Three on a Theme: Jane Eyre

My in-person book club reads an annual “book flight,” inspired by a post at Modern Mrs. Darcy.

This year the theme voted on by our members was Jane Eyre. (I’m excited about this, as I didn’t think it would be the winner, but it was my pick).

The first book in our trio is, not surprisingly, Jane Eyre.

For a reimagining of the Jane Eyre story, we’ll also read Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye. What sort of reimagining? Well, Jane is a serial killer, so I’m guessing a pretty creative one.

The final book in our flight is the 2016 biography Charlotte Brontë: A Fiery Heart, by Claire Harman. I’m hoping we gain a new appreciation for Brontë’s work through looking at her life and times.

I can’t wait to dive into these three, which is good because, at over 1500 pages between the three, I need to get moving on reading them before our October meeting where we’ll be discussing them. 🙂

Find Jane Eyre: Print | Kindle | Audible | Nook | Goodreads

Find Jane Steele: Print | Kindle | Audible | Nook | Goodreads

Find Charlotte Brontë: A Fiery Heart: Print | Kindle | Audible | Nook | Goodreads

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Next Up: Staying in the US in Family Book Club

Apparently we all took the summer off, but you’ve got time to join in for the final months of our family book club as we look at books set in the United States! We’ve also got a new co-host, Kate of Moms’s Radius.

What books are we reading in September and October?

RTFEBC Sept Oct

For the youngest readers, the picture book selected is Grace For President by Kelly S. DiPucchio, and illustrated by LeUyen Pham (can’t find it at your library? I’ll be back soon with a post on some other options, but do look for this one, as it is wonderful).

For September’s early elementary / middle grade title, we’re reading Dancing Home by Alma Flor Ada and Gabriel M. Zubizarreta.

October’s selection for teens / adults is Stuck in Neutral by Terry Trueman.

Chat about the books

We’d love to chat about the books with you in the Facebook group – tell us what you & your family think about the titles, or share additional ideas for books (or crafts, or food) that connect to the theme!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!


Previously on The Deliberate Reader

One year ago: Book Review: The Fringe Hours by Jessica Turner

2017 Planning: How We’re Selecting Our Book Club Choices for 2017

The last few weeks I’ve been obsessing over possible book club choices for next year.

I think sometimes I like the planning almost as much as the actual reading – all that potential, and the wonderful possibilities that there are!

Planning for Book Club Choices

Step One: Begin with All The Books

I started with the master list of book possibilities that we’ve kept for years (and a refresh about what books we’ve already read). Next we asked for suggestions from other members. Then I went digging through reference guides and book lists I’ve been compiling. I paid a visit to my own blog posts for fiction and nonfiction possibilities to refresh my memory as to books worth trying.

Step Two: Show Some Restraint, and Reduce it to a Reasonable Level

That’s when it became lots of fun for me. I started grouping possibilities into themed units, for voting purposes. Instead of having a list of 100 books, it becomes a more manageable list – here are a few classics; which one would you like to read? Here are a few historical fiction titles; which one do you like best?

I ended up re-configuring the groupings multiple times, trying to keep things fairly balanced between the groups, with a nice mix of themes and types of books.

One note of clarification: I still have the master list with all.the.books listed. We’ll look at that next year when it’s time to decide on books for 2018. Only if we decide that we are definitely NOT going to read a book does it get deleted off that list.

Step Three: Collect the Votes!

Ultimately I finished with 16 groups, with 3 or 4 choices in each group. Next up for me is to make the actual survey and send it out to the club members.

As part of the survey, not only am I asking everyone to pick their favorite(s) from each grouping, I’m asking them to select which groups they actually want to read. We don’t want to pick a fantasy novel (even if everyone votes for the same one) if no one really wants to read a fantasy novel!

Step Four: Make the Final Decisions

Once the votes are in, we’ll look over them all and see what the members requested. And at that point we’ll start figuring out when the books best fit in our book club calendar!

