Roz Reads Celebrates 25 Years

October 11, 2012

We recently caught up with Roz Sandack who just celebrated her 25th year moderating her book club, Roz Reads! We’ve been happily associated with her for so many of those years and always look forward to seeing her and her book club members at The King’s English at the end of each month. This past September they read My Ántonia (again) because it was Roz’s inaugural book for her club.

TKE: Why My Ántonia?
Roz Sandack: My Ántonia was the first book I discussed with my book groups in September of 1987. It’s an important literary classic, one that many of us had to read in school as young people. It bears rereading again and is a marvelous discussion book.

TKE: What have been some of your favorite books over the years and why have they worked well in discussions?
Roz: Books for discussion need to have psychological depth and interesting ideas to explore. Occasionally, one of my readers will request that I include a “happy” book on my reading list. What’s to discuss in a happy book?

Some favorite discussion books:

TKE: Have there been any colossal flops?
Roz: Definitely evenings with lackluster discuss-ers and discussions that have tanked. I’m not sure what or who’s to blame. It just happens occasionally, and it doesn’t feel very good.

TKE: What is your secret ingredient for a successful meeting?
Roz: Here’s the formula: good book + preparation and enthusiasm (mine and the readers)= successful discussion. If every reader brings a question or comment to the group, everyone is much more involved in the discussion. Oh, and here’s another secret ingredient: listening. It’s important to listen to each other’s comments. Listening to others nurtures new ideas and that’s how we grow.

TKE: Do you have a funny story that you’d like to tell?
Roz: There are many hilarious moments, but probably the most surprisingly funny story is the time a group of close girlfriends hired me to discuss a book with them. I picked The Scarlet Letter by Nathanial Hawthorne. They decided to watch the movie together instead of read the book, only the movie wasn’t based on the classic. It was a vampire thriller. Needless to say, the “reading” group unraveled pretty quickly.

Congrats Roz, and here’s to 25 more years of great books and great discussions!

Roz Reads October 2012 selection: The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes.

You can catch up with Roz on her website or visit the Book Clubs page on TKE’s website for more information.


The Town Club book group’s 10th anniversary!

January 15, 2010

What a pleasant surprise to find out that my friends at The Town Club and I were celebrating our 10 year book group anniversary. For our readers who do not know the Town Club, it is a ladies organization located in Salt Lake City on South Temple.
My son Patrick was five years old when we started; another way of measuring my aging. The core group of ladies has stayed the same, and we have read and been challenged many times over.
The ladies at the club, notably Rowena Howe, made the moment a celebration. We read My Life in France, the memoir of Julia Child. And at our very well attended luncheon, Rowena  had arranged for the chef to use some of Julia Child’s recipes. It was delicious. Toasts and compliments were abundant, and I was the beneficiary of a beautiful handwoven scarf. I have to say the kind words were the best gift.
Working for the Town Club ladies has been a tremendous experience for me. I learn something every month. The members bring so much wisdom and experience to every group, and I am lucky to be a part of their group.


Margaret Brennan Neville


A “golden age,” says Eggers at National Book Awards

November 19, 2009
Let The Great World Spin

Winner of the National Book Award for fiction, 2009

Dave Eggers, accepting the Literarian Award at the National Book Awards, declares “publishing is in a golden age.” Colum McCann, winner of the 2009 National Book Award for fiction, would have to agree. The scene was the awards ceremony for the 60th annual National Book Awards in New York City. McCann’s novel, Let The Great World Spin, loved by booksellers here at the King’s English, is a sweeping social novel set in the dazzling land that was New York City in the 1970s. The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt, by T. J. Stiles, won for nonfiction, and the poetry award was given to Keith Waldrop for Transcendental Studies: A Trilogy. And Phillip Hoose, author of the true story, Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice was joined on the podium as he accepted his award by Claudette Colvin herself.


What’s In Mina’s Book Bag? Gardening!

August 27, 2009

Since moving to our house last November, I have really tried to get Mina involved with her new natural surroundings. We have planned projects and activities to get her interested and loving the outside. I think that it is important to be able to give children the love of nature. She latched onto the garden bug with full force! It is wonderful!

First, we started with collecting sticks and leaves from around the yard and make a glue project out of it. Then, we progressed to making seed markers for our seedlings and planting the sprouts in the garden. I picked up a book in March called Grow it, Cook It and it gives wonderful ideas on how to a garden with a child from start to finish. The book is a bit old for her, but I liked how it explained the process of seed to sprout, following up with a recipe. I wish I had seen my most recent purchase: Roots Shoots Buckets & Boots before I planted everything this season. The author gives some really fun ideas on how to shape a children’s garden. I think my favorite was the Pizza Garden. You make a circular garden and each “wedge” is an ingredient to use later on your pizza. Once you can harvest your veggies and herbs, there is a a section on throwing a pizza party. How fun would that be!!

