Saturday, March 27, 2010


Hello Readers. Here is the line-up for my reading groups in April. As you can see, I have two groups reading the same book. How efficient.

All of these groups are open to new members. Just click on the links for location or contact person.

Once Upon A Time Adult Reading Group
Montrose, CA
Tuesday, April 13; 7:30 pm
Shanghai Girls, Lisa See

One Book at a Time Group
Meets at Mi Casita Restaurant, Sunland, CA
Thursday, April 15; 7:30 pm
For reservations contact: Lisa
Let the Great World Spin, Colum McCann

Portrait of a Bookstore Group
Toluca Lake, CA
Monday, April 26; 7:00 pm
Olive Kitteridge, Elizabeth Strout

Once Upon A Time Mystery Group
Montrose, CA
Wednesday, April 28; 8:30 am with tea & scones
The Blue Rose, Anthony Elgin

Bookie Babes
Meets at Barnes & Noble, Burbank, CA
Wednesday, April 28; 7:30 pm
Shanghai Girls, Lisa See

As always, I am curious to know if you are in any reading groups and what you are reading for them. Of course, you can also tell stories about your reading groups, if you are brave.

Friday, March 26, 2010


A Certain Smile, Francoise Sagan, E P Dutton and Company, 1956, 128 pp

In her follow-up to Bonjour Tristesse, 1955, Ms Sagan again made the bestseller list at #7 in 1956. The main character this time is a student at the Sorbonne who does the very French thing of having an affair with her boyfriend's uncle, a man much older than she is. Sagan's writing has improved and in fact reminded me of early novels by Simone De Beauvoir.

As the young woman goes through the steps and stages of an affair, which is pretty much the same story as any affair from a female point of view, Sagan does an evocative job of putting you into her head and heart. You feel what she feels and that is one of the few things I ask of good writing.

Another French touch is the older man's wife, who befriends the young woman as a method of containing her and recovering the husband from his philandering ways. In the 1958 movie, Joan Fontaine plays the wife while Johnny Mathis appears as himself singing the song, "A Certain Smile," while the two couples are out for the evening. The song was a much bigger hit than the movie. I used to know all the words.

(A Certain Smile is out of print, so you will have to try your local library or favorite used book seller.)

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Rebel Yell, Alice Randall, Bloomsbury USA, 2009, 368 pp

Alice Randall is an African American writer who has written two previous novels as well as many hit country songs. She lives in Nashville, where she teaches at Vanderbilt University. In other words, she has been living a full and interesting life.

I loved reading Rebel Yell. The writing is excellent, the characters are alive and leap off the page. Her theme is the many scars left on American people of color because of slavery, racism and their fight for freedom but her story is in no way a retelling of stories already told. It is as unique as human beings are unique. Stuff happens to people in their childhoods, those people do the best they can to understand the world around them, they make choices, they pursue goals and more stuff happens. If they are lucky, they figure out a few things before they die. That is life. The people in this story happen to be descendants of slavery.

Abel Jones Jr is the son of a civil rights lawyer who grew up in the days of black churches being bombed, children he knew being killed, Martin Luther King Jr being assassinated. He wants to join the white world. Hope was Abel's first wife, a mixed race woman with a white father and black mother, who was raised by her father in a world of privilege. She wants to fully join the black world. These two trajectories draw them together and of course it doesn't work.

After Abel dies, Hope reaches out to various people, trying to understand what happened to herself and to Abel. If she can grasp the complexities underlying their inability to stay together despite the deep love they had for each other, she can work out how to be a good mother to the son they created.

So it is a very contemporary story set in the South, New England and Washington DC.  The war on terror, espionage and torture in modern prison camps lurk in the background like an ominous reprise to the life and times that produced these characters. The love story of Hope and Abel plays out its beginning in the wild times of the 1990s. There are characters, locations and social settings from deep inside Black culture that are unfamiliar to me, so I was aware that I wasn't totally getting all that Ms Randall was wanting to tell me. That made some passages rough going, though no different than reading books set in modern India, Pakistan, etc.

The tale shines through. I felt I was in the hands of a talent close to Toni Morrison or Margaret Atwood, making me want to read more from this author. She has captured a part of the process Americans are going through because we have slavery in our past, racism is still alive and virulent in our present and there is a long road ahead of us in rectifying those evils.

