Mrs. Twist Reads This Bookclub – The Girls at 17 Swann Street

Our bookclub selection for March is The Girls at 17 Swann Street by Yara Zgheib. This People magazine pick, a debut novel by Zgheib, is a poetic, poignant, haunting portrait of a young woman’s struggle with anorexia on an intimate journey to reclaim her life.

“The chocolate went first, then the cheese, the fries, the ice cream. The bread was more difficult, but if she could just lose a little more weight, perhaps she would make the soloists’ list. Perhaps if she were lighter, danced better, tried harder, she would be good enough. Perhaps if she just ran for one more mile, lost just one more pound.

Anna Roux was a professional dancer who followed the man of her dreams from Paris to Missouri. There, alone with her biggest fears – imperfection, failure, loneliness – she spirals down anorexia and depression till she weighs a mere eighty-eight pounds. Forced to seek treatment, she is admitted as a patient at 17 Swann Street, a peach pink house where pale, fragile women with life-threatening eating disorders live. Women like Emm, the veteran; quiet Valerie; Julia, always hungry. Together, they must fight their diseases and face six meals a day. Every bite causes anxiety. Every flavor induces guilt. And every step Anna takes toward recovery will require strength, endurance, and the support of the girls at 17 Swann Street.”

If you are looking to join a bookclub, I promise you will love our group.  I started Mrs. Twist Reads This Bookclub in 2017 because I wanted to spend more time reading and less time using technology.  We have over 80 members, many who live around the country and just want to be a part of a community of women who read!  It’s thrilling to see this for sure.  The best part is that many of the authors we read have enthusiastically joined us via FaceTime or in person to chat about their books.  Our group is gathering on Thursday, March 28 at 7 p.m. in Fort Worth.  Even if you can’t join us in person, we’d love to have you join our bookclub community.

So, how do you join us?  Go here to Book Movement and set up a free account.  It gives you members-only access to our book club page to see the latest book we are reading, receive email invitations to upcoming meetings and create your own personal queue of books you want to read on your own.

Happy reading!

Mrs. Twist Reads This: The Library Book by Susan Orlean

This month we will be reading The Library Book by Susan Orlean which also happens to be the Reese Witherspoon Hello Sunshine bookclub selection!  Great minds think alike.

WASHINGTON POST TOP 10 BOOK OF THE YEAR A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER and NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF 2018

“A constant pleasure to read…Everybody who loves books should check out The Library Book.” —The Washington Post

“EXQUISITELY WRITTEN, CONSISTENTLY ENTERTAINING.” —The New York Times * “MESMERIZING…RIVETING.” —Booklist (starred review)

A dazzling love letter to a beloved institution—and an investigation into one of its greatest mysteries—from the bestselling author hailed as a “national treasure” by The Washington Post.

On the morning of April 29, 1986, a fire alarm sounded in the Los Angeles Public Library. As the moments passed, the patrons and staff who had been cleared out of the building realized this was not the usual fire alarm. As one fireman recounted, “Once that first stack got going, it was ‘Goodbye, Charlie.’” The fire was disastrous: it reached 2000 degrees and burned for more than seven hours. By the time it was extinguished, it had consumed four hundred thousand books and damaged seven hundred thousand more. Investigators descended on the scene, but more than thirty years later, the mystery remains: Did someone purposefully set fire to the library—and if so, who?

Weaving her lifelong love of books and reading into an investigation of the fire, award-winning New Yorker reporter and New York Times bestselling author Susan Orlean delivers a mesmerizing and uniquely compelling book that manages to tell the broader story of libraries and librarians in a way that has never been done before.

Susan has sent our bookclub her personal list of suggested review questions so I am excited to dig in, read a good book this winter then gather to discuss it! Join us on Thursday, February 28 at 7 p.m.  If you are new to our bookclub, welcome.  It’s free and easy to join.  Just visit our partner BookMovement using this link.  Set up a free account, download the app and start reading.  You will receive notices about upcoming bookclub events, reminders of meetings and you can use it to create your own bookclub queue.  If you don’t live locally, but still want to belong to a community of women who love to read, we would love to have you join us.

Happy reading!

Mrs. Twist Reads This — The Classic Little Women

Mrs. Twist Reads This is kicking off 2019 with a goal to read at least three classic novels and I am super excited!  One of our members proposed the idea to me that she wanted to try reading the classics and I thought it was a perfect way to expand our reach in helping our members grow in their reading.   I passed around this list 25 Must-Read Classics for Women from Modern Mrs. Darcy and took a vote on which book to start with first.  So in January, join us in reading Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (1832–1888).

