Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Meeting of November 17th 2008


Our meeting was held at Michèle's home and the book discussed was "A Thousand Splendid Suns" by Khaled Hosseini. This is the second book by this author that we have read. Almost all members were present, Betty, Carla, Colette, Janet, Joan, Jolene, Linda, Michèle and Shirley.  
Khaled Hosseini was born in Kabul in 1965. He left Afghanistan with his family in 1976 when his father,  a diplomat was posted to Paris. Because of the communist coup in 1978, they were not able to return and immigrated to the United States, specifically California in 1980.  He went on to Medical School at the University of California in San Diego and graduated in 1993. He wrote "The Kite Runner" while still practicing medicine. Even though he was no longer practicing when he wrote "A Thousand Splendid Suns", it took him longer to write this book. He had difficulty writing from a woman's perspective until he decided to just write in their characters simply as people.   
The book was well liked by all members of the Book Club who were present.  Many members felt that the strength of the book is its character development and the family interactions. Mr. Hosseini himself says that his books are about families.  
Many members found that the book was a very sad story but that there was almost always a tiny light of hope. Miriam in particular touched many members, the sacrifices she made, the humiliation she must have felt when Laila arrived, a second wife and the courage it must have taken to help protect Laila and her children.  
We had a discussion about the war in Afghanistan and Canada's involvement. Many members felt that the world could not abandon this country especially because of the plight of women and children under the Taliban.  
We also talked considerably about a woman's situation in a muslim community, the restrictions she must endure such as the veil or burka, the lack of support for education, the lack of respect.  Many members had stories of women they knew and their experience. 

We had a short discussion about the title of the book. The phrase "A Thousand Splendid Suns" comes from a poem by 17th century Persian poet Saib-e-Tabrizi and is titled Kabul. The phrase taken from the poem is: 
"One could not count the moons that shiver on her roofs
And the Thousand Splendid Suns that hide behind her wall"

The whole poem can be found on Wikipedia.  Some members wondered if the suns represented the women hidden behind walls. Some thought it might be hope.

It was a great discussion as usual including not only the book and storyline but also politics and current issues. 

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Meeting of October 27, 2008


We met at Joan's home and discussed the film, "Last King of Scotland" based on the book of the same title by author Giles Foden. Thank you to Joan for hosting this evening's meeting. The cheese plate was especially appreciated. We had almost full attendance, Beth, Betty, Carla, Colette, Linda, Janet, Joan, Jolene, Shirley and myself Michèle.

The movie is a fictionalized version of Idi Amin's rule as dictator in Uganda. General Amin is played by Forest Whitaker. It is based around the story of a young scottish doctor, Nicholas Garrigan, played by James McAvoy who becomes Idi Amin's personal physician.

Most members thought the film was well done though many visual errors were apparent in the movie. All members felt that Forest Whitaker was excellent and portrayed Amin's paranoia very well. Some members saw a correlation to the rise of Hitler, the charisma that mesmerized the population. Some members saw a correlation to MacBeth, King of Scotland and very paranoid. Members also felt that James McAvoy played Dr. Garrigan well as a naive easily influenced young man.

This month's choice generated a particularly good discussion. It is very apparent that this is a serious book club! Many members had very thoughtful and insightful comments. Two members had read the book even though the only requirement was viewing the movie. The plot and characters were quite different from the movie itself. One member did research on the British Empire and the impact of the British rule and quick withdrawal from African colonies. One member watched the director's version that gave background information on what scenes are fictional and what scenes are based on facts. There was a good discussion about the so-called benevolent but domineering and racist British rule that did not properly prepare native leaders for independence.

All members felt that this was a good choice generating a lot of discussion and thoughtful insight. Thank you Linda and thank you also to MJ.


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Meeting of September 29, 2008


We met at Colette's home. Thank you Colette for great hors d'oeuvres and a great choice of wines! Thanks to Dan for a wonderful wild blueberry pie. Members present were Beth, Carla, Colette, Janet, Jolene, Linda, Michèle and Shirley.

The book discussed, The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger was Carla's choice. 

Ms. Niffenegger is a professor in Fine Arts at Columbia College Chicago Center for Book and Paper Arts. This is her first novel that took her 4.5 years to write.  

Reaction to the book was mixed. Some members very much enjoyed the book and others much less. Some had difficulty following the timeline of the story with Henry moving back and forth in time.  One member felt like she was reading a textbook.  

Carla and others felt that there is significant character development. We know what type of music they enjoy, what food they prefer. There is considerable description of their environment, where they live, the decor, etc. 

