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Index of Clubs listed here.
Oprah's Bookclub
NYC Bookclub 
Mt. Kisco Book Club 
Amazon Book Club
Bay Area Women and Books. 
San Francisco Bookclub 
Mansfield, Ohio B & N Book Club
Moraga Literary Society--California
Arrow Book Club
Books In General-BIG 
Enlightening Nia
Fannie Robinson Black Author's Discussion Group, Washington, DC  
EA-OWC Book Group
Murder Inc. Book Club
Bryant Woods Book Club
Boulder, CO
Cooperstown, NY
Second Wednesday Book Club Houston, Texas
The Book Group Tips for Running a Club
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Recent WTS Selections and Reviews


See the latest WTS Reviews and discussions at the new BookMarc.com Club Forum.

December 2002

The book for discussion was Unless by Carol Shields. This book definitely leans towards being feminist. It's a woman's book but one of our male members still liked it. He thought "It was personal." I don't think my review can do the book justice. From the beginning to near the end you never really know what has happened. You just know something tragic has happened to Reta Winters family. The family has lead a charmed life with no bumps in the road. Now in Reta's mind there's this mountain to climb. After several pages you do learn that the perfect oldest daughter left college, left her boyfriend without explanation or word to the family as to her dilemma. Norah takes up refuge on a corner with a sign saying "GOODNESS". What does it mean? What has caused this change? The mom, Reta tends to blame the male species for always congratulating or commending other males and excluding the females that have and did contribute to this world. The writing critics would always praise the work of a long list of male authors and not even mention a female author. This exclusion of women in the literary world she transferred to her daughters' reasoning for exclusion from humanity. For whatever reason unknown to the reader for most of the book you do learn that Norah has not totally lost it because she did go to a hospice house for food, shelter and hygiene. Reta and the family always drove by Norah on her corner and the sisters would actually go and sit with Norah for awhile but Norah would never speak or acknowledge them. Now the questions arouse, Was Reta a good mother, should the family just pick Norah up and drag her back home?, What would you have done? I really don't think you can answer these questions until you have been in that situation. Was this so tragic?,,,,Norah was alive, she did take shelter, she didn't appear to be abused... So what's the big deal?

Finally you learn the secret.......... One that I won't reveal in this review. Now new questions......why did Norah react this way, why didn't she turn to her family that seems to be so close or her boyfriend that she just moved in with............ Of course as a reader you want to know does Norah come out of exclusion. Does she return to family? Another secret I won't reveal. You'll have to read.

After Reta's originally publisher died the new publisher was very pushy and never gave Reta a chance to speak. The best part of the book according to most was when Reta rushed out of the house after a phone call from her husband telling her Norah was in the hospital. Reta has left the new publisher on his own and then the mother in law comes in wondering why supper was late. The publisher asked the most basic question "Tell me about yourself". No one really knew that much about the mother in law until then not even Reta. The author sums up the book with "A life is full of isolated events but these events, if they are to form a coherent narrative, require odd pieces of language to link them together, little chips grammar (Mostly adverbs or prepositions) that are hard to define.. words like therefore, else, other, also, thereof, therefore, instead, otherwise, despite, already, and not yet."

Our club feels the book is definitely worth the read. Of course you'll have to read to find out what happened to Norah and see if you can answer the questions. Happy reading until we meet again.

Carla Kennedy
WTS Book CLub
December 2002


What an evening...! Once the conversation began you had to be fast to jump in and give your opinion. The Bondwoman's Narrative by Hannah Crafts was an interesting book. Several members weren't sure if they'd even like this book but after they started reading the narrative they changed their minds and then went back to read the intro by Henry Louis Gates, the man who found this piece of history.

Several questions came to mind:

Was this a masterpiece, No. Was it written by a black woman, we believe so. Was she a slave, possible. Was it an autobiography, maybe but in novel form, and a little creative writers flair. Of course that writers flair seemed to be stolen from books like Jane Austin & Dickens. Most tended to believe in the truth of the above questions to a degree but we did have one member who doubted the authenticity of the book at all.

The book was about the life and times of one mulatto slave named Hannah and those she came in contact with. She claimed to be have learned to read and write by a white woman and teaching herself. Hannah tends to embellish the facts of her life with a hint of plagiarism. She accepted her status in the world while she tells of the differences of house and field slaves. She tells of her escape and how her mixed blood helped her escape into freedom. The Narrative is a good read but read it first, then go back and read the intro. The intro delved into too much of the story line while trying to prove the authenticity of the book. Gates would quote paragraphs and gives away some of the story.

