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   Book Club

What makes a great book? 

A great book is more than just a well-written story. A great book is a treasure trove of humanity so that no matter how often you open a page and start reading, there is still something new to be discovered. 

JVSO Book Club is open to all members. We meet once a month on the last Wednesday of each month. All members are welcome to join in on any book club discussion whether you have read the book or not.

If you have a favorite book you think the group would like, please share it with us. All books are voted on during our meetings.

The book club meets the last Wednesday of the month at 3 p.m. at Jersey Meadows Golf Course.  All JVSO members are welcome, whether you have read the book or not. 

Looking for an interesting book to read?  The JVSO book club rates the books they read each month.  The highest-rated book in 2021 was the nonfiction book, Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou.  It was rated 4.6 out of 5 and chronicles the story of the silicon valley startup, Theranos, and its founder Elizabeth Holmes, who recently was found guilty of 4 counts of wire fraud.  The second highest-rated book was The Last Train to Key West by Chanel Cleeton, rated 4.1 out of 5.  

July 27 - Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman

Twelve-year-old CeeCee Honeycutt is in trouble. For years, she has been the caretaker of her psychotic mother, Camille-the tiara-toting, lipstick-smeared laughingstock of an entire town-a woman trapped in her long-ago moment of glory as the 1951 Vidalia Onion Queen. But when Camille is hit by a truck and killed, CeeCee is left to fend for herself. To the rescue comes her previously unknown great-aunt, Tootie Caldwell.

In her vintage Packard convertible, Tootie whisks CeeCee away to Savannah's perfumed world of prosperity and Southern eccentricity, a world that seems to be run entirely by women. From the exotic Miz Thelma Rae Goodpepper, who bathes in her backyard bathtub and uses garden slugs as her secret weapons, to Tootie's all-knowing housekeeper, Oletta Jones, to Violene Hobbs, who entertains a local police officer in her canary-yellow peignoir, the women of Gaston Street keep CeeCee entertained and enthralled for an entire summer.

Laugh-out-loud funny and deeply touching, Beth Hoffman's sparkling debut is, as Kristin Hannah says, "packed full of Southern charm, strong women, wacky humor, and good old-fashioned heart." It is a novel that explores the indomitable strengths of female friendship and gives us the story of a young girl who loses one mother and finds many others.

 

June 29, 2022 - Down Range by Taylor Moore

In this action-packed debut thriller, DEA agent Garrett Kohl fights to protect his home on the Texas High Plains when a vicious criminal enterprise comes after his family.

As a decorated undercover DEA special agent, Garrett Kohl has traveled the world—and fought in most of it—but it’s the High Plains of northwest Texas he calls home and dreams of returning to one day. Kohl is in the middle of an assignment in Afghanistan when his commander orders him back to Texas on a short mission expected to take a week at most. But Kohl is unsettled to discover that he’s moving from one kind of war to another.

The once-peaceful ranching community he loves is under attack by a band of criminals who have infiltrated law enforcement and corrupted local businesses, and are now terrorizing Kohl’s own family. Hoping to prevent bloodshed, Kohl tries to resolve matters peacefully. But when the group strikes first, he has no choice but to go on the attack.

Unfortunately for the crew of criminals, Garrett Kohl, besides being an elite undercover officer for the DEA, is a battle-hardened Green Beret who spent the better part of his career hunting terrorists. Although outnumbered and outgunned, Kohl knows the wild and forsaken Llano Estacado region of Texas better than anyone. And like so many trespassers before them, these murderers will find out the hard way that the only thing tougher than this land is the people who call it home.

 

May 25, 2022 - The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review • Time • Vogue • NPR • The Washington Post • Chicago Tribune • The Globe & Mail • Fortune • Bloomberg • New York Post • The New York Public Library • Kirkus Reviews • LibraryReads • PopMatters

On Winston Churchill’s first day as prime minister, Adolf Hitler invaded Holland and Belgium. Poland and Czechoslovakia had already fallen, and the Dunkirk evacuation was just two weeks away. For the next twelve months, Hitler would wage a relentless bombing campaign, killing 45,000 Britons. It was up to Churchill to hold his country together and persuade President Franklin Roosevelt that Britain was a worthy ally—and willing to fight to the end.