Janet liked that it portrayed a feeling of longing. We often have feelings of longing for past experiences and emotions. It also reminded her of dreaming and dreams we may have of close family members who are no longer with us. 

Colette felt that there was portrayal of "loss of love". Ingrid cannot deal with the loss of Henry's love and commits suicide. Henry's father Richard is unable to move on after the death of his wife.  Colette felt the book did not portray a message of hope, that ultimately all love is lost in the end. 

However, Michèle pointed out that the ending gives the impression that Henry comes to get Clare to continue their life and love in the afterlife. 

Though feelings about the book were decidedly mixed, all felt that it was an interesting concept.  For those who enjoy Time Travel stories, Beth suggested, the movie, Somewhere in Time with Jayne Seymour and Christopher Reeves and the book by Robert Nathan or movie directed by David O. Selznick Portrait of Jennie


Monday, July 21, 2008

Meeting of June 23, 2008



We met Jolene's home last night for our final evening before the summer hiatus.  The book was Suite française by Irène Némirovsky, Colette's choice.
Colette summarized details about the author's family life, originally as a refugee from Moscow during the Russian Revolution.  She had a good relationship with her father but not her mother.  Ms. Némirovsky, a proflic and famous writer from an early age, married in 1926 and had 2 daughters.  Because of her Jewish background, she was arrested in 1942 and died in a prison camp a month later of typhus.  Her husband died in a gas chamber, and her nanny escaped with the children.  Suite française was published by daughter Denise some 64 years after being written, having been kept closed for a long time because the family mistakenly thought it was a diary too painful to be read.  The author received an award posthumously.  Many of these details are included in Appendix 2 and the prefaces in the book itself.
Most of the club ladies liked the book, though  there was some some ambivalence, especially on the part of a few who could not attend in person but gave me their comments.  We found it interesting that the author did not write about the events of WWII from her own Jewish perspective, but was successful in portraying the thoughts of so many others, including a memorable scene involving a cat.  The class consciousness in France was a topic of discussion, as was the flight from Paris of so many when the German occupation began.  For Jolene personally, the book gave her a context for her own childhood experiences on a Canadian Air Force base in post-war Germany.  The appendices also reinforced her feeling that family letters that have been preserved from those days are of real value in capturing history through the eyes of everyday people. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Meeting of May 26th, 2008



Hi all. We met at Shirley's last night and were treated to wonderful hors d'oeuvres and a strawberry dessert, all in an African ambiance in honour of the book. Thanks for going the extra mile yet again, Shirley!
We discussed Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Shirley's choice at the recommendation of Linda's boss. Shirley gave us some background on the author. Ms. Ali apparently speaks 6 languages, has also written Caged Virgin, and has won numerous awards. Her life is still in danger as a result of her anti-Islamic stance and her speaking out against violence against women. A website with more information is http://www.aei.org/ (American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research in Washington, D.C.). Shirley also recommends that we view a 10-minute movie, made with Theo VanGogh, who was later murdered for his work. See http://www.youtube.com/ to view Submission: Part One. Shirley points out that the tone of voice in the movie is totally wrong.
All the ladies found the book great, and the discussion was long and lively. Beth pointed out that the theme is "It is not tolerant to tolerate intolerance." Carla thought the read so compelling that she even went on to read the Quran, which she found revealing and inconsistent. Some of the ladies were uncomfortable and confused by the book, since it didn't mesh well with their experience of Muslims in everyday life. In fairness, Ali does not suggest that all Muslims are violent--some are quite progressive. We talked about the Arabization (sp?) of Islam as part of the problem, and felt that silence on matters of violence is tantamount to being an accomplice to injustice. In essence, we all feel that as Canadians, so comfortable with tolerance of minorities, it is still important that citizens adhere to the laws of the land. The issues should not be seen as racial and cultural, but as a part and parcel of living in a liberal democracy.

Janet's comments:
I really enjoyed this book. I did google the author and saw the vitriolic hatred against her by many in the Muslim community. For those interested in the larger political issues, I recommend Madeleine Albright’s book, The Mighty and the Almighty. She was the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in the Clinton government in the US . She argues cogently that it is very important to support moderate Muslims in order to bring and maintain global peace. Moderate Muslims are often threatened by extremists. But there are many forms of Islam, like there are many forms of Christianity.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Meeting of April 28th , 2008

