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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.

Our book club has chosen the following books:

November 17, 2021

The Secret Life of Violet Grant

Manhattan, 1964. Vivian Schuyler, newly graduated from Bryn Mawr College, has recently defied the privilege of her storied old Fifth Avenue family to do the unthinkable for a budding Kennedy-era socialite: break into the Mad Men world of razor-stylish Metropolitan magazine. But when she receives a bulky overseas parcel in the mail, the unexpected contents draw her inexorably back into her family’s past, and the hushed-over crime passionnel of an aunt she never knew, whose existence has been wiped from the record of history.

Berlin, 1914. Violet Schuyler Grant endures her marriage to the philandering and decades-older scientist Dr. Walter Grant for one reason: for all his faults, he provides the necessary support to her liminal position as a young American female physicist in prewar Germany. The arrival of Dr. Grant’s magnetic former student at the beginning of Europe’s fateful summer interrupts this delicate détente. Lionel Richardson, a captain in the British Army, challenges Violet to escape her husband’s perverse hold, and as the world edges into war and Lionel’s shocking true motives become evident, Violet is tempted to take the ultimate step to set herself free and seek a life of her own conviction with a man whose cause is as audacious as her own.

As the iridescent and fractured Vivian digs deeper into her aunt’s past and the mystery of her ultimate fate, Violet’s story of determination and desire unfolds, shedding light on the darkness of her years abroad . . . and teaching Vivian to reach forward with grace for the ambitious future––and the love––she wants most.
 


October 27, 2021

Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson

Memories define us. So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep? Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love–all forgotten overnight. And the one person you trust may be telling you only half the story. Welcome to Christine's life. Every morning, she awakens beside a stranger in an unfamiliar bed. She sees a middle-aged face in the bathroom mirror that she does not recognize. And every morning, the man patiently explains that he is Ben, her husband, that she is forty-seven years old, and that an accident long ago damaged her ability to remember.

In place of memories, Christine has a handful of pictures, a whiteboard in the kitchen, and a journal, hidden in a closet. She knows about the journal because Dr. Ed Nash, a neurologist who claims to be treating her without Ben’s knowledge, reminds her about it each day. Inside its pages, the damaged woman has begun meticulously recording her daily events—sessions with Dr. Nash, snippets of information that Ben shares, flashes of her former self that briefly, miraculously appear.

But as the pages accumulate, inconsistencies begin to emerge, raising disturbing questions that Christine is determined to find answers to. And the more she pieces together the shards of her broken life, the closer she gets to the truth . . . and the more terrifying and deadly it is.

 

September 29, 2021

"When the Men Were Gone" by Marjorie Herrera Lewis

A cross between Friday Night Lights and The Atomic City Girls, When The Men Were Gone is a debut historical novel based on the true story of Tylene Wilson, a woman in 1940's Texas who, in spite of extreme opposition, became a female football coach in order to keep her students from heading off to war.

Football is the heartbeat of Brownwood, Texas. Every Friday night for as long as assistant principal Tylene Wilson can remember, the entire town has gathered in the stands, cheering their boys on. Each September brings with it the hope of a good season and a sense of unity and optimism.

Now, the war has changed everything.  Most of the Brownwood men over 18 and under 45 are off fighting, and in a small town the possibilities are limited. Could this mean a season without football? But no one counted on Tylene, who learned the game at her daddy’s knee. She knows more about it than most men, so she does the unthinkable, convincing the school to let her take on the job of coach.

Faced with extreme opposition—by the press, the community, rival coaches, and referees and even the players themselves—Tylene remains resolute. And when her boys rally around her, she leads the team—and the town—to a Friday night and a subsequent season they will never forget.           

Based on a true story, When the Men Were Gone is a powerful and vibrant novel of perseverance and personal courage.

 

August 25, 2021

Share A Book

Bring a book you've read and enjoyed to share with the group.

 


July 28, 2021

"The Last Train to Key West" by Chanel Cleeton

In 1935 three women are forever changed when one of the most powerful hurricanes in history barrels toward the Florida Keys.
 
