Day: August 31, 2012

25 Books

I’ve mentioned my book club several times on this blog but today I have an exciting announcement.  Tomorrow marks our 25th book we have read together!  Now I have been the only one that has read all 25 books and the club members have changed sometimes monthly but somehow I have pushed through and we are currently going strong.  I am proud of our club and its success. 🙂

We even had one meeting where nobody came but I didn’t let it dissuade me because at least it kept me reading.  Ironically the month nobody came was a book I hated.  I’ve only disliked 2 out of the 25 books.  That said, most of the selections are one’s I’ve read and have a love affair with.  I admit my book club is a bit of a publicity stunt to push my favorite books and gab with my friends but as they are genuinely great reads nobody has minded much 🙂 (I always ask for other suggestions and we have done what others want such as Hunger Games or A Tree Grows in Brooklyn).

You will also notice very few fantasy/teen lit books because that isn’t my favorite genre.  Again, open to reading them but if it is left up to me I am less likely to chose those books.

Over the years I’ve noticed that it is best to pick books that are around 200 pages and aren’t super challenging.  It depends on the month and how busy everyone is.  We have ventured into a few classics and read Jane Eyre before the movie came out.  That was fun.

Certain books are better for inviting discussion but a good leader can pull questions and get the girls chatting about almost any book.  Some are just easier than others.  The Help is still one of the best discussions I think we have had and best turn outs.  Other popular choices were Scarlet Pimpernell, The Hiding Place, A Girl Named Zippy, Screwtape Letters, Prizewinner of Defiance Ohio, The Chosen etc.   We also had a great discussion with A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, which I hated and everyone else loved.  I think I stood my ground pretty well! 🙂

I also loved My Life in France not only because it is one of the most divine books ever written but because of the fun party I threw around the book.  To me, it was the most fun I’ve had at book club.

Another favorite of mine was the Book Thief even though nobody else in book club got through it that month. (I must admit I was so looking forward to talking about that book.  It’s so different and  unique.  Sigh…).  Will have to pick it again sometime.  Would love to read it again.

Obviously I love reading books over and over again (I’m that way with most anything in my life. Maybe that’s why I’m good at accounting.  Same thing over and over again).

I feel strongly that at least someone in book club must have read the book for it to be selected.  As the leader I am not going to give my friends a book to read without someone I trust endorsing it.  Unless it was written by the prophet- no way :).

Its interesting because sometimes I will read a book and not be that into it until book club.  Then after the discussion I am excited and interested in reading it again.  I saw this most clearly in Call of the Wild.  Not being a dog person, I just didn’t get it but once we discussed it I had a renewed respect for London’s writing.

In the end, I am really grateful for book club and the social and literary benefits it gives me each month.  I really look forward it and am thankful to every person who has attended a meeting or read a book.  If you haven’t come out but have thought about it, please do.  We try to pick fun, or at least inspirational books that will leave you uplifted and happy.  (I’ve been in some book clubs where all the books seemed to be such downers! Who has time for that?).  I already have about 6 books I’m dying for my friends to read and look forward to rereading myself.

I would love to someday convince a man to come to book club.  I’d love to get that perspective but I can see why they wouldn’t want to come.  Still, it would be really interesting.  Maybe I will just have to marry a reader. (which of course is my plan anyway!).

So, thanks for 25 great books.  Here they are:

Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy
My Life in France by Julia Child
The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom
The River Between Us by Richard Peck
Charms for the Easy Life by Kaye Gibbons
Marriage and the Choice Made in Eden by Beverely Campbell
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
Hunger Games vol. 1 by Suzanne Collins
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle  by Avi
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel
Life as we knew it by Susan Beth Pfeffer
All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot
Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery
Book Theif by Markus Zusak
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Call of the Wild by Jack London
The Chosen by Chiam Potok
No 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis
Prizewinner of Defiance Ohio by Terry Ryan
Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson  

Mia Love

As all my facebook and twitter friends know, I have a new political crush- Mia Love, running for Congress out of Utah’s new 4th Congressional district (incidentally my district!).   She is running against two-time incumbent democrat Jim Matheson.  With all due respect to Mr. Matheson, I want Mia to win so badly.  I think she is a tremendous person and I admire her boldness and character.

