Thank you for Visiting

This book club provided an opportunity to discuss books with authors from 2009 - 2013. I like to think we were a group of daughters, sisters, wives, mothers, well... women finding time to meet while juggling daily life.

I hope you enjoy exploring The Manic Mommies Book Club Archives. We read 46 books over the years, with audio or written author discussions for each book read documented on this blog.

~ with kindness & gratitude, Mari

Upcoming Book Club Selections

I'm pleased to announce our book club selections through July 2010! 

-  Watch for book giveaways on Manic Mommies the first week of each month (ie: early Dec we will hold the book drawing for the Jan selection)
-  We will be speaking to each author to discuss the book for 30-40 minutes
-  In addition to the author discussion we will host an online discussion for those unable to joining the call and want to participate with us
-  Watch for an author Q&A as a companion to the book giveaway each month.

Jan 20: April and Oliver, by Tess Callahan
The story of April and Oliver, two inseparable childhood friends whose existences again collide with the sudden death of April's younger brother

Feb 17: The Wife’s Tale by Lori Lansens
With sharp humor and delicate grace, The Wife’s Tale follows Mary Gooch – morbidly obese and living in denial – as she pursues her husband across the country.

March 17: Why Is My Mother Getting A Tattoo?, by Jancee Dunn
Despite her forty years and a successful career as a rock journalist, Jancee Dunn still feels like a teenager, especially around her parents and sisters. Looking around, Dunn realizes that she’s not alone in this regression: Her friends, all with successful jobs, marriages, and families of their own, still feel like kids around their moms and dads, too. That gets Dunn to thinking: Do we ever really grow up?

April 21: THE YELLOW HOUSE by Patricia Falvey
The story of a young woman fighting to reunite her family and reclaim their ancestral home during the war for Irish Independence.

May 19: LOVE IN MID AIR by Kim Wright
As she approaches forty, a woman struggles to find a new kind of happiness in this sexy and surprising debut novel.

How Clarissa Burden Learned to Fly is the story of a woman in her mid thirties as she tracks one day in her life during which she ultimately transcends the quagmire of her middle-aged existence and leaves her husband.

July 21: BACKSEAT SAINTS by Joshilyn Jackson
Synopsis: Rose Mae Lolley's past is littered with bad men. From her earliest intimate relationship with her father's fists to the string of bad news boyfriends she dated and ditched after leaving home, she has always courted trouble. As "Mrs. Ro Grandee," she's managed to tamp down the fierce and dirty girl Rose Mae once was under flowery skirts and bow-trimmed ballet flats and lunches cooked for the church bazaar. Trapped in a marriage thick with love and sick with abuse, Ro performs her role of dutiful wife perfectly in her new home in rural Texas, gracefully working in her husband's daddy's gun store in between making eggs, ironing shirts, and taking her punches. She seems doomed to spend the rest of her life battered on the outside by her husband and on the inside by her former self, until fate throws her in the path of an airport gypsy - one who shares her past and knows her future. The tarot cards foretell that Rose's beautiful, abusive husband is going to kill her. Unless she kills him first.

Hot-blooded Rose Mae escapes from under Ro's perky compliance and emerges with a gun and a plan to beat the hand she's been dealt. Following messages that her long-missing mother has left hidden for her in graffiti and behind paintings, Rose and her dog Gretel set out from Amarillo, Texas back to her hometown of Fruiton, Alabama, and then on to California, unearthing a host of family secrets as she goes. Running for her life, she realizes that she must face her past in order to overcome her fate - death by marriage - and become a woman who is strong enough to save herself from the one who loves her best.

MMBC: Oxygen (Dec 16, 7PM Central)

We held the book drawing of twelve free copies of Oxygen a few weeks ago.  Congratulations to: Connie, Elizabeth, Sharon, Jill, Tara, Theresa, Natasha, Jennifer, Jessica, Tracie, Trisha and Jennifer - the books are in the mail!

If you didn't win a copy of the book and are interested in discussing the book with the author on Dec 16, please send me an email with your contact information.

I plan to use to host the call, which will let each of us select our communication method (Cell, Lan line or Skype).

I will post more details a week before the call is scheduled.

MMBC10: Oxygen

Oxygen is our tenth selection for the MMBC. We will be discussing the book on December 16th with author Carol Cassella. Watch for details for a book giveaway this week on the Manic Mommies website. reviewers give this book 4.5/5 stars! I have read the book and will post my review separately, it’s a page turner!

