Feb Book Choice-Manhattan Beach

Kim Hall helped us with our Feb read: Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan. Kim:   “This is in my stack of “books I want to read in the New Year!” I love historical fiction and my sister just finished this.  She said it was a real page-turner, and the book has gotten a lot of critical acclaim!”


New York Times Bestseller 
* A San Francisco Chronicle Top 10 Book of the Year
* A New York Times Notable Book and a Washington Post Notable Fiction Book of 2017
* A Time magazine and USA Today Top 10 Novel of 2017
* Winner of the Booklist Top of the List for Fiction
* Longlisted for the National Book Award for Fiction
* Finalist for the Andrew Carnegie Medal
* Named a Best Book of 2017 by NPR, The Guardian, Vogue, Esquire, Kirkus Reviews, Philadelphia Inquirer, BookPage, Bustle, Southern Living, and St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“Immensely satisfying…an old-fashioned page-turner, tweaked by this witty and sophisticated writer…Egan is masterly at displaying mastery…she works a formidable kind of magic.” —Dwight Garner, The New York Times

The daring and magnificent novel from the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of A Visit from the Goon Squad.

Anna Kerrigan, nearly twelve years old, accompanies her father to visit Dexter Styles, a man who, she gleans, is crucial to the survival of her father and her family. She is mesmerized by the sea beyond the house and by some charged mystery between the two men.

‎Years later, her father has disappeared and the country is at war. Anna works at the Brooklyn Naval Yard, where women are allowed to hold jobs that once belonged to men, now soldiers abroad. She becomes the first female diver, the most dangerous and exclusive of occupations, repairing the ships that will help America win the war. One evening at a nightclub, she meets Dexter Styles again, and begins to understand the complexity of her father’s life, the reasons he might have vanished.

With the atmosphere of a noir thriller, Egan’s first historical novel follows Anna and Styles into a world populated by gangsters, sailors, divers, bankers, and union men. Manhattan Beach is a deft, dazzling, propulsive exploration of a transformative moment in the lives and identities of women and men, of America and the world. It is a magnificent novel by the author of A Visit from the Goon Squad, one of the great writers of our time.


Other “almost reads”

“Eleanor Oliphant” by Gail Honeyman

Soon to be a major motion picture produced by Reese Witherspoon.

“Warm and funny…plus Reese bought the rights to this one…You’ll want to read it.”—TheSkimm

“A charmer…satisfyingly quirky.”—Janet Maslin, The New York Times “Books to Breeze Through This Summer”

“This wacky, charming novel…draws you in with humor, then turns out to contain both a suspenseful subplot and a sweet romance….Hilarious and moving.”—People

No one’s ever told Eleanor that life should be better than fine.

Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.

But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.

Smart, warm, uplifting, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is the story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey as she realizes. . . The only way to survive is to open your heart.

The summary doesn’t really fully do this book justice.  I just read this book a month ago and it really moved me.  It took me a few chapters to get into it, but then I couldn’t put it down and finished it in two days!  Eleanor is NOT completely fine!  She is grabbling with something that keeps her from fully living a full life.  I can’t give it away, but her life changes when she makes a decision to faces her struggles …..A friend recommended this book after her book club read and discussed it and loved it!

alizes. . . The only way to survive is to open your heart.

A thrilling new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa See explores the lives of a Chinese mother and her daughter who has been adopted by an American couple.

Li-yan and her family align their lives around the seasons and the farming of tea. There is ritual and routine, and it has been ever thus for generations. Then one day a jeep appears at the village gate—the first automobile any of them have seen—and a stranger arrives.

In this remote Yunnan village, the stranger finds the rare tea he has been seeking and a reticent Akha people. In her biggest seller, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, See introduced the Yao people to her readers. Here she shares the customs of another Chinese ethnic minority, the Akha, whose world will soon change.Li-yan, one of the few educated girls on her mountain, translates for the stranger and is among the first to reject the rules that have shaped her existence. When she has a baby outside of wedlock, rather than stand by tradition, she wraps her daughter in a blanket, with a tea cake hidden in her swaddling, and abandons her in the nearest city.

After mother and daughter have gone their separate ways, Li-yan slowly emerges from the security and insularity of her village to encounter modern life while Haley grows up a privileged and well-loved California girl. Despite Haley’s happy home life, she wonders about her origins; and Li-yan longs for her lost daughter. They both search for and find answers in the tea that has shaped their family’s destiny for generations.