Read for yourself and decide whether you believe the authenticiy or not.

Keep reading
Carla Kennedy (9/2002)
WTS Book Club


We just finished The Hours by Michael Cunningham and also as extra reading we could read Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. Both books are based on one day's events but years of memories and reminiscence. Mrs. Dalloway was a hard book to follow. There were no chapters to divide up the characters or subject lines. The characters and subjects would change without warning. As the reader you had to piece together all the stories of each character as he/she reminiscence. I guess this reader is not cultured or refined enough to enjoy the writings of Virginia Woolf. Michael Cunningham took the Mrs. Dalloway book and used it to write a book about three women to fit modern day times. He changed Characters, subjects, locations and dates but used the basic story lines.

There was Clarissa Vaughn who like Clarissa Dalloway was out to buy flowers for a party she was giving in honor of a loved one. She also was struggling with herself and her choices in life. Then there was Laura Brown an unsure housewife and mother trying to find herself and reading the book Mrs. Dalloway. And Cunningham wrote about Virginia Woolf trying to recover and write the book Mrs. Dalloway. It's hard to imagine how Cunningham is going to tie these characters and their story lines together but he surprises you with a heartfelt ending and it all comes together.

You can read The Hours without reading Mrs. Dalloway but it makes the parrellels of the book more apparent. Especially since they keep referring back to Mrs. Dalloway. Read both and form your own opinion.


Our Latest Read The Living End by Stanley Elkin was a hard read for most of our members due to its subject matter. This book was packed with issues and a controversial story line. Most didn't completely understand it and most didn't like the book. It's been described as sardonic fatalism, a kind of humor so dark; it's more sad or angry than funny. I'm not sure where I stand. I did actually laugh a couple of times simply because of the particular situation or sentence. The book made me think of my college reading of Dante's Inferno.

The book starts out with a poor guy named Ellerbee, who owns a store that was robbed, his employees are shot, and he feels responsible for everything. He ends up shot in another senseless robbery, dies and goes to heaven. While being shown around heaven by St. Peter, St Peter turns and says, "Go To HELL". A very messy situation indeed. He never quite understands how he deserved HELL.

Then you have the guy who's the accomplice to the murder and robbery that also goes to HELL and then ends up in a grave on school property. You have conversations between Joseph, Mary, Jesus, and God like an everyday family. Very interesting indeed and tends to be sacrilegious. I'm not even sure how to write about this book.

To read this one book you need a very open mind. Until then... Happy Reading

Carla Kennedy
WTS Book Club

February 2002

Exodus was a great book and choice in light of the events on September 11, 2001. This book is suppose to be based on historical fact and written in novel form, but may have distorted some of the events with artistic flare but the basis is there and brought about a wide range of emotion and at times confusing. Even the reviews were mixed. Some thought it to be biased, racial, way off base or helped promote the Jewish cause. Either way you go it was good reading. You had the dashing hero, Ari Ben Caanan; the good nurse Kitty Fremont; the energetic young German girl who was raised in Denmark as a Christian to escape Hitler's holocaust, and then there is Dov the angry, solemn and brooding young man who survived the horrors of Hitler's campaign to exterminate the Jews.

The Jews have been persecuted since the beginning of time. They were exiled from their homeland to scatter and settle all around the world and then Hitler began his rampage. After surviving the nightmares and torture of Hitler's Holocaust the Jews wanted to return Home, only to be stopped. The Jews that did make it home expected nothing but gave plenty. They made the land prosper where swamps and desert once existed only to again be forced to fight for their freedom and lives. The injustice and suffering only seemed to strengthen their faith and determination. Children weren't allowed the luxury to be real children; women weren't allowed the time to be mothers and women. Soldiering and fighting was their way of life. Their hearts belonged to the future of Israel and peace.

This book is worth the read but can be bogged down at times with some of the facts. This book tends to make you think and even question.

