Archives for posts with tag: family

The All Good Books club will meet in person (at 7842 Mission Road, Prairie Village, KS) and online using the Zoom weblink https://tinyurl.com/AllGoodBooks-Wiggins

At 7:00 PM, on Thursday, January 17, 2022, the book club will discuss The Lost and Found Bookshop by Susan Wiggs. Jonathan Bacon will facilitate the discussion.

The publisher describes the book this way:

Somewhere in the vast Library of the Universe, as Natalie thought of it, there was a book that embodied exactly the things she was worried about.

In the wake of a shocking tragedy, Natalie Harper inherits her mother’s charming but financially strapped bookshop in San Francisco. She also becomes caretaker for her ailing grandfather Andrew, her only living relative—not counting her scoundrel father.

But the gruff, deeply kind Andrew has begun displaying signs of decline. Natalie thinks it’s best to move him to an assisted living facility to ensure the care he needs. To pay for it, she plans to close the bookstore and sell the derelict but valuable building on historic Perdita Street, which is in need of constant fixing. There’s only one problem–Grandpa Andrew owns the building and refuses to sell. Natalie adores her grandfather; she’ll do whatever it takes to make his final years happy. Besides, she loves the store and its books provide welcome solace for her overwhelming grief.

After she moves into the small studio apartment above the shop, Natalie carries out her grandfather’s request and hires contractor Peach Gallagher to do the necessary and ongoing repairs. His young daughter, Dorothy, also becomes a regular at the store, and she and Natalie begin reading together while Peach works.

To Natalie’s surprise, her sorrow begins to dissipate as her life becomes an unexpected journey of new connections, discoveries, and revelations, from unearthing artifacts hidden in the bookshop’s walls to discovering the truth about her family, her future, and her own heart.

Here are questions suggested by the publisher and borrowed from LitLovers (https://www.litlovers.com/):

  1. After her mother dies, Natalie reflects: “No one knew what to say to people facing grief so big and shocking. Natalie wouldn’t know, either.” Is there a right thing to say in these moments? What would you do if Natalie were your friend?
  2. “There was a book for everything. Somewhere in the vast Library of the Universe, as Natalie thought of it, her mom could find a book that embodied exactly the things Natalie was worried about.” Which books have helped you overcome difficult moments, or been a cure for your worries, or caused a revelation in your life? How do books help the different characters in this novel?
  3. At Blythe’s funeral, her friend Frieda reads a passage from the children’s book Charlotte’s Web. If you could have any book be part of your memorial service, what would it be?
  4. Natalie tells her mother that her schoolmates’ reaction to her non-traditional family—a single mother, grandfather, and grandfather’s Chinese girlfriend—makes her feel like a”freak.” How did growing up in this non-traditional family shape Natalie? How did being raised by a single father shape her mother Blythe’s life? What about Peach and Dorothy?
  5. When Natalie finds out that her mother had taken a DNA test she thinks to herself: “Who were her ancestors? Oftentimes throughout her life, she’d felt like a stranger to herself. Was that the reason?” Does learning more about her family history—though the DNA test and other ways—help Natalie or Grandy Andrew? Do you know anyone who has had a similar experience uncovering their family history, either by DNA tests or more traditional methods?
  6. Blythe finds running the bookstore “a grand adventure” but Natalie’s corporate work at the winery: “…was the opposite of a grand adventure. But then she would remind herself about the steady salary, the benefits, and the pension plan, and decide it was all worthwhile. Stability had its price.” Are you more of a Blythe or a Natalie in your approach to work? Does Natalie ultimately change her mind and come to accept the “grand adventure” of being a bookstore owner?
  7. “Your mother used to say you’ll never be happy with what you want until you can be happy with what you’ve got,” Cleo tells Natalie. Do you agree? What does Susan Wiggs say about happiness throughout this novel? What does it mean that Grandy Andrew’s book about his life is called “A Brief History of Happiness?”
  8. When they find the military medal hidden in the store’s walls, Grandy insists that they return it to the owner’s heirs despite their shaky financial situation: “After learning of its value, Andrew had toyed for the briefest of moments with the notion of selling it. But there was no profit in keeping something that rightfully belonged to someone else.”Would you have done the same?
  9. When Trevor confesses the truth about his background to Natalie, admitting that he’s a”fraud” and a “hoax,” she tells him “For what it’s worth, it wouldn’t have mattered…I love what you’ve done with your life. You turned it into something really beautiful.” Would you have responded the same way? What did you think about Trevor once his deceptions had been revealed?
  10. At the end of the novel, Susan Wiggs gives us an update on the characters’ lives. What do you think the future holds for Natalie and Peach? For Grandy Andrew? For the Lost and Found Bookstore itself?
  11. Do you have a favorite local bookstore? What do you love about it?
    (Questions issued by the publishers.)
  12. WHAT IS IT ABOUT BOOKSTORES? Why do you think so many authors use them as settings for their novels?
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The All Good Books club will meet in person (at 7842 Mission Road, Prairie Village, KS) and online using the Zoom weblink http://tiny.cc/Lui-Enough

At 7:00 PM, on Thursday, November 17, 2022, the book club will discuss Enough About Me by Richard Lui, Jonathan Bacon will facilitate the discussion.

