The World According to Garp by John Irving

9 Feb

garpHost: Sarah A.

Meal: Pizza, Salad, Chocolate & Cookies

Attending: Alli, Jodi, Kara, Rachel S., Sarah A., Sarah N., Tiffany

Favorite Quotes:

“In the world according to Garp, we are all terminal cases”

“If you are careful,’ Garp wrote, ‘if you use good ingredients, and you don’t take any shortcuts, then you can usually cook something very good. Sometimes it is the only worthwhile product you can salvage from a day; what you make to eat. With writing, I find, you can have all the right ingredients, give plenty of time and care, and still get nothing. Also true of love. Cooking, therefore, can keep a person who tries hard sane.”

“Crazy people made him crazy. It was as if he personally resented them giving into madness – in part, because he so frequently labored to behave sanely. When some people gave up the labor of sanity, or failed at it, Garp suspected them of not trying hard enough. ”

“All men are liars, said Roberta Muldoon, who knew this was true because she had once been a man.”

“It is an important distinction to note that she looked not only as if she had taken good care of herself, but that she had good reason to have done so. (…) She looked to be in such total possession of her life that only the most confident men could continue to look at her if she looked back at them. Even in bus stations, she was a woman who was stared at only until she looked back.”

“‘If you were back at work, on a book, you’d be too tired to lie awake half the night’, she said. It was his imagination that was keeping him up, Helen told him; one sign that he hadn’t been writing enough, Garp knew, was when he had too much imagination left over for other things. For example, the onslaught of dreams: Garp now dreamed only of horrors happening to his children.”

Garp always said that the question he most hated to be asked, about his work, was how much of it was ‘true’ – not in the good way that Jillsy Sloper used it, but true as in ‘real life.’…Garp would say that the autobiographical basis- if there even was one- was the least interesting level on which to read a novel. He would always say that the art of fiction was the art of imagining truly- was, like any art, a process of selection.”

“You should do your own work, Garp. Just your own work. You used to say politics were stupid, and they meant nothing to you. You were right. They are stupid, they do mean nothing. You’re doing this because it’s easier than sitting down and making something up, from scratch. And you know it. You’re building bookshelves all over the house, and finishing floors, and fucking around in the garden, for Christ’s sake. Did I marry a handyman? Did I ever expect you to be a crusader? You should be writing the books and letting other people make the shelves. And you know I’m right, Garp.”


Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

12 Jan

life-after-lifeHost: Jerusha (in her new house!)

Meal: Roast Chicken & Vegetable Soup, Garlic-Cheddar Biscuits, Salad, Chocolate Mousse Pie

Attending: Alli, Jerusha, Kara, Rachel S., Sarah A., Sarah N., Tiffany (1st time – welcome!)

Favorite Quotes:

“Childbirth was a brutal affair. If she had been in charge of designing the human race she would have gone about things quite differently. (A golden shaft of light through the ear for conception perhaps and a well-fitting hatch somewhere modest for escape nine months later.)”

“‘I didn’t look, I just knew.’ ‘Ah, I know,’ Bridget said. ‘For sure, you have the sixth sense.’ Mrs. Glover, wrestling with the plum pudding, snorted her disapproval. She was of the opinion that five senses were too many, let alone adding another one.”

“Ursula craved solitude but she hated loneliness, a conundrum that she couldn’t even begin to solve.”

“What if we had a chance to do it again and again, until we finally did get it right? Wouldn’t that be wonderful?”

“’He was born a politician.’ ‘No,’ Ursula thought, ‘he was born a baby, like everyone else. And this is what he has chosen to become.’”

“Do not tell secrets to those whose faith and silence you have not already tested.”

“Only half of all bomber crews survived their first tour of duty, the girl in the Air Ministry said. (‘Aren’t the odds the same every time they go up?’ Ursula said. ‘Isn’t that how odds work?’ ‘Not in the case of bomber crews,’ the girl from the Air Ministry said.)”



We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

8 Dec

we-were-liarsHost: Alli

Meal: Winter Sangria, Seafood Chowder, Salad, Blueberry Pie

Attending: Alli, Jerusha, Kara, Katie, Rachel S., Sarah N.

Favorite Quotes:

“I suffer migraines. I do not suffer fools.”

“Then he pulled out a handgun and shot me in the chest. I was standing on the lawn and I fell. The bullet hole opened wide and my heart rolled out of my rib cage and down into a flower bed. Blood gushed rhythmically from my open wound,
then from my eyes,
my ears,
my mouth.
It tasted like salt and failure. The bright red shame of being unloved soaked the grass in front of our house, the bricks of the path, the steps of the porch. My heart spasmed among the peonies like a trout.”

