Category Archives: edutainment

2014 Titles: Winner, Ties, & the “Remainder”

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Poll Results & Key:  l = voted as favorite; x = ‘remaindered’

Jan                   The Casual Vacancy l
Feb                  Unbroken – llllllll
March             Sea of Poppies xx
April                Buddhaland Brooklyn lllll
May                 A Long Way Down – ll
June                 American Gods ll x
July                  River of Doubt – lllll
August             Unchangeable Spots of a Leopard -xx
Sept                 Benjamin Franklin’s Bastard l x
Oct                  The Dovekeepers – x ll
Nov                  Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry l


Feet First & the Last Laugh

November 20, 2014 @ la casa de Viviane (no Kitty or Karen C)

CHATTER:  It’s official, the Schuler Boys-to-Men are Bootleg’s safety net for liquid refreshment needs, esp. wine; Kirstie’s Co-star Halloween Team (food) won for Funniest Costumes ($200…happy hour!); Lunch is expensive, Grasshopper. So eat in; Livestock worrying is a real crime in the UK; farmers can shoot your dog on sight if dog is on their property; Liz & Sue +2 going to Iceland in March (northern lights! eclipse!); Green bean appetizer (breaded) = addictive (thx, Safeway); South Beach Diet causes bread withdrawal tremors (Safeway bean app fixes that); Thanksgiving Break in MT: Christopher Schuler hosting…Ben Stablow attending; Liz’s group does 2nd turkey to ensure proper sandwich-age   MORE CHATTER:  Buffalo Snow Deluge spurred loooong discussion on NFL –  game location, Redskins v. Other Fan Faves (go, Steelers); topic continued almost as long as school-itics or pool-itics topics have in the past

Verbal Chaos:  6 different topics underway; a note taking boycott ensued

If late on the evening before or day of the meeting you cannot come, then you must call another member (not the hostess) to ‘cover’ for what you agreed to bring. Alternatively, you can drop off your item prior to the meeting (when you can). Goal: Don’t leave the hostess in the lurch at the last minute.

On an unrelated note (cough)…we all drank tepid tap water on this night.

And if you consider ‘leaving in a lurch’ a sufficient segue, then it’s time for…
THE BOOK:  The  Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

Shelley picked it because:
1. Orphan Train & 1 other not suitably available in MoCo library (sorry, Harold…you’re 3rd choice)
2. She wanted ‘fun & easy’ like the Guernsey Potato crew or Major Pettigrew (good for you, Harold…you debunked Shelley’s ‘bias’ about English  novels)

So, it was very heavy and sloooow; once you gave over to Harold’s pace & purpose then the language and other literary features were lovely; the boat shoes, plasters, duct tape, etc were very endearing; his keep-it-simple attitude was, too; while most of the plot, setting, character arcs, etc were clear & of sufficient heft, some key plot moments seemed (and perhaps proved to be) intentionally vague by the author so that not too much was revealed too early, but this vagueness wasn’t so distracting given that Harold, Maureen, Queenie and others were ‘vague’ for perfectly good reasons anyway; on the other hand…most of us quickly saw early on 1) David had committed suicide,  2) Harold’s journey was spiritual a la Pilgrim’s Progress, and 3) the author had some direct experience with ugly cancer death given the graphic descriptions of Queenie (note: author’s dad); There was something charming about Harold walking to Queenie as he was walking both away from his past and back to a happier connection with Maureen; We all liked how their shared joke/memory was not revealed to us in the end.