Colette, Beth, Carla, Jolene and Linda discussed John Berendt's City of Falling Angels, about Venice just after the Fenice Opera House was burned down in 1996. Beth had suggested the book after it had been given to her by her father-in-law, an avid opera-goer who has been to the Fenice. Beth pointed out that the author is based in New York but stayed in Venice off and on for 9 years until 2005. His writing is in the style of Truman Capote and Tom Wolfe, labelled "new journalism" or "literary non-fiction." Berendt was drawn to Venice in the off-season and liked the city's magical beauty and unreality. He also apparently enjoyed investigating the mystery of the Fenice fire, considering the possibilities of arson, negligence, an Act of God, and even the sinister work of the Mafia. (Note that in the end, two electricians were found guilty of arson, and the one who had fled the country was apparently arrested in Mexico last year.) Berendt says that the feedback he gets about his writing is that people are drawn to his eccentric characters, whom he sees as artists. Long time Book Clubbers may remember discussing his Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil several years ago.
Most of the ladies liked the book because of characters like the brilliant glass maker Seguso and because of the sense of history, detailed in both the architecture and city life of Venice and in the likes of famous people such as Ezra Pound. I ( Jolene) was in the minority, finding the book boring overall, gossipy in nature. I did like the Italian memories the book revived, as the photos of my childhood gave proof. :)
Beth concluded by saying that she herself found the book uneven, with Berendt's depiction of places like the Barbero Palace well done, on the one hand, but his failure to pull all the pieces of the narrative together, a drawback on the other hand. The evening ended with a clip from the film version of Wings of the Dove by Henry James, a turn-of-the-century period piece shot in 1997 in the Barbero, where James himself had been staying.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Meeting of March 31st, 2008

The meeting was held at Beth’s home. Thank you Beth for a warm reception and wonderful goodies and wine! We had the largest attendance in a long time, nine members were present. Along with Beth and Michèle, Betty, Carla, Collette, Joan, Jolene, Linda and Shirley were present. We also received written comments from Janet.
The book discussed at this meeting was Life of Pi by Yann Martel, Jolene’s choice. The novel won the Mann Booker Prize in 2002. Mr. Martel is a Canadian who was born in Spain in 1963 to Canadian diplomats. He received an undergraduate degree in Philosophy from Trent University in Peterborough. Life of Pi is his second book. Martel also publishes a letter to Prime Minister Harper every two weeks with a book suggestion for him to read. The letters and the list of books that have been suggested are on the website What is Stephen Harper reading .
Most members thought that the book is well written and that Martel is an excellent storyteller. Some members had read the book twice and found it more enjoyable the second time. Only some however, found the book enjoyable. The story of a teenage Indian boy named Piscine (Pi) Molitor Patel, begins with a description of his life in the Pondicherry region of India, his family, the family zoo his father manages and Piscine’s interest in several religions. Pi’s parents decide to immigrate to Canada and leave on a ship with a menagerie of animals. When the ship sinks, Pi is the only survivor along with a zebra, a hyena, an orangutan and a Bengal tiger. The rest of the story is one of survival on the lifeboat.
Beth told us about a radio interview she heard with Martel and how he came to write this book. He had traveled to India and had a bit of a writing block while trying to write another book. A lot of what he said is in the preface of the book and Beth found it important to read before reading the book.
Several members wondered if the story as Pi told it when he was finally rescued was real or if he used his imagination as a coping mechanism for survival, a way to keep him alive a bit like the role of the basketball in the film Castaway. When he is interviewed by the Japanese owners of the ship that sank, he tells two stories and challenges them to decide which is the real story. Carla felt that the story and the book stayed with you, though it was a fairly easy read, is quite thought provoking.
There was also some discussion on the considerable knowledge this 16 year old boy had and whether it was credible that he would know so much about animals and religions. Carla thought he might be what we call an "old soul".
Janet saw it as an allegory. She sent us the following comment: “The story begins with Pi's journey of faith and at the end challenges the reader to either take it on faith or disbelieve. Of course, Martel means it to be an allegory of the journey of faith that we each must take. Yet in the end, it falls short as an allegory for there is no deeper truth.” . It certainly links the beginning of Pi’s life in India to his harrowing ordeal.
This book elicited considerable discussion and the evening was very interesting!
April’s meeting at Linda’s home is Beth choice City of Falling Angels by John Berendt on April 28th.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Meeting of February 25, 2008