“‘You only know the me on this island, where everyone is rich except me and the staff. Where everyone’s white except me, Ginny & Paulo.’ ‘Who are Ginny & Paulo?’ Gat hits his fist into his palm. ‘Ginny is the housekeeper and Paulo is the gardener. You don’t know their names and they’ve worked here summer after summer. That’s part of my point.'”

“Do not accept an evil you can change.”

“We are liars. We are beautiful and privileged. We are cracked and broken.”

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The Death of Ivan Ilyich and The Forged Coupon by Leo Tolstoy

10 Nov

ivanHost: Sarah N.

Meal: Beef Stroganoff, Red Potatoes, Syrnicki (Russian Pancakes), Salad, Apple Sharlotka

Attending: Ali, Jerusha, Jodi, Kara, Rachel, Sarah A., Sarah N.

Favorite Quotes (Ivan Ilyich):

“In them he saw himself-all that for which he had lived- and saw clearly that is was not real at all, but a terrible and huge deception which has hidden both life and death.”

 “The very fact of the death of someone close to them aroused in all who heard about it, as always, a feeling of delight that he had died and they hadn’t.”
“‘Maybe I did not live as I ought to have done,’ it suddenly occurred to him. ‘But how could that be, when I did everything properly?’ he replied, and immediately dismissed from his mind this, the sole solution of all the riddles of life and death, as something quite impossible.”
(Forged Coupon):
“Vassily felt the greatest admiration for his master’s mode of living, which reminded him of what he had seen in Moscow; and he became more and more convinced that the only thing that mattered in life was money.”
“He somehow unconsciously felt that this man, brought to him in fetters and with a shorn head, guarded by two soldiers who were waiting to take him back to prison, had a free soul and was immeasurably superior to himself. He was in consequence somewhat troubled”

What’s Eating Gilbert Grape by Peter Hedges

13 Oct

grape Host: Katie

Meal: Beer Cheese Soup, Make-Your-Own Salad, Bread, Broccoli, Grapes!, Brownies

Attending: Katie, Rachel, Sarah A., Sarah N.

Favorite Quotes:

“A man who works all day, every day and loves each apple he uncrates, who cherishes each can of soup – a man like that surely puts us all to shame.”

“In a cement park across the street is this giant sculpture. It is a giant umbrella frame lying on its side. It’s green. Stand under it, during a rainstorm, you’ll still get wet – that’s why it’s art.”

“There is nothing more depressing than toast that no one eats.”

“He loves to hide, but only if you take the time to find him. And while I suspect that’s true for most people, only a retard or a kid would admit it.”

“The more Christian you are in this town, the more makeup you wear. I’ve always thought that it’s because if you were to die suddenly, you’d look better for God.”

“Wait a minute, I’m thinking, was this another one of those conversations where what is meant and what is being said are not the same thing?”




Jefferson’s Sons by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

8 Sep

jeffersons-sonsHost: Jodi

Meal: Lasagna, Garlic Cheese Bread, Salad, Krispy Kreme Cake

Attending: Alli, Jodi, Kara, Rachel S., Sarah A., Sarah N.

Favorite Quotes:

“He said anger was like a heavy rock, hard to carry every day. It was easier to get through life if you could set your anger down.”

“Mama thought for awhile again . ‘I’d say Master Jefferson avoids causing pain to anyone where he can see it,’ she said, ‘But if he can’t see it, or won’t see it, he doesn’t think the pain he causes is real.'”


Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee

11 Aug

watchmanHost: Kara

Meal: Pimento Cheese & Crackers, Cherry Wine Sangria, Alabama Pulled Pork Sandwiches with White Barbecue Sauce, Coleslaw, Lemon Chess Pie

Attending: Alli, Jerusha, Kara, Katie H., Rachel S., Sarah A., Sarah N.

Favorite Quotes:

“Prejudice, a dirty word, and faith, a clean one, have something in common: they both begin where reason ends.”

“As you grew up, when you were grown, totally unknown to yourself, you confused your father with God. You never saw him as a man with a man’s heart, and a man’s failings—I’ll grant you it may have been hard to see, he makes so few mistakes, but he makes ’em like all of us.”