Next week (?) I plan to share the list of books I’m sending out to members for voting consideration. I’m excited about the possibilities and wish we could read all of them!


Previously on The Deliberate Reader

One year ago: Bookroo: A Bookish Subscription Service

Family Book Club Destination Australia!

We’re into July but it’s not too late to join in our family book club as we head to Australia! We’ve got a new co-host, Breanne of This Vintage Moment.

What books are we reading in July and August?

RTFEBC Australia

For the youngest readers, the picture book selected is Possum Magic by Mem Fox, illustrated by Julie Vivas. (Can’t find it? I’ll list some other suggestions on Thursday).

For July’s early elementary / middle grade title, we’re reading The Slightly True Story of Cedar B. Hartley by Martine Murray. August’s selection for teens / adults is [Follow the] Rabbit Proof Fence by Doris Pilkington (a.k.a. Nugi Garimara), our one and only nonfiction pick for the year. (You may find the book under either title, depending on the edition your library carries)

Chat about the books

We’d love to chat about the books with you in the Facebook group – tell us what you & your family think about the titles, or share additional ideas for books (or crafts, or food) that connect to the theme!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!


Previously on The Deliberate Reader

Three years ago: Book Review: A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea by Dina Nayeri.

The Count of Monte Cristo (and linkup)

The Count of Monte Cristo The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

Ever finish a book and just think “that was an accomplishment?” Because that’s exactly how I felt when I completed The Count of Monte Cristo. It’d been on my “I want to read that someday” list for well over a decade, but never a high enough priority for me to actually get it read.

I think I’m glad that I never looked up the page count – I likely wouldn’t have selected the book for the group, and then I wouldn’t have read it, and I’m so glad I did.

Sure, the book gets bogged down at times (that Roman section!), but overall it reads much faster than I expected from a 1200+ page book. It’s pretty easy to tell that it was serialized, but unlike with The Old Curiousity Shop, the repetative nature of the story that seems to encourage didn’t bother me as much in this book.

Overall it was such a thought-provoking book, with memorable characters and actions. Well worth reading, even if it does require such a time commitment.


If you’ve written a post about The Count of Monte Cristo, you’re welcome to add it to the linkup below.

Looking ahead at next month, we’ll start our discussion on The Black Count February 1st. There will be a linkup for posts relating to that book on February 23rd.


Link-up Guidelines:

1. Share a post about the book. Entries completely unrelated to this theme or linked to your homepage may be deleted.

2. Link back to The Deliberate Reader – you can use the button below if you’d like, or just use a text link.

The Deliberate Reader

3. The linkup will be open for two weeks.

4. Please visit the person’s blog who linked up directly before you and leave them a comment.

5. By linking up, you’re granting me permission to use and/or repost photographs or comments from your linked post.

 Loading InLinkz ...

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!


Previously on The Deliberate Reader

One year ago: Books Read in 2014 – Charts & Graphs Style

2016 Book Club Selections

The Deliberate Reader 2016 Book Club Picks


The Count of Monte CristoJanuary

The Count of Monte CristoThe Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas by Alexandre Dumas

Why did I select it? I’ve been wanting to read it for ages. It’s a classic too, and one I feel like I “should” read, plus it’s one that was originally written in a language other than English.

Find the book: Print | Kindle | Audible | Goodreads

And a heads-up: you can get the Audible version for a reduced price if you buy the Kindle version first.


The Black CountFebruary

The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte CristoThe Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo by Tom Reiss by Tom Reiss

Why did I select it? I wanted a biography for the year (not just a memoir), and thought this newer title would be interesting as a follow-up to The Count of Monte Cristo, as it looks at Dumas’ father, the apparent inspiration for the character of Edmond Dantes.

Find the book: Print | Kindle | Audible | Goodreads

The ChosenMarch

The ChosenThe Chosen by Chaim Potok by Chaim Potok

Why did I select it? It was a selection for my in-person book club before I started attending it, and it’s one that gotten raves from those members who were attending at the time. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to discuss it after hearing how well it worked as a discussion title!