The meeting was held at Michèle home. In attendance were Colette, Janet, Joan, Jolene, Linda and Shirley along with Michèle. The book this month was Unbowed, the autobiography of Wangari Maathai presented by Linda. She is the first African woman and environmentalist to win the Nobel Peace Prize that was awarded to her in 2004.
The book was enjoyed by all members present at the meeting. It has been many months since all liked the suggested book! All felt that Ms. Maathai's life has been inspirational. Many members noted her positive attitude and determination not to back down when she believed in her goal. She founded in 1977, the Green Belt Movement. In the first 10 years, the GBM planted over 20 million trees in Kenya alone. She has worked with mothers and strongly believed that every tree planted is significant and that each alone may be insignificant but the cumulative effect has a significant impact. She has given many women a goal and has empowered them to change their community.
Ms. Maathai's description of her childhood and of Kenya give's the reader the opportunity to learn about what Africa was like, what it is today, what is needed to become a developed continent. We also talked about what she had to sacrifice for the greater good, her family life and her health. She acknowledges throughout the book that the opportunity to study in the United States via the "Kennedy Airlift" gave her the confidence and knowledge she needed to stand up for what she believed further in her life.
Those who wish to read more about the Green Belt Movement can check the website. It has along with information about the Movement, ongoing articles about the present situation in Kenya.
As usual Jolene found the reference to the title of the book. In the Anchor Books 2006-07 soft-cover edition, it is on page 222. halfway through chapter 10. The actual quote is "The story of Freedom Corner did not end with my hospitalization or the dispersal of the mothers. We remained unbowed. The day after the police attach, many of the women, on their own, returned to Freedom Corner". The Webster dictionary defines the word "Unbowed" as 1. not bowed down; 2. not subdued. it is, in my opinion (Michèle) the perfect title for the autobiography of this woman!
The next meeting is March 31st, one week later than the normal 4th Monday of the month because of Easter. It will be at Beth's home. The book is Jolene's choice Life of Pi by Yann Martel.
April's meeting will be at Linda's home with Beth's choice of book, The City of Falling Angels by John Berendt. Those of you who enjoyed his first book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil will surely enjoy this book about Venice!
May's meeting will be at Shirley's home with Colette's choice, Suite Française by Irène Nemirovsky.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Meeting of January 28th 2008

Thank you to Janet for hosting our meeting. The hors d'oeuvres and blueberry pie were great. Especially appreciated was the service! Maybe your server would like a contract for future meetings Janet??
Linda, Shirley, Joan, Jolene, Michèle and of course Janet attended the meeting.
Each year at the January meeting, the Book Club gives out it's Academy Award to the member who recommended the book read in the previous calendar year that was most enjoyed by the members. City of Joy, recommended by Linda won this year. Congratulations Linda! Jolene bought a book as prize. There was also a runner-up prize but since no other book received more than one vote, we decided to save the runner-up prize for next year.
This meeting's book was Bay of Spirits by Farley Mowat. A Canadian born in Ontario, Mr. Mowat lived many years in the out posts of Newfoundland. He is well known for his books on wildlife and many of his books were written for children. He is a somewhat controversial author because of his views that he has clearly articulated on subjects such as the baby seal hunts or whale hunting in his books and in the press. Many Newfoundlanders are not appreciative of his opinions and have not enjoyed his description of personalities in this particular book and others.
The book Bay of Spirits is focused on life in the out ports. Through accounts of boat trips with Claire, his second wife over several summers and a few years in the 1960's he describes the out ports and their residents in quite colourful detail. His descriptive powers are excellent; we can easily imagine the houses perched on rocks. He is a great storyteller and some of us wondered how accurate his stories were, especially some of the sea escapades on his boat Happy Adventure.
We wondered how generous he was in comparison to how they were with him. Many of the residents in out ports he visited gave him food and help with his boat. He was quite evidently focused on himself and his causes.
Though the book has a subtitle A Love Story, and there is quite a bit about his relationship with Claire that he meets while still married to Frances, the book definitely has a political bent. Awareness of the over fishing and the destruction of the fishery came out in this book as did the baby seal issue and a definite dislike for Premier Joey Smallwood.
Most members enjoyed the book mainly because of Mr. Mowat's easy storytelling style.
We also talked about books we have enjoyed and about other lists of book. We talked about Yan Martel and the books he has been sending to Prime Minister Harper. There is even a website that describes the books and includes the letters Yan Martel has written to Mr. Harper.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Books and Meetings in 2008

January 28-

-discussing Bay of Spirits by Farley Mowat, Janet's choice at Janet's home (

February 25

-Linda's choice, Unbowed by Wangari Maathai at Michèle's home

March 31 -

- (please note--the 4th Monday is Easter Monday so we have moved the club date to March 31) Jolene's choice, Life of Pi by Yann Martel at Beth's home

April 28-

-Beth's choice, The City of Falling Angels by John Berendt at Linda's home

May 26

- Shirley’s choice, Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali at Shirley's home

June 23

- Colette’s choice, Suite Française by Irène Nemirovsky at Jolene’s home

September 29

- The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, Carla's choice at Colette's house

October 27

- discussing the movie (also available as a book), The Last King of Scotland, Linda's choice at Joan's house. (Linda has made the video available for summer viewing)

November 17

- A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, Michèle’s choice at Michèle’s home


Sunday, January 20, 2008

Books read in 2007 - Choose your favorite!

