Mallory

Author Archives: Mallory

I’m Mallory Barnes, a fiction writer living in West Texas. My hope here is to encourage reading and discussion. In the digital age, we often live together so separately. Community and intellectual discussion are harder and harder to come by. I hope that Book Club Bites can help alleviate that by encouraging the birth and growth of book clubs.

Far from the Tree Book Club Questions and Recipe

*If you are new here, WELCOME! For Far from the Tree, I provide your book club with a brief summary, a recipe, and discussion questions in that order!

Far from the Tree Book Club Questions and Recipe
Far from the Tree Book Club Questions and Recipe
Far from the Tree Book Club Questions and Recipe
Far from the Tree Book Club Questions and Recipe

Thus far in the history of this site, there have been no YA books featured. This isn’t because I haven’t read any young adult fiction, but mainly because most book clubs lean towards adult fiction.

Some YA books just aren’t what many book clubs are going to choose to read and that’s okay, but before you click away, read a little more about why I chose this book.

Far from the Tree is a young adult book that I think you will love, especially if you have teenagers at home or you have been adopted or have adopted a child.

Far from the Tree

This brilliant novel addresses many heavy topics with grace and care including teen pregnancy, alcoholism, adoption, foster care, divorce, discrimination, and more. And it does it while still maintaining the complex mix of innocence and wisdom through which teenagers process the world.

Beyond my personal vote of confidence, Far from the Tree won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, so you can trust that it’s complex and well-written enough for book clubs.

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The Paris Library Book Club Questions and Food Ideas

*If you are new here, WELCOME! For The Paris Library, I provide your book club with a brief summary, food ideas, and discussion questions in that order!

The Paris Library Book Club Questions and Food Ideas
The Paris Library Book Club Questions and Food Ideas
The Paris Library Book Club Questions and Food Ideas
The Paris Library Book Club Questions and Food Ideas

If you are a fan of WWII fiction, then you know that in the last few years there has been a boom of great historical novels from the time period that feature unique aspects of the war.

For example, The Nightingale dealt with female Resistance couriers and the French occupation. The Book of Lost Names revolved around a female document forger. And, of course, there was All the Light We Cannot See as well.

The Paris Library is another novel about WWII France from a unique perspective. It follows Odile Souchet, who secures a position at the circulation desk of the American Library in Paris just as the war breaks out. Through her, we see how the war affected citizens of Paris and those who stayed through the Nazi occupation of France.

The Paris Library

(Also, can we just stop and appreciate how beautiful the cover of this book is?)

The novel is a dual timeline story and the second timeline follows Lily, a young girl in 1980s Montana who is now the neighbor of Odile Souchet. As the older Odile and Lily become friends we learn more about Odile’s regrets from wartime and the vibrant cast of readers and librarians she knew at the American Library in Paris.

If you love reading about WWII or the time period, but have trouble getting through some of the violence and starvation that was rampant during the war, then I think you will like The Paris Library. While the characters deal with their fair share of conflict, the violence and mentions of hunger are kept to a minimum given the subject.

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Chorizo and Ricotta Stuffed Summer Squash

*If you are new here, WELCOME! For this post, I provide you with a delicious recipe for Chorizo and Ricotta Stuffed Summer Squash!

Chorizo and Ricotta Stuffed Summer Squash
Chorizo and Ricotta Stuffed Summer Squash

If you’ve never had stuffed summer squash, I am glad you are here! This recipe is absolutely delicious, pretty easy to make, and a great summer dish.

While stuffed squash of many varieties have become popular over the last few years, this recipe, which combined chorizo, ricotta, and parmesan for the stuffing is so rich and tasty.

If you’re stopping by here while searching for recipes, you may not know that the recipes here are all inspired by books! This particular recipe was created after reading Elizabeth is Missing.

In the novel, an elderly woman with dementia tries to solve both a current and a decades-old disappearance.

If you love reading, check out more about this great book HERE!

While this recipe calls for summer squash, if you are making this in the fall or winter and struggling to find the pictured variety of squash, try acorn, zucchini, or even spaghetti squash for a twist.

This dish was light, but also filling. And the unique flavors combine to create a warm and comforting dish that’s absolutely delectable.

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Elizabeth is Missing Book Club Discussion Questions

*If you are new here, WELCOME! For Elizabeth is Missing, I provide your book club with a brief summary and discussion questions in that order!

