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Category Archives for "Desserts"

Find dessert recipes for your favorite fiction books and so much more, including memorable quotes and discussion guides! Thanks for stopping by!

The Giver of Stars and The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek

*If you are new here, WELCOME! For The Giver of Stars and The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek Comparison, I provide your book club with a brief summary and comparison, a recipe, and discussion questions in that order!

The Giver of Stars and The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek Comparison
The Giver of Stars and The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek Comparison
The Giver of Stars and The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek Comparison
The Giver of Stars and The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek Comparison

If you don’t know about it, there has been some controversy about the publication of The Giver of Stars soon after the publication of The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek.

I actually saw The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek long before The Giver of Stars released, but passed it by because I thought the subject might be a little heavy based on the description and I wasn’t in the mood for a heavy book. When The Giver of Stars released, I had no idea by the cover that it was about Pack Horse Librarians, but after reading the description, my interest was peaked and I decided to read it.

The controversy revolves around possible plagiarism on Jojo Moyes part, asserting that parts of The Giver of Stars are too similar to The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek to be a coincidence.

I read The Giver of Stars first, unaware of the controversy. After reading, I was shocked to see the accusations from many readers in reviews, many of them citing the Buzzfeed article where the similarities are outlined. Instead of reading the article, I decided to read The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek next and form my own opinion.

After reading both, I was confused and surprised that so many readers were vehemently choosing one or the other. The books were very different to me and BOTH worth reading.

Yes, the topic is Pack Horse Librarians, a Works Progress Administration program enacted by Roosevelt in the 1930s to bring books to rural Kentucky, but both authors created a book on the same subject in very different way. After I finished both books, I did finally read the article and, to me, the similarities outlined were minor.

If you disagree, think about this–this is a new subject to fiction. No other books I can think of have been written on it. Yet, there are hundreds to thousands of novels written about World War II. In those books, we expect to see spies, someone facing starvation, someone being tortured physically or mentally by a Nazi, etc.

It’s not surprising to me that Moyes and Richardson would have studied the time period and the facts and come up with story elements that coincidentally are similar. Including adding colored librarians, because of the times we are in (and it’s just important), placing antagonists along the lonely routes through the mountains, because that seems the most logical way to add tension, and creating love interests, because readers love and expect this. As a writer, I read with that eye. I’m always considering what I would add to a book on the subject, and I have to say I would have added some form of those things myself.

Let me talk a little about how the two novels are very different rather than scrutinizing their similarities.

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is a novel about a single woman who faces severe persecution because of her Blue skin. This alone is worth reading about because it’s based on the real-life blue-skinned people of Kentucky, a new subject and fascinating for me. She is also a Pack Horse Librarian who takes books via horseback to her patrons in rural Appalachia. The book is primarily about her inner struggle to accept herself. It is written in a literary style. It does an exceptional job of highlighting the true-to-life details of life in Appalachia. And, it should be on your book club list.

The Giver of Stars is a friendship novel about five Pack Horse Librarians. It centers on two of the women and follows their struggles through love and life. The women fight to find their voices in a time and place where women didn’t have much say. It is a plot-driven novel that will have you cheering, but many of the true-to-life details of life in Appalachia are glossed over or not addressed. Still, any book club would love this book.

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The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek Book Club Questions and Recipe

*If you are new here, WELCOME! For The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, I provide your book club with a brief summary, a recipe, and discussion questions in that order!

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek Book Club Questions and Recipe
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek Book Club Questions and Recipe
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek Book Club Questions and Recipe
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek Book Club Questions and Recipe

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is the first bestseller of Kim Michele Richardson, but it isn’t her first book. She has written three other novels and one non-fiction book. And, her writing reflects that experience.

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek tackles two unique subjects in history that you may not be familiar with–the Pack Horse Librarians and the Blue People of Kentucky. The Pack Horse Library was part of Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration in 1930s. The blue-skinned people of Kentucky were a real group of people born with blue skin who lived in the mountains of Appalachia.

Richardson’s main character, Cussy Mary, is both a Pack Horse Librarian and a Blue. The novel follows her as she struggles through the restraints placed on her as a woman at the time and the discrimination she faces as a Blue person, which was considered colored.

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

The novel, which I would consider literary in style, unapologetically describes both the poverty and the pride of the residents of Appalachia. I originally delayed reading this novel because I knew the subject would be somewhat dark, and it is. But, it is something that I think needed to be written.

In addition to tackling poverty and starvation, Richardson addresses discrimination in a way that will have the reader examining her own heart. Cussy Mary is a Blue, a skin color most of us are unfamiliar with, but as a Blue she faces intense discrimination throughout the story (it is the primary obstacle). Through Cussy’s story, Richardson takes us on a journey of empathy with Cussy’s plight, confusion and anger when others refuse to see her as equal, and, finally, examination of our own lingering prejudices. It is a timely book for readers right now.

