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

May 2010 selection: Love in Mid Air

Manic Mommies Book Club Selection: May 2010

We will be discussing Love in Mid Air with the author on May 19 (8PM EST). Watch for details as we get closer to the date.

A 24 book giveaway will be posted to the Manic Mommies website within the next week.

Synopsis: A chance encounter with a stranger in an airplane sends Elyse Bearden into an emotional tailspin. Suddenly, Elyse is willing to risk everything: her safe but stale marriage, her seemingly perfect life in an affluent Southern suburb, and her position in the church. As Elyse embarks on a risky affair, her longtime friend Kelly and the other women in their book club begin to question their own decisions about love, sex, marriage, and freedom. In the end it will take an extraordinary leap of faith for Elyse to find--and follow--her own path to happiness.



Author Q&A

Tell us a little about yourself: I’m 54 with two grown children, a total southerner, and obsessed with my new hobby of ballroom dancing. Seriously. I tango in my dreams. Love in Mid Air is my first novel but for 30 years before that I supported myself as a food and travel writer. That’s a great gig because it took me all over the world.

Do you write daily? Almost daily, but I’m not one of those writers who does the same amount of work each morning, like 2000 words or four hours or something. When I’m in the grip of a project I tend to go on writing binges and then afterwards I’ll back off for a while.

What was it like getting your first novel published? When you’re writing a novel there’s always the feeling that it’s never going to be finished and that, even if you do somehow manage to complete the thing, you’ll never find an agent and sell it. I was lucky in that many of my friends are writers and when I got “Love” ready to go, my friend Alison introduced me to her agent. Even though it felt like the ultimate blind date, David and I connected over dinner in a little Italian restaurant in Brooklyn and he’s been a fantastic advocate for the book. I signed with him in November 2007 and he sold the book the next month. I’d worked on it for years so it was a bit of a shock how fast things actually came together. One of my friends says that being a writer is like being a cop – long stretches of boredom occasionally punctuated with moments of sheer terror. She has a point!

What do you think of the electronic book (kindles and such)? God bless anything that makes it easier for people to read, but, that said, I’m of the old school. I like to hold a book in my hand. I like the way they look on a bedside table and even the way they smell. A woman once told me she was a Kindle-ophile because she’s bought so many books through the years that her house is full of them and buying ebooks cuts down on clutter. I know what she means – every time I move I think “I have way too many books” – but for some reasons I still like the presence of books in my home. I would never define them as “clutter.:”

What is one tip that you can share with aspiring writers? Get to know other writers – either online, or by joining writing groups and attending conferences. Not only can we all help each other – like Alison did when she introduced me to David - but I think the isolation that most writers feel is simply unnecessary.

What are you reading now? Love Invents Us by Amy Bloom

Just for fun:
- Favorite Season: Fall
- Morning or night: Morning
- Favorite ice cream flavor: Butter Pecan
- If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go: I’ve never been there, but Australia has always been my dream destination, ever since I wrote a report on it in fourth grade. I think I was enchanted by a picture of children surfing on Christmas Day!

Why is my mother getting a tattoo?: Discussion recap

What an evening! This month we discussed Why is my mother getting a tattoo? With author Jancee Dunn.

If you weren’t able to join us I’m sorry to say you missed quite a night! The call was scheduled for 45 minutes but ended up lasting well over an hour. We talked and talked, about parenting, sharing stories about the newspaper clipping we receive in the mail (we shouldn’t joke too much though since we will be sending these to our kids someday) and so much more. It was quite a task editing this months audio discussion from 87 to 30 minutes! I can’t tell you how many times someone shared something private… only to say “you will edit this out, right?”.

If you weren’t able to join the call, click here to listen (there is an option to download). The audio clip is also available to the right of this post (or click below).

Note: I have a new mic for recording and it is VERY sensitive... the background noise happens to be my dogs chewing on bones, next time I will lock them out of the room! I kept the phone on mute so the participants couldn't hear them but you will hear faint noises. Enjoy!



Click here to read Jill's review (Seaside Book Nook's review)

Here are some questions for you, the reader:
- What was your overall view of the book? Did you enjoy it?
- Did you have a favorite story in the book?
- Lastly, do you have any questions for the author?

Here are some of the emails I received after the call:
- I am loving Why Is My Mother Getting a tattoo? so far! I started reading it while waiting for my daughter at karate the other day and was cracking up so much I had to move outside to read it. The other parents were looking at me a little strange. I am now at the part where both parents have to be on the phone and stories repeated. So true, my parents do this to me all the time and it drives me nuts!

- I am so very sorry I was late to the call. Jancee was hilarious. I didn't get a chance to share my "clipping" story.

I used to work for Waste Management. My family would send me photos of funny looking dumpsters or Port-a-Potties or ones in funny places. Truly odd. I'd get an envelope with a photo or two and a post-it telling where the shot was taken. Nothing else.

- The call on Wednesday was phenomenal! It felt like such good girlfriend time and was the high point mid week that has allowed me to get through the rest of this week. I have to share with you that yesterday morning I was going through the mail and there was an envelope in there from my own mother with nothing other than newspaper clippings. The highlight for me had to be a story of a dead beaver that some spring breakers decided would be cute dressed as a mechanic while holding a energy drink. It made me laugh, thinking of our call, and kept me smiling all day as I went about my normal routine.

Do you receive Newspaper Clippings in the mail? 

Thank you Hachette: upcoming selections

A special thank you to Hachette Book Group, our exclusive partner for the Manic Mommies Book Club! Click here to read the details on the Manic Mommies homepage.

We have locked down our book selections for the rest of 2010!