Little Women was originally published in two volumes in 1868 and 1869. Alcott wrote the books rapidly over several months at the request of her publisher. The novel follows the lives of four sisters—Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March—detailing their passage from childhood to womanhood, and is loosely based on the author and her three sisters.  Little Women was an immediate commercial and critical success, and readers demanded to know more about the characters. Alcott quickly completed a second volume (entitled Good Wives in the United Kingdom, although this name derived from the publisher and not from Alcott). It was also successful. The two volumes were issued in 1880 in a single work entitled Little Women. Alcott also wrote two sequels to her popular work, both of which also featured the March sisters: Little Men (1871) and Jo’s Boys (1886). Although Little Women was a novel for girls, it differed notably from the current writings for children, especially girls. The novel addressed three major themes: “domesticity, work, and true love, all of them interdependent and each necessary to the achievement of its heroine’s individual identity.”

We will meet on Tuesday, January 29 at 7 p.m. to discuss the book.  I am hoping to find some fun activities to do around the book at our meeting.  This will be a different read than we normally do and I expect it will be challening to get through.  But, we will give it our best try.  The last time I attempted little women was 18 years ago when I brought Miss Bee home from the hospital and I was determined to be the best mother possible by reading to her every single day even at one week old.  What book did I pick – Little Women!  The things we do when we are shiny, brand new moms.

If you’d like to join our bookclub, we’d love to have you.  Just go to BookMovement to set up a free account and use this invitation link to join. Even if you don’t live local to our monthly meetings, but want accountability to read, we’d love to have you be in our group.  We are alot of fun, eat yummy snacks and drink delicious sips.

Cheers to new reads, fun and adventure in 2019!

Mrs. Twist Reads This Bookclub: Bitter Orange

This month Mrs. Twist Reads This bookclub is reading Bitter Orange by Claire Fuller.

From the attic of Lyntons, a dilapidated English country mansion, Frances Jellico sees them―Cara first: dark and beautiful, then Peter: striking and serious. The couple is spending the summer of 1969 in the rooms below hers while Frances is researching the architecture in the surrounding gardens. But she’s distracted. Beneath a floorboard in her bathroom, she finds a peephole that gives her access to her neighbors’ private lives.

To Frances’ surprise, Cara and Peter are keen to get to know her. It is the first occasion she has had anybody to call a friend, and before long they are spending every day together: eating lavish dinners, drinking bottle after bottle of wine, and smoking cigarettes until the ash piles up on the crumbling furniture. Frances is dazzled.

But as the hot summer rolls lazily on, it becomes clear that not everything is right between Cara and Peter. The stories that Cara tells don’t quite add up, and as Frances becomes increasingly entangled in the lives of the glamorous, hedonistic couple, the boundaries between truth and lies, right and wrong, begin to blur. Amid the decadence, a small crime brings on a bigger one: a crime so terrible that it will brand their lives forever.

Due to the Thanksgiving holiday, we are meeting Thursday, December 6 at 7 p.m. for appetizers, sips and discussion.  If you are looking to join a bookclub, I promise you will love our group.  I started this bookclub in May 2017 because I wanted to spend more time reading and less time using technology.  We’ve read 20 books and have 80 members, many who live around the country and just want to be a part of a community of women who read!  It’s thrilling to see this for sure.  The best part is that many of the authors we read have enthusiastically joined us via FaceTime or in person to chat about their books.

So, how do you join us?  Go here to Book Movement and set up a free account.  It gives you members-only access to our book club page to see the latest book we are reading, receive email invitations to upcoming meetings and create your own personal queue of books you want to read on your own.  Maybe you can finish 2018 reading Bitter Orange with us!

Mrs. Twist Reads This: The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

It’s October so it must be time for a thriller!  Mrs. Twist Reads This – The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton.  This British author’s debut novel has been named as a “Must Read” for 2018 by Marie Claire, Stylist’s Magazine and Harper’s Bazaar.  And if you love Agatha Christie, you’re in luck because this book is inspired by her writings.

Evelyn Hardcastle will be murdered at 11:00 p.m. 
There are eight days, and eight witnesses for you to inhabit. 
We will only let you escape once you tell us the name of the killer. 
Understood? Then let’s begin…

Evelyn Hardcastle will die. Every day until Aiden Bishop can identify her killer and break the cycle. But every time the day begins again, Aiden wakes up in the body of a different guest. And some of his hosts are more helpful than others…

The most inventive debut of the year twists together a mystery of such unexpected creativity it will leave readers guessing until the very last page.

Want to read it with us?  Join us Thursday, October 25 at 7 p.m. and sign up for free through BookMovement using this invitation code.  We gather monthly to dish, snack and ship.    Don’t live local, you can still join our community of women spending more time reading and less time using technology.