(Rebel Yell is available in hardcover by order from Once Upon A Time Bookstore. The paperback will be released in September, 2010.)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010



Today's word is desuetude. It comes from page 11 of Pnin by Vladimir Nabokov.

desuetude is a noun meaning the condition of not being used or practiced any more; disuse.

It comes from Middle English which came from the Latin word desuetudo, meaning to disuse.

My sentence: Progress is a study in desuetude.

Please contribute a sentence in the comments.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Eloise, Kay Thompson, Simon & Schuster, 1955, 65 pp

Eloise is six, she lives in the Plaza Hotel in New York City and she was the #5 bestseller on the adult fiction list in 1956. Eloise's creator, Kay Thompson, was an actress, entertainer, vocal arranger and coach for musicals, who died at 89 years of age. Hilary Knight, who drew Eloise and the illustrations for all the Eloise books is still living and drawing. I don't know of another children's picture book making the adult best seller list except for two more Eloise books in 1957 and 1958. Quite a phenomenon.

Eloise is bright, full of energy and always up to something as she darts about the hotel, "helping" the maids, the waiters and the chefs. She also attends weddings and debutante parties and even pours water down the mail chute. She is Junie B Jones and Fancy Nancy and a young version of Auntie Mame all rolled into one. She looks like my granddaughter Emma. In fact, they have similar personalities.

Of course, all kinds of merchandising followed, plus movies, etc. I am sure Kay Thompson became a wealthy woman. The book is subtitled "A book for precocious grown-ups about a little girl who lives at the Plaza Hotel." Lewis Carroll, Roahd Dahl, Dr Suess and several others became famous writing books that appeal to children and make grown-ups laugh but I think Kay Thompson outshone them all.

(Eloise is usually on the picture book shelf at Once Upon A Time Bookstore. If not, it can be ordered for you.)

Monday, March 22, 2010


The Book: Coraline, Neil Gaiman, HarperCollins, 2002, 162 pp
The Movie: "Coraline," Henry Selick, screenplay and director, February 2009

In a big departure from my ironclad policy to read the book before I see the movie, I saw the movie first this time. It is fantastic: the animation, the characters, the voices (Dakota Fanning does Coraline), the color, the sound, are all dazzling. 

I immediately read the book which is different from the movie in so many ways. Coraline finds a portal, a locked door with a brick wall behind it. It leads from her apartment into another one which is a fantasy world. In the other apartment are her "other mother and other father." At first they appear to be a dream come true. They are interested in her instead of being too busy and the food is delicious (being what we call in our house "kid food.") Coraline's room is full of interesting toys and cool clothes.

Very quickly though, life with her other mother and father becomes sinister. They want to steal her away and keep her for themselves. Worse, they seem to have captured her real parents as well as three other children and are holding these people as prisoners. Coraline summons all her bravery and resourcefulness to save her parents and free the kids. It is scary and creepy and fun.

The movie has additional characters and scenes. It also makes her real parents worse than they are in the book. But since Gaiman liked the screenplay, according to an interview with writer and director Henry Selick, I am satisfied with this example of making a good book into a story that works so well as a movie.

The most stunning change is that the book emphasizes Coraline's quest to save her parents from a shocking and evil fate. The movie, exciting as it is, comes across as a morality tale about what could happen if you wished you had different parents.

I recommend both. The book is for readers of all ages ten years old and up. The movie would work for even younger kids unless they are easily frightened or have a thing about spiders.

(Coraline, the book, is available on the fantasy shelf at Once Upon A Time Bookstore.)

Friday, March 19, 2010


The Small Rain, Madeleine L'Engle, Vanguard Press, 1945, 371 pp

This is Madeleine L'Engle's first novel and what a beautiful book it is. (I missed it when I was reading books from 1945.) The story opens when Katherine is ten years old. Her mother, a famous concert pianist, is somewhere unknown to Katherine, recovering from a nearly fatal accident. Manya, an actress in the New York City theater, is caring for Katherine, who has a bit part in Manya's play.

Katherine does not want to be an actress. Her dream is to be a pianist, like her mother. She also wants her mother. She gets both of those wishes but their fulfillment comes with heartbreak, struggle and much loneliness. 

Katherine's coming of age tale takes place between the World Wars. She has a most unusual childhood and adolescence for an American girl, part of which is a deeply unhappy period at boarding school in Switzerland, where her only consolations are long hours of piano practice and a beloved piano teacher.

Later, back in Greenwich Village, as her piano studies continue, she experiences love, betrayal and more heartbreak. She learns to discern whether or not friends are trustworthy and comes to terms with her priorities as a serious musician.