Find the book: Print | Audible | Goodreads

Station ElevenApril

Station ElevenStation Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel by Emily St. John Mandel

Why did I select it? Fabulous reviews, emphasis of its potential as a discussion springboard, plus a desire to have one science fiction title for the year.

Find the book: Print | Kindle | Audible | Goodreads

And a heads-up: you can get the Audible version for a reduced price if you buy the Kindle version first.


Empire of the Summer MoonMay

Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American HistoryEmpire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History by S. C. Gwynne by S. C. Gwynne

Why did I select it? I wanted a really “discussable” history text that wasn’t over 400 pages. This one caught my eye, and I liked how it’s supposed to tell the history of the Comanche people, as well as the story of Quanah Parker. It’s also got excellent ratings on both Amazon and Goodreads.

Find the book: Print | Kindle | Audible | Goodreads

And a heads-up: you can get the Audible version for a reduced price if you buy the Kindle version first.


Big Little LiesJune

Big Little LiesBig Little Lies by Liane Moriarty by Liane Moriarty

Why did I select it? Wanted something lighter to help balance the year, but one that would still lead to good discussions. Moriarty did an outstanding job at that combo with her book What Alice Forgot, so I’m hoping for the same from this novel. It’s a long one but it should be an easy read.

Find the book: Print | Kindle | Audible | Goodreads

And a heads-up: you can get the Audible version for a reduced price if you buy the Kindle version first.


Cuckoo's CallingJuly

The Cuckoo’s CallingThe Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike) by Robert Galbraith a.k.a. J. K. Rowling by Robert Galbraith

Why did I select it? It’s one I’ve been wanting to read for ages, I wanted a mystery for the year, and if nothing else about the book leads to conversation the fact that the author is actually J.K. Rowling writing under a pseudonym ought to do it.

Find the book: Print | Kindle | Audible | Goodreads

Climbing the Mango TreesAugust

Climbing the Mango Trees: A Memoir of a Childhood in IndiaClimbing the Mango Trees: A Memoir of a Childhood in India by Madhur Jaffrey by Madhur Jaffrey

Why did I select it? I wanted a memoir, and one with a non-US focus. Plus I am a complete fan of food memoirs, so any excuse to read another one of those is a good thing as far as I’m concerned.

Find the book: Print | Kindle | Audible | Goodreads

And a heads-up: you can get the Audible version for a reduced price if you buy the Kindle version first.


Burial RitesSeptember

Burial RitesBurial Rites by Hannah Kent by Hannah Kent

Why did I select it? I’ve been eyeing it, and then Audible included it on a list as one of their titles that has near perfect narration ratings. That seemed like an extra bonus to choosing it from my list of possible historical fiction titles. Two additional reasons: Iceland is not my usual sort of setting, and I always love reading fiction that’s been inspired by real events.

Find the book: Print | Kindle | Audible | Goodreads

And a heads-up: you can get the Audible version for a reduced price if you buy the Kindle version first.


The Legend of Sleepy HollowOctober

The Legend of Sleepy HollowThe Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving
by Washington Irving

Why did I select it? I wanted something that gave a bit of a nod to Halloween, but I’m too much of a reading wimp to pick a true horror story. And at just over 100 pages, this helps bring down the average page count for the year.

Find the book: Print | Kindle | Audible | Goodreads

And a heads-up: there are several audible versions available. I’ve linked to the cheapest one – it’s under $1, but there are others as well.


David and GoliathNovember

David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling GiantsDavid and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell by Malcolm Gladwell

Why did I select it? Gladwell’s books are always thought-provoking, and at a busy time of year an easier read seems like a good fit. It also helps balance the year’s reading schedule with a final nonfiction selection.

