Sunday, November 24, 2013

12 of 12! December Book Pick - Our Last Book of the Year!

I honestly cannot believe the year is coming to an end and we are about to start our final book in our year-long reading challenge! The group started as a random idea I had with a friend because we are both avid readers who loved to discuss books but never aligned our readings so we could discuss the same book at the same time. Initially, we decided to read one book a month together just for the sake of discussion. Then we figured a few more of our friends would like to join in. After a lot of excitement from our group of friends and more and more people expressing interest, I decided to make it an open Facebook group where people could join in as they pleased. I never imagined that I would make it through a whole year of running the club but I am so happy I have. Even if no one else is reading along with me (although I really hope you are!) I have come to appreciate the self-placed responsibility I have to finish books, post discussion questions and keep the challenge alive. I hope you have enjoyed being a part of the group! I definitely want to continue the book club into 2014 but maybe incorporate some twists, like theme months, rotating discussion leaders, etc. I will post about this in our Facebook group in the coming weeks so we can come up with a new challenge for the new year! 

For now, discussion for I Am Malala is now open and I look forward to hearing your thoughts! Our December book has also been chosen:

This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz is our final book pick for 2013. Diaz is an amazing author who writes complex and interesting characters. I am definitely excited to read his latest gem! Here is the summary from Amazon:

"Pulitzer Prize-winner Junot Díaz’s first book, Drown, established him as a major new writer with “the dispassionate eye of a journalist and the tongue of a poet” (Newsweek). His first novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, was named #1 Fiction Book of the Year” byTime magazine and spent more than 100 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, establishing itself – with more than a million copies in print – as a modern classic. In addition to the Pulitzer, Díaz has won a host of major awards and prizes, including the National Book Critic’s Circle Award, the PEN/Malamud Award, the PEN/O. Henry Prize, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and the Anisfield-Wolf Award.
 Now Díaz turns his remarkable talent to the haunting, impossible power of love – obsessive love, illicit love, fading love, maternal love. On a beach in the Dominican Republic, a doomed relationship flounders. In the heat of a hospital laundry room in New Jersey, a woman does her lover’s washing and thinks about his wife. In Boston, a man buys his love child, his only son, a first baseball bat and glove. At the heart of these stories is the irrepressible, irresistible Yunior, a young hardhead whose longing for love is equaled only by his recklessness--and by the extraordinary women he loves and loses: artistic Alma; the aging Miss Lora; Magdalena, who thinks all Dominican men are cheaters; and the love of his life, whose heartbreak ultimately becomes his own. In prose that is endlessly energetic, inventive, tender, and funny, the stories in the New York Times-Bestselling This Is How You Lose Her lay bare the infinite longing and inevitable weakness of the human heart. They remind us that passion always triumphs over experience, and that “the half-life of love is forever.”

December book pick: This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz
Discussion opens: December 24th 

Happy Thanksgiving! 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

HBIC Book Club: November Pick

I know a lot of us are super excited for this month's book pick, I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai. This amazing young girl has captured the attention of the whole Internet and her autobiography promises to be a great read. I already contemplated naming my first-born Malala too. I am sure we all are familiar with her story so I will skip that summary and just get straight to the book...

The summary from

"When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education. On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive. Instead, Malala's miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. At sixteen, she has become a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest nominee ever for the Nobel Peace Prize. I AM MALALA is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls' education, of a father who, himself a school owner, championed and encouraged his daughter to write and attend school, and of brave parents who have a fierce love for their daughter in a society that prizes sons. I AM MALALA will make you believe in the power of one person's voice to inspire change in the world."

MALALA! Discussion for our October book opens on Thursday so finish up Snow Flower and the Secret Fan! I look forward to hearing your thoughts about all the crazy ish that happened in this one. And now we are really in the home stretch of our year-long reading challenge. Only 2 more books to we see another year on the horizon?!? 
Happy reading :)

November Book Pick: I Am Malala
Discussion opens Saturday, November 23

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

HBIC Book Club: October Pick!

I can't believe we just picked our October book! Summer is officially over. I'm cuddled up under a blanket as I type this and apparently it is snowing in the Colorado mountains already. Sigh...
I guess the title for our next book pick is fitting then: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See (Get it? SNOW? Ok I know that was cheesy but it is early and I haven't had any coffee yet.) I am excited to take our club to China, somewhere we have not been yet through our reading travels and this is another best-seller that has already been made into a movie (no cheating by Netflix-ing it!). It looks to be an easy, fun read that will give us insight into 19th- century Chinese female life. 

