Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Discussion Questions for THE SHACK

Here are some discussion questions that I found online for The Shack. Please feel free to write in any additional ones that you'd like to discuss on Wednesday at Heather's!!

1. Were you drawn in by the plot of The Shack?

2. Why do you think Mack's encounter with God took place at the shack? If God were to invite you somewhere, where would it be? (In other words, where is the center of your doubt and pain)?

3. Do you think suffering makes people closer to God or causes them to distance themselves from Him? What has been the pattern in your life?

4. Were you satisfied with God's answers to Mack about suffering? Do you struggle with believing God is good in light of all the tragedy in the world?

5. How is Young's description of God different from your concept of God? What parts of his description did you like and what parts didn't you like?

6. Did The Shack change any of your opinions about God or Christianity?

7. What were some of the things The Shack teaches about God, faith and life that you disagreed with?

8. Rate The Shack on a scale of 1 to 5.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Is it too late?

I watched a really interesting documentary last week about the Lost Boys of Sudan. Is it too late to add another book to the list? Jared, Andy's husband, said he could possibly have one of his friends who is a Lost Boy, come speak to us which would be really cool. I know this was on a previous list but if it isn't too late, I want to nominate:

What is the what?
by David Eggers

Valentino Achak Deng, real-life hero of this engrossing epic, was a refugee from the Sudanese civil war-the bloodbath before the current Darfur bloodbath-of the 1980s and 90s. In this fictionalized memoir, Eggers (A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius) makes him an icon of globalization. Separated from his family when Arab militia destroy his village, Valentino joins thousands of other "Lost Boys," beset by starvation, thirst and man-eating lions on their march to squalid refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya, where Valentino pieces together a new life. He eventually reaches America, but finds his quest for safety, community and fulfillment in many ways even more difficult there than in the camps: he recalls, for instance, being robbed, beaten and held captive in his Atlanta apartment. Eggers's limpid prose gives Valentino an unaffected, compelling voice and makes his narrative by turns harrowing, funny, bleak and lyrical. The result is a horrific account of the Sudanese tragedy, but also an emblematic saga of modernity-of the search for home and self in a world of unending upheaval.

*** If it's too late, I'll just nominate this book next time. :)

Friday, January 9, 2009


Yen asked me yesterday if we are still interested in a "make up class" with her. If yes, when should we do it? Monday nights are best for her, but she's somewhat flexible, with advanced notice.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

2009 To Do's

It's time to pick new books for the first half of 2009 AND pick new hostesses!

Please post a comment on:

1. Which month you would like to host (January through November).
*Please let the pregnant ladies choose first.

2. One or two book nominations.
*Please submit your post no later than January 19th so that we can have a chance to review the nominations before we vote on Monday, January 26th.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

How You Can Help

Our upcoming Ronald McDonald House project is still 3 weeks away (Friday, December 12th), but will be here before we know it!

The menu we decided on is: Chili, Cornbread, Salad, Brownies, Drinks--enough to serve 35-40 people, plus our book club.

They like to serve dinner around 6:00, but we can get their as early as we need to prepare. We discussed making the chili, cornbread, and brownies the night before and then prepping the salad at the house. Andy and Kristin, can you be in charge of the chili recipes and providing the list of items needed?

So, we also need volunteers to do the following:

*Shop for food and paper goods (at least 2 people)
*Host the chili-making festivities on Thursday night
*Cook Chili (as many as are willing to help!)
*Provide crock pots =5
*Bake cornbread
*Bake brownies
*Arrive early on Friday to prepare salad-- 5:30?

Please respond on whether or not you plan to attend and what you can do to help out!

Oh, and here's the address: 935 E. South Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84102

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Pope Joan.

I really wish I was in town tonight. I was so looking forward to discussing Pope Joan (among other things, of course!). I can't wait to hear what you all thought...

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Ronald McDonald House

If you are interested in cooking and serving dinner at the Ronald McDonald House, please check all the dates (sidebar) that you would be able to help out. We'll go with the date that has the best response so if you could go on more than one night, then check all that apply. I told the volunteer coordinator that I would get back to her next Thursday with the exact date that The Kellie Bacon Book Club will be volunteering.

Also, it would be helpful if we could have volunteers to help with the following:

1. Create a menu

2. Grocery Shop (food and paper products)

In my experience, it is easiest when a couple people shop together and bring all the food to the kitchen for the rest of us to prepare and then we split the cost equally. That way, if someone has to cancel at the last minute, we are not scrambling around.

And lastly, for those of you that haven't volunteered with this organization before, our group will be in charge of preparing the meal and cleaning up afterwards. Of course, we'll eat with the families and get to know them a little bit over dinner. It's a lot of fun and I don't even like cooking!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Brideshead Revisited...