Until next time… Happy Reading to All

Carla Kennedy

WTS Bookclub


Oct 29, 2001

"A Lesson Before Dying" is about 2 men brought together by injustice and prejudice during the 1940's. Jefferson, a young black male, intellectually challenged was sentenced to death for a murder he didn't commit. Grant, a well educated black male, a well educated teacher was requested by his aunt to teach Jefferson to dye like the man he was. This book was kind of a slow start for some of us but after a few more pages it started pulling you in. "A Lesson Before Dying" is not an action packed book but it is about the struggles and emotions of the characters. The struggle of an endless loop of hopelessness. If the people were able to jump out of the loop they left and then they died some senseless death. The men would leave and never return leaving the women to care and provide for the family.

This story showed at least 3 social problems: racism, class segregation and the death penalty. Jefferson was in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong people. His only crime was being black and taking some money but not murder. His attorney equated him to a Hog and didn't care about quilt or innocence. The story line tends to tug at your conscious and heart strings and makes you question "Has today's society truly changed or is it just scratching the surface of the injustices made against all men due to race or religion?" In Grants unwillingness to attempt to teach Jefferson he was a man and not a Hog he too gained an insight to his own life and dignity.

This book is worth reading.

Happy reading to all

Carla Kennedy
WTS of Houston Book Club


Our book Pigs in Heaven was a nice easy read. It touched your heart, mind and soul. It even shared a bit of informative info regarding the Indian Child Welfare Act passed in 1978.  I've been told The Bean Tree begins the saga of Taylor and Turtle. 

Most all us really liked Pigs in Heaven. Kingsolver wrote about both sides of the story, the adoptive mother Taylor and Annawake Fourkillers.  An Indian child was left in Taylor's care by the dead mothers sister.  Taylor couldn’t dump the child in the parking lot and continue her trip so sheadopted a little girl named Turtle.  When Taylor and Turtle show up on TV as hero’s, Annawake Fourkiller sees them and is determined to bring this child back to the Cherokee nation.  Annawake has a rage and hurt in her heart from when the government came in and started pulling Cherokee children from family relatives because the mother and father were no longer living. As was the case with Annawake and her brother Gabe. The government thought they knew what was best and sent the children to boarding schools and adoptive parents. The Indian culture saw no distinction between mother, father, aunt, uncle or grandparent. They WERE family. That’s what mattered.

When Annawake shows up at Taylor home explaining the situation and how she'd like for Taylor to return to Okalahoma with Turtle and converse with the Indian Child Welfare.  Taylor runs with Turtle and hides from Annawake Fourkiller and her Indian Laws. As far as Taylor is concerned NO One is going to separate her and her daughter. Taylor's mother Alice returns to Oklahoma to see if she can presuade the Child welfare is leave Taylor and Turtle alone.  While in there Alice finds her ancestory and love.  Her luck in men may have just changed.

Read this book and find out what becomes of Taylor, Turtle, Alice and Annawake. 

Until then …. Keep the imagination and the mind open by reading a book.

Carla Kennedy

WTS BookClub




Well the OLE' secretary/photographer was a wee bit late so I missed most of the conversation regarding The Seawolf but the general consensus was, everyone liked the book. Some were getting into the book and then London went and threw a woman into the plot. I was reading one of the reviews on the Internet our feelings that the woman character were unnecessary weren't alone. This is a book where men were men and in this case maybe Seawolf's (Wolf Larson) case is a beast.

Wolf Larson, The Seawolf was self-educated and was highly opinionate and of course only his opinion mattered. He was by description was a prime specimen of man but his brute and inhuman actions spoke louder. What an ending.... Larson fulfilled his destiny. Of what he said "Life, in the end, 'is' yeast, savagely active and beautiful at that."

The Seawolf's victims Humphrey Van Weyden and Maud Brewster were intellectual socially well to do and soft. They were thrown into a rough world of a seal hunting boat and the tyrant ways of its captain. It was fight or die. Humphrey Van Weyden thrown into the sea by the ferry steamer he was on. Just when Van Weyden thought he was saved he basically became slave labor on The Ghost under the command of Wolf Larson. Beyond his wildest dreams he managed to meet the challenges and grew as a man. He now saw both sides of the world. The rich and the working class. I'm not sure if I were in his shoes if I could have survived. I'm a weenie but then I don't want to die so maybe....

Maud Brewster was frail and dependent upon man. Question, was she really afraid of Wolf or was it just what Van Weyden wanted to see. London wrote with great description of the sea, the ship and constant struggles between the men on board the Ghost from the knife whetting to the attempted escapes by some of the men and the great daring escape of Van Weyden and Maud.

