Cover Snapshot of Read Books

Sara's bookshelf: read

Crazy Little Thing
A Kiss at Midnight
The Disenchanted Widow
Hollywood Wives - The New Generation
There Goes the Bride
Table for Five
Do Not Disturb
The Husband's Secret
The Ugly Duchess
Help for the Haunted
The Power Trip
The Haunting of Maddy Clare
Summer At Willow Lake
Every Crooked Nanny
The Mystery Woman
The Woodcutter
How to Be an American Housewife

Sara's favorite books »

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Managing your Book Club Using GoodReads

Are you one of the millions of readers who have discovered If so, I can bet there are some features you may not be utilizing to the fullest. If not, what are you waiting for? GoodReads is a great site for book lovers and readers to create bookshelves to track the books we've read, we want to read, and are currently reading. Additionally, we can rate our books and write reviews. In the past, I was listing my books and reviews in excel, not anymore, GoodReads is so much better. And, it should be noted, that you can upload your excel data into GoodReads. Truly, I update GoodReads more often than my FaceBook pages.
GoodReads is user friendly and features include searching for books (to read), looking at booklists(whatever your fancy--biographies to chick-lit), and exploring book giveaways. You can also add friends very easily by finding them through your email accounts. Writing comments on books or on what your friends are reading are also fun aspects of this site. Another friend feature is to “compare” books—a simple application that shows you which books you and your friends have in common. This feature shows the number of books you have in common as well as how each of you rated those books.

Giveaways are wonderful, just sign up for a book that looks interesting, provide your mailing address and you have a great chance of getting it in the mail. I have received 4 books in a year--FREE! All that is asked is that you write a review of the book and post it! How easy is that?

Another overlooked GoodReads feature is Groups. My book club has set up a Group under our name (all members in our book club joined Goodreads). The group feature shows our current book, our previously read books, and our future book list. And, we can add comments and future meeting dates as we want, what a wonderful and useful tool for book club! Also, we can send out group invitations to our monthly meetings! WOW, no more anyvites or separate emails--it is one stop Book club management!
On a final note, yes, Goodreads does connect to FaceBook. Apparently there are other similar apps out there that do not, and some that don't allow you to upload your excel files. Again, GoodReads comes highly recommended not just by me but also by my book club. Join, discover and fully utilize and explore this fabulous reading site.

Good reading all!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Brave your Book club through A Reliable Wife

Critics hailed A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick as "thrilling, suspenseful and mesmerizing." Good marketing and a fantastic publishing house have made this novel the success that it is today as not one of those adjectives adequately  describes this lugubrious and depressing novel. How many of us have been suckered into a novel by disingenuous and overly flattering reviews?

Having a diverse book club which covers numerous religions, I worried that my group would not be able to finish this novel. This novel is shockingly dark and violent and descriptively disturbing. Buyer beware, this is not a romance novel and should come with a warning label!

As an avid mystery reader, I found nothing that could be described as suspenseful, there were no events that shocked or for that matter, thrilled the reader. As I read yet another vivid violent and unromantic scene, I worried how my book club was going to react--would they even finish this book? I also wondered about the author, did the he suffer and fester through 20 years of dark loneliness?

Just when you think I am going to dismiss this book, there is a pleasant surprise. Our book club discussion was wonderfully shocking as it was our lengthiest and most intense discussion to-date. While everyone was disconcerted at many of the scenes (and all admitted that this wasn't the book that we had expected), there was much to discuss. Not one character had our empathy and yet all of us waded through the gloom for a hopeful ending. We did quite a bit of speculating on the author, the characters and what wasn't realized in the plot. The best part of our discussion was our speculations, so the author was successful in letting the reader create their own conclusions. And, our ultimate conclusion, if the early 1900s were as bleak as this, we would not have wanted to have been there.

Recommendation: Book clubs should try this book to initiate discussion and drama--even the shy will speak up. While everyone will have an opinion and contribution, be prepared to choose a "lighter" book for your next meeting.

Trade Paperback, 291 pages, available everywhere from Target to Amazon