our book club reads happy books!


The “Parthenon”

I’m back from “Music City”, “Athens of the South”,… Nashville, Tennessee. Howdy!!!

I had a great time seeing the sites of Nashville:

It won’t surprise most people who know me that what I enjoyed most at the Country Music Hall of Fame was, what else, the costumes!

I will spare you the 100 pictures of Taylor Swift costumes I took and just show 2 favorites:

The two most frequent questions I found myself asking:

How can any human being be  tiny enough to fit into those Taylor Swift costumes? And…

Who was the first person who thought it would be a good idea to wear something like this?

                     or this?

or this??

I shook off my disappointment at missing the Patsy Cline exhibit by four days,

I’m sorry I missed you, Patsy, but I’m not going to “fall to pieces” about it!

resisted the urge to buy a “Crazy for Loving You” refrigerator magnet for my hubby, and the equally strong urge to go out and buy rose embroidered cowboy boots. (Believe me, they were everwhere – in stores and on feet. After a while, you do feel like they would be a good idea!)

 Time to discover the true spirit of Nashville! And by that I mean this:

Pulled Pork

Barbecued Ribs and Mac & Cheese

and this:

Country Fried Steak and Gravy with mashed sweet potatoes

And here’s a huge shout out to Puckett’s Grocery (which we actually thought was a grocery store, but in reality is an awesome restaurant). We ended up going there just about every day for lunch. They taught us about “Meat and 3” (and 2, and 1), they gave us fast friendly service, they always offered to give us separate checks, and most of all, they gave us delicious food. Fried Green Tomato BLT – yum!

I miss you already Puckett’s!

But I didn’t come to Nashville for food and fun, I came for Library Boot Camp!  And it was an intense week filled with learning new things, meeting new people, and looking at things from a new perspective. I felt so lucky to be there, and learned a lot. It didn’t hurt that this was the setting for “Boot Camp”:

Is this heaven?
It’s the Nashville Public Library.
A library? I thought it was heaven!

The Nashville Public Library was gorgeous!

It was a great week, but now it’s back to reality.

And if I ever think the stack of books by my bed is too high, and I’ll never get to them all, I’ll look at this picture:

At least my “to be read” pile isn’t this high!!


The Cloak of Invisibility

Harry Potter has nothing on the women of Jeanne Ray’s novel, “Calling Invisible Women”, this month’s book club selection. They don’t need a cloak, they just need to be in their fifties and at the mercy of a drug company that has a pill for every mid-life ailment. And all of a sudden they’re invisible – and those dearest to them don’t notice!

I think the general consensus on the book was that is was “Ok”. Of course, we had a good time discussing whether our husbands and children would notice if we were invisible. The opinions were mixed, but I think we all would like to think they would eventually notice (some sooner than others). If the amount of dismay he displays at my working late two nights a week is any indication, I think my husband would definitely miss my presence, I’m just not so sure he would notice he couldn’t actually  see me.

There was a period of time after I turned 50 that I truly came home and asked my husband, “am I invisible?”, because I just felt so frustrated about, not so much being ignored when I was out in public, but just not being seen. After all, you do have to be aware of a person to ignore them.  My life changed in some pretty big ways around that time, and I haven’t felt invisible since. My conclusion: you’re only as invisible as you allow yourself to be.

I think one of the most interesting things about this book was the fact that the author had her first novel published at the age of 60. And we also liked that it wasn’t just another book about middle-aged women being marginalized. It showed invisible women using their “super power’ for good,  and also banding together to solve the problem.

Coincidentally, at the same time as I was reading this novel, I was also reading Anna Quindlen’s book, “Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake”   This is a collection of essays on growing older by a woman who I imagine has never been invisible. But it dealt with topics very similar to “Calling Invisible Women”, so it was fun to read them together.

I must confess that I did consider skipping this month’s book discussion. Sometimes you feel tired, you have things you feel you should do, etc. But I’m glad I went. It was a smaller than usual meeting at Lauren’s house, but as always it was a good time spent laughing with friends. And even though we all forgot our tissues for waving, we didn’t need them – we could see each other fine. And even though sometimes we have bad hair or bad outfits, can’t find pants that fit or our eyelids, at least none of us are wearing our stretch pants backwards!


Caught in a Bad Romance

Nick Dunne and Amy Elliot Dunne are caught in a bad romance.

I have to say, I love this cover. It really sets the tone for the novel.

I just finished “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn, this summer’s big best seller.  It is definitely not a happy book, but it certainly made me happy to read a book so original, suspenseful and well-written.  After a summer reading books that ranged from bad to ok, what a pleasure it was to read a book that I couldn’t put down.

“Gone Girl” is a suspense novel that tells the story of a marriage gone terribly wrong. On the morning of Nick and Amy’s 5th wedding anniversary, Amy goes missing and Nick is quickly the suspect. The story is told from alternating points of view, switching between Nick and Amy. (Amy’s in the form of diary entries).

This is a hard book to write about because I don’t want to give anything away. It is a page turner – it is surprising, a little  creepy, and always interesting. But what really drew me in was the sad, dysfunctional relationship of Nick and Amy. ( And really, their dysfunctional relationships with all the important people in their lives).  It is also a hard book not to write about,too, because the story gives you a lot to think about. Just when you think you have it figured out, another twist is thrown in. And I gotta talk about that ending to someone, sometime.

I felt a little bad after a recommended this book to my engaged daughter. I thought, “is this the portrait of marriage she should be reading right before her wedding?” So it cracked me up  when  the author wrote  in her acknowledgments, thanking two friends who had read it in the months leading up to their wedding, “it doesn’t seem to have harmed you in the least.”

This is the sweet face of the author, Gillian Flynn, whose brain concocted this dark and twisted tale:

Gillian Flynn

This was a book that was fun to read. I have a feeling I will be checking out her earlier books.