14 in 2014 Book Club: “Where’d you go Bernadette” *(January 2014)

The 14 in 2014 online book club has returned in 2014!  Our first pick is “Where’d You Go Bernadette” by Maria Semple.  I loved this book, immediately upon beginning.  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!  And the hilarious, snarky email banter between characters Soon-Lin and Audrey had me in stitches.  (note: this book club is so effective, because of the awesome ladies in it!  I have been trying to do this kind of thing for years and never actually did it.  Read more about that here. I never read any of those books listed…so sad!)  Join us on Facebook!

14 in 2014 book club

January 2014 Book Club pick

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

“The tightly constructed “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” is written in many formats — 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. Semple’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) 

Also, how adorable is Bee, the main character?  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.  And the end of the novel, well…gasp!  I loved that too!

What did you guys think?  Join us for February’s book “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed.  

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

“The Light Between Oceans”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!):


“American Dervish”



Thoughts on 2014…

I am reforming the way that I look at New Years Resolutions this year and making a list of achievable goals instead.  After all, no one really wants to start something so radical in the new year, only to be disappointed.  Here are my 6 achievable goals for 2014.

Resolutions and Goals for 2014

Resolutions and Goals for 2014

Here’s my list, based on this image from Pinterest… 

A bad habit I’m going to break… I am going to spin this and start a new habit, journaling in my new “line a day” journal that I got for Christmas.  So I guess that the habit I am breaking is forgetting things.  It’s kind of a problem.  I blame it on having a good imagination and too many hobbies, but it would be nice to remember some things from time to time. :)

A new skill I’d like to learn… Letterpress & Encaustic painting

A person I hope to be more like… I am still pondering this one, it’s a tricky one!

A good deed I’m going to do… I am going to try and do a selfless act or random act of kindness once a week for the year of 2014.  I won’t be sharing them with anyone, just trying to change the way I see the world through small deeds.

A place I’d like to visit... I am dying to return to Spain, but would love to visit any new place as I am a total “wanderluster”.  Also, I would love to see Nashville, Phoenix or Savannah.

A book I’d like to read… This one is EASY, because we have a super awesome ART by MEGAN book club that anyone can join!  It’s based right here on the blog and on facebook, be sure to check it out for the 14 in 2014 edition.

Here are some of our book reviews from 2013 (we read 13 books in 2013!):

“The Light Between Oceans” (July 2013) 

“Sweet Tooth” (February 2013) 

Mindy Kaling’s hilarious memior (September 2013)

“The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society” (January 2013)

What are your goals for 2014?  

September’s Book Club Book: “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?” By Mindy Kaling


Guest post written by Kate.

“I thoroughly enjoyed Mindy Kaling’s first book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? As I read the book, I heard her voice in my head for each and every word. All last year Hulu kept recommending her show to me, and I kept thinking, “I know I am going to love but I really just don’t have the time now Hulu!” When all season finales were over for the year in May, I gave in and watched the entire Mindy Project in two days. Similarly, I devoured the book in 72 hours or less. Mindy has a knack for writing, and like her role model Tina Fey, is hilarious and wise at the same time. The book actually reminded me of Tina’s Bossypants a lot. It is always interesting to learn how people go from awkward teenagers to Hollywood actors and writers. It is also so refreshing to hear someone talk about mistakes and immature office shenanigans without sugar coating it. Everyone makes mistakes, maybe not everyone has a chance to storm out of a writers meeting and throw a hissy fit, but not everyone gets to work with Steve Carrell either. My only complaint was this- it was too short! I can’t wait to read more of her writing in the future.”

Stay tuned by more guest posts by Kate, she’s pretty darn great! ;)

July’s Book Club Book: “The Light Between Oceans”

So, did everyone finish reading “The Light Between Oceans” and have a little time to recover?

All I have to say is that our August book (“The Secret Keeper”) better be happier!

"The Light Between Oceans"

I knew I was done for as soon as I met the main characters, Izzy (really!??) and Tom.  However, despite the UBER depressing story of love, lies, deception and parenting, I truly liked this tale.  The details about Australia were compelling, the narration about life as a lighthouse keeper was interesting, the tale of baby Lucy was heart-wrenching and I could not put the book down.

However, I was literally sobbing at the end.  I was snorting-alone-on-the-couch-style crying.  A bit intense!

I especially loved the tender moments between Tom and Lucy and the description of their beautiful connection.  Also, I loved to see how the resolution of the tale worked out.  Don’t worry, I won’t spoil any more!

What did you think? Also, how beautiful was the cover art?