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Where the Crawdads Sing Book Club Questions and Recipe

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

Where the Crawdads Sing Book Club Questions and Recipe
Where the Crawdads Sing Book Club Questions and Recipe
Where the Crawdads Sing Book Club Questions and Recipe
Where the Crawdads Sing Book Club Questions and Recipe
Where the Crawdads Sing Book Club Questions and Recipe
Where the Crawdads Sing Book Club Questions and Recipe

If you haven’t heard of Where the Crawdads Sing yet, I’d be surprised. The book, released in 2018, has already sold 7 million copies as of this writing. Still, it’s a pretty new release, especially for some book clubs who require that a book is readily available through a library before they select it to read. Before now, securing the book via any other means than buying the hard copy would have been difficult.

The book is Delia Owen’s debut novel, although the author has written other non-fiction works. It’s a novel rich with natural history and scientific details of the ocean marsh where its main character, Kya, lives. Delia Owens’ background in zoology adds a significant depth to Kya’s love for the marsh and its creatures, taking the novel beyond a normal love-triangle and murder mystery plot.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
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The Giver of Stars Book Club Questions and Recipe

*If you are new here, WELCOME! For The Giver of Stars, I provide your book club with a brief summary, a recipe, and discussion questions in that order!

The Giver of Stars Book Club Questions and Recipe
The Giver of Stars Book Club Questions and Recipe
The Giver of Stars Book Club Questions and Recipe
The Giver of Stars Book Club Questions and Recipe

The Giver of Stars is the latest novel by bestselling author, Jojo Moyes. If you don’t recall, Jojo Moyes wrote the smash hit Me Before You, among other bestsellers.

The Giver of Stars follows a group of Pack Horse Librarians in Kentucky in the 1930s. Pack Horse Librarians were part of President Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration and a special project of Eleanor Roosevelt. They carried books via horseback to some of the most rural and remote areas of Kentucky.

The novel is permeated with friendship, primarily centered around five librarians and the events that happen to them. If you don’t know, Jojo Moyes is English, but if you do, you might be wondering how she pulled off writing a novel about rural Kentucky. The main character, Alice, is an English-born and bred lady who marries a native Kentuckian and we follow her as she moves to Kentucky and ultimately joins the Pack Horse Librarians.

The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes

Since Moyes started out as a romance author, you won’t be surprised to find a good deal of romance in the novel as well. The romance is clean and you won’t find any on-page sex. But romance isn’t the primary driving force of the novel, there are high stakes and some life-threatening situations for almost all of the characters that will keep you turning pages.

I can say I thoroughly enjoyed the book and expect it to be another hit by Moyes on the scale of Me Before You. That said, I cannot continue without addressing the fact that there has been some controversy regarding the similarity to another book about Kentucky Pack Horse Librarians, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, which I am also featuring. However, I do not think you should form an opinion before reading both books.

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A Man Called Ove Book Club Questions and Recipe

*If you are new here, WELCOME! For A Man Called Ove, I provide your book club with a brief summary, a recipe, and discussion questions in that order!

A Man Called Ove Book Club Questions and Recipe
A Man Called Ove Book Club Questions and Recipe
A Man Called Ove Book Club Questions and Persian Cookies
A Man Called Ove Book Club Questions and Persian Cookies

Have you read A Man Called Ove? It’s a book that book clubs love. Fredrik Backman is a master of the human experience and A Man Called Ove captures his talent, sending the reader through the array of human emotions (which is why book clubs love the book).

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

This book was released in 2012, so there’s no doubt you’ve probably heard of it if you haven’t already read it. I actually watched the movie before I read the book. Good news if you want an activity for the group–the movie follows the book very closely!

If you have read A Man Called Ove and loved it, perhaps now is the time for the entire group to read it. Or, if you have already done so, check out another book by Fredrik Backman like Beartown or My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry. He’s also got a brand new release coming this fall called Anxious People.

After watching the movie a few years ago, I decided to pick up the book. It’s an amazing story of wrong perceptions, loneliness, and kindness. If you are looking for books like Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, you’ll love A Man Called Ove. If you haven’t checked it out, see my post on Eleanor Oliphant is Completey Fine, which is one of my favorites featured on the blog!

Beyond a good story that kept me intrigued, Backman has a gift for language. I often paused to consider phrases he used to describe sorrow or love which resonated deeply with me. That said, he isn’t verbose and the book was a quick, enjoyable read.

I also enjoyed reading about the Swedish community where Ove lives and his lifestyle there. It was refreshing and interesting to read about modern day Sweden. Even through the eyes of a grumpy old man named Ove!

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News of the World Book Club Questions and Recipe

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

News of the World Book Club Questions and Recipe
News of the World Book Club Questions and Recipe
News of the World Book Club Questions and Recipe
News of the World Book Club Questions and Recipe
News of the World Book Club Questions and Recipe
News of the World Book Club Questions and Recipe
Homemade Divinity
Homemade Divinity

Maybe before now you had not heard of News of the World or its author, Paulette Jiles. News of the World was a finalist for the National Book Award. It’s also slated to become a movie later this year starring Tom Hanks (who doesn’t love Tom Hanks?).

This novel is one of the more literary novels featured on Book Club Bites to date, but like the others (The Goldfinch, Peace Like a River, etc), News of the World has both strong characters and strong plot. Sometimes that is not always true of literary novels, which tend to focus on character development over plot.