Okay, is anyone out there?!  I just finished the book today and was left kind of saying, "okay," and really nothing else.  Am I missing something?  You probably all got a lot more out of it than me. Does anyone want to indulge a little bit before book club?  Maybe my eyes will open a bit to the book...

Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Results Please...

The books for the next 6 months are:

August-- Brideshead Revisited
September-- The Last Summer (of You and Me)
October-- Team of Rivals
November-- Pope Joan
January-- The Shack

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Reviews...vote for 4 on the sidebar

1.)  Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius: Based on a True Story by Dave

This is what Holly wrote:
Dave Eggers is a terrifically talented writer; don't hold his cleverness against him. What to make of a book called A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius: Based on a True Story? For starters, there's a good bit of staggering genius before you even get to the true story, including a preface, a list of "Rules and Suggestions for Enjoyment of This Book," and a 20-page acknowledgements section complete with special mail-in offer, flow chart of the book's themes, and a lovely pen-and-ink drawing of a stapler (helpfully labeled "Here is a drawing of a stapler:").

But on to the true story. At the age of 22, Eggers became both an orphan and a "single mother" when his parents died within five months of one another of unrelated cancers. In the ensuing sibling division of labor, Dave is
> appointed unofficial guardian of his 8-year-old brother, Christopher. The two live together in semi-squalor, decaying food and sports equipment scattered about, while Eggers worries obsessively about child-welfare
> authorities, molesting babysitters, and his own health. His child-rearing strategy swings between making his brother's upbringing manically fun and performing bizarre developmental experiments on him. (Case in point: his
> idea of suitable bedtime reading is John Hersey's Hiroshima.)

2.)  The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

This is what Amy wrote:
It's been 11 years since Junot Díaz's critically acclaimed story collection, Drown, landed on bookshelves and from page one of his debut novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, any worries of a sophomore jinx disappear. The titular Oscar is a 300-pound-plus "lovesick ghetto nerd" with zero game (except for Dungeons & Dragons) who cranks out pages of fantasy fiction with the hopes of becoming a Dominican J.R.R. Tolkien. The book is also the story of a multi-generational family curse that courses through the book, leaving troubles and tragedy in its wake. This was the most dynamic, entertaining, and achingly heartfelt novel I've read in a long time. My head is still buzzing with the memory of dozens of killer passages that I dog-eared throughout the book. The rope-a-dope narrative is funny, hip, tragic, soulful, and bursting with desire. Make some room for Oscar Wao on your bookshelf--you won't be disappointed. --Brad Thomas Parsons 

3.)  Life of Pi

This is what Andy wrote:
Yann Martel's imaginative and unforgettable Life of Pi is a magical reading experience, an endless blue expanse of storytelling about adventure, survival, and ultimately, faith. The precocious son of a zookeeper, 16-year-old Pi Patel is raised in Pondicherry, India, where he tries on various faiths for size, attracting "religions the way a dog attracts fleas." Planning a move to Canada, his father packs up the family and their menagerie and they hitch a ride on an enormous freighter. After a harrowing shipwreck, Pi finds himself adrift in the Pacific Ocean, trapped on a
26-foot lifeboat with a wounded zebra, a spotted hyena, a seasick orangutan, and a 450-pound Bengal tiger named Richard Parker ("His head was the size and color of the lifebuoy, with teeth"). It sounds like a colorful setup, but these wild beasts don't burst into song as if co-starring in an anthropomorphized Disney feature. After much gore and infighting, Pi and Richard Parker remain the boat's sole passengers, drifting for 227 days through shark-infested waters while fighting hunger, the elements, and an overactive imagination. In rich, hallucinatory passages, Pi recounts the harrowing journey as the days blur together, elegantly cataloging the endless passage of time and his struggles to survive: "It is pointless to say that this or that night was the worst of my life. I have so many bad nights to choose from that I've made none the champion."  An award winner in Canada (and winner of the 2002 Man Booker Prize), Life of Pi, Yann Martel's second novel, should prove to be a breakout book in the U.S. At one point in his journey, Pi recounts, "My greatest wish--other than salvation--was to have a book. A long book with a never-ending story.  One that I could read again and again, with new eyes and fresh understanding each time." It's safe to say that the fabulous, fablelike Life of Pi is such a book. --Brad Thomas Parsons

4.)  The Shack

This is what Alix wrote:
Mackenzie Allen Philips' youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness.  Four years later in the midst of his Great Sadness, Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend.  Against his better judgment he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change Mack's world forever. In a world where religion seems to grow increasingly irrelevant "The Shack" wrestles with the timeless question, "Where is God in a world so filled with unspeakable pain?" The answers Mack gets will astound you and perhaps transform you as much as it did him. You'll want everyone you know to read this book!