What if your path to a more successful, healthy, and satisfying life is actually not about you? Enough About Me equips you with practical tools to find meaning and compassion in even the smallest of everyday choices.

When his father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, Richard Lui made a tough decision. The award-winning news anchor decided to set aside his growing career to care for his family. At first, this new caregiving lifestyle did not come easily for Lui, and what followed was a seven-year exercise in what it really means to be selfless.

Enough About Me also takes a behind-the-scenes look at some of the world’s most difficult moments from a journalist’s point of view. From survivors of terrorist attacks to victims of racial strife, Lui shares the lessons he learned from those who rose above the fray to be helpful, self-sacrificing, and generous in the face of monumental tragedy and loss.

Lui shares practical tips, tools, and mnemonics learned along the way to help shift the way we think and live.

December: No book club, December Break

In 2024, one of the first books we’ll discuss is The Lost and Found Book Shop by Susan Wiggs.

This evening’s meeting has been postponed to October 20, 2022, at 7 PM because many of our regular members are unavailable to meet this evening. All book titles will be moved forward one month to accommodate.

The All Good Books club will meet in person (at 7842 Mission Road, Prairie Village, KS) or online using the Zoom web link (https://tinyurl.com/lastBoat) to discuss Helen Zia’s novel Last Boat Out of Shanghai.

The discussion will occur (now) on Thursday, October 20, 2022, at 7 PM CDT.

The book recounts the real-life stories of four young people caught up in the mass exodus of Shanghai in the wake of China’s 1949 Communist revolution. Marge Trinkl will facilitate the discussion. Join us in person or online!

If you’re now planning ahead for November, the book club will meet on November 17, 2022, at 7 PM to discuss Enough about Me by Richard Lui.

The All Good Books group will meet on Thursday, July 21, 2022, at 7:00 PM to discuss “Keep Sharp” by Sanjay Gupta (Tom Jowett will introduce the discussion). All meetings are held in the Church Library of the Mission Road Congregation of Community of Christ (7842 Mission Road, Prairie Village, KS).

The book club meeting will also be available on Zoom using the following web link: https://tinyurl.com/AllGoodBooks

This is a joint activity by the Community of Christ Mission Road Congregation and the Johnson County Community College Retirees Association. All are welcome!

The All Good Books group will meet on the following dates for the rest of the year and discuss the books listed. All meetings are held in the Church Library of the Mission Road Congregation of Community of Christ (7842 Mission Road, Prairie Village, KS)

7:00 PM, June 16, 2022: How the Word Is Passed by Clint Smith (Jane Landrum will introduce the book)

7:00 PM, July 21, 2022: Keep Sharp by Sanjay Gupta (Tom Jowett will introduce the book)

7:00 PM, August 18, 2022: The Duchess by Wendy Holden (Eloise Snider will introduce the book)

7:00 PM, September 15, 2022: The Last Boat Out of Shanghai by Helen Zia (Marge Trinkl will introduce the book)

7:00 PM, October 20, 2022: Enough about Me by Richard Lui (Jonathan Bacon will introduce the book)

7:00 PM, November 17, 2022: The Lost and Found Book Shop by Susan Wiggs (TBD)

December: No book club, December Break

On Thursday, January 9, 2020, the All Good Books group will discuss Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover. Notice the meeting date is one week earlier than our normal third Thursday meeting date.

The group meets at the Community of Christ (7842 Mission Road, Prairie Village, KS) in Church Library starting at 7 PM. Everyone is welcome.

Note: The book club does not meet in December.

The following discussion questions are drawn from Bookbub.com (see https://www.bookbub.com/blog/book-club-questions-for-educated-by-tara-westover).

1. Tara Westover’s memoir recounts her life as the daughter of Mormon survivalist parents who leaves rural Idaho to pursue an education. What do you think she’s referring to with the title Educated? And what statement do you think the book makes on education at large?

2. Westover’s quest for an education is a dramatic rebellion by her father’s standards. How does her rebellion differ from that of her older brother Tyler, if at all?

3. Do you think being the youngest child in the family impacted Westover ultimately leaving her family? Would it have made a difference if she’d been the oldest child?

4. Why is it significant that Westover didn’t know the word “holocaust” and had no knowledge of race issues in the United States?

5. Which family member had the biggest influence on Westover’s quest for a different life? Which non-family members were influential on her life?

6. Westover’s life changes dramatically thanks to an encouraging professor at Brigham Young University. How might her life be different if she hadn’t applied for the study abroad program at Cambridge University?

7. Westover eventually finds her voice and realizes it’s just as powerful as the people who have influenced her life. What is voice, and how important is it that every child be encouraged to find their own?

8. What impact does Westover’s pursuit of formal education have on her parents and family?

9. How does education change Westover’s view of her childhood? How does she come to terms with how she was raised once she knows the value of education?

10. Westover makes great efforts to ensure the story is as objective as possible, including footnotes where accounts of an event differ, or comparing her diary entries to her memory. As a reader, how important is objectivity in this story, and more largely, in memoirs in general?

