Our July book was Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. It took me a little while to get into this story (Eleanor can be a bit hard to relate to!) but once I did I was hooked!
I used the whimsical cover and theme of our July box to inspire the book club guide selections. Other aspects are taken directly from the novel.
• I LOVED that this book mentioned food and drink. It made creating this book club guide so much fun!
• Beverages: There are definitely multiple choices for this. I didn't want to choose vodka because that was Eleanor's 'before' drink so instead I went with Magner's, which I like to think of as her more social beverage. Another good option would be 'frothy coffee' which she always gets with Raymond when they go out for lunch.
• For a snack I chose cheesy scones, the other items she always orders with Raymond. These are store bought but you could definitely make some fantastic ones. You can find recipes on our pinterest board!
• I loved seeing Eleanor change her life at the end of this book and I wanted the atmosphere to channel her newfound happiness. I used these fun, whimsical flowers to brighten up the table.
• Another idea I had was to get a Spongebob Squarepants balloon just like Raymond got for Eleanor when she was unwell. I loved Eleanor's opinion on it and thought it would be really fun to include. I wasn't able to find one at my local party store but if you recreate this and manage to find one please comment the link below! I'd love to see how it looks.
Although it took awhile for her to grow on me, I ended up loving Eleanor. I can't wait to hear what you thought of her and the book!
1. What did you think of Eleanor? Did you like her? Were you able to relate to her?
2. What did you think of Eleanor's relationship with Raymond? Is it love? Either platonic or romantic?
3. Did you see the ending coming or did it surprise you?
4. Do you think Eleanor would have been more 'normal' had she been raised differently? Do you think she is on the autism spectrum or she just has a quirky personality?
Looking for a community to discuss great books with? Join our online book club!
Our June book pick was The Last Neanderthal by Canadian author Claire Cameron (who was kind enough to sign custom book plates for all of our subscribers!). You guys know I love featuring Canadian Literature whenever I possibly can. The book tells the story of Girl, a Neanderthal female, alongside modern day archeologist Rose Gale. I love archeology so this book was right up my alley.
When creating this book club guide, I took inspiration from Girl's side of the story.
• In the book, Girl and her brother go hunting and later in the novel we see Neanderthals fishing. You could definitely go with meat skewers as a snack food for this book club meeting. Instead, I chose to focus on the gatherer side so even the vegetarians could find something to eat.
• If you wanted to incorporate more modern day food, Dr.Pepper would be a good beverage to choose. Rose's assistant always seems to have a can in his hand.
• This make shift bonfire was my favourite part of this book club guide. I took inspiration from this tutorial I found on Pinterest and used the materials I had available. If you wanted to use a real flame indoors , this is another possible idea.
• You could easily make this authentic if you are able to have a real bonfire in your backyard.
1. Which storyline did you find more interesting?
2. Rose was forced to make difficult decisions regarding work and her pregnancy. How did you feel about her choices?
3. Did you guess that Runt was human? At what point in the story did you realize?
4. The author did a lot of research on Neanderthals when writing this book. Were they as you imagined them to be? Did anything surprise you?
Novel Editions subscribers were lucky enough to chat with Claire Cameron in our online book club group. If you would like to participate in future book club chats, you can join here.
Time is flying by, I can't believe it's already time to talk about May's book! Our selection this month was The Chilbury Ladies' Choir by Jennifer Ryan. I'm always a little wary of WWII fiction as many books have a tendency to glamorize a time that was horrific for a huge amount of people. What I really enjoyed about this book was that it focused on the women at home in a very unique way. I hope you enjoyed this book as much as I did and I can't wait to discuss it with you!
(P.s That little guy in the top left corner is my trusty sidekick Joey and he is eyeing the lemon poppyseed loaf!)
When creating this book club guide I imagined myself during this period sitting in my kitchen with a cup of tea, chatting with other women in similar circumstances.
• SO many great options for this. Since I had already made some scones for January's book club guide (and because I was short on time) I chose to make (in reality, buy) a lemon poppyseed bundt cake instead. There are so many sweet treats that you could create for this. Check out our Pinterest board for some options.
• Since this was a very British novel, tea seemed like the most appropriate beverage.
• I decorated the table with a blue table cloth that belonged to my Grandmother. I thought that this was a nice change and really made the cover of the novel pop!
• The peaches and flowers were added as a contrast to the table cloth as well. It just made everything seem a little more cheerful.
• I used my Grandmother's antique tea cups (they get more use in these book clubs guides than they have in their long tea cup lives!) and dishes as serving ware.
There were so many story lines in this novel and so much to discuss! These are just a couple of my burning questions. Feel free to add yours too!
1. Which story line did you find the most interesting?
2. Was there a character you identified with most?
3. How did you feel about Venetia and Mr.Slater's relationship? Did you foresee it ending that way?
4. Is there a character you wish you had learned more about?
5. What did you think of the ending? Was it too neatly tied?
Our book club chat for The Chilbury Ladies' Choir will take place on Wednesday, June 7th at 8:30PM EST in our Facebook Book Club Group!
April's book was A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline. I absolutely loved this book! It is a bit of a slower read and focuses on the everyday life of Christina Olson, the woman featured in the famous painting Christina's World by Andrew Wyeth.
I drew inspiration from the family farm where Christina lives in Cushing, Maine.
• I wish I could say I baked this pie but I bought it instead. For some reason farm living always reminds me of freshly baked pies. Pick you favourite recipe or choose whichever fruit is in season. This looks like a good recipe for blueberry pie!
• I also decided on tea and added some of the honey from April's box! Iced tea or sweet tea would also be a cute idea if the weather is warm.
• Cherries are delicious (and in season!) and helped add some colour to the table.
• I decorated the table with a white lace table cloth that belonged to my Grandmother. I also took advantage of the season and brought in some lilacs from my garden. I felt that the mason jar gave it a more rustic feel.
• I placed some eggs on the table and used some old fashioned dishes to tie the whole thing together.
My favourite part, the discussion questions! As always, feel free to add in your own.
1. What did you think of Christina? Were you able to relate to her?
2. How did you feel about Christina's relationship with Walton?
3. Did you feel like Christina unnecessarily sacrificed her happiness? What about her brother?
4. How did you feel about the ending? Were you satisfied?
Let me know what you thought of the book in the comments below!