The Friday Night Knitting Club (January)

>> Friday, January 30, 2009


It is a good thing that I've already tried knitting and know that I'm not good at it. Or rather that I'm not good at teaching myself. Maybe if I had a knitting club… Anyway, it's a good thing because after reading The Friday Night Knitting Club I would otherwise find myself at the check out stand in Hobby Lobby with a basketful of knitting needles and skeins of yarn and a couple of how to books.

So, about the book, I have to say my high expectations were not met. It took me a little while to get into the rhythm of the book, but once I found it, I scooted along pretty quickly through the pages. It was a fun read, but that's about it. I didn't connect with any of the characters. The best thing about the book was the knitting. I did also enjoy the glimpses of life in New York City (especially since we are planning a trip there this year!).

Ach, I couldn't resist! I pulled out the scarf I started knitting about 6 or 7 years ago. The needles were still in it, ready to go. I even knitted a few rows (I remembered how - amazing). It's my first and only project, so the tension in it is all over the place. Hmmm, the characters in this book may not hold a place in my heart, but the yarn, the yarn is calling to me.


February's Pick

>> Thursday, January 29, 2009


I think the pressure for choosing a book for book club has increased since we started blogging. I mean, come on, we have a reputation now.

I narrowed my choices down to 3, and then I just couldn't choose. I asked Erin and Lisa to help me out, but I think they felt the pressure should be mine alone (that is one thing about not picking - no pressure) so I let the library decide. I requested all three novels from the library thinking whichever one came in first would be the pick. And the winner is . . . Stormbreaker.

My counterparts are a bit miffed because I actually read the book before making the final decision. I have no defense. I can't help it; it was there - I read it. Sorry. However, I am excited about this pick, not because I think it will produce any great discussion, but because I think it is a fun read. And though I read a lot of YAL, I haven't read much in the spy genre, so it's a step out of the box for me.

The website for this series is pretty cool,, so check it out and check back later to see what we thought about the book.

Also coming soon is our reviews on The Friday Night Knitting Club.


The Sage Room Statutes

>> Thursday, January 22, 2009


So if you're reading this post, it's probably because a) you're related to one of us and use our blog to check up on us, b) you stumbled across our website while looking for Thanksgiving stuffing recipes, or c) you love books, you're always looking for new material, and you might even be in a book club yourself (or wish you were). I just realized that those of you in Group C might be interested in knowing a little bit more about how our little book club operates. Thus far, we only have a few simple guidelines. Here they are in no particular order:

1. We take turns picking the book, one each month. It goes Erin, then Anna, then Lisa.

2. If it's your turn to pick the book, you must come to book club ready to announce your selection for the upcoming month.

3. Whoever picked the book hosts the next month. She can have it at her house and provide snacks/drinks, or she can call at the last minute and say she'd rather not mess with it and designate a coffee shop instead. Note: Snacks are not supposed to be fancy or difficult (even though Anna sets the bar high), as book club is never supposed to add stress to our lives.

4. We each start off answering three basic questions about the book: Did you like it? Would you read it again? Would you recommend it? From there, discussion takes off and goes where it will.

5. We meet on the last Tuesday of each month unless someone has a conflict. Then we enter into a long email volley attempting to find a new date (we're busy girls).

I think that's all we've got right now, but knowing us, we will continue to add rules until we need a book just to contain our book club rules. What can we say? We like structure. We like order. And we love The Sage Room!!!


Time is tickin' away!


Augh! I only have five days left and I still don't have the knitting book in my possession! Could this be the first time I don't finish a book before our meeting? I'll have a houseful this weekend as all four of our parents are coming to celebrate Shae's second birthday---how's a girl to read with all of that going on? Perhaps I'll pull a late-nighter on Sunday night. But that's only if I can get myself to the library and pick up that knitting book...


What's in your kid-kit?


