It seems that The Beautiful Cigar Girl may be made into a movie. See article “Joaquin Phoenix Returning to Acting for “The Beautiful Cigar Girl’?
On Monday, December 2nd, the Booked for the Day Book Group met to discuss the book, Joy for Beginners by Erica Caldwell.
Having survived a life-threatening illness, Kate celebrates by gathering with six close friends. At an intimate outdoor dinner, the women challenge Kate to start her new lease on life by going white-water rafting down the Grand Canyon with her daughter. But Kate is reluctant to take the risk. That is, until her friend Marion proposes a pact: if Kate will face the rapids, each woman will do one thing in the next year that scares her. Kate agrees, with one provision – she didn’t get to choose her challenge, so she gets to choose theirs. Here are a few things we discussed during the meeting:
The group thought that the read was enjoyable but some felt it was more of a beach read. Two of the members thought the book was emotional and they had a few tears, especially with Ava and Kate’s story.
We thought that in this book each woman confronted their fears. They faced what they were most afraid of and they did what was needed in order to move on in their lives.
In Caroline’s story we were confused with how things were left and unsure if she blamed herself for her husband’s leaving.
With Daria, again we were unsure if her relationship with her mother was settled in a positive way. We were also unclear as to why her mother had to give up painting because Daria was born.
With Sara, her dedication to her children did not weaken her marriage, but for Kate and Caroline in was the complete opposite. We were glad that Kate’s husband was supportive of her taking a trip on her own but we all thought it would have been nicer if she could have gone with someone. Someone to share the experience with. Plus, most of us decided that we would not go to a country where we did not know the language by ourselves.
We talked about the challenge that Robin gave Kate and most of us thought it was unfair of Robin to ask Kate to do something that frightened her. We realized that Robin wanted “to be scared by something she could put her hands on.” But if she really wanted Kate to truly feel alive, there may have been better choices. None of us thought we would jump off a cliff or go skinny dipping. That just did not seem realistic for Kate’s situation.
We would have liked more information on each character with a better follow through on what course their lives took. We also thought that some of the events were too coincidental. For example, Daria had to bake bread and Sara’s brother happened to be a baker. Ava’s tent partner Elaine just happened to have a handsome son who smelled like blackberries.
The group decided that they would recommend this book for a beach read but it was not something that they would buy for their shelves. These are just a few things mentioned during the discussion. Please feel free to add any of your thoughts in the comment section.
Joy for Beginners by Erica Bauermeister. Shimmering with warmth, wit, and insight, Joy for Beginners is a celebration of life: unexpected, lyrical, and deeply satisfying.
Monday, February 3rd
Meeting Room B
Due to the cancellation of our last book group we will also be discussing the Razor’s Edge by Somerset W. Maugham. Intimate acquaintances but less than friends, they meet and part in postwar London and Paris.Their story, one of Somerset Maugham’s best, encompasses the pain, passion, and poignancy of life itself.
On Monday, December 2th, the Booked for the Day Book Group met to discuss the book, The Great Pearl Heist: London’s greatest thief and Scotland Yard’s hunt for the world’s most valuable necklaceby Molly Caldwell Crosby. Here are a few things we discussed during the meeting:
The Great Pearl Heist is a non-fiction book that covers the theft and hunt for the world’s most valuable necklace in 1913 London. Though it is a true story, the book reads like a thriller and kept most of us captivated till the end. We appreciated the well-researched book that included some personal information about the characters involved.
We all loved getting to know the two main characters of the story – the thief, Joseph Grizzard, the “greatest receiver, fence, and putter-up of his time” and Scotland Yard’s “real life Moriarty,” and the detective, Alfred Ward, chief inspector of Scotland Yard, leader of a team of detectives who employed disguises, undercover operations and stings, which we learned were a new type of police work that began during that time period.