The other chapter that caught my eye was the Sunflower House. It gives dimensions, necessary seeds and instructions on how to “build” a house out of giant sunflowers and climbing vines. We have a section of our yard that is behind a small picket fence that would be the perfect spot for a sunflower house! I got Mina involved with her section of the yard by having her paint her little picket fence. She picked raspberry pink for the color and it looks fantastic. We converted the the old dog pen into her sandbox play area and she wanted to paint the stones pink as well. Why not! I drew the line at painting the grass pink! We decided, Mina and I, to trellis the grape arbor over her stones to her sandbox and planted blue flowered steppables in the rest of the dog pen. It is interesting the ideas, good ideas, you can get from a 2+ yr old if you ask and really listen.

She loves all the aspects of gardening now and planted the seeds in the herb box and weeds the driveway. She is so cognizant of weeds that she wants to weed the hiking trails when we go to the mountains. “Mama, someone needs to come and weed here, it is kind of messy with the weeds everywhere!”

This interest in gardening has led to many seed/garden orientated books. She couldn’t care less this winter about Eric Carle’s Tiny Seed, but now she just can’t get enough of it. Sometimes, we have to read it 5 times in a row.

One of the seed books that I have fallen in love with is A Seed Is Sleepy. The illustrations are so beautiful, you want to have them all over your wall. The author writes about each seed and its progression into a flower and the illustrator executes the pictures with the most minute detail.

The Curious Garden is a lovely book about how one person can make a difference. It starts with a gray city with no vegetation whatsoever. A little boy goes for a walk and comes upon a patch of wildflowers by the train tracks. He cultivates them and over time it spreads out over the city, transforming a lifeless bleak existence into a beautiful one. It transforms the people as well. It teaches that no matter who you are or how big/small you are, you can make a difference in people’s lives. That is an important lesson to learn, especially when you are young. It will provide a great foundation for the future.

The last book on our list that is a must if you are doing a garden with a kid is Wiggle and Waggle. It is a small book, great bang for the buck @ $5.95, with four adventures of two worms in a garden. They dig tunnels, they sing songs, they go on a picnic. It is a lot of fun. It is almost like an early introduction to chapter books. It blends perfectly with garden themed activities for young ones. They can look at the pictures of bean sprouts or corn sprouts and say “Hey! I planted those! Maybe Wiggle and Waggle are in MY yard too!” Mina took the book outside when I was prepping the veggie area and tried to identify the worms in the garden as Wiggle or Waggle. If they were more yellow, they were Wiggle. More pink meant that they were Waggle.

Gardening with children is such a wonderful thing to be able to do. We have to go out every morning when we wake up (@ 6 am–YAWN!) and say good morning to her “babies” . She was so excited when she noticed that the corn had a cob on it or as she put it: Look Mama, the corn is cobbing!

It will be fun to watch her actually pull off an ear of corn or pull up a carrot and know that SHE grew it. I wonder what kind of recipe she will come up with … hopefully not cucumbers and cinnamon again. That really wasn’t my favorite.


My Invented Meme

January 5, 2009

I kind of stole this from my bloggy hero and adapted for books. It was a ton of fun poking around in the lists of books that came up with each word — I definitely discovered some new ones and was reminded of old favorites, all pretty randomly. So, if you’re reading this, TAG! Also, if there are any other fun book memes out there, pass ’em along.

01. Answer each of the questions below using the LibraryThing search engine.
02. Choose a book cover from the first 10 books.
03. Copy the URL of your favorite photos [here].
04. Then share with the world.

meme_mosaic101. First Name: Jennifer
02. Favorite Food: bread
03. Hometown: New Jersey
04. Favorite Color: green
05. Literary Crush: Salman Rushdie
06. Favorite Drink: eggnog
07. Dream Holiday: any tropical island
08. Favorite Dessert: mochi
09. What I Want To Be When I Grow Up: superhero with book-related powers — just imagine the possibilities!
10. One Word That Describes Me: striving


For the Birds

August 29, 2008

I’m sure someone somewhere knows exactly how often it is that a debut novelist makes it to number one on any list. I am also sure that it is probably statistically more likely to happen on a list compiled by booksellers than on any other book list, though I’m betting that the chances are still pretty small. Enter Joyce Hinnefeld!

In Hovering Flight is lovely, just lovely. Hinnefeld clearly grasps and delicately illuminates the ways in which our families and our geographic surroundings shape our lives. With such complex and heartfelt characters, I’m hard-pressed to think of any reader who wouldn’t find something that pulls them in. A quietly moving book, one can almost hear the songs of the birds that weave their way in and out of the plot, sometimes symbolic, sometimes characters in their own right, but always reminders of what it is that we have, and what we stand to lose.

In Hovering Flight is number one on the September Indie Next list, and it couldn’t have happened to a better book.


And now for something completely different

August 14, 2008

My favorite book-related lolcats:

Congrats to I Can Has Cheezburger on their book deal, on behalf of the TKE Marketing Department (a.k.a me) — the bad day hasn’t yet come that couldn’t be improved by a little dose of lol!