Monday, January 14, 2013

Book Selection for The Book Bunch

Hello Everybody! I am back! I hope you are having a wonderful 2013! Turned cold here, on Saturday with a touch of sleet.  Beef Stew was on the menu for dinner.  I had a cozy night at home, watching the Miss America Pageant! (Does anyone remember when the pageant was held in September?)

Since, this year... for me at least... is all about spending fun times with family and friends.  I thought I would share with you one of my greatest pleasures!  It is Reading!!!

I am a member of two book clubs!  One of the book clubs, "The Book Bunch", requires you to do the know...READ THE BOOK, while the other book club, "The Criterion Book Club", lets you show up, enjoy a lovely lunch and have the book presented to you.  It requires NO READING! Sometimes, the monthly speaker will come dress as a character in a book, or as a historical figure, such as Eleanor Roosevelt or Anne Lindbergh.

Today, I want to share with you "The Book Bunch".  We have been meeting since 2001. There are five of us, whom we consider to be original members. The monthly meetings average around 14 people. We have had as many as18 people in attendance.  This past Saturday, we had 12 participants.

They are the nicest women!

The Book Bunch meets on the second Saturday of each month at the Edmond Public Library. 

 At the entrance of the Edmond Library is the "Sit-by-Me" Statue

I have read some great books in this group, which I would have never selected on my own. These include "The Elegance of the HedgeHog" by Muriel Barbery (I loved the 12-year-old in this book).  "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett (this book was covered in both book clubs). Last year I selected, "The Art of Racing in the Rain" by Garth Stein (we spent most of the time, talking about the joy that our pets add to our lives)....These are a few recent selections, I could go on and on...since I have 12 years of monthly readings with a log of every book we have read.

Each member selects the book of her choice for an assigned month.  The individual member makes sure there are at least six copies of their book choice in the library, which allows the members to have the opportunity to read the book in time for the meeting.   Also, "The Book Bunch" must notify the library of our reading choices at least four months in advance so that information can be published in Library's Monthly Calendar.

Each member can choose whatever she wants the group to read.  When it is a member's turn to have her book selection read, that individual leads the discussion, and is responsible for discussion questions. Questions can originate from discussion questions available on-line (which is what I use when it is my turn), or the  monthly leader can write discussion questions. Since there were no discussion questions on-line for this month's book, Phyllis, our discussion leader for January, created all of the questions.  

Saturday, "The Book Bunch" discussed  "This Bright River" by Patrick Somerville.  (you can go to his website by clicking on the author's name).

This book was published in June 2012.  The reviews on this book  have been a range from very positive to "throw it in the river"!!

The Amazon Book Description states:

Lauren Sheehan's career in medicine came to a halt after a sequence of violent events abroad. Now she's back in the safest place she knows--St. Helens, Wisconsin--cut off from career, friendship, and romance.

Ben Hanson's aimless life bottomed out when he went to prison. But after his release, a surprising offer from his father draws him home. In Wisconsin, he finds his family fractured, still unable to face the truth behind his troubled cousin's death a decade earlier.

As Lauren cautiously expands her world and Ben tries to unravel the mysteries of his family and himself, their paths intersect. Could each be exactly what the other needs?

A compelling family drama and a surprising love story, This Bright River confirms Patrick Somerville's status as one of the most exciting young writers at work today.

"This Bright River" prologue starts with a murder mystery.  The book twist and turns throughout; with long descriptions. You find yourself wanting to scream, Enough! ...what about the Murder!.  In my opinion, "The Book Bunch" spent the majority of the time, discussing the possible dark and family dynamics of the main characters, reconstruction of different comments and situations of the main characters.  Time was spent discussing whether we came up with the same conclusions regarding the open-ended situations that remained, when the book ended.  This book was certainly not a favorite of mine.  It does, however, hangs with the reader after, and should be discussed aloud with others.

Phyllis' final discussion question followed this statement, " I decided to read this book because the original review in the New York Times was quite negative (July 1, 2012 by Janet Maslin). Ms. Maslin had arrived at an incorrect conclusion regarding who was attacked in the prologue. A retraction was written on July 4, 2012 with the acknowledgement of her mistake.  What influences your choice of reading material?"

I think Phyllis' final sentence is the best to end this post! 

What influences your choice of reading material?  Is it a book your friends are talking about?  Is it a review you saw or heard through the news media?  Is it a book that was listed on the annual top book lists for the past year?

Please share, I would love to know!  Your comments really Make My Day!

Friday, January 4, 2013

4 Great Spices and Brie Cheese

Happy New Year Everyone!  We had a great Christmas and New Year!

This year I am looking forward to creating more fun time with family and friends with lots of laughter without feeling overwhelmed over what to serve, or how my house looks!  Some of the best memories in our lives are created unexpectedly!

Therefore, I want to start the New Year with a quick entertainment recipe for the expected or unexpected guests!

Brie Cheese!  It is such a perfect cheese.  Brie goes with fruit, nuts, breads, etc. and it can be served in various ways such as plain at room temperature or wrapped in pastry and baked with different toppings and served with a nice glass of wine or beverage of your choice.

Here's the:


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.


Measure one teaspoon each of Cracked Pepper, Rosemary, Cumin Seeds and Pepper Flakes.

 Spread the spices on a cutting board, plate, or any flat surface.  I used a plate.

Then, remove a slice of Brie from the cheese wheel. Divide the slice of Brie with a knife into equal parts and lightly press the Brie slices into the spices. 

Place the spicy brie in an oven safe dish and transfer the dish to the preheated oven.

Bake until the Brie cheese begins to melt. (takes about 5 minutes depending on the thickness of your slices).

Looks delicious right?

Serve the warm Brie with crackers, breads, nuts and fruits.  You can choose whatever you love to serve with Brie Cheese.

Mr C and I love this Spicy Brie with soup and salad, when it is just the two of us for dinner or just with crackers and slices of crusty french bread, while watching a football game.

This simple recipe offers great presentation, delicious, and is SOO EASY!  It allows for more time to make memorable 2013 moments!


Looking forward to sharing more of my WandaFul Wonders in 2013 with you!

Do you have any easy recipes you use when you have expected or unexpected guests?
Please share!

As you know, I love your comments!

Happy New Year to You and Your Families!