Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Native

Author: Kaitlin Curtice

One-sentence summary: Kaitlin wrestles with her Native and European heritages as she reconnects with a culture that remained relatively unknown to her until adulthood.

B.A.D. Girls Book Rating: 8

Our favorite thing about it: It was so good to read experiences from this point of view and learn some things.

Our least favorite thing about it: Some parts and ideas were repetitive.

Main Topics of Discussion: Decolonization, Indigenous People, White Supremacy, History

Our favorite quote: “Healing cannot happen unless we honestly ask how we came to be. We cannot heal until we discover the wound, and naming our trauma is part of that process.”

Notes: We universally enjoyed this book. In places, it was incredibly eye-opening. If we had any criticism (and it is scarce), it would be that the premise of the book – to alert people to the plight of the native tribes, is something we are already aware of (not that we can’t learn more), so we were interested in her diving even deeper. However, in making people aware of these issues, she does an excellent job. We did think that some things got repetitive by the end. We really enjoyed her personal stories and experiences – that is what brings this book alive, in our opinion. Her unique lens of reexamining her Christian upbringing was interesting too. We would definitely recommend anyone read this book.

Memorable Meeting Moments: We socially distanced in Lindsay’s beautiful back yard for this meeting. Unfortunately our outdoor, in-person meeting got cut short by extreme thunderstorms (we heard the sirens go off). However, we continued our meeting via FB messenger video when we all got safely home. An interesting night for sure!

What We Ate: We all brought our own food to the meeting.





Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Don't Overthink It

Author:  Anne Bogel 

One-sentence summary: Anne explains all the ways we overthink things and then gives practical steps to take to curb that kind of unproductive thinking cycle. 

B.A.D. Girls Book Rating:  

Our favorite thing about it: Lots of great take-aways. 

Our least favorite thing about it:  Lots did not apply to us. 

Main Topics of Discussion: Money, Food, Clothes, Planning, Ritual 

Our favorite quote: “The worst that can happen isn’t that bad. So I just pick something.” 

Notes:  Anne does a fabulous job writing this book. It does start off a little slow in our opinion, but she offers incredibly practical advice for interrupting and stopping overthinking. These techniques really work. How do we know? Because at least half of our group are not over thinkers – and we already do these things automatically. But because of that, at least half of us did not find this book earth-shattering. It is well-written and will undoubtedly be useful to those who need it. It provides a good explanation of all the ways we overthink – and some of them are not obvious. And then, good common-sense and thought-provoking ways to tackle that overthinking. Those of us that listened to the audiobook had trouble because of Anne’s “soothing” voice and volume. Reading was easier! 

Memorable Meeting Moments: This was Dara’s book choice, but we met at Rachel’s house so we could have our second social-distanced meeting outside on her patio. Dara picked up MOD Pizzas and No-Name Cakes for all of us. She also brought some fun drinks. 

What We Ate:  Individual MOD Pizzas and No-Name Cakes for dessert





Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Untamed

Author:  Glennon Melton 

One-sentence summary: Glennon delivers in this memoir on the promise of becoming her true self and modeling how we can all do the same. 

B.A.D. Girls Book Rating:  

Our favorite thing about it: Glennon practically showers us with naked truth and it is so refreshing. 

Our least favorite thing about it:  Some parts sounded prescriptive when we felt they reflected her particular experience – it’s a very minor quibble. 

Main Topics of Discussion: Family Dynamics, Selfishness, Motherhood, Relationships, Growing Up 

Our favorite quote: “This life is mine alone. So I have stopped asking people for directions to places they’ve never been.” 

Notes:  If the amount of text we highlighted is any indication, we drank in this book and loved it. Sure, there were parts that stretched us and made us think – also a good thing. And yes, there were a couple of minor parts that we questioned or didn’t line up with our experiences, but in the grand scheme of the message of the book, these fade into the background. We particularly took away: 

  1. Points about child/mother relationships – from BOTH sides. We learned a lot about seeing our own children and allowing them to live their own lives and also saw mirrored our own relationships with our parents/mothers as it relates to this.
  2. We loved the short, to-the-point chapters. Nothing packs a punch like using just the right amount of words to say what you want to say. It was great. 