L'Engle vividly captures the wild emotions of adolescence, the sacrifices of becoming a true artist, the perfidy of others and the cost of finding oneself. I wish I had known of this novel in my early adult years. It was clear to me, after reading The Small Rain, why she became such a successful writer. She has got that view of the independence women must always struggle to achieve and maintain; she knows the prices we pay. Her awareness that at the bottom of it all is love for ourselves and for others, as well as for art, shines through the story. I must say it again: beautiful.

(The Small Rain is available in paperback by order from Once Upon A Time Bookstore.)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Peyton Place, Grace Metalious, Julian Messner Inc, 1956, 372 pp

Coming in at #3 on the bestseller list for 1956, is this novel of what were considered scandalous doings in a small New England town.  I was never allowed to read it while still living at home; once I was away from home I lost interest. I was only nine years old the year it was published and my mother did her best to keep me away from what she felt were inappropriate books (translation: sexual) during my preteen and teen years. 

Well, the book does have the word pecker on the second or third page. It deals with premarital sex, illegitimate children, sexual abuse of young girls by fathers, abortion (!) and awakening of sexual desire in teenage girls. That is a lot of hot stuff for mainstream fiction in 1956. But Jackie Collins it is not. The writing is dense in an attempt at a literary style and the story moves slowly until well into the second half.

For its time though, it played a part in the opening up of the stodgy tone which fiction had taken on  in  the early 1950s, yet the writing still suffers from that influence. Peyton Place has been made into a movie twice: in 1957 with Lana Turner and in 1964 with Mia Farrow. I have never see either movie but think they would be worth watching. From 1964 to 1969 the story ran as a primetime TV drama serial in soap opera format; never saw those either. I imagine it was television which brought the term "Peyton Place" into well known American parlance, as in, "That neighborhood is a regular Peyton Place." 

I was a junior in high school when the TV show started to run. Even then I would have had to sneak around to watch it, but by that time I had my own soap opera going on in real life.

(Peyton Place is available in paperback by order from Once Upon A Time Bookstore.)

Thursday, March 11, 2010


The Last Hurrah,  Edwin O'Connor, Little Brown and Company, 1956, 427 pp

At #2 on the bestseller list for 1956 is the story of an Irish politician who has held office in his city (presumably Boston) as mayor, his state as governor and after 50 years, is running one more time for mayor. He is in his 70s, the time period is post WWII, and as the title suggests, it is his last go around.
According to the cover flap the reader can expect to "discover a great deal about Irish life and politics in America." That may have been true in 1956 when not many novels had covered this subject. It is certainly old news in 2010 and for me the book was of some historical interest but not much else.

The writing is fairly dull and overly wordy. The plotting is obvious; not only does he give it away in the title but by halfway through the story, the breakdown of the politician's health has been foreshadowed enough times that it comes as no surprise.

It was clear that the author wrote a novel to propound his analysis of how ward politics came to an end in Boston. But it was a bestseller at the time and is still a well known novel amongst those who write about Boston, the Irish and politics. The book did increase my interest in reading Dennis Lehane's latest novel, The Given Day.

(The Last Hurrah is out of print. I found it at my local library. Otherwise you would have to go to a used bookstore or search on line.)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010



This week's word is from page 20 of The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Burbery.
pot-au-feu is a French term which translates to English as "pot on the fire." It is a French beef stew.

Here is a recipe: Classic Pot-au-fue. It can also be made with chicken or seafood. There are French restaurants named Pot-au-feu in various US cities, such as Providence, RI and El Paso, TX.

My sentence: In America, or at least in my childhood home,  pot-au-feu was called boiled dinner, which sounds boring but was quite good, especially as made by my mom.

Please contribute a sentence. Be sure to let us know if you make pot-au-feu anytime soon!

Tuesday, March 09, 2010


Don't Go Near the Water, William Brinkley, Random House, 1956, 373pp

As of today, I begin the reviews of the books I read for 1956, as part of my Big Fat Reading Project. If I stay on schedule, these reviews will be posted on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Unbelievably this novel was the #1 bestseller in 1956. I found it so boring that I had to resort to the chapter-a-day reading plan to get it done. It is one of those war books about a naval base that aims to show the absurdity of soldiering for fellows who aren't actually out fighting; the sort of books that are supposed to be funny and undoubtedly inspired M*A*S*H.