Happy reading!

Mrs. Twist Reads This — Clock Dance by Anne Tyler

It was such an honor to have Frances Mayes join us last month via Face Time.  I sat back and looked at all our members leaning in to listen to her every word and I just was in awe.  To think I started this book club over a year ago to help me become a book lover so that I’d spend less time watching television, and now 70 members later we are in my living room with best selling authors — is mind blowing!  I am just so thankful and excited.  I want to share it with everyone.

Our selection this month is Clock Dance by Anne Tyler.

Willa Drake can count on one hand the defining moments of her life. In 1967, she is a schoolgirl coping with her mother’s sudden disappearance. In 1977, she is a college coed considering a marriage proposal. In 1997, she is a young widow trying to piece her life back together. And in 2017, she yearns to be a grandmother but isn’t sure she ever will be. Then, one day, Willa receives a startling phone call from a stranger. Without fully understanding why, she flies across the country to Baltimore to look after a young woman she’s never met, her nine-year-old daughter, and their dog, Airplane. This impulsive decision will lead Willa into uncharted territory–surrounded by eccentric neighbors who treat each other like family, she finds solace and fulfillment in unexpected places. A bewitching novel of hope and transformation, Clock Dance gives us Anne Tyler at the height of her powers.

Join us on Wednesday, September 26 at 7 p.m. for sips, snacks and discussion.  If you are new to our book club, you can sign up for free through Book Movement.  To set up your free account use this special invitation code to join Mrs. Twist Reads This.  You’ll receive email notifications from me, preview what we are reading, what’s in our queue and create your own library of reads.  Even if you are not local to Fort Worth, you can still read with us.  Friends are always welcome.

Happy reading!

Mrs. Twist Reads This: Women in Sunlight

I am really excited about this month’s Mrs. Twist Reads This bookclub selection – Women in Sunlight by Frances Mayes.  Join us on Thursday, August 30 at 6 p.m. to review the book.  We are working to Skype with Ms. Mayes if her schedule permits hence the reason for meeting an hour earlier.  I will have sandwiches (and birthday cake!) for us to enjoy before we start.

By the bestselling author of Under the Tuscan Sun, and written with Frances Mayes’s trademark warmth, heart, and delicious descriptions of place, food, and friendship, Women in Sunlight is the story of four American strangers who bond in Italy and change their lives over the course of an exceptional year.

She watches from her terrazza as the three American women carry their luggage into the stone villa down the hill. Who are they, and what brings them to this Tuscan village so far from home? An expat herself and with her own unfinished story, she can’t help but question: will they find what they came for?

Kit Raine, an American writer living in Tuscany, is working on a biography of her close friend, a complex woman who continues to cast a shadow on Kit’s own life. Her work is waylaid by the arrival of three women—Julia, Camille, and Susan—all of whom have launched a recent and spontaneous friendship that will uproot them completely and redirect their lives. Susan, the most adventurous of the three, has enticed them to subvert expectations of staid retirement by taking a lease on a big, beautiful house in Tuscany. Though novices in a foreign culture, their renewed sense of adventure imbues each of them with a bright sense of bravery, a gusto for life, and a fierce determination to thrive. But how? With Kit’s friendship and guidance, the three friends launch themselves into Italian life, pursuing passions long-forgotten—and with drastic and unforeseeable results.

Not a member of our book club?  No problem, you can sign up anytime via our on-line meetup  Book Movement.  Membership is free and once you set up your account you will automatically receive monthly updates and reminders on what we are planning to read next.  If you don’t live in Fort Worth where we meet, but want to be a part of a reading community, we’d love to have you be a member. Click here for an invitation code unique to Mrs. Twist Reads This.  If you have any questions or are having difficulty signing up, email [email protected] and we are happy to assist you.

Happy reading!

Mrs. Twist Reads This: The Lemonade Year

This month our bookclub is reading The Lemonade Year by Amy Willoughby-Burle.  Can our bookclub pick the best books or what?! I’m so excited to see that two books we are reading this summer are featured on Southern Living magazine’s top beach reads!  Here is their recommended list.

LOVE. LOSS. AND SECOND CHANCES.

Nina’s once-sweet life has unexpectedly turned sour. Her marriage is over, her job is in jeopardy, and her teenage daughter is slipping away from her. Then her father dies and issues with Nina’s mother come to a head; her estranged brother, Ray, comes home; and her sister, Lola, is tempted to blow a big family secret out of the water. They say the truth will set you free, but first it will make a huge mess of things.