A powerful story about a family, separated by circumstances, culture, and distance, Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane paints an unforgettable portrait of a little known region and its people and celebrates the bond that connects mothers and daughters.

I am currently reading this book and am really enjoying it!  It  is historical fiction and a suspenseful  book about families, women, Chinese culture, and mother-daughter relationships!  I think our Book Club read another book by Lisa Lee, or maybe I just read it – Snow Flower and the Magic Fan.



Bookplates Christmas Party -December 14

Annual Bookplates Christmas Soiree!

It’s that time of year- Cioppino, book stealing, wine swapping and general debauchery at our annual Christmas shindig. For those who are new, or need  a refresher here is the overview:

1.) June Hosts
2.) Spouses/guests welcome
3.) We don’t read/discuss a book
4.) We play  dirty Santa -Bring a book!


Potluck as usual please leave a comment and let us know if you are coming and what you will bring (even if you have already emailed it) so we can keep track of the goodies.










January 2018 Pick- Lab Girl

Indeed! It is time to be thinking about next year. Bonnie has selected our first of the year book “Lab Girl” by Hope Jahren. See below for more info

Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography

New York Times 2016 Notable Book
National Best Seller
Named one of TIME magazine’s “100 Most Influential People”
An Amazon Top 20 Best Book of 2016
Washington Post Best Memoir of 2016
TIME and Entertainment Weekly Best Book of 2016 

An illuminating debut memoir of a woman in science; a moving portrait of a longtime friendship; and a stunningly fresh look at plants that will forever change how you see the natural world
Acclaimed scientist Hope Jahren has built three laboratories in which she’s studied trees, flowers, seeds, and soil. Her first book is a revelatory treatise on plant life—but it is also so much more. 

Lab Girl
 is a book about work, love, and the mountains that can be moved when those two things come together. It is told through Jahren’s remarkable stories: about her childhood in rural Minnesota with an uncompromising mother and a father who encouraged hours of play in his classroom’s labs; about how she found a sanctuary in science, and learned to perform lab work done “with both the heart and the hands”; and about the inevitable disappointments, but also the triumphs and exhilarating discoveries, of scientific work.

Yet at the core of this book is the story of a relationship Jahren forged with a brilliant, wounded man named Bill, who becomes her lab partner and best friend. Their sometimes rogue adventures in science take them from the Midwest across the United States and back again, over the Atlantic to the ever-light skies of the North Pole and to tropical Hawaii, where she and her lab currently make their home. 

Bonnies other Suggested reads included:

NEWS OF THE WORLD by Paulette Jiles


Today Will be Different Discussion Questions

Today Will be Different

  1. For those who read Where’d You Go, Bernadette, did you like this book as well? Did Bernadette and Eleanor have any similarities? Did you like Eleanor?


  1. The whole book occurs in one day and begins and ends with her strategy, “Today will be different…..” How does her need to change herself relate to her relationship with her family and friends?


  1. How does the story of her sister, Ivey, fit within the story?


  1. How did Eleanor’s acceptance of her Husband’s change, make her accept her past? Was this too quickly tied up to end the book?

November 9th Book Club meeting

Bonnie will be our host and is planning a shellfish supper – Pesto Pasta with Shrimp -YUM. Katherine has to miss but will be sending questions for our book -“Today Will be Different” -check back if I am organized enough I will post them. Please use the comment feature below to let us know if you can come and what you will bring.

October 12th Bookclub Meeting

Melissa Stewart is hosting us next week for the discussion of The Last Painting of Sara de Vos. Melissa is serving up pork tender and asks for salads, sides, dessert and other accompaniments. (maybe rabbit stew? or a vintage bottle of red?)

Let us know if you can come and what you will bring.


I just wanted to say THANK YOU for the amazing books you gave me. I now have my own personal library of squeaky clean, pre-Louise (or as she might say “un-loved”) books. I particularly love to hear my mother try to sing Pete the Cat (spoiler alert she will be keeping her day job).

I wanted you all to see this pic of me chilling in my crib with my super cool new books. If you don’t see the book you gave me, it might be on Louise’s shelf (oops!).

Thank you again for being a friend to me and my mom!