Elizabeth is Missing Book Club Discussion Questions
Elizabeth is Missing Book Club Discussion Questions
Elizabeth is Missing Book Club Discussion Questions
Elizabeth is Missing Book Club Discussion Questions

If you haven’t checked out the previous post in the series where I share my thoughts on Elizabeth is Missing and a fun activity idea for your book club, check out that post HERE.

You can also check out the second post in the series where I share several great food ideas for your book club based on the book HERE.

Elizabeth is Missing

In this post, I’ll review the premise of Elizabeth is Missing and share book club discussion questions that are sure to get your book club talking!


Looking for your next great read? Check out these similar books…


Here’s a brief summary of Elizabeth is Missing:

In present day England, Maud is slowly losing her memory and her independence, but she won’t let it stop her from finding out exactly where her best friend, Elizabeth, has gone. Certain that Elizabeth is in grave danger, she resolves to find her despite the fact that no one–not her daughter or son, not the police, nor Elizabeth’s son–will listen to her.

Armed with notes to jog her memory, Maud delves deeper into the mystery of Elizabeth’s whereabouts, but the clues seem to lead her further and further into the past, to the disappearance of her sister, Sukey, shortly after WWII.

As Maud’s memories from over fifty years before come back with renewed clarity, Sukey’s disappearance and Elizabeth’s intersect in unexpected ways.

Elizabeth is Missing Book Club Discussion Questions
Elizabeth is Missing Book Club Discussion Questions

Elizabeth is Missing Book Club Discussion Questions:

*WARNING: May contain spoilers!

  1. As Maud slips further and further into her Alzheimer’s disease, what did you learn about the illness? Was reading her side of things illuminating to you? How?
  2. What did you think about Helen? Did you sympathize with her or were you frustrated as Maud often felt? If you’ve ever been a caregiver how did you relate to Helen’s struggles?
  3. At the end of the book, Maud comes to a conclusion about what happened to Sukey based on what they unearth. Do you agree with her conjecture or do you think something else happened?
  4. Why do you think Frank pursued Maud after Sukey’s disappearance? Why do you think Maud played along for the most part? If Frank was a killer, why did he stay so close, showing up often near his victim’s house?
  5. What did you think about Douglas? Did you think he was just an innocent lodger with a crush or something more?
  6. Do you believe the Mad Woman was actually “mad”? Why or why not? Society’s opinions have changed for the better for people struggling with mental illnesses. Why do you think people, especially after the horrific losses of WWII, still struggled to understand how grief might play apart in a person’s mental state?
  7. Discuss the “unreliable narrator” in Maud. Did you enjoy reading a mystery from this unique character? Why or why not? What are other similar mystery books with unique narrators that you’ve read and enjoyed?
  8. Maud knows and is frustrated when those around her patronize her even if she doesn’t fully understand why. Did this convict you of your own interactions with elderly people in your life? How did it help you see those struggling with end-of-life difficulties with more compassion?
  9. While we finally learn the truth about Elizabeth’s whereabouts, Maud’s confusion continues. Elizabeth’s disappearance is mostly a vehicle through which Maud begins to relive Sukey’s disappearance. Discuss Maud’s confusion and the author’s use of the past and the present to intersect the two stories. Did you want to know more about Elizabeth?
  10. Elizabeth is Missing has been adapted to film. Have you watched it? What did you think about the film verses the book? Have you ready any other novels where a character is struggling with Alzheimer’s that you would like to share with the group?

Don’t forget to check out the other posts in this series for Elizabeth is Missing! You can find fun book club ideas HERE and delicious food ideas HERE.

Have you read Elizabeth is Missing? What did you think? Did it satisfy you or were you left wishing for more? What are some similar books you’ve read?

Until next time, Happy Reading!

Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. In the event of a sale, I will be awarded a small commission (at no extra cost to you or the featured book’s author). All opinions are 100% mine and every book, unless otherwise noted, is handpicked by me to be featured on the site.

Other Books that you might enjoy!

Elizabeth is Missing Book Club Food Ideas

*If you are new here, WELCOME! For Elizabeth is Missing, I provide your book club with a brief summary, food ideas, and a recipe idea in that order!