BN Review: This story is truly a page turner. It is the story of an anesthesiologist, Dr. Marie Heaton, and gives a graphic, realistic read of her daily life and one day, a tragedy. It is centered in Seattle, a place that I've visited often, and it's description of the area and places is right on the money. It's also not "just" a medical read, it gives romance and a wonderful mystery/twist. It doesn't hurt that the author is, really, an anesthesiologist! Would love to find another book by the author someday. Soon!

A conversation with Carol:

Tell us a little about yourself: I am currently wearing lots of hats, so where do I start? I am first and foremost a mother. My husband and I have two sets of twins (I’ll go ahead and answer the question you’re asking—yes they are natural! Set two was quite the surprise!) That alone has made for an interesting life. I’m also a doctor. I started my medical career as an internist, but I wanted a bit more time at home with my family and changed specialties to become an anesthesiologist. I really do love my work, and I’ve never regretted making that change. Anesthesia is challenging, intense, creative, FUN (often) and still does give me lots of patient contact.

Then there is the writer. That was actually my mission in life from the time I was very young, but I kept getting involved in other things (medicine, babies) and never devoted the time and dedication that serious writing takes until I was in my forties. That’s not to say I wasn’t writing—I have drawers of partially finished manuscripts and I worked as a science writer for a few years. But it took a completely different level of commitment to finish a novel. It was much harder than I expected, but also much more rewarding. Other details? I grew up in Texas, lived in the Northeast for few years and then discovered the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Hard to think I’ll ever leave!

Do you write daily? I can’t write daily. Until my children are grown and I work less at the hospital , I’m afraid that will be impossible. But I highly advise all writers to try. Writing fiction, and probably non-fiction as well, is a bit like maintaining a dream while awake. Much as a dream can feel tangible and unforgettable right after you open your eyes, it’s often forgotten by the time you brush your teeth. I try to remember that whatever I would have written today will never make it onto the page unless I make time to put it there. What I write tomorrow may be just as good, but it won’t be the same.

What was it like getting your first novel published? Nothing short of awesome! I had no expectations of being published when I started Oxygen, though I certainly poured my soul into it. I think my path was easier than many new writers, and for that I am very grateful. I found a wonderful agent early in the game and they were able to sell my novel quickly. Still, there is as much work that lies on the other side of the ‘published’ wall as there is leading up to it. Promoting, marketing, learning a whole new industry, and still keeping your next book alive and growing. That has been a huge challenge for me.

What do you think of the electronic book (kindles and such)? Although I would secretly love to own one, they scare me. I worry that the electronic model may drive our wonderful, critically important independent bookstores out of business, and they contribute so much to the variety and vitality of what is published and made available to the reading public. Regardless, electronic books are here to stay, so we need to hope that they will eventually open avenues for smaller presses and less commercial writers. But we really have to find a model that works economically. If digital publications drive publishers under, many brilliant voices will never make it into any kind of print. We need to pay for books if we want books to survive. I’m a huge fan of libraries, too, but I know so many starving writers who are not getting their second or third books published because their publisher lost money on their earlier work. Support the arts!

What is one tip that you can share with aspiring writers? Don’t give up!! Reading is easy and fun, so it is natural to fall prey to the myth that writing should always be easy and fun. That makes no more sense than believing a musician can make music without long hours of practice. Also, read carefully. When you discover a great book, take a paragraph or two and crawl inside it. Figure out what makes it work. Ask not only why the author put those particular words on the page, but why did he or she NOT choose other words, or a different point of view or a different voice. The beauty of writing is that there is always more to learn, always room to improve.

What are you reading now? The Little Stranger by Sara Waters. Really enjoying it! Also, Sing Them Home, by Stephanie Kallos, and a lovely book that hasn’t been published yet—Lies of the Heart by Michelle Boyajian.

Lastly, share one or two of your all time favorite novels read, excluding classics: Excluding classics? Does All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy count—it may be a classic by now. I think it’s my favorite book of all time, though I have never been one for having favorites. Tomorrow I might say something different! I also love A Fine Balance, by Rohinton Mistry, and I think Alice Munro is brilliant.

Just for fun:
Favorite Season: Fall! I’m looking at some gorgeous leaves right now. But ask me again in spring when the flowers are blooming.

Morning or night: I love early morning, but absolutely hate getting up early, so I miss too many, unless I’m running to work.

Favorite ice cream flavor: Mint chocolate chip.

If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go: India. I have always wanted to see it!