5.)  The Last Summer (of You and Me)

This is what Kellie wrote:
From the author of the multimillion-copy, #1 bestselling series The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants comes a heartbreaking first adult novel.  Ann Brashares's series, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, has made her one of the most successful contemporary authors, shipping more than 8 million copies over the last five years and winning even more millions of passionate fans. Now, like Judy Blume (Summer Sisters) before her, Brashares turns her spectacular gifts to adult readers. In The Last Summer (of You and Me), Brashares uses her remarkable storytelling, emotional insights, and talent for capturing relationships to weave a rich, textured, mature novel that will resonate as clearly with readers in their forties as in their twenties.  Set on Long Island's Fire Island, The Last Summer (of You and Me) is an enchanting, heartrending page-turner about sisterhood, friendship, love, loss, and growing up. It is the story of a beach community friendship triangle-Riley and Alice, two sisters in their twenties, and Paul, the
young man they've grown up with-and what happens one summer when budding love, sexual curiosity, a sudden serious illness, and a deep secret all collide, launching the friends into an adult world from which their summer
haven can no longer protect them. As wise, compelling, and endearing as her Traveling Pants series, and as lyrical, thoughtful, and moving as the best literary women's fiction, this novel is sure to win an entire new generation of
adult fans.

6.)  Pope Joan

This is what Kellie wrote:
One of the most controversial women of history is brought to brilliant life in Donn Woolfolk Cross's tale of Pope Joan, a girl whose origins should have kept her in squalid domesticity. Instead, through her intelligence, indomitability and courage, she ascended to the throne of Rome as Pope John Anglicus.  The time is 814, the place is Ingelheim, a Frankland village. It is the harshest winter in living memory when Joan is born to an English father and a Saxon mother. Her father is a canon, filled with holy zeal and capable of unconscionable cruelty. His piety does not extend to his family members, especially the females. His wife, Gudrun, is a young beauty to whom he was attracted beyond his will--and he hates her for showing him his weakness.  Gudrun teaches Joan about her gods, and is repeatedly punished for it by the canon. Joan grows to young womanhood with the combined knowledge of the warlike Saxon gods and the teachings of the Church as her heritage.  Both realities inform her life forever.  When her brother John, not a scholarly type, is sent away to school, Joan, who was supposed to be the one sent to school, runs away and joins him in Dorstadt, at Villaris, the home of Gerold, who is central to Joan's story.  She falls in love with Gerold and their lives interesect repeatedly even through her Papacy. She is looked upon by all who know that she is a woman as a "lusus naturae," a freak of nature. "She was... male in
intellect, female in body, she fit in nowhere; it was as if she belonged to a third amorphous sex." Cross makes the case over and over again that the status of women in the Dark Ages was little better than cattle. They were judged
inferior in every way, and necessary evils in the bargain.  After John is killed in a Viking attack, Joan sees her opportunity to escape the fate of all her gender. She cuts her hair, dons her dead brother's clothes and goes into the world as a young boy. Gerold is away from Villaris at the time of the attack and comes home to find his home in
ruins, his family killed and Joan among the missing. After the attack, Joan goes to a Benedictine monastery, is accepted as a young man of great learning, and eventually makes her way to Rome.  The author is at pains to tell the reader in an Epilogue that she has written the story as fiction because it is impossible to document Joan's
accesion to the Papacy. The Catholic Church has done everything possible to deny this embarrassment. Whether or not one believes in Joan as Pope, this is a compelling story, filled with all kinds of lore: the brutishness of the
Dark Ages, Vatican intrigue, politics and favoritism and most of all, the place of women in the Church and in the world.

7.)  Kim

This is what Sherrelyn wrote about the book: 
Kimball O’Hara grows up an orphan in the walled city of Lahore, India. Deeply devoted to an old Tibetan lama but involved in a secret mission for the British, Kim struggles to weave the strands of his life into a single pattern. Charged with action and suspense, yet profoundly spiritual, Kim vividly expresses the sounds and smells, colors and characters, opulence and squalor of complex, contradictory India under British rule.

8.)  Anna Karenina

This is what Kristin wrote about the book:
Tolstoy's tumultuous tale of passion and self-discovery marks a turning point in the author's career. His compelling, emotional saga recounts the effects of nonconformist behavior — a society woman's adulterous affair and a landowner's unconventional quest for a meaningful existence — against a backdrop of late 19th-century Russia.

9.)  Bridehead's Revisted

This is what Kristin wrote about the book:
One of Waugh's most famous books, Brideshead Revisited tells the story of the difficult loves of insular Englishman Charles Ryder, and his peculiarly intense relationship with the wealthy but dysfunctional family that inhabited Brideshead. Taking place in the years after World War II, Brideshead Revisited shows us a part of upper-class
English culture that has been disappearing steadily. Like most great novels, BRIDESHEAD REVISITED is about a great many things--not the least of which is the decline of English aristocracy. But at center, 
Evelyn Waugh's greatest novel (and one of his few non-satirical works) is about religious faith, and how that faith continues to operate in
the lives of even those who seem to reject it, and how that faith supports even those who falter badly in it.