11. At 30, Westover is still relatively close in age to the events that occur in this book. How do you think the memoir would be different were it written when Tara was significantly older and more distanced from this time in her life? In what ways would it alter your interpretation of these experiences?

RESCHEDULED: The All Good Books group will meet on Thursday, November 14, 2019 at 7 PM to discuss “Little Fires Everywhere” by Celeste Ng. The book club will meet in the Community of Christ Church Library (7842 Mission Road, Mission, Kansas). All are invited to attend.

Discussion questions for the novel are available at https://www.readinggroupguides.com/reviews/little-fires-everywhere/guide.

The All Good Books club will meet on Thursday, August 15, 2019 at 7:00 PM in the Community of Christ Church Library (7842 Mission Road, Prairie Village, KS) to discuss Kevin Kwan’s “China Rich Girlfriend” the second novel in his Crazy Rich Asian’s trilogy.

All are invited, whether you’ve read the book or not.

Discussion questions (#1-9 below) are drawn from the LitLovers website and may be useful in generating discussion. I’ve also added a few more question (#10 and beyond).

  1. Consider the book’s title: what does “China rich” mean? How is it different (or is it…?) from “Singapore rich” where Crazy Rich Asians (CRA) takes place?
  2. Like the previous book, China Rich Girlfriend is filled with jaw-dropping opulence. Which incident, or which character, dropped your jaw more than others?
  3. In what way do Rachel and Nick serve as (somewhat) objective observers into this world of crazy conspicuous consumption? To what degree are their values different from the characters who live in Asia? Do they exude a sense of superiority over the others?
  4. Poor Rachel has her trouble with secondary mothers: Eleanor, her future mother-in-law, and Shaoyen, her step-mother. Both make life difficult for Rachel. How do their attitudes change and are those changes genuine?
  5. Talk about the ins & outs of Rachel’s relationship with her half-brother Carlton.
  6. What do you make of Kitty Pong, her social climbing and attempts to fit in with the Straits Chinese? Is she a sympathetic character?
  7. How have events transformed Astrid’s husband, Michael? Is he due a “comeuppance?”
  8. Overall, what do you think of these characters? Is Kevin Kwan presenting them critically, satirically, lovingly, humorously? All or none of those?
  9. Is there a take-away from this novel and, if you’ve read Crazy Rich Asians, from that novel as well? If so, what? Or are these books simply one of those guilty pleasures that one loves to indulge in?
  10. What do you think is the attraction of the Crazy Rich Asians series? What attracted you to read the book?
  11. Did you imagine that there were people in China, Hong Kong and Singapore with the wealth depicted in the story?
  12. How would you describe Eleanor, Nick‘s mother? Does she change over the course of the first two novels? How?
  13. What are the advantages and drawbacks of marrying into wealth like Kitty Pong or Rachel Chu? Are the trade-offs worth it? would you make different choices in their shoes?
  14. Does Rachel change over the course of the first two books in the series? How?
  15. Are you intrigued to read the third novel? Why or why not? What questions for you remain unanswered?
  16. Which of the first two books did you enjoy more? Why?

The All Good Books book club will discuss Elizabeth Berg’s Night of Miracles on Thursday, July 18, 2019. The meeting will be held in the Community of Christ Church Library (7842 Mission Road, Prairie Village, Kansas) at 7 PM. All are invited to attend.

Sequel to The Story of Arthur Truluv.

Discussion questions are available on the publisher’s website.

The publisher’s description of the book follows:

Lucille Howard is getting on in years, but she stays busy. Thanks to the inspiration of her dearly departed friend Arthur Truluv, she has begun to teach baking classes, sharing the secrets to her delicious classic Southern yellow cake, the perfect pinwheel cookies, and other sweet essentials. Her classes have become so popular that she’s hired Iris, a new resident of Mason, Missouri, as an assistant. Iris doesn’t know how to bake but she needs to keep her mind off one big decision she sorely regrets.

When a new family moves in next door and tragedy strikes, Lucille begins to look out for Lincoln, their son. Lincoln’s parents aren’t the only ones in town facing hard choices and uncertain futures. In these difficult times, the residents of Mason come together and find the true power of community–just when they need it the most.

We hope you can join us for this book club discussion.

The All Good Books book club will discuss Elizabeth Berg’s The Story of Arthur Truluv” this Thursday, June 20, 2019. The meeting will be held in the Community of Christ Church Library (7842 Mission Road, Prairie Village, Kansas) at 7 PM. All are invited to attend.

The novel is described (on http://www.Goodreads.com) as: A moving novel about three people who find their way back from loss and loneliness to a different kind of happiness. Arthur, a widow, meets Maddy, a troubled teenage girl who is avoiding school by hiding out at the cemetery, where Arthur goes every day for lunch to have imaginary conversations with his late wife, and think about the lives of others. The two strike up a friendship that draws them out of isolation. Maddy gives Arthur the name Truluv, for his loving and positive responses to every outrageous thing she says or does. With Arthur’s nosy neighbor Lucille, they create a loving and unconventional family, proving that life’s most precious moments are sweeter when shared.

Discussion questions for The Story of Arthur Truluv are available on the publisher’s website.