The trouble here is that it is not that funny and the writing style would put the most hardcore insomniac to sleep. Perhaps it is a guy thing and I just didn't get it. After all it sold the most books that year, although I used to watch M*A*S*H every week and laugh my head off.

On a remote island in the Pacific during World War II, a Public Relations unit made up of various businessmen from civilian life who have had a minimum of naval training, do as little work as possible, drink as much as possible and date nurses as many nights as possible. Ha Ha. Sounds like a guy thing to me. Meanwhile somehow the war gets won without any of them going near the water.

(Don't Go Near the Water, should you still want to read it, is available in paperback by order from Once Upon A Time Bookstore.)

Monday, March 08, 2010



Paradise of the Blind, Duong Thu Huong, William Morrow, 1993, 270 pp

Posted today in honor of International Women's Day

When one of the five reading groups I attend steers me to a great book I might otherwise not have discovered, I am happy. I forget about all the sappy or stupid books I have read for reading group discussions.

Paradise of the Blind is one of very few novels written by a Vietnamese writer and translated into English. Therefore this story, authored by a Vietnamese woman born in 1947, gives a little known view into life there. It begins when Hang is a ten-year-old girl living with her mother in the Hanoi slums, but goes back and forth in time as she grows to young womanhood and learns the history of her family.

The writing is achingly beautiful as she describes her surroundings both in Hanoi and in the tiny village from which her mother came. Thanks to a glossary of Vietnamese cultural and food items, the author initiates her readers into the spiritual and social rituals of her country. The result is a powerful but sad story of a culture in transition due to having achieved independence from the French and the chaos of creating a workable society along communist principles.

Hang, from her position of a child with a missing father, a grieving and confused mother, an insensitive uncle working for the party and a domineering paternal aunt, grows up with her own conclusions. While she pursues the love of her mother and some form of protection from her aunt, she is quite thoroughly disabused of the spiritual beliefs of her family and rejects the tradition of women who sacrifice themselves for family and particularly men.

Reading Paradise of the Blind made me think of Richard Wright's amazingly perceptive books The Color Curtain and White Man, Listen. Duong Thu Huong's novel reinforced my belief that women represent a force for intelligent and workable change on this mostly insane planet. 

(Paradise of the Blind is available in paperback by order from Once Upon A Time Bookstore.)

Sunday, March 07, 2010



The Borrowers, Mary Norton, Harcourt Brace & World, 1952, 180 pp

This was absolutely one of my favorite books when I was growing up. I don't remember how old I was when I first read it but I do know I read it many times.

Borrowers are little, tiny people about the size of mice who live between the walls and under the floors of houses. They furnish their rooms and get their food and objects by "borrowing" from the house. The biggest danger is being "seen."

Arrietty Clock, the nine-year-old daughter of Pod and Homily, who sleeps in a cigar box bed and writes her diary in the margins of a Tom Thumb Diary and Proverb Book, dreams of being allowed to go borrowing with her father. Finally, having no son, Pod agrees and takes her out from behind the grandfather clock in the entrance hall. (Most Borrower families are named for their location in the house.)

Arrietty is excited and innocent and careless, in the way of nine-year-olds. Before long she has met a human Boy and revealed way too much about her life and where she lives. She has gone far beyond being "seen." Now the fate of the Clock family hangs in the balance. They may have to "emigrate" to the outdoors which is Homily's worst nightmare. 

The pace of the story is breathless and the descriptions of how Borrowers live are fascinating. Looking back now, I think the appeal was based on the feeling I had as a child that I was so much smaller than adults and much of what I had to use or play with was borrowed from the adult world.

Of all the books I have reread from childhood, this one still contained for me its charm, interest and impact. In fact, it may have been the first "page-turner" of my reading life.

(The Borrowers is available on the shelf for readers 8-12 at Once Upon A Time Bookstore.)

Saturday, March 06, 2010


I read 13 books in February from various times and genres.

The Small Rain is Madeleine L'Engle's first novel. Beautiful, coming-of-age story about a young pianist raised by music and theatre people.

The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman is the equally exciting sequel to The Golden Compass. It ends with the cliffhanger of all time. I must read the final volume of the trilogy this month.

Another sequel: Greg Bear's Darwin's Children is his follow-up to Darwin's Radio. So good. Greg Bear is now on my list of authors to read through. I love his outlook on humanity and science.

