The All Good Books group will meet to discuss “Two If By Sea” (by Jacquelyn Mitchard) on Thursday, April 13, 2017 at 7 PM at Community of Christ Mission Road Congregation (7842 Mission Road, Prairie Village, KS). We’ll meet in the Church Library.

two-if-by-sea-author
You can find additional information on the author at http://www.litlovers.com/reading-guides/13-fiction/10598-two-if-by-sea-mitchard (including a summary of the story, a bio of the author, and discussion questions).
You can find the same discussion questions at http://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Two-If-by-Sea/Jacquelyn-Mitchard/9781501115585/reading_group_guide but that site also includes an interview with the author. The discussion questions and interview are both available in the back of the print or ebook version of the novel.
 
You can also signup at the www.simonandschuster.com site for their email list and receive a code for a free ebook.
 
Finally, you can see and hear Jacquelyn Mitchard talk about “Two If By Sea” at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B5q19oUQg30
We look forward to the discussion on Thursday and invite you to bring your suggestions for additional books to add to our reading schedule.

TwoifbySeaThe next meeting of the All Good Books discussion group will be on Thursday, April 13, 2017 (Thomas Jefferson’s birthday) at 7 PM in the community of Christ (7842 Mission Road, Prairie Village, KS) Church Library. The group will discuss “Two If By Sea” by Jacquelyn Mitchard. Plan to join us next month.

We hope to add some discussion questions here in the next couple of weeks.

The All Good Books discussion group will meet Thursday, March 9, 2017 at 7 PM at the Community of Christ (7842 Mission Road, Prairie Village, KS) to discuss The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. Come join us.

For those who have not yet read this month’s novel, here’s my personal (hopefully) non-spoiler assessment.

“The Nightingale” drags you vicariously through occupied France during the Second World War. It’s a story of starvation, benevolent occupation, sadistic power, constant fear, rebellion, the best of heroic humanity, the worst of collaboration, young love, mature love, the bonds of family and the disintegration of family. At times one wonders, why am I subjecting myself to the horrors and cruelty of war; yet all that pain is necessary to experience the sometimes bittersweet but truly emotional conclusion. Don’t be a “read the last page first” reader. This story needs to be built page by page to the finale that speaks to how we never really, fully understand the lives of others, with all their pain, triumphs and struggles.

The following are some suggested discussion questions.

  1. How would you describe “The Nightingale” to someone who might consider reading the novel? Would you recommend or not recommend the book?
  2. Do you see a reflection of yourself in any of the novel’s characters? Did you relate to any one character more than the others? Explain why?
  3. Why do you think the two sisters, Vianne and Isabella, react so differently to the Nazi occupation? How would you describe their personalities, concerns and reactions?
  4. Which scene or event in the novel did you find the most memorable (good or bad)? Explain why.
  5. The novel describes a community under harsh conditions; harsh winters, food shortages, fear, uncertainty, military bombardments, dissolution of families and friendships. How do you think you would have functioned and survived (or not) under such conditions? Have you ever experienced any of these types of situations? Describe.
  6. Do parents ever really know their children? Do children ever really know their parents?
  7. Is there a quote or statement in the novel that is a favorite? Or made you stop and consider it’s meaning? How about any of the following? Do they “speak” to you? If so, how?
    1. “In love we find out who we want to be; in war we find out who we are.”
    2. “…grief, like regret, settles into our DNA and remains forever a part of us.”
    3. “He loves a version of me that is incomplete. I always thought it was what I wanted: to be loved and admired. Now I think perhaps I’d like to be known.”
    4. “Why was it so easy for men in the world to do as they wanted and so difficult for women?”
    5. “Tante Isabelle says it’s better to be bold than meek. She says if you jump off a cliff at least you’ll fly before you fall.”
    6. “He was a man who had stumbled into a little bit of power and seized it with both hands.”
    7. If you’re going through hell, keep going. —WINSTON CHURCHILL
    8. “But love has to be stronger than hate, or there is no future for us.”
    9. “Men tell stories. Women get on with it. For us it was a shadow war.”
  8. In one portion of the novel, the narrator says, “A stewardess takes one look at me and makes that here’s an old one who needs help face. Living where I do now, in that shoebox filled with the Q-tips that old people become, I’ve come to recognize it. Usually it irks me, makes me straighten my back and push aside the youngster who is sure that I cannot cope in the world on my own, but just now I’m tired and scared and a little help doesn’t seem like a bad thing.” Whether you’re old or young, have you ever felt that way?
  9. Why does the author keep referring to black squares on the walls?
  10. What is the meaning or significance of the apple tree in Vianne’s yard?
  11. Nathaniel and Phillipe come with a request about Daniel near the end of the book. Was it a fair request? Do you understand it? How would you have reacted if you were Daniel’s Maman?
  12. How did you react to the novel’s conclusion? Would you have changed the ending?

nightengaleThe All Good Books discussion group will meet Thursday, March 9, 2017 at 7 PM at the Community of Christ (7842 Mission Road, Prairie Village, KS to discuss The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. Possible discussion questions will be posted soon. Come join us.

autobiography_of_eleanor_rooseveltThe All Good Books group will meet to discuss The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt on Thursday, January 12, 2017 in the Community of Christ church library (7842 Mission Road, Prairie Village, KS) at 7 PM.