BOOK CLUB - 2007
 
January – City of Joy by Dominique Lapierre
The story concerns a polish priest living in West Bengal, India, Stephan Kovalski, who is trying to help and understand life in a Howrah slum (across the Hooghly river from Kolkata) called Anandnagar (City of Joy). Among its various protagonists is the rickshaw puller, Hasari Pal who becomes a central figure in the novel. Despite the abject poverty and injustice, the inhabitants of Anandnagar display an inscrutable acceptance and celebration of life - an attitude that humbles fate and dignifies life.
February - Home to Harmony by Philip Gulley
Come home to Harmony, Indiana, a peaceful slice of small-town America, as Sam Gardner, Harmony-born and raised, begins his inaugural year as pastor to a new flock of old friends, family members, and outrageous eccentrics -- in this unforgettable place where earth-shattering events rarely occur, but small life-altering ones happen daily.
March - The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
The book is the story of a 14-year-old girl who is raped and murdered. She tells her story from her personalized Heaven looking down as her family tries to cope with her death and her killer escapes the police.
April – State of Fear by Michael Crichton
State of Fear is a 2004 novel by Michael Crichton published by HarperCollins on December 7, 2004. Like most of his novels it is a techno-thriller, this time concerning eco-terrorists who attempt mass murder to support their views. The book contains many graphs and footnotes as well as two appendices and a twenty page bibliography.
Crichton, who spent 3 years studying the theme, included a statement of his own views on global climate change at the end of the book, saying that the cause, extent, and threat of climate change is largely unknown and unknowable. This has resulted in criticism by scientists as being inaccurate and misleading. He warns both sides of the global warming debate against the politicization of science. He provides an example of the disastrous combination of pseudo-science and good intentions, in the early 20th-century idea of eugenics. He finishes by endorsing the management of wilderness and the continuation of research into all aspects of the Earth's environment.
May - The Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys

Wide Sargasso Sea is a 1966 postcolonial parallel novel by Caribbean-born author Jean Rhys. After many years of living in obscurity since her last work, Good Morning, Midnight, was published in 1939, Wide Sargasso Sea put Rhys into the limelight once more and became her most successful novel.
The novel acts as a prequel to Charlotte Brontë's famous 1847 novel Jane Eyre. It is the story of the first Mrs Rochester, Antoinette (Bertha) Mason, a white Creole heiress, from the time of her youth in the Caribbean to her unhappy marriage and relocation to England. Caught in an oppressive patriarchal society in which she belongs neither to the white Europeans nor the black Jamaicans, Rhys' novel re-imagines Brontë's devilish madwoman in the attic. As with many postcolonial works, the novel deals largely with the themes of racial inequality and the harshness of displacement and assimilation.
June - Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures by Vincent  Lam
Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures welcomes readers into a world where the most mundane events can quickly become life or death. By following four young medical students and physicians – Ming, Fitz, Sri and Chen – this debut collection from 2006 Scotiabank Giller Prize winner Vincent Lam is a riveting, eye-opening account of what it means to be a doctor. Deftly navigating his way through 12 interwoven short stories, the author explores the characters’ relationships with each other, their patients, and their careers. Lam draws on his own experience as an emergency room physician and shares an insider’s perspective on the fears, frustrations, and responsibilities linked with one of society’s most highly regarded occupations.
September – The Memory Keepers daughter by Kim Edwards
Award-winning writer Kim Edwards's The Memory Keeper's Daughter is a brilliantly crafted family drama that explores every mother's silent fear: what would happen if you lost your child and she grew up without you?
On a winter night in 1964, Dr. David Henry is forced by a blizzard to deliver his own twins. His son, born first, is perfectly healthy. Yet when his daughter is born, he sees immediately that she has Down's syndrome. Rationalizing it as a need to protect Norah, his wife, he makes a split second decision that will alter all of their lives forever. He asks his nurse to take the baby away to an institution and never to reveal the secret. But Caroline, the nurse, cannot leave the infant. Instead, she disappears into another city to raise the child herself. So begins this beautifully told story that unfolds over a quarter of a century in which these two families, ignorant of each other, are yet bound by David Henry's fateful decision that long-ago winter night.
October - Perfume--the Story of a Murderer by Patrick Suskind,
An international bestseller, set in 18th century France, Perfume relates the story of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, "one of the most gifted and abominable personages in an era that knew no lack of gifted and abominable personages".
Born lacking a personal odour (a fact other people find disquieting) but endowed with an incomparable sense of smell, he apprentices himself to a perfumer and becomes obsessed with procuring the perfect scent that will make him fully human. In the process, he creates perfumes—presumably based on pheromones—that powerfully manipulate human emotions, murdering 25 girls to take their scent.
The book features detailed descriptions of the techniques of scent extraction such as maceration and enfleurage.
November - Charles the Bold: the Dog Years by Yves Beauchemin,
Charles the Bold: The Dog Years is the first in a series of four novels that chronicle the life of Charles Thibodeau, a youngster from Montreal’s notorious east end. In this first volume, Yves Beauchemin takes us from Charles’ premature birth in October 1966 to his first term in secondary school. In the first pages the reader realizes that Charles is a special child and that his life is going to be far from ordinary. Although he is “born with a natural gift for happiness,” Charles’ childhood is overshadowed by tragic events. His mother never fully recovers from the birth of his younger sister Madeleine and both sister and mother die before Charles reaches the age of four. Left with his alcoholic father, Charles suffers from the domestic violence Wilfrid Thibodeau repeatedly inflicts upon him. One night the carpenter even attempts to murder his son, who then seeks refuge with the Fafard family.
References:
Amazon.ca