I grew up going to the library. I would load up with a stack of books barely being able to see over the top of them as I walked with my mom back to the car. And I would have them read in less than 2 weeks and would be itching to go back for more.

The Babysitter Club books (written by Ann M. Martin) were different though. Mom actually bought those for me. She didn't even mind so much until she realized I would devour a $7 (I'm totally guessing on the price!) book in roughly 30 minutes. She was always glad to see the thicker Babysitter Club books come out. You remember. It was when they went on trips and vacations. Oh, how I loved that series.

Whitney and I grew up emulating their conversation, fashion and pure coolness. We would always talk about who we thought we were most like. While I WANTED to be the most like Claudia or Stacey (they were the cool, beautiful ones), I knew in my heart of hearts that Kristy and I were kindred spirits. She was the president, the bossy one and the tomboy. Yep, that was me. Just ask my long time friend Meryl. When we played school as elementary kids, I was ALWAYS the teacher, she the student learning long division 2 full years before her classmates in real school. Now how is that for cool?

Who were you most like? And in case you forgot the characters, here is a list of their names and official club positions.

Kristy Thomas - President
Claudia Kishi - Vice President
Mary Anne Spier - Secretary
Stacey McGill - Treasurer
Dawn Shafer - Honorary Member (?)
Mallory Pike - Jr Member
Jessi Ramsey - Jr Member

That's what I remember at least. Correct me if I'm wrong and tell me who you were!

Oh! And this pic was where this entire idea book club/blog all began. It was this night the three of us said yes. Yes to bettering ourselves by reading. Or something like that. :)
stop #6, coffee house, cherry st


Due January 27

>> Monday, January 19, 2009

It's my turn to pick and I have so many options! I'll probably come across more, but I can only choose one.

I admit, I'm leaning towards The Thin Man or Stormbreaker. Though I've never read Alice in Wonderland or The Wizard of Oz. I don't think it is right that I haven't read either classic. And I keep running across The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society and thinking, I need to read that. Oh, and I just remembered both Kim and Journey to the Center of the Earth are on my shelf, waiting.

They are all waiting. Waiting for me to pick them up and enter the world they offer - mystery and murder, spies, strange fantasy lands, German occupation, Colonial India, the earth's core. Which one, which one?

I'm not ready to choose. I have a week to decide.

* * *
p.s. thanks E, for finding the all too awesome library card graphic. You are a rockstar!


High Expectations, cont

I have the book. I am reading the book. I am not commenting on the book. Yet.


High Expectations

>> Friday, January 16, 2009


So, I don't know anything about The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs (E's pick), except that on 19 library copies there are 23 holds and that on the sequel Knit Two there are 96 holds on 8 copies! Wow. 96 holds. That's crazy. I need to get my hands on a copy so I can determine why so many people want to read this series! My expectations are high, I hope they are justified.


My fellow book club-onians...

>> Thursday, January 15, 2009

Is that even a word? It is now.


My world

>> Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Right now, my world is pretty small. Mainly, it revolves around two little boys, ages 23 months and 2 months. They require most of my time, most of my attention, and most of my self. I know that this is just a passing stage of life, but I'm finding it hard to get much done outside of caring for their basic needs and lavishing them with love. It's my job and I love it. I really really do. It's just that it's almost impossible to get out much. I don't see my friends very often. I don't go very many places. Heck, I don't even take showers as often as I'd like!

That's where book club comes in. See, I've been an avid reader all my life and usually, I have a queue a mile long full of books I'd like to read. When Schaefer was born, though, I forgot to keep reading. Instead, I watched all 10 seasons of Friends while I nursed, one hilarious episode at a time. And then I cried when the last one was over because just like in 2003, I felt like my best friends had all up and died. But NOW when I'm up at 11:00pm feeding Baby Silas, I reach over, grab my best-friend-of-the-week, and get lost in the story. My world is small right now, so for me, reading is a much-needed escape. Last year, I was in Avonlea, Africa, and lots of places in between. Thanks, book club, for keeping me sane.