Come and join the discussion. Here area  few questions to consider:

  1. Are there specific historic events covered in “The Autobiography of Eleanor Rosevelt” that her book shed additional light on for you?
  2. What principles would you draw from the life of Eleanor Roosevelt? What guidance would you draw from her life experiences?
  3. What did you learn about the times in which Eleanor lived that you didn’t know before reading the autobiography?
  4. Eleanor wrote (page 78), “At first you feel that you or someone else should have prevented whatever goes wrong. Later you learn that no amount of care will ward off the accidents and all you can do is to meet them, as they come along, with a calm and steadfast spirit.” What do you think she meant and do you agree?
  5. As she describes her life, would you say that Eleanor becomes a different person from childhood to young adulthood to married woman to politician’s wife? If so how would you describe the changes in her life? Are these typical for any individual?
  6. Eleanor wrote (page 101), “firsthand awareness of what people are doing and thinking and saying is essential to a president. When this information is filtered through other people, or selected with a view to what a few individuals think the President should know, the inevitable result is that this source of information is dangerously curtailed or misleadingly slanted. This is fatal in the formulation of far-reaching decisions.” What is your reaction to her concern?
  7. Are there specific quotes or passages in the book that you highlighted, underlined or made a note about? What were the passages and why?
  8. Did you enjoy the autobiography? If so, why? If not, why?

thomas_jefferson_andWe hope you can join us for tonight’s (Thursday, November 17, 2016) All Good Books club’s discussion of “Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates: The Forgotten War That Changed American History” by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger.

Remember, this is the month the group meets on the 3rd not the 2nd Thursday. We’ll meet at 7 PM in the Community of Christ Church Library (7842 Mission Road, Prairie Village, KS).

You can always find a schedule of upcoming book discussions at allbooksclub.wordpress.com/meeting-dates-books/

Below are a few possible discussion questions for this evening.

  1. What did you know before reading “Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates” and what did you learn by reading the book about the Tripoli Pirates and the Barbary Coast nations during the late 1700s and early 1800s?
  2. What is the meaning or story behind the words “From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli, we fight our country’s battles in the air, on land, and sea” (quoted from the Marine Corps Hymn)?
  3. There has been both praise and criticism of the book; most centering on whether it is historically accurate or propaganda. Here’s an example, what are your thoughts?

    “…this is terrible history, not by what it includes but because of what it leaves out. Which either means the authors don’t know American history very well or are being intentionally dishonest to sell a story.  The intent seems to be to cast Jefferson as a modern Republican or Fox News pundit….They have tried to create Jefferson in their own image and it’s very convincing…as long as you don’t know actual history.

    “I wouldn’t care that much if I hadn’t read so many positive reviews about the book with people super impressed how the book is supposedly such an amazing perfect fit for our current war with Islam…see, they say, it’s always been like this and we need leaders like Jefferson. Not realizing that Jefferson was basically an atheist and anti-military. Hardly a guy who would get air time on Fox and Friends.

    “However, a lot of people don’t seem to want actual history but prefer it in their own image.” from GoodReads.com

  4. On the flipside, here is another review; what’s your comment on this point of view?

    “Interesting slice of history in which, unfortunately, most Americans – well, with the exception of U.S. Marines – are unfamiliar. Understanding how the pirates from North Africa’s Barbary coast (Morocco, Algiers, Tunis, and Libya, aka Tripoli) operated and how their actions affected early American commerce (1785-1815) helps to explain Muslims’ contempt for the West, especially the United States. Kilmeade’s (and Yaeger’s) book is a well-written, 200-page easy read. It does a good job explaining why appeasement doesn’t work; more important, why it’s impossible to even negotiate with people who believe their religion justifies the plunder, enslavement and even killing of non-Muslims. Although it might have been 200 hundred years ago, the Barbary Wars serve as a clear harbinger of what radical Islamists want to impose on the West. [From the Halls of Montezuma/to the shores of Tripoli . . . ]”

  5. Which episode in the book did you find most interesting?
  6. What do you know about Thomas Jefferson’s life outside the details covered in the Kilmeade and Yaeger book?
  7. One of the most unsettling aspects covered in the book is the issue of captive sailors and slavery. What do you know about slavery in the time of Jefferson and today?
  8. Would you recommend this book to friends and other readers?

 

thomas_jefferson_andThe next book selection for the All Good Books discussion group is Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates: The Forgotten War That Changed American History by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger. The November meeting, scheduled for November 17, 2016 is one week later than normal (that is, on the 3rd not the 2nd Thursday of November). The group will meet at the Community of Christ church (7842 Mission Road, Prairie Village, KS) at 7 PM in the Church Library.

You can always find a schedule of upcoming book discussions on this website at allbooksclub.wordpress.com/meeting-dates-books/ Come join us!