All Nina’s got left is her final photography assignment shooting images for the book 32 Ways to Make Lemonade. Well, that and the attention of a younger man, but Oliver’s on-again-off-again romantic interest in her ebbs and flows so much she is seasick. And then Jack, her ex-husband, shows up, wanting to get back together.

As Nina struggles to find a way through her complicated relationships and to uncover her true path, she discovers just how valuable a second chance at life and happiness can be.

Amy Willoughby-Burle grew up in the small coastal town of Kure Beach, North Carolina. She studied writing at East Carolina University and is now a writer and teacher living in Asheville, North Carolina, with her husband and four children. She writes about the mystery and wonder of everyday life. Her contemporary fiction focuses on the themes of second chances, redemption, and finding the beauty in the world around us. Sara Gruen says of The Lemonade Year, “When life gives you lemons, read this book. It’s a delicious glass of humor, heart, and hope.”  Amy is also the author of a collection of short stories entitled Out Across the Nowhere and a contributor to a number of anthologies.

Join us on Thursday, July 26 at 7 p.m. to Skype with Amy and talk about her book.  These Skype sessions have been so fun, because we get to learn so much more about the author and find out fun facts about the book and its characters!  Friends are always welcome, too!  If you want to join our bookclub, visit Book Movement to register for a free account and RSVP your attendance.

Mrs. Twist Reads This Summer Beach Reads 2018

I am so excited about the three books we have selected for our bookclub.  Three books, three dates and all the authors have agreed to phone into our monthly meetings to discuss their books and share personal insights!

In June we are reading  A Matter of Chance by Julie Maloney.  When eight-year-old Vinni Stewart disappears from a Jersey shore town, Maddy, her distraught single mother, begins a desperate search for her daughter. Maddy’s five-year journey leads her to a bakery in Brooklyn, where she stumbles upon something terrifying. Ultimately, her artist neighbor Evelyn reconnects Maddy to her passion for painting and guides her to a life transformed through art. 

Detective John D’Orfini sees more than a kidnapping in the plot-thickening twists of chance surrounding Vinni’s disappearance, but his warnings to stay away from the investigation do not deter Maddy, even when her search puts her in danger. When the Russian Mafia warns her to stop sniffing into their business, Maddy must make a choice whether to save one child―even if it might jeopardize saving her own.  

You can read more about Julie Maloney here on her webpage.  Most notibly, Julie is a poet and writer and founder/director of WOMEN READING ALOUD, a non-profit organization dedicated to the support of women writers. Since 2003, she has guided women writers throughout the USA and across the Atlantic through writing workshops, retreats, and special literary events.

July, comes The Lemonade Year by Amy Willoughby-Burle.

LOVE. LOSS. AND SECOND CHANCES.

Nina’s once-sweet life has unexpectedly turned sour. Her marriage is over, her job is in jeopardy, and her teenage daughter is slipping away from her. Then her father dies and issues with Nina’s mother come to a head; her estranged brother, Ray, comes home; and her sister, Lola, is tempted to blow a big family secret out of the water. They say the truth will set you free, but first it will make a huge mess of things.

All Nina’s got left is her final photography assignment shooting images for the book 32 Ways to Make Lemonade. Well, that and the attention of a younger man, but Oliver’s on-again-off-again romantic interest in her ebbs and flows so much she is seasick. And then Jack, her ex-husband, shows up, wanting to get back together.

As Nina struggles to find a way through her complicated relationships and to uncover her true path, she discovers just how valuable a second chance at life and happiness can be.

Amy Willoughby-Burle grew up in the small coastal town of Kure Beach, North Carolina. She studied writing at East Carolina University and is now a writer and teacher living in Asheville, North Carolina, with her husband and four children. She writes about the mystery and wonder of everyday life. Her contemporary fiction focuses on the themes of second chances, redemption, and finding the beauty in the world around us. Sara Gruen says of The Lemonade Year, “When life gives you lemons, read this book. It’s a delicious glass of humor, heart, and hope.”  Amy is also the author of a collection of short stories entitled Out Across the Nowhere and a contributor to a number of anthologies.

And finally in August, Women in Sunlight by Frances Mayes.

By the bestselling author of Under the Tuscan Sun, and written with Frances Mayes’s trademark warmth, heart, and delicious descriptions of place, food, and friendship, Women in Sunlight is the story of four American strangers who bond in Italy and change their lives over the course of an exceptional year.

She watches from her terrazza as the three American women carry their luggage into the stone villa down the hill. Who are they, and what brings them to this Tuscan village so far from home? An expat herself and with her own unfinished story, she can’t help but question: will they find what they came for?

