Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore

14 Sep

Host: Sarah A.

Meal: “Mashed Chickpeas & Garlic” (p 135) with Pita Chips, Barbecued Pork (p 120), Bacon (p 169), Bread, Wine & Cheese (everywhere), Angel Food Cake & Chocolate (p 2)

Attending: Alli, Jerusha, Kara, Katie, Rachel, Sarah A., Tiffany

Favorite Quotes:

“I’ve got to think that that was unethical,” Joshua said.
“Josh, faking demonic possession is like a mustard seed.”
“How is it like a mustard seed?”
“You don’t know, do you? Doesn’t seem at all like a mustard seed, does it? Now you see how we all feel when you liken things unto a mustard seed? Huh?”

“Praying is talking to God. Meditating is listening.”

“So hey, once Joshua heals your brother, you want to go do something, get some pomegranate juice, a falafel,or get married or something?”



Looking for Me by Beth Hoffman

10 Aug

Host: Rachel

Meal: “Summer”: Watermelon-Lime Cocktails, Bacon-Fig Rollups, Cucumber-Watermelon-Feta Salad, Pizza with Garden Zucchini, Beef Lettuce Wraps, Cookie Dough Ice Cream Sandwiches

Attending: Kara, Rachel, Sarah A., Sarah N., Tiffany

Favorite Quotes:

“Never tie your happiness to the tail of someone else’s kite.”

“I forced a smile with each cup of coffee that I poured, knowing that my survival depended on the tips my smile might bring. The way I calcuated it, every smile was worth about seventy-eight cents, a little more on Sundays.”

“Sometimes it’s not what we hold on to that shapes our lives–it’s what we’re willing to let go of.”

“Maybe that’s what love does – smooths the hard edges of life, giving us a gentle place to land when we fall.”

“I thought about that old saying, how we can never go home again. But I think it’s more like a piece of us stays behind when we leave — a piece we can never reclaim, one that awaits our next visit and demands that we remember.”

“We are the authors of our lives, and, through choice or circumstance, some of us leave our stories unfinished or untold. Though it’s taken me a long while to get here, I’ve come to accept that life, like the vast woodlands that surround my childhood home, is layered with mysteries.”


Harlequin Romance Book Reports

13 Jul

Host: Jodi the Birthday Girl

Meal: Jet’s Pizza, Salad, Chocolate Molten Lava Cakes

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

To celebrate Jodi’s 40th birthday, we each gave a book report from a Harlequin romance novel with a summary and the best quotes. Extra points for Rachel’s handmade flip-book and Alli’s re-enactment with toy figurines!

Boston Girl by Anita Diamant

8 Jun

Host: Kara (new house!)

Meal: “Jewish Deli” – sandwiches, cole slaw, & potato salad from Cecil’s Deli, rhubarb slush cocktail, apple pie

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

Favorite Quotes:

“She said, “Hiking is the same thing as walking, only hotter and twice as far as you want to go. But usually, you’re glad you went.”

“Sometimes friends grow apart. You tell each other everything and you’re sure this is a person you’ll know the rest of your life but then she stops writing or calling, or you realize she’s really not so nice, or she turns into a right-winger.”

“I’m still embarrassed and mad at myself. But after seventy years, I also feel sorry for the girl I used to be. She was awfully hard on herself.”

“According to the Talmud, if a funeral procession and a wedding procession cross paths, the wedding party goes first. Life is more important than death.

“It took me until I was almost forty before I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up.”

“If you treat every question like you’ve never heard it before, your students feel like you respect them and everyone learns a lot more. Including the teacher.”

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

11 May

Host: Katie

Meal: Pizza, Salad, 19 Crimes Wine!, Cadbury Chocolate Fondue with fruit and pound cake

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

Favorite Quotes:

“Men tell stories. Women get on with it. For us it was a shadow war. There were no parades for us when it was over, no medals or mentions in history books. We did what we had to during the war, and when it was over, we picked up the pieces and started our lives over.”

“He loves a version of me that is incomplete. I always thought it was what I wanted: to be loved and admired. Now I think perhaps I’d like to be known.”

“If I have learned anything in this long life of mine, it is this: in love we find out who we want to be; in war we find out who we are. Today’s young people want to know everything about everyone. They think talking about a problem will solve it. I come from a quieter generation. We understand the value of forgetting, the lure of reinvention.”

“You’re not alone, and you’re not the one in charge,” Mother said gently. “Ask for help when you need it, and give help when you can. I think that is how we serve God—and each other and ourselves—in times as dark as these.”

The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler

13 Apr

Host: Sarah N. (last one at Norwood??)

Meal: New England Cod Cakes, Asparagus, Bread, Nothing Bundt Red Velvet Cake

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

Favorite Quotes:

“Having all the time in the world makes getting things done impossible.”

“We carry our families like anchors, rooting us in storms, making sure we never drift from where and who we are. We carry our families within us the way we carry our breath underwater, keeping us afloat, keeping us alive. I’ve been lifting anchors since I was eighteen. I’ve been holding my breath since before I was born.”

“Nobody loves you quite like someone who’s sorry.”

“Why the hell don’t people understand there are some things you don’t talk about? You keep it to yourself so you hurt fewer people. You’re supposed to pay with guilt. Guilt is penance.”

“I’d always pictured Enola as solitary, but she’s perfectly paired. They pass cards back and forth like it’s speaking. I have no such language, though the librarian I was had decimals, everything a classification. What would they be? The 400s for the language, 300s for the sociology, 900s for the history of her, us; though something about them begs for the 200s and religious fervor.”


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”