Mdextras
2007-12-29

List of Books read since 1999

This blog or electronic journal has been created to allow a web record of the activities of this Book Club situated in Ottawa beginning with the 2008 season. This lists the books that were read by its members since 1999.

2016
One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez - Janet, Betty hosted
A Man Called Ove - Fredrik Backman - Carla, Janet hosted
The Rosie Effect - Graeme Simsion - Jolene, Carla hosted
The Memory Chalet - Tony Judt - Michèle, Janet hosted
No Relation - Terry Fallis - Linda, Michèle hosted 
A House in the Sky - A Memoir - Amanda Lindhout - Betty, Linda hosted
The High Mountains of Portugal - Yann Martel - Colette, Jolene hosted
The Reason we Walk - Wab Kinew - Jane, Shirley hosted
The Orphan Train - Kristina Baker Kline - Shirley, Beth hosted

2015
The Light Between Oceans - M.L. Stedman -Betty, Colette hosted
The Pearl that Broke its Shell - Nadia Hashimi - Carla, Janet hosted
An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything, - Chris Hatfield, - Jolene, Carla hosted
Ru - Kim Thùy - Michèle, Colette hosted
Tell - Frances Itani - Linda, Michèle hosted
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie - Muriel Spark - Beth, Linda hosted
Us Conductors - Sean Michaels - Colette, Jolene hosted
All the Light we Cannot See - Anthony Doerr. - Jane, Colette hosted
The Lotus Eaters - Tatjana Soli - Shirley, Beth hosted

2014
The Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas - Janet, Betty hosted
Discussing the author Alice Munro - Michèle, Jane hosted
Longbourn - Jo Baker - Jolene, Jolene hosted
The Rosie Project - Graeme Simsion - Beth, Janet hosted
Call the Midwife - Jennifer Worth - Betty, Shirley hosted
A Man Called Intrepid - William Stevenson - Linda, Linda hosted
The Orenda - Joseph Boyden - Colette, Jolene hosted
Medicine Walk - Richard Wagamese - Jane, Colette hosted
Annabel - Kathleen Winter - Louise, Beth hosted

2013
Still Alice - Lisa Genova - Betty, Janet hosted
Alone in the Classroom - Elizabeth Hay - Janet, Betty hosted
The Help - Kathryn Stockett - Jolene, Carla hosted
Rules of Civility - Amor Towles - Michèle, Jane hosted
No Time to Wave Goodbye - Jacquelyn Mitchard - Linda, Michèle hosted
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry - Rachel Joyce - Beth, Linda hosted
Deafening - Frances Itani - Shirley, Janet hosted
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress - Dai Sijie - Jane, Michèle hosted
Little Bee - Chris Cleave - Carla, Beth posted