And now to weigh in on the books 0f 2008...

Red Badge of Courage--I'm glad I read it, but only because it's a classic and you're supposed to read lots of them before you die.

Cold Comfort Farm--I guess I'm not a big fan of British humor, because I didn't laugh one time. I kept wondering when Stella would get to the point, and then it was over.

The Poisonwood Bible--It wasn't a happy book, but it really made me think and I love books that do that. I still think about it every time I think of Africa.

The House of Mirth--I typically love books in this time period and this was no exception. It made me want to read more Edith Wharton.

Rose Daughter--I liked the idea but not the ending.

The Shack--Ahh, what to say... I didn't want to throw it across the room and I think the idea behind the book was fabulous, but God is God, Aunt Jemima is not. I felt that there were some liberties taken that should not have been taken, but overall, the concept behind the book will help certain personalities in their walk with the Lord. Others will want to throw the book across the room. Enough said.

Twilight---LOVE LOVE LOVED IT! Only twice in my life have I been so engrossed in a series (Anne and Harry). Although I would not place it on that top tier because of obvious reasons (one book should not contain the words "marble" and "granite" more than ten times), I had more fun reading it than I've had reading anything else in a long time.

Murder on the Orient Express--I'm glad to have read an Agatha Christie and I'm impressed with her writing, but I probably won't read many more in my life. I like books that make me love their characters.

Kira-Kira--I can see why this one won a Newberry and it did make me think.

The Daybreakers--I wish I hadn't lived 29 years before reading my first Louis L'Amour! I was completely engrossed in the story and when it was over, I looked up and expected to see gunsmoke and cattle towns instead of modern America. I can't wait to read more, and I wish I could tell my late grandpa that now I understand why he couldn't get enough.

The Code of the Woosters--Reading P.G. Wodehouse is kind of like watching Seinfeld--it's light and funny and mostly about nothing at all. A fun read, although I prefer my books to divulge secrets about the meaning of life.

Mr. Ives Christmas--Poor Mr. Ives. My heart hurt for him, but waiting for something to happen in the book got old after a while. Is it possible for a book to be too realistic?


Things Sisters Talk About


"You two are sisters? You don't look anything alike!" is almost always the incredulous response when Kristina and I introduce ourselves as sisters. So, okay, maybe we don't look exactly alike. I mean, she has curly, fiery red hair. I have straight brown. She has clear blue eyes. I have brown. She has fair, white skin that turns red in the sun. Mine turns (yes) brown. So, to the casual observer, one of us has to be adopted! But a more careful observer would note the similarity in the way we smile and the lines of our profile. And the most careful of observers, looking beyond our physical attributes, would see that we are more alike than not, and there would be no doubt that we are, indeed, sisters.

As sisters, we share parents, backgrounds, memories, fights, laughs and some comical childhood photos. And though we've now lived more years apart than together, and though she lives half a world away and 12 hours ahead of me, she's still my big sister and I'm still her annoying little sister. Our roles will never change. We span the distance of living apart with all kinds of shared interests: music, movies, TV shows like Lost, Heroes and Pushing Daisies, games (Settlers of Catan is a must play when we are together) and books, books, books.

My sister is a linguist, and so she, like me, loves words, language, books. She, like me, loves to read. I can still remember, as a kid, peeking into her room through the doorway (I dare not enter without permission) and pleading with her to play with me, "Please, Kristina, play a game with me!" I would beg incessantly. Her flat, monotone denial, "Not now, I'm busy." Busy reading. Busy sitting in her rocking game chair in the corner of her room, lamp on, nose in book, reading. She was always reading. And eventually, so was I. It wasn't very often that you found either of us without a book. And the same is true today. Only now we've gone past just a shared love of reading, now we share what we love to read (I think we could spend hours talking about books - especially if we had a vanilla latte or mocha warming our hands). Thanks to Skype we can still talk books, even though for me it's 9PM and I'm winding down my day and for her it's 9AM and she's drinking her morning tea. We can still talk books and life and the things we love most in this world - the things sisters talk about.