On the Beach, by Nevil Shute is from my list of books to read from 1957 ( the longest list so far in my Big Fat Reading Project; I am about half way through it.) This was one of the scariest books I have ever read. After a nuclear war in the northern hemisphere, the fall out is blowing southward and everyone in Australia knows they are going to die.

A Dram of Poison, by Charlotte Armstrong won the Edgar Award in 1957. Very suspenseful mystery with psychological underpinnings.

The Field of Vision, by Morris Wright, was the NBA winner in 1957. I did not like this one much. Philosophical musings during a bullfight? I don't think so.

However, for a philosophical novel, it doesn't get much better than Rebecca Newberger Goldstein's new book, 36 Arguments for the Existence of God. She is alarmingly intelligent and can also write extremely well. I reviewed this one for BookBrowse.

The Assistant is Bernard Malamud's second novel, on the list from 1957 and not as good as his first: The Natural.

A Citizen of the Galaxy  is another of Robert Heinlein's YA novels. A young kid, captured and sold into slavery on a Galactic level, grows up looking for his original family. Also from 1957 and like most Heinlein books, entertaining and deep at the same time.

Best book I read all month: Paradise of the Blind by Duong Thu Huong. I had never read a novel written by a North Vietnamese writer, let alone female writer. It is powerful and sad and gives the side of the story not often told: what it was like for the actual people of the country to achieve independence from the French and survive communism.

Susan Hill has had success in the past several years with mystery novels such as The Various Haunts of Men. But a reading group member who grew up in England recommended an early novel of Hill's, The Woman in Black. It is a ghost story, skillfully done. The group had mixed reactions but I liked her atmospheric writing.

Back to 1957 for Muriel Spark's The Comforters. This was her very first novel. She is clever right off the bat.

I wrapped up the month with one of my favorite authors: Neil Gaiman. I both read the book and saw the movie. Coraline the book is a classic Gaiman story about a girl who must save her parents from evil. The movie is even better and knocked me out!

Thanks for reading my thumbnails. What have you been reading?

Friday, March 05, 2010


Over the past several months, I have posted reviews of the books I read from 1955. The reading I did from 1955 is part of my Big Fat Reading Project. These books also constitute the majority of my research for that year in regards to my memoir (working title: Reading For My Life.)

Some of you like to have the entire list for the year in one place, so here it is:


Marjorie Morningstar, Herman Wouk
Auntie Mame, Patrick Dennis
Andersonville, MacKinlay Kantor
Bonjour Tristesse, Francoise Sagan
The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, Sloan Wilson
Something of Value, Robert Ruark
Not As A Stranger, Morton Thompson
No Time For Sergeants, Mac Hyman
The Tontine, Thomas B Costain
Ten North Frederick, John O'Hara


Pulitzer Prize & NBA: A Fable, William Faulkner
Newbery Award: The Wheel on the School, Meindert DeJong
Caldecott Award: Cinderella, Marcia Brown
Edgar Award: The Long Goodbye, Raymond Chandler
Hugo Award: The Forever Machine, Mark Clifton & Frank Riley


Band of Angels, Robert Penn Warren
Beezus and Ramona, Beverly Cleary
The Borrowers Afield, Mary Norton
A Charmed Life, Mary McCarthy
The Deer Park, Norman Mailer
Earthlight, Arthur C Clarke
The End of Eternity, Isaac Asimov
A Good Man is Hard to Find, Flannery O'Connor
The Inheritors, William Golding
Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, J R R Tolkien
The Magician's Nephew, C S Lewis
Officers and Gentlemen, Evelyn Waugh
San Francisco Boy, Lois Lenski
Satan in Goray, Isaac B Singer
Solar Lottery, Philip K Dick
The Talented Mr Ripley, Patricia Highsmith
Tunnel in the Sky, Robert A Heinlein
A World of Love, Elizabeth Bowen

Capsule summary of literature in 1955: A pivotal year for the change from more traditional styles to a modern one.

Thursday, March 04, 2010



Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov, Alfred A Knopf, 1955, 327 pp 

Disclaimer: I do not pretend to be any kind of expert on Nabokov. I have read five of the novels he published in English. Some I liked, some I hardly understood. His use of irony is so deep and sometimes so obscure that I cannot always follow where he wants to take me. 

I read Lolita in 2004, out of desperation. Trying to read Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Hafisi, I became confused and lost and about to give up when I had the bright idea to read the books she discusses. I don't feel totally comfortable with books about sexual abuse of children. Just feel squeamish about that. I ended up admiring Lolita but I was not completely sure that the author wanted me to. Here are my humble thoughts about the book.