Kit Raine, an American writer living in Tuscany, is working on a biography of her close friend, a complex woman who continues to cast a shadow on Kit’s own life. Her work is waylaid by the arrival of three women—Julia, Camille, and Susan—all of whom have launched a recent and spontaneous friendship that will uproot them completely and redirect their lives. Susan, the most adventurous of the three, has enticed them to subvert expectations of staid retirement by taking a lease on a big, beautiful house in Tuscany. Though novices in a foreign culture, their renewed sense of adventure imbues each of them with a bright sense of bravery, a gusto for life, and a fierce determination to thrive. But how? With Kit’s friendship and guidance, the three friends launch themselves into Italian life, pursuing passions long-forgotten—and with drastic and unforeseeable results.

Checkout Frances’s fantastic blog here detailing her writing history, beautiful notes and photos of the Italian countryside and her recipes!

Three fantastic books!  Ready to sign up and join us?  If you are not already a member of Mrs. Twist Reads This bookclub, it’s easy to join through Book Movement.  Membership is free and even if you do not live local to our monthly meetings you can still join our community of readers.  Go here to sign up.  Once you sign up you will receive notices and reminders of upcoming meetings and the latest books we are planning to read.  You can also use Book Movement as a tool to create a personal library queue of books you’d like to read on your own.

Happy Reading and be sure to save the dates for this summer’s bookclub!

Mrs. Twist Reads This: The Recipe Box and our First Birthday!

Time for a new book to read!  For the month of May, Mrs. Twist Reads This bookclub will be enjoying The Recipe Box by Viola Shipman.

Growing up in northern Michigan, Samantha “Sam” Mullins felt trapped on her family’s orchard and pie shop, so she left with dreams of making her own mark in the world. But life as an overworked, undervalued sous chef at a reality star’s New York bakery is not what Sam dreamed.

When the chef embarrasses Sam, she quits and returns home. Unemployed, single, and defeated, she spends a summer working on her family’s orchard cooking and baking alongside the women in her life—including her mother, Deana, and grandmother, Willo. One beloved, flour-flecked, ink-smeared recipe at a time, Sam begins to learn about and understand the women in her life, her family’s history, and her passion for food through their treasured recipe box.

As Sam discovers what matters most she opens her heart to a man she left behind, but who now might be the key to her happiness.

Why this book?  First of all, I am totally a sucker for pretty book covers.  I love the charming hot pink jacket, kelly green skirt and the much-loved, smudged recipe cards reminiscent of my own family recipes.  I think recipe cards are a becoming a long-lost way to record recipes.  I had a millennial ask me recently “what’s a recipe card?”  Cue tears.

Second, I love the story behind the author.  Viola Shipman is a penname for Wade Rouse, a popular, award-winning memoirist. Rouse chose his grandmother’s name, Viola Shipman, to honor the woman whose heirlooms and family stories inspire his writing. To date, The Charm Bracelet and The Hope Chest have been translated into over a dozen languages and become international bestsellers. The Recipe Box was hailed by #1 New York Times bestselling author Richard Paul Evans as “filled with cherished memories and treasured recipes … a touching tribute to the women and food that unite us and connect our past to the present.”  “My novels are a tribute to my Ozarks grandma, Viola Shipman. The jangling of her charm bracelet was as ever-present as the call of the whippoorwill, the scent of her hope chest as vivid as cedars after a spring rain, and her burnished wood recipe box stuffed with family recipes that still make my mouth water.

Her heirlooms, life, lessons and love not only inspire my fiction but also inspired me to become a writer and, I hope, the person I am today. She taught me that the simplest things in life – family, friends, faith, fun, love, and a passion for what you do – are truly the grandest gifts. My fiction is meant to honor the elders in our lives whose sacrifices and journeys helped make us who we are today. I couldn’t be prouder of my novels, which I hope reconnect you to your own family’s stories, heirlooms, histories and traditions.”

Join us on Thursday, May 31 at 7 p.m. for a fun birthday celebration – Mrs. Twist Reads This turns one! I can’t believe it will be exactly one year ago on the 31st when I hit the publish button for a personal journey to read more.  It has warmed my heart to hear you tell me how much this bookclub has helped you grow as a reader, too!   We now have over 50 members!    We’ll discuss the book, swap family recipes and enjoy birthday cake.  Bring copies to share of a treasured recipe, we’d even love to taste the actual recipe, too!
If you are already a member of our bookclub, be sure to RSVP.  New to Mrs. Twist Reads This?  Terrific, we’d love to have you read along with us.  Even if you are not local and just want to be a part of a community who is making strides to read more and spend less time using technology, membership is free.  Click here to create an account with access to our club’s page through Book Movement.  Happy Reading!