Find the book: Print | Kindle | Audible | Goodreads

The HobbitDecember

The HobbitThe Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien by J. R. R. Tolkien

Why did I select it? I had to have a fantasy choice fo the year, and this is one that once again, I’ve been meaning to read for years. Literally. I’ve read the books in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings Trilogy, but never this one that kind of starts it all. Or so I understand. It also should be fairly easy to read during a busy season.

Find the book: Print | Kindle | Audible | Goodreads

And a heads-up: you can get the Audible version for a reduced price if you buy the Kindle version first. There are also several versions available, including one that is a dramatization.


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

The Night Circus

The Night CircusThe Night CircusThe Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern by Erin Morgenstern

Book club’s pick for November, and it’s been awhile since I had to force myself to read a book as much as I had to force myself to read this one.

At least initially, and then once I was into the story (which took a bit) I enjoyed it tremendously and was so glad I’d been “forced” to give it a try.

The writing is rich and the story is so layered. I’m a die-hard genre fiction fan, and literary fiction usually bores me: all descriptions and no action. This isn’t literary fiction (it’s magical realism), but it’s a lot closer to that than I tend to stray. And it’s a good example of why I should stray outside of my genre box – it was wonderful! It is *very* descriptive however, and the plot is slow, so I am a little bit surprised at how much I liked it.

The audio book is narrated by Jim Dale, one of my absolute favorite narrators ever. I kind of wish I’d realized that and listened to it instead, but I also think that it might have been a tough one for me to listen to. You’d need to focus on it in a way that I find challenging right now (thanks to little kids), but if I’d still been commuting and listening to lots of audio books during my drive this would have been a great choice.

Not at all my usual sort of read, but it’s a perfect example of why I’m glad I push to read outside of my comfort zone at times – this was well worth it!

Publisher’s Description:
The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called “Le Cirque des Reves,” and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway–a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love – a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per-formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

Book Details

Title: The Night CircusThe Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Author: Erin Morgenstern
Category: Fiction / Magical Realism
My Rating: 4 Stars

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Crossing to Safety

Crossing to SafetyCrossing to SafetyCrossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner by Wallace Stegner

Book club’s pick for June, and I would never have read it otherwise. Which would have been a shame, because it was a wonderful book – just not my usual sort, and it took me a bit to get into it and adjust to its style and pacing. It also was a fantastic book for discussing, so there’s another reason to be glad it was the book club choice. If you’ve got a group looking for a book to read together, this is a good one to try!

I said it’s not my usual sort, because my fiction reading heavily leans toward genre fiction, not literary fiction. My tastes are not elevated, and most non-genre novels tend to bore me. I want some more action in my plots! While that could easily have been a concern with Stegner’s work, I didn’t find that to be an issue at all. Once I got into the story (past the first chapter), the gentle pacing and descriptive passages pulled me into and along with the story, and I loved the overall feel.

Recommended. It’s a thoughtful and thought-provoking book, and I’m so glad I read it. [Read more…]

The Wizard of Oz

The Wonderful Wizard of OzThe Wonderful Wizard of OzThe Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum by L. Frank Baum

May’s book club pick, the “young reader” month. This one was selected in honor of the 75th anniversary of the film. Even though we were reading the book, not watching the movie. Although reading the book did make me want to watch the movie – I hadn’t ever seen it all the way through!

I wasn’t really sure what to expect from this one, and ended up enjoying it. I didn’t lovelovelove it, but I might try to read the next in the series and see what else happens in Oz.

After reading the book, I was inspired to watch the movie, and I enjoyed seeing Oz depicted on screen. It was surprising to me how familiar the songs were despite not having seen more than bits and pieces of the film – obviously they’ve seeped into general American culture well enough that I’ve learned them!