2012
The Mark of the Angel - Nancy Huston Michèle, Michèle hosted
The Book Thief - Markus Zusak - Betty, Betty hosted
Death Comes to Pemberley - P.D. James - Colette, Carla hosted
Cry, the Beloved Country - Alan Paton - Janet, Jane hosted
The Best Laid Plans - Terry Fallis - Linda, Colette hosted
Vaclav and Lena - Haley Tanner - Beth, Linda hosted
Left Neglected - Lisa Genova - Shirley, Jolene hosted
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand - Helen Simonsson - Jane, Shirley hosted
Unorthodox, The Scandalous Rejection of my Hasidic Roots - Deborah Feldman - Carla, Beth posted

2011
Where the River Ends - Charles Martin - Betty, Michèle hosted
Half of a Yellow Sun - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - Michèle, Betty hosted
Notes from a Small Island - Bill Bryson - Colette, Carla hosted
In the Skin of a Lion - Michael Ondaatje - Janet, Jane hosted
The Forgotten Garden - Kate Morton  - Jolene, Jolene hosted
Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro - Beth, Linda hosted
Secret Daughter - Shilpa Soraya Gowda - Shirley, Colette hosted
Sanctuary Line - Jane Urquhart - Jane, Shirley hosted
Year of Wonders - Geraldine Brooks - Carla, Beth hosted

2010

Five Quarters of the Orange - Joanne Harris -  Michèle, Michèle hosted
The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins - Colette, Betty hosted
Reading by Lightning - Joan Thomas - Janet, Carla hosted
La's Orchestra Saves the World - Alexander McCall Smith - Jolene, Jolene hosted
Far from the Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy - Beth, Linda hosted

The Book of Negroes - Lawrence Hill - Shirley, Colette hosted
The Boy in the Moon - Ian Brown - Jane, Shirley hosted
Collaborator of Bethlehem - Matt Renon Rees - Carla, Colette hosted

Sarah's Key - Tatiana de Rosnay - Linda, Beth hosted
2009

The Other Side of the Bridge - Mary Lawson - Joan, Betty hosted
Stanley Park - Timothy Taylor - Janet, Carla hosted
Mr. Darcy Presents His Bride: A sequel to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice - Helen Halstead - Jolene, Janet hosted
Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont - Elizabeth Taylor - Beth, Jolene hosted
Those Who Save Us - Jenna Blum - Shirley, Linda hosted
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows - Colette, Shirley hosted
Snowflower and the Secret Fan - Lisa See - Carla, Colette hosted
The Hatbox Letters - Beth Downing - Linda, Beth hosted
Three Cups of Tea - Greg Mortenson & David Oliver Relin - Betty, Janet hosted

2008

Bay of Spirits -Farley Mowat  - Janet, Janet hosted
Unbowed - Wangari Maathai - Linda, Michèle hosted
Life of Pi - Yann Martel - Jolene, Beth hosted
City of Fallen Angels - John Berendt Beth, Linda hosted
Infidel - Ayaan Hirsi Ali -Shirley, Shirley hosted
Suite française u- Irène Nemirovsky - Colette, Jolene hosted
The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger - Carla, Colette hosted
The Last King of Scotland (movie) - Linda, Joan hosted
A Thousand Splendid Suns - Khaled Hosseini -Michèle, Michèle hosted

2007

Charles the Bold: The Dog Years - Yves Beauchemin -
Perfume – Patrick Suskind
The Memory Keeper’s Daughter – Kim Edwards
Blood Letting and Miraculous Cures – Vincent Lam
Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
State of Fear – Michael Crichton
The Wide Sargasso Sea - Jean Rhys
Home to Harmony – Philip Gully
City of Joy – Dominique Lapierre

2006

A Million Little Pieces - James Frey - Anna, Jolene hosted
Letters from Wingfield Farm - Dan Needles - Jolene, Beth hosted
The Black Bonspiel of Willie MacCrimmon - W.O. Mitchell - Marilyn, Linda hosted
Mansfield Park - Jane Austen - Beth, Shirley hosted 
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Brontë - Colette, Carla hosted
Light from Heaven - Jan Karon - Betty, Jolene hosted
My Sister's Keeper - Jodi Picoult - Shirley, Colette hosted
The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini -
Joanne, Jolene hosted
The Stone Carvers - Jane Urquhart - Michèle, Betty hosted
2005

Rush Home Road - Lori Lansens - Betty, Jolene hosted
The Ginger Tree - Oswald Wynd - Beth, Beth hosted
The Robbie Burns Revival - Cecilia Kennedy - Marilyn, Linda hosted
Two Solitudes -Hugh MacLennan - Colette, Shirley hosted
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency - Alexander Mccall Smith - Jolene, Carla hosted
Bel Canto - Ann Patchet - Shirley, Marilyn hosted
Such a Long Journey - Rohinton Mistry - Joanne, Colette hosted
A Boy of Good Breeding - Miriam Toews - Linda, Anna hosted
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time - Mark Haddon - Carla, Betty hosted