This book provides adventure on the high sea with a quick bit of romance thrown in. It does have a slow start but keep reading it's filled with suspense and the human struggle for survival and self-improvement. Where two worlds collide, the rich and the working class.

Keep Reading Book Fans
Carla Kennedy
WTS of Houston Book Club


Watch out for this book. WTS finished reading and discussing The Bridge by Iain Banks. After the meeting a couple of us realized that we liked the book more than we thought. It's funny when we started talking I realized how much this book tied together at the end. Personally I thought I belonged in a Loony bin while reading this book but it actually started making some sense during and after the club discussion. Our group decided that the main character, John Orr was a victim of depression and boredom. The gibberish (dialect) that many of us chose to skip over was probably brought on by his state of agitation of trying to come back to the real world. John Orr has no memory and is haunted by his dreams of a temptress, war and strange occurrences.

In The Bridge, Iain Banks describes an unbelievable structure that leads from nowhere to nowhere. The Bridge is a city built on this structure The author definitely had a big vivid imagination. A reader from UK wrote "What really made the story for me was what the bridge was modeled on in real life - the Forth Bridge in Scotland" I found this interesting.

This is a hands on books. You either like it or you don't but our group decided it was worth reading. The book is can drive you insane with its confusing dialog. It's weird, funny, unbelievable, head scratching, interesting and likable if you give it a chance but will take some concentration to read. It's a book with fantasy and science fiction.

Happy Reading guys.


WTS of Houston Book Club


Click Here for more Book Reviews by the WTS Book Club.

Tips from WTS Members

  1. Keep a photo and log record of each meeting. As the unofficial club secretary I started taking pictures at the meetings, put a scrapbook together and a brief summary of the book and our meeting. It's fun to remember and look back at past meetings.
  2. "In our club (WTS Bookclub of Houston) when it's your turn to pick the book you also chose the meeting place.  A couple of times it was in someone's home but usually it has been at a restaurant.  If at all possible try to get round tables that way you can see and hear everyone.  That's a problem sometimes with 17 members when you're seated at long table."

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WTS Book Club had an excellent turn out for our book review of Like Water For Chocolate by Laura Esquivel. This was a definite fairy tale love story set in Mexico (San Antonio) before it became part of Texas. It’s a story of love, romance, family traditions and family secrets. It’s a story of Tita De La Garza’s life. Tita is the youngest daughter of Elena, a mother of all mothers. Mama is domineering and set on tradition. She’s downright mean and hateful. Tita falls in love with young Pedro only to find out that family tradition will keep her from ever marrying and instead she is to be at the beck and call of mama until the day one of them dies. Tita was raised in the kitchen and has learned all the family recipes…….. All of her emotions are shown thru her cooking.

This book has inspired some of us to want to rent the movie. But it is the opinion of one member that the one to rent is the one with English subtitles. The one done in English loses a lot.

Tita’s sister Gertrudis was the clubs favorite because she was her own person and followed her heart and lived happily. The sister Rosura was a trader. She married the one man Tita loved and by doing so she ruins Tita’s life. Pedro the focus of Tita’s heart was a wimp. He couldn’t marry Tita so he marries the sister so he can be close to Tita. Oh please! There was Dr. John who came to the resue when Tita had her break down. He was kind, compassionate and good.

The ending was a bit of a surprise. One minute Tita was getting married to Dr. John and then 22 years later………………….

You’ll have to read this one to find out if Tita finds happiness or not.

Until our next book, Happy reading.

January 2001

WTS’s latest book was The Eight by Katherine Neville. The book switches between two different era’s. Most of the club liked the 1790 era verses the 1972 era but some thought the 1790 era was too bleak and bloody but what do you expect during a revolution. You really don’t have to know the chess game or history to read and follow along. The author was able to tie together the many characters of both eras. The story line was pretty good until the author seemed to get tired and finished the book with a rather wimpy ending. She threw in a little history, romance, math, music, adventure and intrigue to tell the story of a Chess set owned by the great Charlemagne, that promises the one in possession and plays the game to be the most powerful. Only playing the game, having possession, and keeping the secret of the set is or could be deadly.