Love in mid Air (May): A chance encounter with a stranger on an airplane sends Elyse Bearden into an emotional tailspin. Suddenly Elyse is willing to risk everything: her safe but stale marriage, her seemingly perfect life in an affluent Southern suburb, and her position in the community. She finds herself cutting through all the instincts that say "no" and instead lets "yes" happen. As Elyse embarks on a risky affair, her longtime friend Kelly and the other women in their book club begin to question their own decisions about love, sex, marriage, and freedom.

How Clarissa Burden learned to Fly (Jun): How Clarissa Burden Learned to Fly is the transcendent story of a young woman who, in a twenty-four hour period, journeys through startling moments of self-discovery that lead her to a courageous and life-altering decision.

Backseat Saints (Jul): Rose Mae Lolley is a fierce and dirty girl, long-suppressed under flowery skirts and bow-trimmed ballet flats. As "Mrs. Ro Grandee" she's trapped in a marriage that's thick with love and sick with abuse. Her true self has been bound in the chains of marital bliss in rural Texas, letting "Ro" make eggs, iron shirts, and take her punches. She seems doomed to spend the rest of her life battered outside by her husband and 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 Island (Aug): A captivating novel of summer and surprises from New York Times bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand.

Selections for the rest of 2010 include (the books are so new that we do not have book jackets to post yet):

Room (Sept): An astonishing novel narrated by a five-year-old boy who lives, with his mother, held captive in a single small room. Written by Emma Donoghue

If you lived here you'd be home by now (Oct): From the well-loved author of Knitting Under the Influence and The Smart One and the Pretty One comes a new novel about a young single mother trying to move out of her family's shadow. Written by Claire LaZebnik

November Escape selection TBD: We are excited to announce that we will have two book selections in November, one for the escape and a second for scheduled as usual.

The Good Sister (Nov): An astonishing novel narrated by a five-year-old boy who lives, with his mother, held captive in a single small room. Written by Drusilla Campbell

The Wolves of Andover (Dec): A love story from the heart of America's history by the author of the national bestseller The Heretic's Daughter (Kathleen Kent).

April 2010 Selection: The Yellow House

Manic Mommies Book Club Selection: April 2010

We will be discussing The Yellow House with the author on April 21 (8PM EST). Watch for details as we get closer to the date.

A 24 book giveaway will be posted to the Manic Mommies website within the next week.

You will find an author interview/discussion posted in the right column. Don’t worry about spoilers, the conversation focuses on the authors background and writing experience more than the plot and ending to the story. The MMBC is even mentioned on the call!

Synopsis: THE YELLOW HOUSE delves into the passion and politics of Northern Ireland at the beginning of the 20th Century. Eileen O'Neill's family is torn apart by religious intolerance and secrets from the past. Determined to reclaim her ancestral home and reunite her family, Eileen begins working at the local mill, saving her money and holding fast to her dream. As war is declared on a local and global scale, Eileen cannot separate the politics from the very personal impact the conflict has had on her own life. She is soon torn between two men, each drawing her to one extreme. One is a charismatic and passionate political activist determined to win Irish independence from Great Britain at any cost, who appeals to her warrior's soul. The other is the wealthy and handsome black sheep of the pacifist family who owns the mill where she works, and whose persistent attention becomes impossible for her to ignore.

BN.COM reader review: (5 stars) The Yellow House is a captivating debut, bountiful and beautifully written. The beginning trudges along, but Eileen will capture you quickly after. Her story will make you smile, make your heart pump, make your breath quicken, make you cry. You will hope for the best, and fear for the worst. You will laugh at Eileen and her anger and feistiness, she has a sailor's mouth and the temper to go with it. You will feel her heartbreak and her desire, you will know her anguish and rapturous delight, you will relate to her because she is the warrior in all of us. You will love Eileen, and you will love The Yellow House.

Author Q&A:
Tell us a little about yourself: I was born in Northern Ireland and lived in England before emigrating to the U.S. at age 20. I pursued a career in the finance area for many years, but finally was able to make the leap to my first love - writing. Becoming a writer is the realization of a dream.

Do you write daily? When I was writing The Yellow House I was also working full time and travelling a great deal for business. So I was not able to write every day but took chunks of time when I could on weekends and holidays. Now that I'm working on a deadline for a second book I find more and more that a daily writing routine is the only way to finish a novel within a set timeframe.

What was it like getting your first novel published? I met my agent through pure serendipity. I was on a business trip to New York and a friend cancelled a dinner engagement. Alone in the hotel restaurant I met a woman who runs a fitness studio in NYC and she invited me to join her and some of her clients on a wellness week in Jamaica. Something told me to grab the thread and so I took a chance and went. Lo and behold, two of the women there were literary agents, and I told one of them about a book I was planning. The rest is history. Although, I have to say that when I got the phone call that we had a two book contract I couldn’t think of anything to say for about a day.

What do you think of the electronic book (kindles and such)? At first I didn't like the idea of them. But since then I have spoken to a lot of people - mostly on airplanes - and they all say if the story is good you get caught up just as if you are reading a book. And I think people buy more books because its so easy to download them. In the end if it means more people read my book then I'm happy.

What is one tip that you can share with aspiring writers? First of all write about something that is really important to you – that fires your passion. Writing a novel is a major undertaking of time and emotional energy - so it should be about something you care deeply about. Second of all - it's true what they say about revising - a book is not so much written, as re-written, so be prepared.

What are you reading now? Colm McCann's Let The Great World Spin; Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout; and two memoirs: Nothing was the Same by Kay Jamison, and Just Kids by Patty Smith.

Just for fun:
Favorite Season: Definitely Fall - which is what I miss most since I'm living in Dallas

Morning or night: I think mornings are fantastic - full of promise - but unfortunately I miss most early mornings because I'm a "night person".

Favorite ice cream flavor: Mint chocolate chip.

If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go: Australia and Japan. But I would be delighted to travel almost anywhere in the world.