Memorable Meeting Moments: This was our first socially-distanced meeting. We decided to meet in the school parking lot of Christina’s neighborhood elementary school. We all brought our camping chairs and our dinner and made a large circle, staying more than 6 feet apart at all times! It was so fun to be with each other and it made our discussion so much easier. We did get attacked by June bugs when the sun went down, though. This was also Stephanie’s birthday month – some of us brought physical cards, but we all did e-gifts. We would usually have done something BIG for a 40th birthday, but nothing is open! We will celebrate Stephanie properly in the future sometime! 

What We Ate:  Everyone brought their own meal and drink. We had pizza, burritos, burgers, etc.





Monday, March 30, 2020

The Breakout

Author:   Rachelle Harp 

One-sentence summary:  A young woman who has been raised by her government begins to question the very foundations of her society. 

B.A.D. Girls Book Rating:  7 

Our favorite thing about it:  Fun, fast story. 

Our least favorite thing about it: Everything felt rushed – character development, world building, etc. 

Main Topics of Discussion: YA Format, World Building, Character Development, Plot 

Our favorite quote: “Sometimes the compass can lead you where you want to go…other times, where you didn’t know you needed to be.” 

Notes:  We liked and enjoyed this story, thus our unanimous 7 rating – but we felt like lots of things could have been improved. 

  1. Both the beginning (the setup) and the ending (climax + cliffhanger) seemed rushed. The middle of the book slows down just enough for us to begin to know the characters and the world they inhabit.
  2. Similar to #1, the world-building could have been better. Because we felt it was a bit rushed, we had so many questions. We wanted more details and a more fully-developed world. We know it’s the first book in a series so more details are sure to follow, but usually that first book sets things up pretty well.
  3. Likewise, we felt that all of the characters could have benefitted from more and deeper development. We really wanted more here.
  4. And also related to the above, the relationships between Trina and Kalen and Trina and Jarek were both woefully inadequate. We needed more connection on both to feel like there was anything at stake in the story. 

Memorable Meeting Moments: We met via Google Hangout since the “stay at home” orders are in full effect due to the pandemic of COVID-19. We missed eating together and getting to see each other in person. However, we made the video meeting work this month! 

What We Ate: We didn’t eat together this time. We all ate before the call. 




Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Know My Name

Author:  Chanel Miller

One-sentence summary:  A woman tells her story of being raped while unconscious and how that event and the following trial impacted her life. 

B.A.D. Girls Book Rating:  9 

Our favorite thing about it:  Such a great message and important point of view. 

Our least favorite thing about it:  Some of the writing style was hard to read and understand. 

Main Topics of Discussion:  Rape, Victimhood, Legal System, Patriarchy, Justice, Trauma, Family, Sexuality 

Our favorite quote:In fact I need you to know it was all true. The friendly guy who helps you move and assists senior citizens in the pool is the same guy who assaulted me. One person can be capable of both. Society often fails to wrap its head around the fact that these truths often coexist, they are not mutually exclusive. Bad qualities can hide inside a good person. That's the terrifying part. 

Notes:   We universally liked this book. It was hard material, but what Chanel says is so important and poignant. We are so glad she has this opportunity to tell her story – through the trial and beyond. It’s hard to say we “enjoyed” this book because of the subject matter, but we were mentally high fiving her when she made excellent point after excellent point about rape and victims and justice. It was all so good. In fact, it’s basically impossible to pick just ONE quote that we loved – there are so many. Here are some of the things we discussed: 

  1. There was lots of detail to her story. Sometimes it felt like too much and unnecessary. However, we recognize this is HER story and these details are very central and important to her.
  2. Some of the writing style was distracting at times – staccato sentences, run ons, etc. Again, we understand that these were used to show her confusion and emotion at any given time. We understand the literary purpose, but they were still hard to read.
  3. The insight into the victim’s point of view of the whole legal process – especially the trial – was fascinating and infuriating. We’re so glad she chronicled it here.
  4. It was telling how this trauma affected her whole life – so many aspects you wouldn’t think about unless you had gone through it. We learned so much.
  5. This should be required reading for everyone. 