In The Splendid and the Vile, Erik Larson shows, in cinematic detail, how Churchill taught the British people “the art of being fearless.” It is a story of political brinkmanship, but it’s also an intimate domestic drama, set against the backdrop of Churchill’s prime-ministerial country home, Chequers; his wartime retreat, Ditchley, where he and his entourage go when the moon is brightest and the bombing threat is highest; and of course 10 Downing Street in London. Drawing on diaries, original archival documents, and once-secret intelligence reports—some released only recently—Larson provides a new lens on London’s darkest year through the day-to-day experience of Churchill and his family: his wife, Clementine; their youngest daughter, Mary, who chafes against her parents’ wartime protectiveness; their son, Randolph, and his beautiful, unhappy wife, Pamela; Pamela’s illicit lover, a dashing American emissary; and the advisers in Churchill’s “Secret Circle,” to whom he turns in the hardest moments.
 
The Splendid and the Vile takes readers out of today’s political dysfunction and back to a time of true leadership, when, in the face of unrelenting horror, Churchill’s eloquence, courage, and perseverance bound a country, and a family, together.


April 27, 2022 - Share a Book

Read a book of your choice and share with the group.

 

March 30, 2022 - Mary Jane by Jessica Anya Blau

In 1970s Baltimore, fourteen-year-old Mary Jane loves cooking with her mother, singing in her church choir, and enjoying her family’s subscription to the Broadway Showtunes of the Month record club. Shy, quiet, and bookish, she’s glad when she lands a summer job as a nanny for the daughter of a local doctor. A respectable job, Mary Jane’s mother says. In a respectable house.

The house may look respectable on the outside, but inside it’s a literal and figurative mess: clutter on every surface, Impeachment: Now More Than Ever bumper stickers on the doors, cereal and takeout for dinner. And even more troublesome (were Mary Jane’s mother to know, which she does not): the doctor is a psychiatrist who has cleared his summer for one important job—helping a famous rock star dry out. A week after Mary Jane starts, the rock star and his movie star wife move in.

Over the course of the summer, Mary Jane introduces her new household to crisply ironed clothes and a family dinner schedule, and has a front-row seat to a liberal world of sex, drugs, and rock and roll (not to mention group therapy). Caught between the lifestyle she’s always known and the future she’s only just realized is possible, Mary Jane will arrive at September with a new idea about what she wants out of life, and what kind of person she’s going to be. 


February 23, 2022 - Little Secrets by Jennifer Hillier

All it takes to unravel a life is one little secret...

Marin had the perfect life. Married to her college sweetheart, she owns a chain of upscale hair salons, and Derek runs his own company. They're admired in their community and are a loving family—until their world falls apart the day their son Sebastian is taken.

A year later, Marin is a shadow of herself. The FBI search has gone cold. The publicity has faded. She and her husband rarely speak. She hires a P.I. to pick up where the police left off, but instead of finding Sebastian, she learns that Derek is having an affair with a younger woman. This discovery sparks Marin back to life. She's lost her son; she's not about to lose her husband, too. Kenzie is an enemy with a face, which means this is a problem Marin can fix.

Permanently.


January 26, 2022 - The Children's Blizzard by Melanie Benjamin

Based on actual oral histories of survivors, this gripping novel follows the stories of Raina and Gerda Olsen, two sisters, both schoolteachers—one becomes a hero of the storm and the other finds herself ostracized in the aftermath. It’s also the story of Anette Pedersen, a servant girl whose miraculous survival serves as a turning point in her life and touches the heart of Gavin Woodson, a newspaperman seeking redemption. It was Woodson and others like him who wrote the embellished news stories that lured northern European immigrants across the sea to settle a pitiless land. Boosters needed them to settle territories into states, and they didn’t care what lies they told these families to get them there—or whose land it originally was.

