Thursday, April 15, 2010

April 2010 Book Club Meeting

Summary: 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. -- Pamela Dorman Books/Viking

I had the best time at book club last night! We were missing a few girls, but the rest of us still managed to have a great meeting! For April, we read SAVING CEECEE HONEYCUTT by Beth Hoffman -- one of my favorite books of 2010. All of us agreed that it was a terrific book and such a sweet one too. We spent some time discussing our favorite parts of the book, and I think we all got a kick out of the crazy cast of characters.

But the highlight of our meeting was when the author, Beth Hoffman, called into our meeting. I have been "friends" with Beth on twitter since before her book was released, so I already knew that I liked her a lot; but I was so glad that my friends got a chance to "meet" her too. Believe me when I tell you that Beth is everything I expected and more. She is smart, funny, candid, generous and gracious! I am so grateful to her for spending so much time talking with us and answering all of our questions (and we had quite a few.)

It's hard for me to pick out some highlights from our conversation because I think the entire call was one long highlight for me, but I admit that I did love getting the scoop on what inspired her to write about Cee Cee. And I also loved dishing on what's next for Beth as far as her writing career goes. I just had so much fun, and I really hope Beth heads to Central PA sometime so we can meet in person!

May is my month to host and therefore pick a book, and I decided on CUTTING FOR STONE by Abraham Verghese. I have to give credit to all the bloggers out there for this one because I have read so many positive reviews about this book. Plus, a few of you have even commented on what a great discussion book it is. Two of the girls in my book club have already read CUTTING FOR STONE and loved it, but another told me that it's taking it awhile to get into it. Of course, I will wait until almost the last minute to read it so it's fresh in my mind for our meeting.

Marion and Shiva Stone are twin brothers born of a secret union between a beautiful Indian nun and a brash British surgeon. Orphaned by their mother’s death and their father’s disappearance, bound together by a preternatural connection and a shared fascination with medicine, the twins come of age as Ethiopia hovers on the brink of revolution.

Moving from Addis Ababa to New York City and back again, Cutting for Stone is an unforgettable story of love and betrayal, medicine and ordinary miracles—and two brothers whose fates are forever intertwined. -- Vintage


Kay said...

How nice that you had Beth Hoffman to call in to your book group meeting. I have been so pleased when we have had authors do this for my book group.

My group is reading Cutting for Stone for our May meeting as well. Hoping that it goes well and that it won't be too long. Thanks for sharing about your group.

bermudaonion said...

Isn't Beth Hoffman wonderful? I could sit and talk to her for hours!

Sandy Nawrot said...

Beth seems like such a nice person! You certainly have some incredible picks for your book club! I have yet to read Cee Cee, but my daughter and mom read it and both loved it!

Beth Hoffman said...

I had so much fun talking with you and your group, Julie, and I thank you for inviting me! There were lots of laughs and also some very interesting questions and observations that I truly enjoyed.

Thanks again!

Beth F said...

Beth: you MUST come to central PA -- I would love to meet you! What a fun meeting!

I've had the audio for Cutting for Stone for about a year. I need to get to it.

Alyce said...

Your book club meeting sounds like a blast! I haven't read the CeeCee book, but I've had Cutting For Stone on my wish list for quite a while. Hope you enjoy it!

Booksnyc said...

How great that the author dialed into your meeting! I just received Cee Cee from PBS - I am so excited to get to it!

stacybuckeye said...

Beth is so sweet. I was able to get to a book signing and she is everything you say. It is very cool that she called into your meeting. Lucky ladies!