Humboldt Humboldt is a perverted middle-aged European man who lives in America and has a thing for pre-pubescent girls. Lolita is twelve when the book begins. Humboldt marries Lolita's mother, who dies, and then seduces Lolita. He keeps her secretly captive as his sex slave, using fear and bribery.

For a year they travel the United States. Nabokov's description of cheap motels, tourist attractions and American people is deadly. It struck me as another version of Steinbeck's The Wayward Bus. Also his creation of the character of a teenage girl is quite accurate.

Lolita finally escapes him, but unlike say White Oleander, you don't get Lolita's inner world except as perceived by Humboldt. So for me, this was a creepy, eerie book interlaced with humor. The theme seemed to be the relationship of suppressor and suppressed, which extrapolates to totalitarian regimes as well as any authoritarian system, hence the reason those women were reading Lolita in Tehran. I have no desire to read this book ever again.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010


This week's word comes from page 58 of The Deep Range by Arthur C Clarke.

astrophobia is a noun meaning a fear of stars and space. In Arthur Clarke's book one of the characters had a very bad experience while traveling in space as a spaceship commander and developed astrophobia.

astro comes from the Greek astron which means star.
phobia comes from the Greek phobos which means fear.

My sentence: The young woman was getting counseling to overcome her astrophobia because she wanted to become an astronaut.

Please contribute a sentence in the comments.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010



Darwin's Children, Greg Bear, Ballantine Books, 2003, 387 pp

This is the sequel to Greg Bear's 1999 Darwin's Radio. It is just as exciting and unique as the first book, if not more. The story opens with Stella, the "virus" daughter of the two scientists from Darwin's Radio, who is now eleven years old and living a highly protected life off the grid with her two parents. Though they have given her the best parenting they cannot give her what she wants most at that age: the freedom to move freely in the world and to have friends her own age.

More than a decade after these amazing new children were first being born, the American government still regards them as a dangerous element who could start a plague at any time. Severe legislation, denying these kids any form of human rights, has been put in place. The general public have also been  taught to revile and fear what they call the "virus" children. Stella decides to run away and find out about life herself, because her parents have not told her everything and she is intelligent enough to realize this. She is also innocent of how much danger is out there. Her action brings on acute repercussions for all three of them.

The rest of the story tells how they each deal with those repercussions. It is heart stopping and while I hoped it would work out in the end, I never knew if it would until the end. Greg Bear's ability to make the results of fear, ignorance, government and financial dishonesty as well as the hunger for power completely realistic, keeps the suspense high. He also teaches us a good deal of cutting edge science and approaches the subject of evolution in its most current stage. He even gets into spiritual questions and makes you wonder how you would react if the newest generation really was an advancement over your own.
I recommend reading Darwin's Radio first, if you want to full impact of this volume. Both are great reading.

(Darwin's Children is available in mass market paperback by order from Once Upon A Time Bookstore.)

Monday, March 01, 2010


March is upon us and a whole new month for reading lies ahead. Because I read so much, getting together and discussing books is a big dose of relief for me. Reading is such a solitary pursuit. I used to be disappointed when one of my groups would pick a book I had already read, meaning that I did not have that book to look forward to in the coming month. I have changed my mind. It is always good for me to talk with other readers about a book I have read, whether recently or months ago.

I attend five reading groups and recently three of those groups picked The Elegance of the Hedgehog. I have attended two of those discussions so far and I am seeing more clearly than ever before how each group has its own personality because of the members and what they bring to the discussion. Fascinating!

Here is the line up for March. If some of you live in other towns or don't like reading groups, but have read any of these books, I would be delighted to find out how you liked the book or books. Feel free to leave a comment. The Comments are easy to use. Just click the button and you will easily see what to do.


Tuesday, March 9; 7:00 pm
Montrose, CA
The Elegance of the Hedgehog, by Muriel Burbery


Thursday, March 18; 7:30 pm
One Book At A Time
Meeting at Mi Casita, Sunland, CA
Contact for info: Lisa
The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold


Monday, March 22; 7:00 pm
Toluca Lake, CA
The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde


Wednesday, March 24; 8:00 am
Once Upon A Time Mystery Discussion w/ tea and scones
Montrose, CA
Christine Falls, by Benjamin Black


Wednesday, March 24; 7:30 pm
Bookie Babes
Barnes & Noble, Burbank, CA
The Yiddish Policemen's Union, by Michael Chabon