For the tourists traveling on Henry Flagler’s legendary Overseas Railroad, Labor Day weekend is an opportunity to forget the economic depression gripping the nation. But one person’s paradise can be another’s prison, and Key West-native Helen Berner yearns to escape.
 
After the Cuban Revolution of 1933 leaves Mirta Perez’s family in a precarious position, she agrees to an arranged marriage with a notorious American. Following her wedding in HavanaMirta arrives in the Keys on her honeymoon. While she can’t deny the growing attraction to her new husband, his illicit business interests may threaten not only her relationship, but her life.
 
Elizabeth Preston's trip to Key West is a chance to save her once-wealthy family from their troubles after the Wall Street crash. Her quest takes her to the camps occupied by veterans of the Great War and pairs her with an unlikely ally on a treacherous hunt of his own.
 
Over the course of the holiday weekend, the women’s paths cross unexpectedly, and the danger swirling around them is matched only by the terrifying force of the deadly storm threatening the Keys.


June 30, 2021

"The Book of Longings" by Sue Monk Kidd

An extraordinary story set in the first century about a woman who finds her voice and her destiny. In her mesmerizing fourth work of fiction, Sue Monk Kidd takes an audacious approach to history and brings her acclaimed narrative gifts to imagine the story of a young woman named Ana. Raised in a wealthy family with ties to the ruler of Galilee, she is rebellious and ambitious, with a brilliant mind and a daring spirit. She engages in furtive scholarly pursuits and writes narratives about neglected and silenced women. Ana is expected to marry an older widower, a prospect that horrifies her. An encounter with eighteen-year-old Jesus changes everything.

Their marriage evolves with love and conflict, humor and pathos in Nazareth, where Ana makes a home with Jesus, his brothers, and their mother, Mary. Ana's pent-up longings intensify amid the turbulent resistance to Rome's occupation of Israel, partially led by her brother, Judas. She is sustained by her fearless aunt Yaltha, who harbors a compelling secret. When Ana commits a brazen act that puts her in peril, she flees to Alexandria, where startling revelations and greater dangers unfold, and she finds refuge in unexpected surroundings. Ana determines her fate during a stunning convergence of events considered among the most impactful in human history.


May 26, 2021

"Tropic of Stupid" by Tim Dorsey

Devoted Floridaphile Serge Storms is a lover of history, so he’s decided to investigate his own using one of those DNA services from late-night TV. Excited to construct a family tree, he and Coleman hit the road to meet his kin. Along the way, he plans to introduce Coleman to the Sunshine State’s beautiful parks where he can brush up on his flora, fauna, and wildlife, and more importantly, collect the missing stamps for his park passport book.

But as the old saying goes, the apple doesn’t fall far . . .  Serge is thrilled to discover he may be related to a notorious serial killer who’s terrorized the state for twenty years and never been caught. Which one of his newfound relatives will be the one to help him hunt down this deranged maniac? Serge doesn’t know that a dogged investigator from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is also hot on the trail.

Then Serge meets a park ranger who’s also longing to make a family re-connection. But all is not as it appears on the surface, and Serge’s newfound friendship in the mysterious swamps of Florida may lead to deadly results.

Finding his own relatives has made Serge understand the importance of family. Of course, he’ll do anything to help . . . 


April 28, 2021

Share A Book

Bring a book you've read and enjoyed to share with the group.


March 31, 2021

"Bad Blood" by John Carreyrou

In 2014, Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes was widely seen as the next Steve Jobs: a brilliant Stanford dropout whose startup “unicorn” promised to revolutionize the medical industry with its breakthrough device, which performed the whole range of laboratory tests from a single drop of blood. Backed by investors such as Larry Ellison and Tim Draper, Theranos sold shares in a fundraising round that valued the company at more than $9 billion, putting Holmes’s worth at an estimated $4.5 billion. There was just one problem: The technology didn’t work. Erroneous results put patients in danger, leading to misdiagnoses and unnecessary treatments. All the while, Holmes and her partner, Sunny Balwani, worked to silence anyone who voiced misgivings—from journalists to their own employees.



2021 JVSO Reads:
 
  •  February - Cilka's Journey by Heather Morris
  • January - The Gown by Jennifer Robson

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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