the years with tonics and salves given by their mother that are shockingly inadequate. Tara also suffers at the hand of an abusive brother…but everything is the Lord’s way. As Tara looks to a life outside of her small world she seeks an education that, while makes her more complete, pulls her farther and farther away from family and home.

The Heart by Maylis de Kerangal

Taking place within twenty-four hours, this book follows the beginning, middle, and end of the path of a donated heart. Three young men make their way to the beach, the waves calling their names, on their way home exhausted the driver falls asleep at the wheel. One doesn’t make it, his brain ceases to function, but his organs can still go on. The layers this book takes from the parents, to the surgeon, to the interns, and finally to the recipient was a tragic and beautiful journey of hope.

You can look back on previous Books for Two by following our blog posts here: Books for Two

Our book selection for January and February is An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks – A Peak Pick!

~posted by Kara P.

Seattle Picks: Book Group Best Bets

Is your book group in need of some new books to discuss? Try these new titles that are already becoming book group darlings!

Bloodroot by Amy Greene 
In lovely, lyrical Appalachian cadence, family members take turns narrating the life of a willful, heartbreaking and bewitching woman, Myra, from the Great Depression to the present time. Continue reading “Seattle Picks: Book Group Best Bets”

Still More Books Worth Talking About

Here is another mixed batch of literary food for thought, and for discussion.

The Condition, by Jennifer Haigh
The McKotch family unravels during the summer of 1976 when 13-year-old Gwen is diagnosed with Turner’s syndrome, leaving her forever trapped in the body of a child. Twenty years later, the three siblings are still dealing with the fallout.

In Defense of Food, by Michael Pollan
A wise and engrossing treatise on what to eat and how to relate to food.

Beginner’s Greek, by James Collins
Peter Russell’s in love with a dream girl he met on a plane, lost track of and finds again – Continue reading “Still More Books Worth Talking About”

More Books Worth Talking About

Good titles for book discussions come from all over the place, and provoke all kinds of responses. Here is a diverse international blend:

The Elegance of the Hedgehog, by Muriel Barbery
Nobody guesses at the unplumbed depths hidden behind the veiled eyes of the self-taught drudge Renée or the precociously suicidal 12-year-old Paloma, until one man takes a closer look.

The Plague of Doves, by Louise Erdrich
The slaughter of a 1911 family triggers a series of events over two generations until finally fate brings the killer to justice.

Old Filth, by Jane Gardam
Sir Edward Feathers (widely called Filth – short for “Failed in London, Try Hong Kong”) wryly reflects on the past 80 years, including time guarding the Queen during World War II and his career as a Hong Kong judge.

Unaccustomed Earth, by Jhumpa Lahiri
Lahiri tackles the theme of the chasm between Bengali parents and their American-raised children in this eloquent collection of stories.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson
Working against time to crack a forty year old missing persons case, a beleaguered reporter and a brilliant, damaged hacker discover evils larger and older than expected.

Netherland, by Joseph O’Neill
After his family cuts him loose in post-9/11 New York City, a Dutch banker’s unlikely friendship with a Trinidadian cricketer provide him with complex and startling perspectives on home, self and belonging.

Miles from Nowhere, by Nami Mun
Thirteen-year-old Korean Mexican Joon-Mee spends six years as a runaway in the streets of New York.

The Commoner, by John Burnham Schwartz
The prince’s love for his newly-wed wife, Haruko, a commoner, cannot enough to keep her from a mother-in-law’s ire, nor the stifling atmosphere of a court she can never leave.

The Boat, by Nam Le
Through seven short stories, Le takes the reader from Tehran to New York, Columbia, and Japan in achingly gorgeous detail.  The New York Times describes The Boat as “stories to explore someone else’s skin.”

Book Groups for Busy People

Did you get a chance to make the lastest meeting of the Central library’s book discussion group “Let’s Talk About Books”?  I missed it, and it’s too bad, because LTAB is a wonderful opportunity for book lovers like us to share our thoughts on whatever we’re reading now and get ideas for what to read next.  Plus there’s no advance preparation: just bring what you’re reading and come ready to share. Brilliant!

image of Rules of Book Club shirt courtesy of Bob Boyetche via FlickrI’d like to try the book group at my local branch, or some of the fantastic options at other branches.  They’re offered  in many languages, for all age groups, on various topics, and even for the visually impaired.  Check them out!  (Select “Book Group” from the Event Type drop-down menu.)  I’m definitely going to one of them – right after I finish class, work, errands, and making sure my husband sees me often enough that he doesn’t think I’ve left him and moved to Uzbekistan. 

Okay, so despite our best intentions to make it to that book group, sometimes life just gets in the way.  But what if you could join one without having to make a major time commitment or even leave your home?  You can – by joining an online book group.  They’re usually message boards or email discussions, so you can post and read comments at your own convenience. 

You can also find one that fits your style, no matter what your age and interests may be.  Book Clubs Resource  is a great place for finding online book groups of all shapes and sizes.  The section “Special Interest Book Clubs” lists groups designed for African-Americans, mystery lovers, teens and children, and women, among others.  Booktalk  is a nice classic book group with an attractive interface. 

Of course, with the web becoming ever-more interactive, you might be inspired to start your own online book group.  You can get lots of great tips on how to set up and run your own online book group here, or on the library’s website

So there go all our excuses about being too busy or not being able to get away from the house.  If you have time to read a book, you have time to join an online book group.  Of course, we’d still love to see you at the library’s in-person discussions!

Have you participated in an online book group, or found one that looks particularly interesting?  Tell us about your experience!