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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. ;)

{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Pam June 19, 2012 at 11:17 pm

I listened to “The Art of Racing in the Rain” on Playaway. I thought it was weird at first because it was told by the perspective of a dog. However, when it ended I cried. Very good book.

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2 Annette @FitnessPerks June 19, 2012 at 11:42 pm

Love the group name!! I actually really liked The Art of Racing in the Rain–had some great life lessons in it.
Annette @FitnessPerks recently posted..Sweat YOUR Way

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3 Emily Eats and Exercises June 20, 2012 at 4:20 am

Looks like a fun book club: good book, good snacks, and good company.
I think you mean Literary Hotties though. Literal means something different…
Emily Eats and Exercises recently posted..And…Done.

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4 Stepf June 20, 2012 at 9:15 am

I was just about to ask the same thing… Literary Hotties?

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5 Meghann June 20, 2012 at 9:42 am

We meant “Literal” granted we stole the name from a book club in Orlando, but it’s supposed to be a funny play on words. ;)

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6 Meghann June 20, 2012 at 9:39 am

No, we mean “literal” We were going for a fun take on words and trying to be funny, but honestly it’s what our friends’ bookclub in Orlando was called and we copied them. :)

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7 Alex June 20, 2012 at 6:29 am

I am really hoping to join a book club in NYC soon too. It seems like a lot of fun and especially if it was a good read a discussion like that can deepen the whole experience of a book so much.

Your friend has an exceptionally pretty handwriting by the way (on the little food description cards).
Alex recently posted..Unexpected Treasures – The Geode Project

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8 Allison June 20, 2012 at 8:05 am

Looks like a fun book club! I think I’ll have to check out your pick. I read the description for the last one but it sounded so sad!

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9 Meghann June 20, 2012 at 9:41 am

Allison – send me an email if you want to join our club! we’re still trying to nail down a date for next month’s discussion, but we’re open to new members!

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10 Ashley June 20, 2012 at 8:17 am

We are holding our first book club meeting tonight and our book is “Blueprint for Building Better Girls” – we plan to post a little something on our blog (which has been very ignored lately due to weddings!) within the week. I can’t wait to discuss it with the girls and see what everyone thought. You guys have a much cooler name… we weren’t quite as creative with “Third Wednesday Book Club” :)

Oh, and good book choice – The Art of Racing in the Rain is one of my favorites!
Ashley recently posted..Become part of the Sole Society… ?!?!

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11 Jordan @ Bake Write Sleep June 20, 2012 at 8:31 am

The book club looks fun, but I’m drooling over the Basil Curry Jelly mmmm!

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12 Katie @ Peace Love and Oats June 20, 2012 at 9:18 am

Her spread of food looks delicious! And I loved that book, glad you all enjoyed discussing it!
Katie @ Peace Love and Oats recently posted..WIAW–Working in a Workplace

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13 Cait's Plate June 20, 2012 at 9:39 am

What a cute/fun idea! :)
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14 Dori June 20, 2012 at 9:40 am

This is the second time I went to Amazon and bought a book after you mentioned it. The first was What Alice Forgot, and now I just bought Blueprints for Building Better Girls. Thank you!
Dori recently posted..Read Write Run 5K Race Recap, or The One Where I Came In 2nd In My Age Group

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15 Meghann June 20, 2012 at 9:43 am

You’ll have to let me know what you think about Blueprints when you finish it. I downloaded it last night and plan to read it at the beach next week. :)

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16 Mary @ food and fun on the run June 20, 2012 at 9:47 am

Just downloaded next month’s book! I am excited to read it!
Mary @ food and fun on the run recently posted..The Small Tweaks

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17 Jess @JessCantCook June 20, 2012 at 9:53 am

My favorite part of bookclubs are always the food and wine :)
Jess @JessCantCook recently posted..Surviving Mondays

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18 Army Amy* June 20, 2012 at 9:54 am

Oh fun! I tried to rally my friends into a book club, but there were very few takers. And I read a lot, but I’m also kind of picky about what I read. Your pick for next month sounds really good. If I didn’t have a stack of unread books and three in-progress books, I would buy it, too.*
Army Amy* recently posted..Sseko Sandals!

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19 Casey June 20, 2012 at 9:57 am

I must admit…I am terrified to read The Art of Dancing in the Rain because I think I’ll cry all the way through it! haha Your next selection sounds really good! Sort of reminds me of The Women of Brewster Place style. Might have to pick that one up :)
Casey recently posted..Pierre’s Adoption Story

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20 Genna June 20, 2012 at 10:01 am

I just started racing in the rain…I guess I should have tissues ready at all times..
Genna recently posted..Sunday Social

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21 Tasha - The Clean Eating Mama June 20, 2012 at 10:01 am

Fun! I have always wanted to be involved in a book reading club! Only because of the wine and finger foods… ;)
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22 Dione June 20, 2012 at 11:17 am

I started a book club with a group of people I work (as a lab tech in a hospital). We had our first meeting in May (The Girl with a Pearl Earring) and since most people are so busy this summer, our next meeting is at the end of August (Icy Sparks). There are six of us which is a nice size. I draw a name (out of a sharps disposal container ha) to pick who gets to choose the next book, and then that person suggests two books they want, and then we think on it for a week and then vote. It hasn’t been my turn to choose yet, but I have already decided that “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” will be one of my choices.

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23 Dione June 20, 2012 at 11:18 am

Oh and at most we will meet every couple months because as shift workers it can be hard to get us all together, but there is usually one day every couple months that works!

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24 Emily N June 20, 2012 at 12:44 pm

I <3 book clubs. i need to find a local one for the fun of it!
Emily N recently posted..Yassos: check!

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25 Kashi @ Cape Island Runners June 20, 2012 at 1:46 pm

Ohh, I wanna join a book club, gotta find one around here. The eats looked amazing!
Kashi @ Cape Island Runners recently posted..Kashi Classic 50-Miler Race Report, Part 2

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26 Mallory June 20, 2012 at 6:37 pm

Theo Chocolate! My favorite!!! It is a local Seattle love…if you are ever out here, you can get an inexpensive factory tour and LOTS of free samples of just about every flavor of chocolate bar. They also make amazing candy/truffle concoctions…I’m glad you found some out your way!

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27 Candice June 21, 2012 at 3:49 pm

read that book and LOVED it!

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28 Elissa Schappell June 22, 2012 at 10:16 am

Hello ladies,

I can’t tell you how pleased I am that you’re reading my book. I hope that you enjoy it–along with your wine and divine feasting.

All the very best regards,

Elissa Schappell

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29 Courtney W June 22, 2012 at 12:23 pm

Very grateful that I’ve found such a great group of women to not only train with but have fun outside working hard and share new experiences like starting a book club. Thank you ladies for helping make the first month a success. I’m looking forward to the next book and to see what strange conncoction Meghann comes up with for food :)
Courtney W recently posted..Mother’s Day Traditions

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30 Jenny Milchman May 23, 2013 at 1:15 pm

I found my way to your book club after I read Sere Prince Halverson’s wonderful The Underside of Joy, which I believe you recommended. I am a New Jersey author whose debut novel, Cover of Snow, was recently released. It’s about a woman who wakes up to find her police detective husband missing from their bed, and how her life unravels from there before she can weave it back together again.

One of my favorite parts of getting published after a thirteen year journey has been connecting with book clubs, talking about some of the themes of grief and fear and redemption in Cover of Snow, and also about how far a family should go when a mom has a dream.

I would love to be in touch if you think anything in my story might interest the Literal Hotties!

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