I read 16 books this year!

>> Tuesday, January 6, 2009


I’m not gonna lie. Nope. Not this time at least. If I hadn’t joined a book club with two of my closest friends, I would have read 4 books all year. I know, I know. And me, the former bookworm who would make my own mother want to cry because I always had my nose stuck in a book and she would want to talk. I’m paying the hard way for that one. Now all she wants to do is talk and I’m pretty much bookless when I see her. Bookless, exhausted and ready to pass out in front of their 65 inch TV that brings me much joy. She still wants to talk.

Anyway, I know I would have got caught up in the Twilight craze regardless of my book club membership in which case I would have read 4 books total (one series) and STILL been disappointed when Bella started drinking blood and Jacob imprinted on the baby. Call me crazy but after 4 books of vampires and werewolves I just wasn’t buying it anymore. My counterparts somewhat disagree with me on this one. Maybe we can get them to weigh in…

But back to the point of this entry...instead of reading just 4 books, I read 16 (one for each month plus the Twilight series) and in our book club we ask each other 3 basic questions at the beginning of each meeting to get the conversation flowing. Did you like it? Would you recommend it? And would you read it again? Taking my cues from these questions here is my review for our 2008 books.

My most liked book – Twilight. And then it just got weird. I might have mentioned that before.

My most disliked book – the Shack. But it sparked so much conversation, I was definitely glad to have read it even though I almost threw it across the room at one point. [Apparently Anna and I think alike]

My most recommended book – the Daybreakers by Louis L’Amour. You could probably pick up any of his books and be golden. If you’re like me then you’ve always wanted to read him but just never have. Believe me, it’s worth the fun.

My most not recommended book – Red Badge of Courage. I didn’t hate it, I just didn’t like it. And yes, I know it’s a classic. It’s just that reading it in school is one thing but reading it for ‘fun’ is completely different.

The book I would read again most likely – I’m not so sure about this. I would read authors again like Louis L’Amour or PG Wodehouse or Agatha Christie but I don’t know about rereading any of these particular books. It seems like life is too short now that 30 is looming ahead to reread books. Wow, that makes me miss the days of engrossing myself in Anne of Green Gables for the tenth time, eleventh time, twelfth time, you get where I'm going with this. I must admit, at one point I would have reread Twilight but then Bella became the super vampire that could do no wrong and I’m pretty sure you know how I feel about that one…

That’s it. My 2008 review in a nutshell. And while I didn’t mention every book on the list, I definitely think most of them are worth a read like Kira-Kira, House of Mirth and Murder on the Orient Express.

We’re so versatile. Makes me proud of us!

So with that I hope you read happy.

And just in case you wanted to know what we look like, here you go...Lisa, Erin and Anna.
my "elisa" bday begins...


A Year of Books in Review

>> Friday, January 2, 2009


It is so satisfying to look back on the books we read for 2008. In my opinion, we did an excellent job choosing books from all genres and time periods. Some I enjoyed reading and others I would have relished putting in the garbage bin and lighting on fire (okay, that may be a bit harsh, perhaps it would have been equally enjoyable to just throw them across the room). Anyway, a year of books deserves some sort of review and recognition, so I am going to rate them (0-5) according to how much I liked the book (based on the writing, the story and longevity).

The Red Badge of Courage **
Cold Comfort Farm ****
Poisonwood Bible *
The House of Mirth ***
Rose Daughter **
The Shack
Twilight *****
Murder on the Orient Express ****
Kira-Kira ***
The Daybreakers ***
Code of the Woosters *****
Mr. Ives' Christmas **

Funnily enough, the books I liked the least sparked the most discussion. So, even though there are books on the list I didn't like, I'm still glad to have read them (begrudgingly). Thank you, Book Club, for widening my reading horizons!


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