June’s Book Club Book: “And the Mountains Echoed” by Khaled Hosseini

Screen Shot 2013-07-08 at 8.13.26 PMJune’s Book Club pick was “And the Mountains Echoed” by Khaled Hosseini, author of “The Kite Runner” and “A Thousand Splendid Suns”.  The book was set in Afghanistan, just as his others were, and told the tragic tale of the interwoven lives of several people living in the transitional years before, during and after the Taliban in Afghanistan.  The story was EXTREMELY sad, the book club was a little up in arms about reading such a depressing book (sorry girls!), but Hosseini writes so poignantly and with such talent, that the terrible tale of others disaster and misfortune is still a compelling tale.  We all cried, right?  I hope so.


I always enjoy a story that has the “Crash movie effect”.  In other words, everyone’s lives are interconnected and woven in such a complicated and interrelated plot.  In the end, the sad tales of one’s life are related so closely to the plot of another and it is so very intriguing  to me at least!

What did you guys think?

Join our book club here: 13 in 2013 on Facebook.

Next up, “The Light Between Oceans” for July.  (It’s realllllllly good!)


Also, have you checked out this blog (Joy the Baker)?  She has a great round up of Book Club ideas and a collaborative summer reading list!  I love it.  We may have to continue this Book Club for years and years, to get through all of these books! :)



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.  I fear the self-help section of the library and often get giggly and immature about relationship books in general.  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.  In my high school Spanish classroom, I deal with a variety of personalities with an even more vast variety of backgrounds.  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.  With a standard of behavior, people (students) can learn how to accept their surroundings and work to achieve the standard set by that adult.  It’s all so intriguing!

What did you think, “book clubbers”?


Also, I loved the Book Club questions provided by the Normal Bar 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.  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!  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.  When people are of different religious backgrounds, they may still share the same perspective on issues that they consider important.  Also, spiritual feelings can be very different between people of the same religion *I have seen this a lot among Catholics!.  Political views are a little trickier in my opinion because people LOVE to talk about politics at dinner, parties, happy hours, etc.  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.  I sure hope not!

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

I do not.  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!

Book Club: “Gone Girl”

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl” rocked my scaredy-cat socks off! Almost every single “twenty-something” that I have asked has said something along the lines of “I couldn’t put it down” or “wow, it was addictive” in regards to this dysfunctional marriage murder thriller.
Read more here about what the New York Times has to say about it.

What do you think, fellow “book clubbers”? And anyone else who has read it?!

Here’s my take:
I liked the action and the twisted relationship and plot surprises. However, I was not able to leave a lot of the description in the book. I’ve always had a wild imagination and some of the gory details made me literally shiver for days. (I’m a weenie.)

I have one more complaint… I’d say that this book has “DaVinci Code” syndrome. What I mean by that is that it seemed to be written as an intended future screenplay and not as a good old fashioned honest book. While many books do end up as films, I don’t necessarily think that they have to be written as such. Otherwise, it was a great thriller! (It will make a great movie someday!!)

Book Club: “Flight Behavior”

Flight Behavior by Barbara KingsolverI’m going to have to admit to you Book Club ladies, that I cannot, for the life of me, get through Flight Behavior! I think the details about the butterflies are super interesting but I am getting lost in all of the description. I will keep trying, promise!

I tried to read “Poisonwood Bible” last summer and had the same experience. I remember liking the characters and the idea of the book, but struggling with all of the details. Barbara Kingsolver, help me out!

What do you ladies think!?

Here’s the NY Times review, if you’d like to take a look.

Off to read more…


Book Club: “Sweet Tooth”

The Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan


Ok book clubbers, what did you think of our February pick by Kate?  “Sweet Tooth” by Ian McEwan was a good read that got EXCELLENT at the end.  Just in time, because I was a little bored and distracted during the middle, but I am easily distracted.

What did you gals think?

I loved the ending so much!!!!

Next month’s book is entitled “Flight Behavior” by Barbara Kingsolver (thanks Helen!).

Happy reading gals! :)

Book club…book #1: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Book club, it’s time to chat…

What did you think of our first read? Tell me here in the comments section!!

I loved the “Potato Peel Pie Society” so much I am sure I will read it again someday!

The best part of the book to me was the character development. I felt, while reading, like I had a whole new set of friends in Scotland.

Also, the style of the writing was so easy to read. I loved reading the letters back and forth because it didn’t feel like a chore to complete a chapter if I was tired of reading, I could just finish a letter and be done.

That being said, I could not put the book down!!!! I just Loved it! 5/5 stars!