2004

The Language of Sisters - Amy Yurk - Marilyn, Jolene hosted
Crow Lake - Mary Lawson - Joanne,  Beth hosted
Barometer Rising - Hugh McLennan - Beth, Linda hosted
Pigs in Heaven - Barbara Kingsolver - Colette, Shirley hosted
Sons of Fortune - Jeffrey Archer - Jolene, Carla hosted
Waiting - Ha Jin - Shirley, Marilyn hosted
5 People You Meet in Heaven - Mitch Albom - Linda, Colette hosted
Secret Life of Bees - Sue Kidd - Carla, Anna hosted
Under the Tuscan Sun - Frances Mayes - Anna, Betty hosted 

2003

Nanny Diaries - Emma McLaughlin - Beth, Jolene hosted
The Chosen - Chaim Potok - Colette, Marilyn hosted
Voyage of the Northern Magic -Diane Stuemer - Marilyn, Linda hosted
Rebecca's Tale -Sally Beauman - Linda, Shirley hosted
A Year in Provence - Peter Mayle - Shirley, Carol hosted
Stories from the Vinyl Cafe - Stuart McLean - Jolene, Betty hosted
Bee Season - Myla Goldberg - Betty, Anna hosted
The Bean Tree - Barbara Kingsolver, Carla, Colette hosted
The Rabbit-Proof Fence - Doris Pilkington - Anna, Carla hosted

2002

Rebecca - Daphne DuMaurier - Beth, Joanne hosted
Skipping Christmas - John Grisham - Linda, Colette hosted
A Man for All Seasons - Robert Bolt - Jolene, Anna hosted
Mysterious Affair at Styles - Agatha Christie - Colette, Shirley hosted
La Prisonniere - Malika Oufkir - Carol, Jolene hosted
The Pilot's Wife - Anita Shreve - Joanne, Carol hosted
Clara Callan - Richard Bruce Wright - Marilyn, Linda hosted
Family Matters - Rohinton Mistry - Anna, Marilyn hosted
A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute - Betty, Carla hosted
Divine Secrets of the YaYa Sisterhood - Rebecca Wells - Carla, Anna hosted
The Red Tent - Anita Diament - Carol, Colette hosted

2001

No Great Mischief - Alistair MacLeod - Marilyn, Joanne hosted
The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver - Joanne, Joanne hosted
A Good House - Bonnie Burnard - Beth, Jolene hosted
Random Passage - Bernice Morgan - Shirley, Shirley hosted
The Man who Listens to Horses - Monty Roberts - Jolene, Colette hosted
Waiting for Time - Bernice Morgan - Betty, Linda hosted
A Painted House - John Grisham - Marilyn, Marilyn hosted
Out of Africa - Isak Dinesen - Anna, Anna hosted
Whelan - Eugene Whalen - Linda, Carla hosted
Mercy Among the Children -David Adams Richards - Carla, Joanne hosted
Chocolat - Joanne Harris - Joanne, Marilyn hosted

2000

Fifth Business - Robertson Davies - Marilyn, Debbie hosted
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil - John Berendt - Debbie, Anna hosted
Alias Grace - Margaret Atwood - Anna, Linda hosted
Tuesdays with Morrie - Mitch Albom - Linda
The Making of an American Quilt (video) - Yolande, Yolande hosted
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - J.K. Rowling -Joanne, Marilyn hosted
The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz - Mordecai Richler - Marilyn, Jolene hosted
A Light in the Window - Jan Karon - Jolene, Linda hosted
12 Golden Threads -Aliske Webb - Linda, Colette hosted
Anne of Green Gables - Lucy Maud Montgomery - Colette, Jolene hosted
Davita's Harp - Chaim Potok - Jolene, Marilyn hosted

1999

A Recipe for Bees - Gail Andeerson-Dargatz
Snow Falling on Cedars - David Guterson - Marilyn, Debbie hosted
Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden - Debbie, Val hosted
The Tao of Pooh - Benjamin Hoff - Val
A Map of the World - Jane Hamilton - Susan hosted
Summer Sisters - Judy Blume - Susan, Jolene hosted
The Testament - John Grisham - Jolene
Angela's Ashes - Frank McCourt - Joanne hosted
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee -Joanne, Yolande hosted
Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus - John Gray - Yolande, Jolene hosted
At Home in Mitford - Jan Karon - Jolene, Marilyn hosted

1998

A Widow for One Year - John Irving