Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Literal Hotties

by Meghann on June 19, 2012

Tonight the Tampa chapter of “Literal Hotties” (thank you, Danielle, for the awesome name idea!), had our first official meeting!

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(I forgot my ipad with my book. The phone was my stand in. ;) )

Our first book up for discussion? The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein.

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I’ve already discussed a little bit of my overall opinions on the book (it’s a great story, but hard to read because it was so sad and depressing) on the blog, but tonight it was fun to really dive in and dissect the storyline and lessons buried deep in this book.

Courtney, this month’s fearless leader, did a great job providing discussion questions for our group that inspired conversation and made us all think. We discussed the author’s decision to tell the story through the dog’s point of view and how the story would have differed if would have been told through the eyes of any of the other main characters. We talked about control, and how this book reminds up that we have none. We discussed how “races are never won in the first turn, but some are lost there” and where that applies in life. And we discussed life and death.

It was a great discussion that reminded me of the valuable lessons on life that are hidden the story’s context and how incredible my friends are. :)

In addition to leading tonight’s book discussion, Courtney took on the role of hostess and had a delicious display of cheeses, jams, fruit, crackers, and chocolates for us all to nibble on and wine to sip on.

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Plate #1 + #2

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Wine x 2

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I also tried some of the chocolate I brought. The slated almond dark chocolate was worth getting again. ;)

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Courtney had warned us to have a small dinner before coming over, so I made a small container of Whole Foods salad bar when i picked up the chocolate.

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Before that I had carrots, strawberries, and almond butter for a mid-afternoon snack.

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Our group decided to take turns on who selects the books, hosts the crew, and leads the discussions each month. Courtney headed up June and somehow I volunteered to be next month’s leader (a little more intimidating of a task than I had originally considered). After collecting opinions and reading countless online book reviews, I decided to go with Blueprints for Building Better Girls as my pick for July

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From Good Reads:

In these eight darkly funny linked stories, Schappell delves into the lives of an eclectic cast of archetypal female characters—from the high school slut to the good girl, the struggling artist to the college party girl, the wife who yearns for a child to the reluctant mother— to explore the commonly shared but rarely spoken of experiences that build girls into women and women into wives and mothers. In “Monsters of the Deep,” teenage Heather struggles to balance intimacy with a bad reputation; years later in “I’m Only Going to Tell You This Once,” she must reconcile her memories of the past with her role as the mother of an adolescent son. In “The Joy of Cooking,” a phone conversation between Emily, a recovering anorexic, and her mother explores a complex bond; in “Elephant” we see Emily’s sister, Paige, finally able to voice her ambivalent feelings about motherhood to her new best friend, Charlotte. And in “Are You Comfortable?” we meet a twenty-one-year-old Charlotte cracking under the burden of a dark secret, the effects of which push Bender, a troubled college girl, to the edge in “Out of the Blue into the Black.” Weaving in and out of one another’s lives, whether connected by blood, or friendship, or necessity, these women create deep and lasting impressions. In revealing all their vulnerabilities and twisting our preconceived notions of who they are, Elissa Schappell, with dazzling wit and poignant prose, has forever altered how we think about the nature of female identity and how it evolves.

I think it sounds interesting and the girls all agreed. I plan to start it next week and will let you know how it goes. ;)

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