First you have two young nuns who put their lives at risk during the French Revolution to keep the chess pieces scattered through out Europe and hidden and out of the wrong hands. Then the books jumps to the 20th century where young Cat Velis a computer expert is about to start a new job in Algeria and a friend the antique dealer asks her to look for some chess game pieces that have been missing for ages. The book alternates between these two eras to come together at the end. Our author must have gotten writers block or tired. With all the hype, mystery and people losing their lives you would have expected something more. Of course you’ll have to read this one to find out the secret and see what you think.

Until next time Happy Reading

Carla Kennedy
WTS Book Club of Houston


WTS of Houston Book Club finished reading The God of Small Things by Anrundhati Roy. The reviews I read gave it 3-5 stars. I can't say our club would give that high of a rating. It wasn't a total flop it got some strong reviews at the meeting. It went from "The book is rather bazaar" to "Once you get past the first 50 pages it wasn't all that bad until you pass page 200 and it starts spiraling downward." The ending could have been different and then some would have liked it much better. Of course you almost had to know what was coming. There were subtle hints through out the book that the twins would somehow be together. This is a book about twins, Esha and Rahal and their life. Of social and cultural ladders we all climb and of what is accepted and what isn't among the people of

While the characters were full of quirks and almost annoying the writer was really descriptive. You could almost feel the May Heat in Ayemenem or the march of communists that the family came upon on their way to the Sound of Music movie and how hot the car was with the windows rolled up. The descriptions are vivid.

The book could get confusing at times and you would have to reread a paragraph. I too had a hard time getting started but got past the page 50 and kept going. The timelines were confusing. First Sophie Mol is dead then she's alive and then she's dead or gonna die. One reader from the reviews said you'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll vomit. Hmmmm.

Well this one you can read and decide for yourself.  See how you or your club will rate this book.

Happy Reading

Carla Kennedy

WTS Book Club

> 11/1/00

WTS of Houston bookclub just finished reading the funny, whimsical, and magical book of Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone. I believe possibly every member finished and enjoyed this book. How could they not? Poor Harry is a nobody and is treated like dirt by his aunt and uncle the Dursley's who became Harry's guardians after his parents were killed by the wicked wizard "You know who". It's a name that all the wizard world were afraid to mention. Can you say "Voldemort"? Harry survived the attack on his parents and is left with a scar of a lightning bolt and powers unbeknownst to him. Until that fateful day the letters wouldn't stop coming no matter how Uncle Vernon tried to stop them and Hagrid the friendly giant came into Harry's life to inform him that he had been accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Harry finds his life changing quickly and leaves the world of Muggles(non-magical humans) to go to a life of friends, enemies, a three headed dog named Fluffy, classes of potions, and a sport called Quidditch.

This is where the real adventure begins. This book is for all ages no doubt. I have ordered book number two so I can continue with Harry's journey thru life. I know there are other members who have already done the same. Try a Harry Potter Book and get caught up in the enchantment of his life.

Keep Reading The unofficial Secretary and Photographer for WTS of Houston Bookclub


As with all our meetings it was full of friendship, conversation, and great food. Cyn, thanks for opening up your new lovely home and serving some fabulous food. The book we just finished reading was Harry Potter and the Socerer's Stone by J K Rowling. This book was a quite a jump from Edgar Allan Poe a previous choice. This book was funny, whimsical, and magical. I believe possibly everyone finished and enjoyed this book. How could they not? I loved your idea of a pop quiz. It seems that many of us flunked. We couldn't even remember Harry's cousins name. That was a new and fun idea.

Poor Harry is a nobody and is treated like dirt by his aunt and uncle, The Dursley's who became Harry's guardians after his parents were killed by the wicked wizard "You know who". It's a name that all the wizard world were afraid to mention. Can you say "Voldemort"? Harry survived the attack on his parents and is left with a scar of a lightning bolt and powers unbeknownst to him. Until that fateful day the letters wouldn't stop coming no matter how Uncle Vernon tried to stop them and Hagrid the friendly giant came into Harry's life to inform him that he has been accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Harry finds his life changing quickly and leaves the world of Muggles(non-magical humans) to go to a life of friends, enemies, a three headed dog named Fluffy, classes of potions, and a sport called Quidditch.

This is where the real adventure begins. This book is for all ages no doubt. I have order book number two so I can continue with Harry's journey thru life. I know there are other members who have already done the same.

This is a must read and see what all the hoop-la is about.

Happy Reading

The unofficial Secretary and Photographer
for WTS of Houston Book Club
Carla Kennedy

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