CASTING:  Harold/James Cromwell; Queenie/Imelda Staunton; Rex/Roger Ashton Griffiths; Maureen/Penelope Keith; & we shoulda casted Kate (gas station girl) & maybe the bad kid who was his 1st follower

(spontaneously suggested/inserted by Yours Truly)
Theme Song Theme Song Theme Song
This month’s selection is almost too obvious:
I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) by The Proclaimers
(click here to listen & enjoy)

NEXT MEETING:  Karen S in January; book & date TBD
December is the Bootleg Shindig at Chez Liz

Stating Literary Preferences


What's your state book? A literary map of the U.S.A. by Chris Robley

The Literary United States by Kristin Iverson via Brooklyn Magazine


Check out this cool map offering an ideal book pick to represent each state.  The explanation for each selection is hereAccording to the list, so far Bootleg Book Club has been to Indiana, Wisconsin, & West Virginia. We have some traveling to do!

And here’s a trip around the US via Young Adult Lit curated by @WeAreTeachers. Been there, done that, yet?

Embedded image permalink


Cosmic Chaos at Spaghetti Junction

Am GodsJune 26, 2014 Meeting @ Karen C’s House
attendance not noted

Book Porn: catalogs of delectable books with seductive blurbs; so tempting!

Bad Behavior @ A Lesser Book Club:  A Certain Someone won’t read her book (Savage Harvest) b/c she disliked it.  She asked Liz to guest speak & Liz could not so Certain Someone canceled her meeting and then off-the-cuff/last-minute switched her book selection. For shame.

50 Year Book Club in Potomac Woods – pretty cool, very sweet

Karen C’s neighborhood book club usually reads books that get made into Life Time movies.  One book was on a guy w/cancer & host’s brother had cancel so she canceled meeting.  Karen hosted last-minute in her stead (and in her absence).  Ok to do?  YES!

Beach house/B & B/ Old Hotel libraries for guests = odd, fun pickings

Stone Ridge Book Sale is no longer a staple of 20895. Sigh.

THE BOOK:  American Gods by Neil Gaiman – Katie picked it b/c she
1. …read it several years ago & was fascinated on so many levels2. …wanted to discuss it with lots of people>>>book club!

COMMENTS:  creeepy & fantastical; nobody read it in large chunks so ‘digging deep’ was tough; too hard to listen to; scams (in plot) were good/fun to follow; our more literal members did not like it so much; how does a person write something like this????; EVERYTHING is in this book…all tossed together like spiritual spaghetti in cosmic chaos; clever how the old gods came from other countries and stayed in with immigrants who brought them and then new gods came along as ‘progress’ took over; the whole Lakeside Story was good (creepy good, too); with all the references, it was easy to feel dumb or exhausted while reading; this book may have needed a reading guide or weekly check-ins with each other to align comprehension; Everyman = Shadow; Shadow = ‘in the shadow of the gods”; COINS:  Odin’s magic which is a magnet to Shadow; do not seem to quite link to Judas; coin tricks/sleight of hand = reality vs. ‘backstage’ that gods could visit

Biggest compliment:  the non-finishers are pretty sure they WILL finish reading the book… Did they?

Shadow – undecided (is that perfect, or what?)
Laura – Emily Blount
Wednesday – James Lipton
Low Key/Loki – Mickey Rourke
Mad Sweeney – Conan O’Brien
Czernobog – Steve Buschemi
Mr. Nancy – Don Cheadle
Sam – Shalene Woodley (over exposure?)
Youngest of 3 stars – Claire Danes

July meeting @ Mary’s for Angelika’s pick


Working Titles / Worthy Titles?

Fun & Functional Picture Books – Not Just a Fairytale!

It’s been said that any picture book author seeking the happily-ever-after ending of publication and decent sales had better avoid the ogre of serious or detailed educational content.  Kids and critics flee from learning via kiddie lit like villagers escaping, well… a rampaging ogre.  Yet like any fairytale hero worth her salt, I choose to defy the odds and continue on my perilous journey of writing books designed to both entertain and educate. 

My working titles include:

  • Dogged Determination – silly & serious fun with the scientific method
  • Maggie and the Mailman – a salty old lady bakes up trouble & treats
  • The Tooth Fairy Conference – brainy & brawny fairies defeat Plaque Man

STORY BLURBS Continue reading