The Normal Bar

14 in 2014 Book Club: "Where'd you go Bernadette" *(January 2014)

The 14 in 2014 online book club has returned in 2014! ย Our first pick is "Where'd You Go Bernadette" by Maria Semple. ย I loved this book, immediately upon beginning. ย Turns out that the author worked in writing sitcoms in her past and this book reads just like that; fast-paced, hilarious, touching and addictive! ย And the hilarious, snarky email banter between characters Soon-Lin and Audrey had me in stitches. ย (note: this book club is so effective, because of the awesome ladies in it! ย I have been trying to do this kind of thing for years and never actually did it. ย Read more about that here. I never read any of those books listed...so sad!) ย Join us on Facebook! 14 in 2014 book club

Read more here about what the NYtimes had to say about this awesome book pick for our club.

"The tightly constructed โ€œWhereโ€™d You Go, Bernadetteโ€ is written in many formats โ€” e-mails, letters, F.B.I. documents, correspondence with a psychiatrist and even an emergency-room bill for a run-in between Bernadette and Audrey. Yet these pieces are strung together so wittily that Ms. Sempleโ€™s storytelling is always front and center, in sharp focus. You could stop and pay attention to how apt each new format is, how rarely she repeats herself and how imaginatively she unveils every bit of information. But you would have to stop laughing first." (NYtimes)ย 

Also, how adorable is Bee, the main character? ย She is one of my favorite leading ladies for her curiosity, uniqueness and ability to stand apart from her granola-eating, Seattle, prep-school buddies. Bee's parents Bernadette and Elgin are so wonderfully flawed and real that a real parent like myself cannot help but love them. ย And the end of the novel, well...gasp! ย I loved that too!

What did you guys think? ย Join us for February's book "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed. ย 

Last year's 13 in 2013 book club included the following:

"The Light Between Oceans",ย Mindy Kaling's hilarious memoir, Gone Girl, Flight Behavior, Sweet Tooth, The Normal Bar, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, And the Mountains Echoed.

More book reviews here (ideas for book club!):

"Sightseeing"

"American Dervish"

 

 

May's Book Club Book: "The Normal Bar"

I'll be the first to admit, that I was very skeptical when Jessie picked this month's book. ย I fear the self-help section of the library and often get giggly and immature about relationship books in general. ย However, "The Normal Bar" surprised me with its practical advice, interesting statistics and constructive, interesting ideas for increasing "normal" in relationships. What I found most interesting is that the advice that was intended for couples can be used in all relationships, including those at work. ย In my high school Spanish classroom, I deal with a variety of personalities with an even more vast variety of backgrounds. ย At times this can be frustrating but with new, refreshed eyes, one can see that all that needs to be done is to "establish a new normal" as this book suggests. ย With a standard of behavior, people (students) can learn how to accept their surroundings and work to achieve the standard set by that adult. ย It's all so intriguing!

What did you think, "book clubbers"?

thenormalbar

Also, I loved the Book Club questions provided by the Normal Barย site and thought that I would share the answers to some of my favorite questions with you to get the discussion rolling.

Do you believe in love at first sight?

Not really. ย I think that there are "crushes" at first sight, but my definition of love depends very heavily on a long-friendship followed by more love. :)

Do you believe friends make good life partners and lovers?

ABSOLUTELY! ย I love my best friend.

Do you think sharing the same religious and/or political views really make or break a relationship?

I do not think that this is as important as similar life-perspectives. ย When people are of different religious backgrounds, they may still share the same perspective on issues that they consider important. ย Also, spiritual feelings can be very different between people of the same religion *I have seen this a lot among Catholics!. ย Political views are a little trickier in my opinion because people LOVE to talk about politics at dinner, parties, happy hours, etc. ย Sometimes its fun to debate, but both parties have to be interested in the debate (and debate fairly!) or it can kill a relationship, in my opinion.

Does money buy relationship happiness?

Nope. ย I sure hope not!

Do you believe it is OK to keep financial information from your partner?

I do not. ย But, I am not sure that this is part of establishing the "normal bar" in each person's relationship.

What is the most fulfilling aspect of your relationship?

Prepare yourself for sappiness...

I love having a smiling person come home each day and seeing the reaction on my two year olds face.

I love having someone who consistently supports, believes in me, encourages me and challenges me.

The (other) most fulfilling thing is having a best friend who I also have a crush on, still...after a long, long time!