 

2021 JVSO Reads:

  • January - The Gown by Jennifer Robson
  • February - Cilka's Journey by Heather Morris
  • March - Bad Blood by John Carreyrou
  • April - Share a book
  • May - Tropic of Stupid by Tim Dorsey
  • June - The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd
  • July - Tropic of Stupid by Tim Dorsey
  •           The Last Train to Key West by Chanel Cleeton
  • August - Share a Book
  • September - When the Men Were Gone
  • October - Before I Go to Sleep
  • November - Secret Life of Violet Grant
  • December - Share a book                                                                                                         
Recommendations: The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate / Adrift - 76 Days Lost at Sea by Steven Callahan / Miss Benson's Beetle by Rachel Joyce / Empire of Pain - The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty by Patrick Radden Keefe / The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles / The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave / The Anatomist's Wife by Anna Lee Huber / The Other Bennet Sister by Janice Hadlow / The Stranger in the Lifeboat by Mitch Albom / Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston / The Music of Bees by Eileen Garvin / Between Two Kingdoms: A Memoir of a Life Interrupted by Suleika Jaouad / Hench by Natalie Zina Walschots / The One by John Marrs / Dark, Dark Night by Ruth Ware / The President's Lady by Irving Stone / The Midnight Library by Matt Haig / The Overstory by Richard Powers / Love and Ruin by Paula McLain / Plain Speaking by Merle Miller / The Secret Messenger by Mandy Robotham / The German Midwife by Mandy Robotham / Nanaville: Adventures in Grandparenting by Ann Quindlen / 
South of the Buttonwood Tree by Heather Webber / The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi
 
 


2020 JVSO Reads:
  • January - Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger
  • February - The Red Address Book by Sofia Lundberg
  • March - Read a biography, autobiography or memoir and share with the group
  • April - Once Upon A River by Diane Setterfield
  • May - Read any book you want and share with the group
  • June - Summer of '69 by Elin Hilderbrand
  • July: The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey
  • August - Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
  • September - Ellen Foster by Kaye Gibbons
  • October - The Lager Queen of Minnesota by J. Ryan Stradal
  • November - Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Gulf Coast Reads Selection)
  • December - Bring your favorite book you have read this year and share with the group

Recomendations: Hidden Valley Road by Robert Coker / Ten Lessons for a Post Pandemic World by Fareed Zakaria / Call Your Daughter Home by Deb Spera / The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett / Comfort and Joy by Kristin Hannah / The Selective Poems of Langston Hughes / Middlemarch by George Eliott / Library Wars by Kiiro Yumi / Loving Frank by Nancy Horan / Final Girls by Riley Sager / Before and After by Lisa Wingate and Judy Christie / The Evening and the Morning by Ken Follett /  If The Devil Had a Wife by Frank Mills


2019 JVSO Reads:

  • January - Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
  • February - Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton
  • March - Hondo by Louis Lamour
  • April - Read any self-help book and share with the group
  • May - The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson
  • June - A Woman of Independent Means by Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey
  • July - The Dead Queens Club by Hannah Capin
  • August - In Farleigh Field by Rhys Bowen
  • September - The Library Book by Susan Orlean
  • October - The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
  • November - Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  • December - Bring your favorite book you have read this year and share with the group

2018 JVSO Reads:

  • February - Tumbling Turner Sisters by Juliette Fay
  • March - The Dry by Jane Harper
  • April - Lab Girl by Hope Jahren
  • May - Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
  • June - All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai
  • July - Where'd You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple
  • August - The Book of Polly by Kathy Hepinstall
  • September - All the Ever Afters by Danielle Teller
  • October - Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke
  • November - Almost Famous Women by Megan Mayhew Bergman
  • ​December - Bring your favorite poetry to share with the group.

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