Memorable Meeting Moments:  We at at the Biscuit Bar and then went back to Rachel’s house for dessert and discussion. This was Amberly’s birthday month. 

What We Ate:  We all ordered various biscuit sandwiches, some very yummy cocktails, and we all shared several types of tots. It was all so good!









Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Molokai

Author: Alan Brennart

One-sentence summary: A child with leprosy is exiled to an island where she spends a good part of her life.

B.A.D. Girls Book Rating: 8

Our favorite thing about it: We loved learning about the history and some culture points.

Our least favorite thing about it: The fact that Catherine’s story wasn’t quite finished. It was left hanging, in our opinion.

Main Topics of Discussion: Exile, Shame, Resiliency, Hope, Suicide

Our favorite quote: “Fear is good. In the right degree it prevents us from making fools of ourselves. But in the wrong measure it prevents us from fully living. Fear is our boon companion but never our master.”

Notes: We all really enjoyed this story. It was engaging and easy to read. There was a lot of good history in there – a lot of which we were completely unaware of before reading this book. Here are some points we talked about:

1. The futility/necessity of exile
2. The stigma and shunning of leprosy victims and even their families.
3. The best surprise was the hope and resiliency the colony showed and cultivated in making their new lives and families.
4. They were able to have normal lives on the island away from the stigma that was always going to be present on the big island. This was the unexpected gift of exile.
5. The faith questioning that happened through Catherine was so interesting too. Definitely issues that were present then and still now.

Memorable Meeting Moments: We had a Hawaiian-style dinner at Amberly's house. This was our first meeting at her house since her return from China. It was also Rachel’s birthday month.

What We Ate: We all ordered various biscuit sandwiches and several different tots, which we shared. We got some yummy cocktails too.










Monday, December 23, 2019

Not Counting Women and Children

Author: Megan McKenna

One-sentence summary: McKenna dives into several stories from the Bible to show how those not mentioned (usually women, children, etc) are actually integral to Jesus’s ministry and message.

B.A.D. Girls Book Rating: 5

Our favorite thing about it: There were several things she brought up about some stories that we had never thought about before.

Our least favorite thing about it: That it was very repetitive after the first story.

Main Topics of Discussion: Women, Jesus, Abortion, Writing Style, Poor

Our favorite quote: “Although individuals might make it out of poverty, groups, races, and peoples don’t.”

Notes: Well, this book wasn’t quite what we thought it would be. There were some good insights into the stories that were new to us, but the main message (taking care of the poor/outcasts in society IS the gospel) was not new to us, and the constant repetition of that message got really old, really fast. As in, right after the first story. Here are some of our thoughts:

1. The first chapter was good because the message was fresh. Every single chapter after that was more of the same. We skimmed a lot.

2. Sometimes the author would “speak” for God/Jesus and it sounded really definitive – like there could be no other way to see it. We didn’t love that for a reading of the Bible.

3. One point the author made about the Exodus story was actually interesting to us. We had never thought to ask what the men (who were not mentioned – which is telling because they usually are) were doing when the midwives refused to kill the baby boys. Were the men helping the midwives in their own ways? Were they killing the boys or not wanting to go against Egypt? We don’t know, obviously, but it IS an interesting question.

Memorable Meeting Moments: This was Lindsay’s meeting and she took us to Burger Island for dinner. We met back at Dara’s house for the rest of our meeting and dessert from Rachel. We also exchanged gifts (this was "candle year") and played our Jeopardy game. Dara got all the "quotes" questions correct!

What We Ate: Fried Pickles, Green Beans, Burgers! And Reese’s Poke Cake for dessert.