Tuesday, March 26, 2024

The Book of Delights: Essays

Author: Ross Gay

Who Picked the Book: Lindsay

One-sentence summary: A collection of essays written daily with the purpose of finding and elaborating on delights found in everyday life.

B.A.D. Girls Book Rating: 7

Our favorite thing about it: It's fun and interesting to read about where others find daily delight.

Our least favorite thing about it: The writing style could be meandering at times. 

Main Topics of Discussion: Bathroom breaks (!), Daily Practices, Food, Gratitude vs Delight

Our favorite quote: "Our delight grows as we share it."

Notes: We all enjoyed this book. We identified with finding delight in every day. Especially as a purposeful practice. It was interesting to see delight from another person's perspective. The essays were mostly short, but the sentences sometimes wandered around before getting to the point. This book of essays was probably best enjoyed as an audiobook. We also appreciated how this habit could change your outlook on life in a positive way. Most of the delights were not huge, deep insights. Most were light hearted, ordinary delights, which we loved. There were some insights, but not too deep. 

Memorable Meeting Moments: This was Lindsay's meeting and she took us to Houlihan's for a St. Patrick's themed dinner. We had dinner and dessert there and then spent the rest of our meeting time at CARE church in the atrium. 

What We Ate: Scallops, Salmon, Chicken, Pot Roast, creme brûlée, flourless chocolate cake, and salted caramel gooey butter cake

Thursday, February 29, 2024

The Thursday Murder Club

Author: Richard Osman

Who Picked the Book: Dara

One-sentence summary: A group of eager friends in a retirement home come together weekly to solve murders, not expecting both the murder and the murderer to be so close to home. 

B.A.D. Girls Book Rating: 8

Our favorite thing about it: The characters and the story were delightful.

Our least favorite thing about it: Some parts were unrealistic and stretched belief. 

Main Topics of Discussion: Friendship, loyalty, love, humor, death and old age

Our favorite quote: "After a certain age, you can pretty much do whatever takes your fancy. No one tells you off, except for your doctors and your children."

Notes: We all really liked this book. The characters were so well-written and we liked getting to slowly understand their backgrounds and motivations. The group as a whole was a good collection of different personalities and was fun to read about. The humor and wit injected into the dialogue made for a great reading experience. We also loved that we didn't figure out the main mystery until it was revealed - that's always a plus when reading a mystery novel. It was interesting how the author used his own voice through Joyce's journal to fill us in on things. Most of us said we'd like to finish the series. 

Memorable Meeting Moments: We celebrated Amberly's birthday.

What We Ate: Josh made Pasta Bolognese for us along with Caprese with prosciutto and caesar salad. Dara made a chocolate bread pudding with salted caramel sauce for dessert along with raspberry sorbet sparkling cocktails! All of it was such a treat! 

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

The Wishing Game

Author: Meg Shaffer

Who Picked the Book: Christina

One-sentence summary: A young teacher's aide joins a reclusive author's game of riddles to win enough money to adopt a young boy. 

B.A.D. Girls Book Rating: 7

Our favorite thing about it: The story was unique and we liked the riddles.

Our least favorite thing about it: To those that listened to the audiobook - the main character came across very dramatic (annoyingly so). Those that read the book didn't feel that way. 

Main Topics of Discussion: Anxiety, Adoption, Childhood Trauma, Competition, Riddles

Our favorite quote: "Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards."

Notes: We liked this unique story, the imagery and the setting. This almost felt like a children's book, but in a good way. It was whimsical and imaginative and unrealistic at times. Some of us said it had a bit of a Wonka vibe - quirky and the competition aspect. Finding out the missing pieces to the characters' backstories was interesting, if a little too drawn out at times. This was a fun, interesting read with a nice, happy ending that we all enjoyed. 

Memorable Meeting Moments: It started snowing during our meeting and with the temps well below freezing already, we were concerned we'd have to cut our meeting short. But the majority of the precipitation happened overnight and we all woke up the next day to a dusting of snow. Stephanie also came straight from out of town to the meeting!

What We Ate: Christina hosted us and made a delicious tortelloni soup along with a salad, charcuterie board, garlic bread, and brownies for dessert. 

*Stephanie was there too, but is not pictured. Sorry, Stephanie!

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Bright Lights, Big Christmas

Author: Mary Kay Andrews

Who Picked the Book: Stephanie

One-sentence summary: A brother and sister take up residence in their dilapidated camper on a street corner in New York City to sell their family farm's Christmas trees, relying on the kindness of the nearby residents to get them through the month.  

B.A.D. Girls Book Rating: 7

Our favorite thing about it: A very fun, quick and charming read.

Our least favorite thing about it: Some of it was very unrealistic.

Main Topics of Discussion: Romance, villains, cleanliness, characters, family dynamics

Our favorite quote: "Now get out of your own way. If you have a dream to make art for a living, do that. With all the passion and energy you possess. Everything else will follow."