Image from

Here is the summary: 
In nineteenth-century China, in a remote Hunan county, a girl named Lily, at the tender age of seven, is paired with a laotong, “old same,” in an emotional match that will last a lifetime. The laotong, Snow Flower, introduces herself by sending Lily a silk fan on which she’s painted a poem in nu shu, a unique language that Chinese women created in order to communicate in secret, away from the influence of men. As the years pass, Lily and Snow Flower send messages on fans, compose stories on handkerchiefs, reaching out of isolation to share their hopes, dreams, and accomplishments. Together, they endure the agony of foot-binding, and reflect upon their arranged marriages, shared loneliness, and the joys and tragedies of motherhood. The two find solace, developing a bond that keeps their spirits alive. But when a misunderstanding arises, their deep friendship suddenly threatens to tear apart.

This book will be our 10th in our year long reading challenge! As for now please join the discussion for our September book, Red Dust Road by Jackie Kay, happening now in our Facebook group. And feel free to invite friends to join the group so they can participate in the tail-end of our challenge. 

October Book Pick: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
Discussion Opens: Thursday, October 24th 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

HBIC Book Club: September Book Pick

Welp it's August 24th. Summer is almost over and it is time to discuss yet another finished book in our year long pursuit of elevated reading! I am looking forward to hearing what my fellow club members think about The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides. All I will say here is I am surprised this is a best-seller and won top book awards! Join me in the discussion in our Facebook group here and let everyone know what you thought!

We had a tie in our September book poll! The two top choices were Red Dust Road by Jackie Kay and This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz. Both of these titles have been on my personal list for a while so I would be happy with either one BUT since I have to be the tie-breaker I am going to pick Red Dust Road. Honestly, I just wanted a little variety and the Diaz book sounds like a lot of love lost, forlorn stories and young heartbreak, similar to The Marriage Plot. And I just finished a Diaz book about a month ago so I could use some time before delving into the next one. Being the tie-breaker is just one of the perks of running this book club I guess! 

The summary from Amazon:

'Like the best memoirs, this one is written with novelistic and poetic flair. Red Dust Road is a fantastic, probing and heart-warming read' - "Independent". From the moment when, as a little girl, she realizes that her skin is a different colour from that of her beloved mum and dad, to the tracing and finding of her birth parents, her Highland mother and Nigerian father, Jackie Kay's journey in "Red Dust Road" is one of unexpected twists, turns and deep emotions. In a book remarkable for its warmth and candour, she discovers that inheritance is about much more than genes: that we are shaped by songs as much as by cells, and that what triumphs, ultimately, is love. 'A clear-eyed, witty and unsentimental account of the push and pull between nature and nurture. Happiness shines through' - "Sunday Times". 'Wonderful, humane ...This is a book with resolution, determination and honesty' - "Scotland on Sunday". 'It is Kay's abundant wit that makes Red Dust Road such a moving, spirited work. This is a terrifically easy, evocative, and often amusing read ...A remarkable, soul-searching journey' - "Sunday Herald".

See you all in the Facebook group for discussion time. And happy reading for September :)
September Book Pick: Red Dust Road by Jackie Kay
Discussion Period Opens: Monday, September 23rd

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

HBIC Book Club - August Book Pick!

Well another month has flown by, I know I say that every month but every month I am shocked at how fast the weeks pass. Must be old age. Anyway, we just finished another book! 7 books into our year long, 12 book challenge! Awesomeness. I loved Day After Night by Anita Diamant. She is such an imaginative historical writer. The setting of the book was so depressing (boo The Holocaust) but she managed to create distinct and multi-dimentional characters that stood out from their historical circumstances. They were relatable and complex and I really look forward to hearing what the group has to say about this book! Speak up and let your voice be heard! ;)

So our August book pick is in! Next month we will be reading The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides. This novel was named a Best Book of the Year by The New York Times, NPR, Salon, Publisher's Weekly, and many others so I guess it's gonna be good! 

The Amazon summary: 

"Are the great love stories of the nineteenth century dead? Or can there be a new story, written for today and alive to the realities of feminism, sexual freedom, prenups, and divorce? It’s the early 1980s. In American colleges, the wised-up kids are inhaling Derrida and listening to Talking Heads. But Madeleine Hanna, dutiful English major, is writing her senior thesis on Jane Austen and George Eliot, purveyors of the marriage plot that lies at the heart of the greatest English novels. As Madeleine studies the age-old motivations of the human heart, real life, in the form of two very different guys, intervenes---the charismatic and intense Leonard Bankhead, and her old friend the mystically inclined Mitchell Grammaticus. As all three of them face life in the real world they will have to reevaluate everything they have learned. Jeffrey Eugenides creates a new kind of contemporary love story in "his most powerful novel yet" (Newsweek)."