Publisher’s Description:
One of the true classics of American literature, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has stirred the imagination of young and old alike for over four generations. Originally published in 1900, it was the first truly American fairy tale, as Baum crafted a wonderful out of such familiar items as a cornfield scarecrow, a mechanical woodman, and a humbug wizard who used old-fashioned hokum to express that universal theme, “There’s no place like home.”Follow the adventures of young Dorothy Gale and her dog, Toto, as their Kansas house is swept away by a cyclone and they find themselves in a strange land called Oz. Here she meets the Munchkins and joins the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion on an unforgettable journey to the Emerald City, where lives the all-powered Wizard of Oz.

Book Details

Title: The Wonderful Wizard of OzThe Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
Author: L. Frank Baum
Category: Children’s Fiction
My Rating: 3 Stars

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Book Review: A Wrinkle in Time

I’m taking a mini blog break but instead of having no posts at all, I’m sharing some content that originally ran on another blog I had. I’ve updated the posts, but if you’ve been reading me for a long time, they may still be familiar.

A Wrinkle in TimeA Wrinkle in TimeA Wrinkle in Time (Madeleine L'Engle's Time Quintet) by Madeleine L’Engle

Despite being a voracious reader growing up and loving fantasy books, somehow I’d never picked it up L’Engle’s classic, Newbery-award-winning book A Wrinkle in TimeA Wrinkle in Time (Madeleine L'Engle's Time Quintet). My husband hates fantasy stories but he’d even read it – it was an assigned text for one of his classes. I’d never prioritized it enough to get to it as an adult, and likely never would have read it hadn’t been the assigned book for my book club.

I’m not entirely sure how I feel about it. I liked the character of Meg quite a bit. I liked her younger brother Charles Wallace well enough. I didn’t feel like I got to know Calvin that well, but he was an interesting character. However, nothing about the book got me super excited to find out more about the characters, and what happened to them in later books in the series.

I felt like there were too many occasions where instead of really explaining something, L’Engle instead had one of the “wiser” characters express frustration that the concepts just couldn’t really be explained in words. Jumbled bits of half-explanations were almost given, with the caveat that “There’s some things we just aren’t meant to understand.” It’s okay though, Charles Wallace has such a prodigious intellect that he understands and tells Meg that it’s alright. (yes, that’s sarcasm.)

Some of my frustrations with the book may just be because it was so groundbreaking, things I like and take for granted now were something rare and special, like having a girl be the main character and hero in a science fiction/fantasy novel. Maybe it only seemed so formulaic to me because it set the formula that many other books have followed?

L’Engle includes one of my most-loathed contrivances in children’s literature, the wise adult dismissing children with the equivalent of “you aren’t old enough/mature enough to understand, but meanwhile go off and save the world because you’re the only one(s) who can. You just won’t know what you’re facing.” But of course the wise adults have super-powers and can magically appear just when they’re most needed and/or provide some sort of prop with special qualities that can save the heroes.

There are so many times when I read books that are wildly praised and wonder what’s all the fuss, and this is definitely one of those times. The book was ok, but in no way is it even close to being one of my favorite books of all time, and I know of many people for whom that is the case. I do wonder if I’d read it as a child, would I have loved it more and would it be one of my favorites still?

Find the book: Print | Kindle | Audible | Goodreads

Publisher’s Description:
It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger.

“Wild nights are my glory,” the unearthly stranger told them. “I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course. Let me sit down for a moment, and then I’ll be on my way. Speaking of ways, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract.”

A tesseract (in case the reader doesn’t know) is a wrinkle in time. To tell more would rob the reader of the enjoyment of Miss L’Engle’s unusual book. A Wrinkle in Time, winner of the Newbery Medal in 1963, is the story of the adventures in space and time of Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin O’Keefe (athlete, student, and one of the most popular boys in high school). They are in search of Meg’s father, a scientist who disappeared while engaged in secret work for the government on the tesseract problem.

A Wrinkle in Time is the winner of the 1963 Newbery Medal..

Book Details

Title: A Wrinkle in TimeA Wrinkle in Time (Madeleine L'Engle's Time Quintet)
Author: Madeleine L’Engle
Category: Juvenile Fiction / Fantasy
My Rating: 2.5 Stars

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!