“She went to the kitchen and brought out a tray of cocktail napkins. As she passed them down the line, Jean Louise felt as if she were running down the keys of a gigantic harpsichord: ‘I never in all my life…saw that marvelous picture…with old Mr. Healy…lying on the mantelpiece in front of my eyes the whole time…is it? Just about eleven, I think…she’ll wind up gettin’ a divorce. After all, the way he…rubbed my back every hour the whole ninth month…would have killed you. If you could have seen him…piddling every five minutes during the night…’
Back up the scale with the sandwiches: ‘Mr. Talbert looked at me and said…he’d never learn to sit on the pot…of beans every Thursday night. That’s the one Yankee thing he picked up in the…War of the Roses? No, honey, I said Warren proposes…to the garbage collector…’ Alexandra walked behind her, muffling the keys with coffee until they subsided to a gentle hum.”

“Don’t push her. Let her go at her own speed. Push her and every mule in the county’d be easier to live with.”

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

14 Jul

mockingbirdHost: Rachel S.

Meal: Strawberry-Basil Moscow Mules, Bread Spreads, Crackling Bread, Seafood Dump, Lane Cake

Attending: Alli, Katie H., Welcome Katie N.!, Rachel S., Sarah A., Sarah N.

Favorite Quotes:

“People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for.”

“They’re certainly entitled to think that, and they’re entitled to full respect for their opinions… but before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.”

“As you grow older, you’ll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but let me tell you something and don’t you forget it—whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, that white man is trash”

“Real courage is when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.”

“Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”


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A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler

9 Jun

spool of blue threadHost: Kara

Meal: Fried Chicken, Corn Salad, Biscuits, Watermelon, Biscoff Icebox Cake & Cement-Frosted Cake

Attending: Alli, Jerusha, Kara, Katie H., Rachel S., Sarah A., Sarah N.

Favorite Quotes:

“The thing about caller ID is,” Red said, more or less to himself, “it seems a little like cheating. A person should be willing to take his chances, answering the phone.”

“Has Atta been telling you about her family? She has the most unusual family. Yes, Atta said, ‘my family was exceptional. Everybody envied us…We came from a distinguished line of scientists on both sides, and we had many intellectual discussions. Other people wished they could be members.'”

“Abby had a little trick that she used any time Red acted like a cranky old codger. She reminded herself of the day she had fallen in love with him.”

“She had always assumed that when she was old, she would have total confidence, finally. But look at her: still uncertain. In many ways she was more uncertain now than she had been as a girl.

“Didn’t anyone stop to reflect that the so-called old people of today used to smoke pot, for heaven’s sake, and wear bandannas tied around their heads and picket the White House? When Amanda chided her for saying that something was “cool” (“I hate it when the older generation tries to copy the younger,” she had said), did she not realize that “cool” had been used in Abby’s time, too, not to mention long before?”

“For years, she had been in mourning for the way she had let her life slip through her fingers. Given another chance, she’d told herself, she would take more care to experience it. But lately, she was finding that she had experienced it after all and just forgotten, and now it was returning to her.”

“The trouble with dying,” she’d told Jeannie once, “is that you don’t get to see how everything turns out. You won’t know the ending.”

“Even though he’d drunk nothing but water with his meal, he started to get that elated feeling that alcohol used to give him. It must have come from spilling all the words that he had kept stored up for so long.”


A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

12 May

owen meanyHost: Sarah A.

Meal: Lemon Butter Shrimp, Risotto, Procuitto-Wrapped Asparagus, Brownies with Ice Cream

Attending: Daisy, Kara, Katie, Rachel S., Sarah A., Sarah N.

Favorite Quotes:

“When someone you love dies, and you’re not expecting it, you don’t lose her all at once; you lose her in pieces over a long time—the way the mail stops coming, and her scent fades from the pillows and even from the clothes in her closet and drawers. Gradually, you accumulate the parts of her that are gone. Just when the day comes—when there’s a particular missing part that overwhelms you with the feeling that she’s gone, forever—there comes another day, and another specifically missing part.”

“The only way you get Americans to notice anything is to tax them or draft them or kill them.”

“Watch out for people who call themselves religious; make sure you know what they mean––make sure they know what they mean!”

“So my grandmother was not without humanity. and if she wore cocktail dresses when she labored in the garden, they were cocktail dresses she no longer intended to wear to cocktail parties. Even in her rose garden she did not want to appear underdressed. If the dresses got too dirty from gardening, she threw them out. When my mother suggested to her that she might have them cleaned, my grandmother said, “What? And have those people at the cleaners what I was doing in a dress to make it that dirty?”