Elizabeth is Missing Book Club Questions and Recipe
Elizabeth is Missing Book Club Questions and Recipe
Elizabeth is Missing Book Club Questions and Recipe
Elizabeth is Missing Book Club Questions and Recipe

If you haven’t checked out the previous post in the series where I share my thoughts on Elizabeth is Missing and a fun activity idea for your book club, check out that post HERE.

You can also check out the next post in the series where I share discussion questions for your book club based on the book HERE.

In this post, I’ll review the premise of Elizabeth is Missing and share some great food ideas for your book club based on the book.

Elizabeth is Missing

Here’s a brief summary of Elizabeth is Missing:

In present day England, Maud is slowly losing her memory and her independence, but she won’t let it stop her from finding out exactly where her best friend, Elizabeth, has gone. Certain that Elizabeth is in grave danger, she resolves to find her despite the fact that no one–not her daughter or son, not the police, nor Elizabeth’s son–will listen to her.

Armed with notes to jog her memory, Maud delves deeper into the mystery of Elizabeth’s whereabouts, but the clues seem to lead her further and further into the past, to the disappearance of her sister, Sukey, shortly after WWII.

As Maud’s memories from over fifty years before come back with renewed clarity, Sukey’s disappearance and Elizabeth’s intersect in unexpected ways.

Keep reading for great food ideas for your book club!


Looking for your next great read? Check out these similar books…


Elizabeth is Missing Book Club Questions and Recipe
Elizabeth is Missing Book Club Questions and Recipe

Elizabeth is Missing Food Ideas:

Elizabeth is Missing is a novel with so much food mentioned that it was a little hard to get everything down! I love books with lots of sensory details like smells and tastes of food. Don’t you?  

Here are a few food ideas from the pages of Elizabeth is Missing:

  • Chapter 1 – Maud goes to the store and once again buys too many cans of peach slices
  • Chapter 2 – Maud and Helen eat at the Olive Grill where Maud reads the menu aloud – French onion soup, Tomato-and-mozarella salad, Garlic mushrooms, Parma ham and melon, and finally asks about Chorizo-stuffed summer squash
  • Chapter 3 – Maud’s father brings home hot fish and chips with vinegar for what will be the last family meal with Sukey
  • Chapter 6 – Maud wants some toast and a boiled egg and forgets she’s left the gas on at the stove
  • Chapter 9 – Maud falls ill after Sukey’s disappearance and eats thin soup with dry toast or creamed rice until she’s strong enough for a mutton chop
  • Chapter 9 – Maud stews apples and tries to steam open a letter from Sukey to Douglas
  • Chapter 17 – The mad woman’s salad that she had been gathering when she died – stripped hawthorn twigs, red nasturtium flowers, brooklime and dandelion leaves, honeysuckle, watercress and lemon balm and a squash flower
  • Chapter 18 – Maud, her mother, Douglas, and Frank all make blackberry jam together

In case you are new here, for almost every book I create a companion recipe in addition to listing all the food options from the pages of the novel.

For Elizabeth is Missing, I reviewed the many possibilities and finally settled on chorizo stuffed summer squash because summer squash played such a large role in the book.

Almost every character talks about summer squash in one way or another throughout the book and since chorizo-stuffed summer squash is specifically mentioned in the restaurant scene with Helen, I thought it would be a perfect choice.

Living in Texas, chorizo is easy to find at the local grocery. However if you can’t find it near you, you can substitute it for an Italian crumbled sausage.

If you’d like to make something with peaches or blackberries, check out this recipe for peaches and cream cookies and this one for cream cheese brownies with blackberry swirl!

For the complete Chorizo Stuffed Summer Squash recipe, click HERE!

Chorizo and Ricotta Stuffed Summer Squash
Chorizo and Ricotta Stuffed Summer Squash

More…

In addition to the full recipe, this series of posts for Elizabeth is Missing also includes ten book club questions curated just for book clubs. You can find Book Club Questions for Elizabeth is Missing by clicking HERE.

And you can find a fun activity for your book club HERE!

Have you read Elizabeth is Missing? What did you think? Did it satisfy you or were you left wishing for more? What are some similar books you’ve read?

Until next time, Happy Reading!

Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. In the event of a sale, I will be awarded a small commission (at no extra cost to you or the featured book’s author). All opinions are 100% mine and every book, unless otherwise noted, is handpicked by me to be featured on the site.

Other Books that you might enjoy!

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