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The Great Gatsby Book Club Questions and Recipe

*If you are new here, WELCOME! For The Great Gatsby, I provide your book club with a brief summary, a recipe, and discussion questions in that order!

The Great Gatsby Book Club Questions and Recipe
The Great Gatsby Book Club Questions and Recipe
The Great Gatsby Book Club Questions and Recipe

This post is the third post in the Classics Series–you can check out the posts on Little Women by Louisa May Alcott and Emma by Jane Austen for more.

The Great Gatsby is F. Scott Fitzgerald’s most renown work. Maybe you know The Great Gatsby from high school English, where it’s often required reading (gasp!–If you’re in high school English now, hi there! Don’t worry, you’ll survive!). Anyway, maybe that’s been a while…but you have a vague memory of parties and wealth along with Gatsby’s doomed obsession for a past love.

The Great Gatsby

Or, maybe due to Leonardo DiCaprio’s Jay Gatsby, you are more recently familiar with the story. Either way, you might not have read the book as an adult. I know I hadn’t.

Let me encourage you if it’s been a while or especially if you’ve crossed into mid-life, the place where we flounder between the tug of the future and the pull of the past, to consider rereading the novel. The Great Gatsby is a timeless book that can be read every few years and mined for new insights. It’s ultimately a warning against the pursuit of wealth unrestrained by morality. But, it’s more than that, too.

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Emma by Jane Austen Book Club Questions and Recipe

*If you are new here, WELCOME! For Emma by Jane Austen, I provide your book club with a brief summary, a recipe, and discussion questions in that order!

Emma Book Club Questions and Strawberry Eton Mess
Emma Book Club Questions and Strawberry Eton Mess

This post for Emma by Jane Austen is the second post in my new Classics series. If you missed the first, check out the Little Women Book Club Questions and Recipe post.

Emma is one of Jane Austen’s lesser known masterpieces (often behind Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility in readers’ minds). It is a comedy about romantic mishaps and youthful overconfidence.

Emma by
Jane Austen

Don’t you remember those blissfully ignorant and misguided days of youth when you absolutely knew what everyone else wanted and needed but had no idea what you wanted or needed? No? Just me?

Well Emma, the book’s namesake, is the epitome of this dichotomy. She’s quick to meddle in all of her neighbors’ lives, yet she has is blind to the desires of her own heart. She’s presumptuous, loved by everyone, and stubborn to a fault. Throw in a cast of quirky characters including a loquacious spinster, a gold-digging vicar, and an anti-social father and you’ve got a book full of mayhem and mishaps.

If you’ve read any of her books, you’ll know that Jane Austen is the queen of miscommunication. Her books often revolve around dangers of assumptions. Emma is no different, but I found the heroine to be especially charming in a unique way to other Austen heroines.

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The Alice Network Book Club Questions and Recipe

*If you are new here, WELCOME! For The Alice Network, I provide your book club with a brief summary, a recipe, and discussion questions in that order!

The Alice Network Book Club Questions and Recipe
The Alice Network Book Club Questions and Recipe

Have you read any books featured by Reese’s Book Club? (As in Reese Witherspoon. In case you didn’t know, she has a online book club which is part of her company Hello Sunshine and the books they choose get the Reese seal of approval–much like Oprah’s book selections.) Anyway, for me, the books I’ve read have been hit or miss. Lately, though, it seems Reese is hitting it out of the park with titles like Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, Little Fires Everywhere, and Where the Crawdads Sing.

The Alice Network
by Kate Quinn

Needless to say, The Alice Network is a Reese’s Book Club pick and I loved it. The novel is a dual timeline story featuring two women as they deal with both WWI and WWII. It is set primarily in France. When the two women meet in the aftermath of WWII, their stories converge and they set out on a journey of discovery and revenge.

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The Invention of Wings Book Club Questions and Recipe

*If you are new here, WELCOME! For The Invention of Wings, I provide your book club with a brief summary, a recipe, and discussion questions in that order!

The Invention of Wings Book Club Questions and Recipe
The Invention of Wings Book Club Questions and Recipe

One of my favorite books is The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. If you haven’t read it, it is chock full of friendship, mother-daughter relationships, and Southern flair. And, of course bees. The narrator is also a spit-fire girl who comes of age during the story. It’s one of those feel-good books that you think back on and sigh with happiness. I knew the Sue Monk Kidd wrote The Mermaid Chair shortly after. For some reason, it didn’t appeal to me personally. If you’ve read it, I’d love to know your thoughts.

However, when researching books to feature here. I stumbled upon The Invention of Wings. It was released in 2015, but I had yet to read it. The premise was intriguing. In fact, I’m a sucker for Civil War fiction in the same way some people love WWII fiction.

The Invention of Wings
by Sue Monk Kidd

This is another book by Sue Monk Kidd with a young narrator. Two young narrators actually–Sarah and Handful. They both have unique voices, like Lily from The Secret Life of Bees. You also have the racial discrimination (civil rights vs slavery) and coming-of-age themes. However, that is where the similarity ends.

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