The book gave as much detailed descriptions of the famous crime as was possible, since Grizzard and his crew were never put on the witness stand and never told how the crime was committed to anyone. Even though the trial in Old Bailey was interesting, we thought that it would have been a lot more exciting if the Grizzard gang had testified.
When I asked the group who they were rooting for, they all agreed that they were rooting for Grizzard and thought he was quite a character. He seemed cool and collected when approached by the police, and nothing seemed to get him upset. We talked about the fact that these thieves did not seem to be violent, and that no one was hurt, and that Grizzard was respected by his gang and the underground community because he took care of the people who worked for him.
We had a copy of The Great Pearl Robbery of 1913 by Christmas Humphreys which was published in 1929 and provided more information regarding the heist. It also had more pictures of all the main characters, which were interesting for us to see.
The group talked about pearls and how they were rare until they discovered how to cultivate them. In Christmas Humphrey’s book he tells us that it took 10 years to collect the perfect size and color pearls for the necklace, which helped our understanding as to why the necklace was so valuable.
We also talked about Lockett who was another cool character. We all wondered what was hidden in his home that someone was willing to pay top dollar for it.
Our only critique was that it could have had a little more drama if Crosby had written it from the perspective of one of the characters instead of like a reporter, which would also have provided more of an emotional aspect. We all liked the epilogue and how they told you what happened to all the character in the story.
In this story where Grizzard and Ward become friends, we were happy that both characters were heroes. The group decided that they would recommend this book. These are just a few things mentioned during the discussion. Please feel free to add any of your thoughts in the comment section.
The Great Pearl Heist
by Molly Caldwell Crosby
Monday, December 2nd, 11:00 am
Meeting Room B
In the summer of 1913,under the cover of London’s perpetual smoggy dusk, two brilliant minds are pitted against each other—a celebrated gentleman thief and a talented Scotland Yard detective—in the greatest jewel heist of the century.
Only one person in the group loved the book. All the other members thought that it was hard to get through and even though they liked the last chapter, they did not think that it was worth reading the entire book to get to.
No one thought that this was truly a spy novel. There was nothing life-threatening or dangerous about the book even though the element of surprise and the fear of the unexpected are both there for the reader.
The majority of the group did not like reading the three short stories that were embedded in the novel. They thought it was confusing and did not add to the storyline.
We talked about the differences between MI5 and MI6.
None of the group thought they would have liked the story better if it had less romance and more intrigue.
The group thought that the men in Serena’s life were poorly portrayed. Jeremy deceiving Serena in regards to his sexuality, Tony as an older man trying to form Serena’s believes, and Max who lead Serena on by not telling her that he was engaged. One member thought that could have been because she felt that Tom was telling the story and not Serena. If she was telling the story they may have come across differently.
Also no one thought that Serena was a likeable character. Again one member thought that may have been because Tom was telling the story and that he was feeling betrayed and hurt by Serena and may have been looking for a bit of revenge in describing her.
We were all disappointed in Tony’s ending. The blood on the mattress had us all wondering what really happened to him and then to find out he just had a bloody nose was anti-climactic. But again it could have been Max’s story that was changed as a cover-up to what really happened.
We talked about whether Serena ended up with Tom in the end. One member thought that she did end up with Tom otherwise the novel would have been destroyed and never published.
All of the group thought that Max would do something to destroy Serena and Tom’s relationship.
We talked about Shirley and most of us liked her but was unsure of why she was fired and if Serena ended up working for her.
One member wondered if perhaps this was a true story. The group thought it could have been but for several reasons it could not have been published as such.
We also hoped that Serena’s father was passed away when this book was published because it made it appear that Serena slept with everyone she came across. But again this could have been because of who was really telling the story.
We also talked about the fact that the film rights to this book was sold so it could possibly be made into a movie. Some of us thought that it will have to be re-written but would be willing to see it if it came out as a film.
We ended the meeting with high hopes for our next book. These are just of few things mentioned during the discussion. Please feel free to add any of your thoughts in the comment section.