Sounds interesting! Also Jeffrey Eugenides rocks.

Happy Reading HBICs :)

August Book: The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides
Discussion Opens: Saturday, August 24th

Monday, June 24, 2013

HBIC Book Club - July Book Pick!

Woowee I cannot believe we are halfway through 2013 AND our year-long book challenge. A pat-on-the-back to each and everyone that has kept up with the reading and participated in discussions! We just opened discussion for Women, Food and God by Geneen Roth. I am interested in hearing what others have to say about this book because it was nothing what I expected! If you have something to add please push yourself out of your comfort zone and join the discussion!

Everything takes place in our Facebook group here!

With that being said, our July book pick is in! It was a close race this month but we have a winner by one vote: Day After Night by Anita Diamant

Image from

I am looking forward to this book because Anita Diamant is amazing! The Red Tent is one of my all time favorite books so I cannot wait to read this publication. I'm also always interested in Jewish historical fiction as it is my own personal heritage. Here is the summary from Amazon:

Just as she gave voice to the silent women of the Old Testament in The Red Tent, Anita Diamant creates a cast of breathtakingly vivid characters -- young women who escaped to Israel from Nazi Europe -- in this intensely dramatic novel.This is an unforgettable story of tragedy and redemption, a novel that reimagines a moment in history with such stunning eloquence that we are haunted and moved by every devastating detail. Day After Night is a triumphant work of fiction. Day After Night is based on the extraordinary true story of the October 1945 rescue of more than two hundred prisoners from the Atlit internment camp, a prison for "illegal" immigrants run by the British military near the Mediterranean coast south of Haifa. The story is told through the eyes of four young women at the camp with profoundly different stories. All of them survived the Holocaust: Shayndel, a Polish Zionist; Leonie, a Parisian beauty; Tedi, a hidden Dutch Jew; and Zorah, a concentration camp survivor. Haunted by unspeakable memories and losses, afraid to begin to hope, Shayndel, Leonie, Tedi, and Zorah find salvation in the bonds of friendship and shared experience even as they confront the challenge of re-creating themselves in a strange new country.

July Book Pick: Day After Night by Anita Diamant
Discussion Opens: Wednesday July 24th

Happy reading HBICs!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

HBIC Book Club: June Pick!

Hello lovely spring flowers! Hope this post finds all of my friends well and enjoying the beautiful life that spring has returned to us. I know I am! I just finished running my (half) marathon for the Alliance for Lupus Research and this weekend I am off to visit friends in Cali. YAY.

Our discussion for our May book, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, does not open until Friday but I wanted to post our June book early (mostly in preparation for my trip - gots to get things done so I can travel, worry-free). I really enjoyed reading Gone Girl. I never read thrillers but maybe I should start to more often because this book totally kept me on my toes. Once I got through the slow first few chapters I could not put it down! Literally! The ending is all kinds of messed up but I will save those comments for discussion. Anyway, I am glad that, yet again, the group voted for a book I would have never chosen on my own. I love this new book discovery! And this group! 

Our June pick is Women Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything by Geneen Roth. I have had this book on my personal "To-Read" list for a few years now so I am so excited that it caught the eye of so many group members and won this month's poll! 
Here is the summary from Amazon: 

"No matter how sophisticated or wealthy or broke or enlightened you are, how you eat tells all.
After three decades of studying, teaching and writing about our compulsions with food, bestselling author Geneen Roth adds a powerful new dimension to her work in Women Food and God. She begins with her most basic concept: The way you eat is inseparable from your core beliefs about being alive. Your relationship with food is an exact mirror of your feelings about love, fear, anger, meaning, transformation and, yes, even God. A timeless and seminal work, Women Food and God shows how going beyond the food and the feelings takes you deeper into realms of spirit and soul—to the bright center of your own life."

Sounds like this book may give us all a little does of self-discovery. I can't imagine what the connections between how we eat and our relationship with God are but I am excited to find out. Roth has decades of research on these topics and many other books to her credit so I think this will provide us with a lot to talk (and think) about. If you have any friends who are finishing up school for the semester and want to join the club please invite them to our Facebook group. Everyone is welcome. Happy Reading!

June Book Pick: Women Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything
Discussion Opens: Sunday, June 23rd

And congrats to everyone for making it all the way to June! One more book and we will be halfway finished with our year-long challenge :)