Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and Some Business

Here are the questions I've come up with:

How is the novel's portrayal of poverty different from other books?
Is this a story of not only about Francie's maturation but also that of the United States in the early 20th century?
What kind of characters seem to thrive in Francie's Brooklyn?
How are societal values and attitudes different from today's?
This is said to be a great 20th century American masterpiece...why?
Does the story remind you of any other bildungsroman stories (and yes, I purposely made a question that used the word "bildungsroman")?
What do you think of Francie's relationship with each parent? Is that unusual or just taboo?
Was Francie careless with her heart? Is she playing it safe the second time around?

I have lots of questions I could post, so sorry if that is too many to deal with for one book. Answer what you wish.

TWO IMPORTANT BOOK CLUB ISSUES (which means respond)
If you want to chat on gmail about it respond. I think it should be done either in the next few days or sometime next week after the holidays. Whatever is good.

Annnnnnd somebody needs to pick a book for January.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

This Book Club is Lame.

Well, here is the plan:
I am going to read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn for December.

I am no longer emailing people.  All book club news is here.

I really want to have a reason to read books and have people to talk about them with me.  Obviously, November was a bit of flop.  Probably due to the approaching holidays as well as Thanksgiving.  Also, Cameo just had a baby like a week and a half ago and Kenna is in Texas adopting a baby.  Busy times all around.

I am still going to do this, but I hope more people will join in ;).  If not, don't blame me if this turns into Allison's book club and blog.

Also, Brittney, you picked a good book.  I hope people will think about reading it if they have not already.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Allison's Thoughts on Bliss

I thought I would be the good example by posting my thoughts about our latest read. :)

First, I will answer Brittney's questions and then I will add my own thoughts.

Do you think that relationships affect you more than the local culture?
Yes.  I think the book demonstrated that you can be in paradise with the nicest people in the entire world and still be unhappy if you don't have any personal relationships.  Of course, local culture influences those relationships by setting up regional protocol for interaction.  The idea that trust is key to happiness was repeated throughout the book in different locales.  Think about it.  It makes perfect sense.  Security is one of our most basic, primal needs.  If you don't feel like you can trust your neighbor you aren't going to be out looking for deep companionship.

What contributes to your happiness? family and gratitude?
Ummmm...all of the above?  But I don't think you can have those things without trust.  What good is a family if your family members aren't trustworthy?  And gratitude...that's just basically not recognizing what is already making you happy.

Another note on family: before I read this book I would have said that my family is really high up there in what makes me happy.  But, I realize that my family embodies more than people.  I trust them to keep my secrets, to give me good advice, that they love me and have my best interest at heart.  I am secure in that.

What detracts from your happiness? Money? That something/someone you stubbornly envy?

Okay, okay.  You know that good feeling when you buy a new (fill in the blank) and it is really awesome or stylish?  You feel good for a couple days, maybe even weeks or months.  Then you have to go buy something else to feel new and exciting and just as pretty as the other ladies at church (don't act like you don't know what I mean!).  It's such a problem.  I never feel like that about my family.  It would be ridiculous if I felt like I needed a new husband every couple of months (I guess some people do feel that way).  I would hate living in Qatar if I had to do it for a long time...sounds nice to visit though!

Anyway, I spend a lot of energy dealing with that sometimes.  When I go home and visit family, I feel like those feelings I have as we are playing a board game or laughing at something last forever.

Do you think happiness is a choice? Or is it mainly determined by our environment? Or anything else?
Both.  Ultimately, we are responsible for our own happiness.  I kind of liked the belief system that British seem to have.  Dig in and work at it.  Does our environment make it or easier or harder to be happy?  Definitely, but deal with it. 

Also, I 'd like to add that it's not so easily with mental illness.  That definitely requires more than choice and environment.

*And I want to add my own question:  Which place was your favorite?
Mine was Bhutan.  I thought it sounded funny/slightly amusing and easy going.  I also liked Iceland and Thailand...definitely need to work on an attitude of letting things go sometimes.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Brittney's Questions

Do you think that relationships affect you more than the local culture?
What contributes to your happiness? family and gratitude?
What detracts from your happiness? Money? That something/someone you stubbornly envy?
Do you think happiness is a choice? Or is it mainly determined by our environment? Or anything else?

You can do one of two things with these questions.  If you just have a brief comment you can go ahead and leave comment.  The second option is to create a post if you have a longer response.  I will email everyone the username and password for tonight, and then eventually I will just make you all team members or something so you can post under your own account if you wish.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Yay for Brittney B.!

Brittney volunteered to pick the first book and lead the discussion.  Thanks to everyone who put in their two cents.  I like Brittney's idea of coming up with discussion questions and posting/emailing them to all members.  We definitely need to have a deadline.  I am thinking November 30 is a nice, clean date since it is the last day of the month.

So here's November's book:

Go to the library or bookstore and pick this one up and read with us!  The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner.

Two more items:
1. Brittney suggested a mass chat the night of the deadline for anybody that can make it.  Does anybody know how to do that?  Do have to get a chat room 90's style?
2. Any volunteers to pick December's book?

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


So, we finally got this thing up.  Kenna is going to work her magic to make it look awesome.

I've never been invited to join a book club, so here I am.  I am glad that a lot of my friends were interested in all of this.  I have to admit, I don't know what I am doing.  I just like to read and talk about books with buddies.

I have a list of books I want to read, but what about you guys?  This isn't MY book club, it's OURS.  And I am wondering how it should work.  Should we take turns picking?  Should we take a vote every month?  What will our posts be about?  Will people have "jobs" like coming up with discussion questions? Please post your comments with your thoughts about these questions, and forgive me for being a newbie!