Have I told y'all about my book group? It's only the best ever. Desmama and I started it back in 2007 and then I mourned its absence in my life after I got married and lived too far away. My sister Jenny did pour into my wounded bosom the balm of sisterly consolation, however. (Translation: she let me join her awesome book group.) I returned the favor during her brief stint in Logan by sending her to mine.
Only then I moved back to Cache Valley (why hello again, Smell of Cows!) and one of the things I was most excited about was getting back together with these ladies. It's such a great group. People have come in and out but this great core is still there. We've got single ladies (aaaand cue Beyonce, wow am I current), married ones, Mormons, not-Mormons, SAHMs, working girls (no, not that kind), liberals, conservatives, and everyone is just lovely. It would be great to find a lesbian and a woman of color to really round us out, but this is Cache Valley. There's only so much to work with.
I hosted in January, because we were supposed to read I am Half-Sick of Shadows during the month of December. And now we know not to do that again. Trying to read a book during the holidays, even a light page-turning Christmas mystery about English people, is just a dumb idea. It was probably my idea, which explains the dumb.
Because I was in charge of the food, I decided to make a cake. I did not choose the cake featured in the book, because when I looked it up I realized that like many other English desserts (bless them) the one the de Luce family ate suffered from some kind of inferiority/rationing complex. "If we add raisins and a pinch of sugar to bread we can call it cake! Lovely!" (No, no you can't.)
I made a pound cake instead. I made it from scratch after choosing the best recipe I could find. I put love into that cake. I wiped down the inside of the pan with butter and Pam. It was to be served with fresh blueberries and cream whipped by me. And here's how it turned out:
I texted Jenny to moan about the cake, and she suggested that I take the part that stayed in the pan and, like, glue it to the rest of the cake with frosting.
Here was my response to that:
|this was after I ate half the crumbs with my hands because I was just that mad|
So much for my cake. The ladies just carried on and ate mangled cake with blueberries and cream, much as an aristocratic English family fallen on hard times would have done (except their cake really would have been just bread.)
We also brought our book ideas for this year. Last year I suggested a spreadsheet voting system (because you know I love me a spreadsheet). I created a Google Drive document with all the suggested titles and a link to the Amazon description/reviews, plus notes about the title's availability. (Some suggestions turn out to be out of print, others have book club sets at local libraries or are really cheap on Kindle.) And, of course, spaces for each member to put an "X" next to the titles they would like to read. People have about a week to decide which books they are most interested in and vote for 11 of them. I count up the votes for each book and the top 11 are our picks. Then people shout out for the month & book they'd like to host (usually this ends up being the person who suggested the title in the first place).
Considering how complicated I made it, I think it's worked out pretty well and we've ended up with a good lineup, last year and this year. Each book has several people who really want to read it. And if a book turns out to be a dud then it's not like one person will feel responsible. A bunch of people will!
Here is what we'll be reading in 2014
- Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
- The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles
- The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
- How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn
- A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans
- My Year with Eleanor: a Memoir by Noelle Hancock
- Wonder by R. J. Palacio
- Kitchen Counter Cooking School: How a Few Simple Lessons Transformed Nine Culinary Novices into Fearless Home Cooks by Kathleen Flinn
- USU Common Literature Experience 2014 pick (they haven't announced it yet)
- The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
- Unbroken by Laura Hillebrand
And here are a few suggestions that didn't get enough votes but I'm adding them all to my Goodreads list.
- The Hundred-foot Journey
- Tale for the Time Being
- Life after Life
- A Winter's Tale
- The Homecoming of Samuel Lake
- Navigating Early
- Tiny Beautiful Things
- Lean In
- Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength
Anybody else want to add what you'll be reading with your group?