Notes: We all really enjoyed reading this cute and fun story set during Christmas time. We discovered that we like reading "Christmas" novels during Christmas time. It's fun! And overall, this story was great. If we want to get picky, we could say that the romance was very rushed (like, more than normal - they never even had a real date, yet were professing love at the end), the "bad" guys were kind of underdeveloped, the makeout sessions took place when Kerry hadn't showered in days (ewww), and there was a shocking lack of bathroom facilities for the middle of the night (and all other times). However, the characters that were developed were interesting. And the story that unfolded about Heinz was interesting and sweet. In fact, the romance storyline may not have been needed at all - it really didn't even take center stage, which is why it seemed rushed and lacking. Is this the greatest book ever written? No. Did we enjoy it and would we recommend it? Yes and yes.  

Memorable Meeting Moments: This was our Christmas meeting so we did ALL the things. Stephanie took us to Wildwood at Firewheel for dinner. Then we went back to her house for gifts, the Jeopardy game, book discussion, dessert charcuterie/fondue, and painting Santa and Rudolph masks. 

What We Ate: Stephanie took us to Wildwood at Firewheel for dinner  - most of us had the Pecan Crusted Chicken and we all shared an order of the mac and cheese. We had some amazing appetizers that we shared as well: meatballs, smoked cauliflower florets, and Dragon Dip (cheese dip). We had an amazing dessert charcuterie/fondue board for dessert at Stephanie's house with festive cocktails. 

Sunday, November 19, 2023

Black Cake

Author: Charmaine Wilkerson

Who Picked the Book: Amberly

One-sentence summary: A woman reveals her complicated and secret past to her children after her death.

B.A.D. Girls Book Rating: 8

Our favorite thing about it: This was a really good, engaging story.

Our least favorite thing about it: There were a few plot points that stretched reality a bit.

Main Topics of Discussion: Family, Truth, Secrets, Adoption, Abandonment

Our favorite quote: "And this is what I need you two to understand: You have always known who I am. Who I am is your mother. This is the truest part of me."

Notes: We really enjoyed reading this book, and that is one of the most important things to us! It was a good story, with a unique and vivid setting. We loved learning more about the island culture and the black cake (which none of us had heard of before). We were interested in the Chinese history in the Caribbean Islands - something else we knew little about. 

Overall we enjoyed how the story unfolded slowly. Some of the things that were revealed at the end seemed like they could have been revealed earlier - the cause of Covey's death, for one. Many times we wished characters would have taken different actions (Covey's father taking her and leaving the island vs. selling her to Little Man), but these things were fairly easy to overlook in service to the broader plot. 

We talked a lot about secrets and abandonment since those were two large themes. Many of us were also surprised by the big reveal at the end - who had really killed Little Man. It was nice to not be able to guess that (for some of us!). 

Memorable Meeting Moments: We watched the first episode of the Hulu series, Black Cake, based on the book. It was fun and interesting to see what they changed for the series. 

What We Ate: Amberly ordered several pizzas for us to try from a new pizza place, Dough Gourmet Pizza. We liked them all! She also had popcorn and an elaborate candy bar set up for us! And finally, she had ordered an authentic black cake for us to try! It was surprisingly good - dense and moist from the soaked and pureed fruit. However, some of us did not like the unique taste. But what fun to try the book's namesake!

Monday, October 23, 2023

City of Girls

Author: Elizabeth Gilbert

Who Picked the Book: Rachel

One-sentence summary:  A young woman makes mistakes, grows up, and finds a life for herself in New York City before, during, and after WWII in unconventional, but deeply satisfying ways.

B.A.D. Girls Book Rating: 8

Our favorite thing about it: We loved the story and the unique characters - and the poignant way the story was told.

Our least favorite thing about it: Having to read some of the harsh things that happened to the main character.

Main Topics of Discussion: Friendship, Family, Shame, Fashion, Love

Our favorite quote: "At some point in a woman’s life, she just gets tired of being ashamed all the time. After that, she is free to become whoever she truly is."

Notes: We all liked this book very much. We enjoyed reading it and discussing it. We didn't have much to pick apart, but we did discuss a few things that had us thinking:  1) how realistic it was for Vivian's parents to send her to NYC in the first place (with an aunt they didn't approve of), 2) why Peg's reaction to Vivian running away from Frank was so strong, 3) how many things had to converge at one time for Vivian to make her "big mistake." Ultimately, we really enjoyed discussing the plot and the very well fleshed-out characters, who were so unique we could really picture them. We thought Gilbert had a deft hand at writing - this was a meaningful and fun story to read. 

Memorable Meeting Moments: We celebrated Lindsay's birthday and we received our Colorado photo books. 

What We Ate: Rachel took us to Hopdoddy Burger Bar for burgers, fries, and shakes. Then, we returned to her house for tea and brownies and the rest of our meeting.