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[7 Jul 2016 | No Comment | ]
Book Review :: Fates and Furies

This is a novel that begs for discussion; that makes me wish I were back in college writing comparative essays; that makes me want to reread Sophocles, Aristophanes, Aeschylus. Mixing both Greek comedy and tragedy, Groff creates a villainous Mathilde reminiscent of Ron Rash’s Serena and Kathy of East of Eden.
I was warned before I started Fates and Furies to give it time. One of my best reading buds and literary soul-mates said it would take at least 100 pages before I was hooked. I appreciate the warning, but for me …

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[2 Jul 2016 | No Comment | ]
Book Clubs :: SOC Sista Short List for 16-17

My apologies. I’ve been remiss in announcing the short list of books selected by the SOC Sistas for 2016-2017. We are already one in – having read The Boys in the Boat for June.
Some firsts about this list: For the first time two books were selected unanimously by the group (The Boys in the Boat and The Handmaid’s Tale). (If you’re just catching up, here’s where I talk about our book selection process.) Also, I had read three of the books selected before we started, which is more than ever …

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[19 Apr 2016 | No Comment | ]
Book Clubs :: SOC Sistas Long List

April is when our book club makes its selections of books for the upcoming year. We started this three years ago, it has worked beautifully and prevents those painful moments at the end of the meeting when someone is trying to think of a great recommendation that they’ve heard of but aren’t sure if they really think it will be good for the group.
If you’re just catching up, here’s where I talk about our process. At the bottom of the post are past years’ long and short lists.
Finally, let me …

Book Clubs, Books »

[28 Dec 2015 | No Comment | ]
Literary Roundup :: Best Books of 2015

This time of year it seems everyone has a “best of” list, so below is a literary roundup of 2015’s Best Books as listed by many of the sites that are our go-to places to find our next book. If’ I’ve left off one of your favorite sources, let me know & I’ll add it!
The Atlantic
Barnes and Noble
The Guardian
Harper’s Bazaar
Huffington Post
New York Times
Washington Post
Publishers Weekly

Book Clubs, Books »

[8 May 2015 | No Comment | ]
Book Clubs :: SOC Sista 2015-16 Short List

This is it! Below are the books my book club will be reading June 2015 – May 2016!
Go Set the Watchman by Harper Lee
The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan
Stone Mattress by Margaret Atwood
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Five Days at Memorial by Sheri Fink
Dead Wake by Eric Larson
The Great Santini by Pat Conroy
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
The Violent Bear it Away by Flannery O’Connor
Run with the Horseman by Ferrol Sams
In addition, we’ve selected The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah as a companion book …

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[3 May 2015 | No Comment | ]
Book Clubs :: SOC Sista 15-16 Long List

It is that time again – the month when my book group takes a pause from discussing a book to research and pitch the next year’s selections. I love this meeting, not only because of the excitement it creates about the next year’s reading, but also because I know I’m going to come away with a long list of books now on my radar to read. (If you’re new to Lit&Leisure, I’ve written about how our book group selects books here, and about last year’s long list and short list as …

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[30 Mar 2015 | No Comment | ]
Top 100* Books

Periodically, my book club will have members submit their top 10 all time favorite books. We did this recently, and as a result of the exercise, we have a top 100 books as determined by the SOC Sistas.
There are 11 of us, and together we represent well over 500 years of collective reading. That said, several of us thought it unfair to be restricted to just 10 books with so many years to have contributed selections, so we opted to take license with the number and submit more.
What is below …

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[31 Dec 2014 | No Comment | ]
Year in Review :: Best of 2014

I love everyone’s year end “Best of” lists, so here’s mine – the three best reads from 2014.
Favorite contemporary fiction read from this year: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
This book had me from the start and would also qualify as the best book that took me by surprise. It is the story of a family and the terrible consequences when they lose one their members. The narrator is a young girl who lost her ‘twin’ one summer – the sister being a chimpanzee and her parents being among …

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[9 Nov 2014 | No Comment | ]
Book Review : This Dark Road to Mercy

Last year our book club read Wiley Cash’s debut novel A Land More Kind than Home and were completely blown away. In fact, it was the highest rated book that we read last year. So, imagine our excitement when we learned he had a new book – it easily found its way onto our short list of this year’s books.
It is looking like This Dark Road to Mercy may be lowest ranked book we read this year. Major disappointment. Cash’s follow-up novel is the story of Easter and Ruby, two girls …

Book Clubs, Book Reviews, Books »

[30 Sep 2014 | No Comment | ]
Book Review :: The Bell Jar

I’ve been lying for the last ten years or so – however long those quizzes have been making their way around the internet that ask you “How many of the top 100 books have you read?” Because on every one, I’ve been saying that I had read The Bell Jar. I was sure that during that phase of my college life I had read Sylvia Plath’s infamous semi-memoir from the 60’s. However, another book I was reading earlier this year that went into detail about Plath’s novel made me realize …