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?”



The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

14 Apr

casual vacancyHost: Alli (new house!)

Meal: Chicken Curry, Kale Salad, Homemade Naan, Rice Pudding

Attending: Alli, Jerusha, Jodi, Kara, Rachael P., Sarah A., Sarah N.

Favorite Quotes:

“Naturally Shirley had known, as they slid stock words and phrases back and forth between them like beads on an abacus, that Howard must be as brimful of ecstasy as she was; but to express these feelings out loud, when the news of death was still fresh in the air, would have been tantamount to dancing naked and shrieking obscenities, and Howard and Shirley were clothed, always, in an invisible layer of decorum that they never laid aside.”

“The mistake ninety-nine percent of humanity made, as far as Fats could see, was being ashamed of what they were; lying about it, trying to be somebody else.”

“Yes, well, principles are sometimes the problem, if you ask me,’ said Miles. ‘Often what’s needed is a bit of common sense.’
‘Which is the name people usually give to their prejudices,’ rejoined Kay.”

“How awful it was, thought Tessa, remembering Fats the toddler, the way tiny ghosts of your living children haunted your heart; they could never know, and would hate it if they did, how their growing was a constant bereavement.”

“Parminder kept her unwept tears locked tightly inside where they seemed to undergo an alchemical transformation, returning to the outer world as lava slides of rage.”




The Storied Life of A. J. Fikrey: A Novel by Gabrielle Zevin

10 Mar

aj fikryHost: Rachel S.

Meal: Lasagna Rollups, Rolls, Salad, Cupcakes

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

Favorite Quotes:

“You know everything you need to know about a person from the answer to the question, What is your favorite book?

“We are not quite novels.
We are not quite short stories.
In the end, we are collected works.”


The Recipe Club: A Novel About Food and Friendship by Andrea Israel and Nancy Garfinkel

11 Feb

recipe clubHost: Rachael P. (hot tub night!)

Meal: (all recipes from the book) Kitty’s Roasted Chicken, Smashing Mashed Potatoes, Happy New Years Glug, Katherine’s Karrots, Wash Away The Blues Cobbler

Attending: Alli, Rachael P., Rachel S., Sarah A., Sarah N.