She is currently mayor of Saratoga Springs (about 20 minutes from where I live in Draper) and since her election in 2010 she has cut councilors’ expenses, reduced the budget deficit from $3.5 million to $779,000 and for a city of its size; it has a bond rating of AA+.

“She is running on a platform of limited government, fiscal discipline and personal responsibility. When she tackles an issue, she often asks herself three quintessential questions: “Is it affordable? Is it sustainable? Is it my job?”

I wish all politicians were asking those 3 questions!  What  a blessing it would be to our country if all politicians stopped spending money we don’t have and got our affairs in order.   I love it!

Yesterday I went to a campaign event where Mia spoke, shook hands with us and we watched Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech (which was awesome!).  With all my interest in politics I have never been to a campaign event like this before . I think it is because I never felt a real tie to where I was living but now that I’m purchasing a townhouse I feel more invested in my community.  It wasn’t a conscious choice, just kind of naturally happened.

This is also the first time that someone exciting has been running from my district.  I LOVE Jason Chaffetz but he is the district over from me, so there was less I can do to help him.  Plus, he hardly needs it in that district.  Mia is in a tight race and I feel I can make a difference to her campaign.  Oftentimes in Utah there can be little motivation to help a practically guaranteed red state but in this race it is definitely not guaranteed.

The only other time I’ve gotten personally involved in politics was the tea party rallies (yes, I’m one of those right wing extremists.  Aren’t you terrified?).  I’m proud of my former and current involvement in the tea party movement.  Despite being vilified by the press I believe we did a lot of good.  We may not have won every race but we put some amazing people into power and got rid of some bland bureaucrats who were satisfied with the same old ideas.   We also helped change some of those ideas and refocused the Republican party on real fiscal conservatism. Got them to stop compromising and start leading.

Mia Love is the type of candidate that will be bold when elected.  I watched her yesterday answer question after question (there were some Matheson folks who came out to stir the pot) she was unflinchingly solid in her dedication to keeping government small and effective.  I was so impressed with every single one of her answers to complex questions.  She was awesome!

Mia Love answering questions

This isn’t a reason to vote for her, but I also love who Mia is.  What I mean by that is she breaks stereotypes all over the place.  People have a preconceived notion about what Utahans, Mormons, Republicans, and black women are like.  She fits none of those notions. Just as people were excited to see someone that looked different run for president in President Obama, I’m excited to see someone different running from my state and from my faith.  It tells people that not all Republicans, Mormons, Utahans and black women are the same.  We don’t all fit the mold.  Love that!

I’m volunteering for the Mia Love campaign and will be making phone calls and knocking on doors (brushing off those old missionary skills!).  I’ve also donated money to her for the first time in my life.  It should be really fun.

Last night listening to Mia and cheering her on I remembered my feelings after the tea party rally.  I wrote “I was proud to be there.  I was proud to be waving my sign, and I will never forget the moment of connection I felt with my country.  It was a great moment.”  It was a great moment of connection and I look forward to many more over the next 2 months.

I would challenge all of you to become active in the political process.  Whether you are Republican or Democratic we need to hear your voice.  It is important.  At the very least please vote.  I know it seems like you don’t make a difference but the sheer act of your voting encourages others and that is powerful!  Think of the hundreds of thousands of people who died to give you that right.

Please vote! Please become involved!

Here is a video of Mia at the Republican National Convention.  So moving!

Here are 2 of my posts on my experiences with the tea party movement.  I think the post on the protest is one of my best.  Enjoy!

https://smilingldsgirl.wordpress.com/2010/11/07/the-republican-tea-party-opportunity/

https://smilingldsgirl.wordpress.com/2009/04/17/tea-party/