Mrs. Twist Reads This: The River by Peter Heller

It’s time for a new read for Mrs. Twist Reads This book club.  During the month of August we will be reading The River by Peter Heller.

“A fiery tour de force… I could not put this book down. It truly was terrifying and unutterably beautiful.” –Alison Borden, The Denver Post

From the best-selling author of The Dog Stars, the story of two college students on a wilderness canoe trip–a gripping tale of a friendship tested by fire, white water, and violence

Wynn and Jack have been best friends since freshman orientation, bonded by their shared love of mountains, books, and fishing. Wynn is a gentle giant, a Vermont kid never happier than when his feet are in the water. Jack is more rugged, raised on a ranch in Colorado where sleeping under the stars and cooking on a fire came as naturally to him as breathing. When they decide to canoe the Maskwa River in northern Canada, they anticipate long days of leisurely paddling and picking blueberries, and nights of stargazing and reading paperback Westerns. But a wildfire making its way across the forest adds unexpected urgency to the journey. When they hear a man and woman arguing on the fog-shrouded riverbank and decide to warn them about the fire, their search for the pair turns up nothing and no one. But: The next day a man appears on the river, paddling alone. Is this the man they heard? And, if he is, where is the woman? From this charged beginning, master storyteller Peter Heller unspools a headlong, heart-pounding story of desperate wilderness survival.

And what treat awaits you at this month’s book club?  Cake!  We will be celebrating my birthday and you know what Julia Child’s says, “A party without cake, is just a meeting!”

If you are local to Fort Worth, feel free to join us Thursday, August 29 at 7 p.m., for bubbly, cake and the dish on this month’s book.  Even if you aren’t local to my area, you can join our bookclub, membership is free, through Bookmovement.  By signing up you will receive notifications on our upcoming meetings and the books we will be reading.  Plus, you can create your personal queue of books you want to read outside of our group and find out new releases and trends in all genres of books.  Friends are always welcome.

No matter where you live, we’d love to have you join our community of women spending more time reading and less time using technology.  Join our movement!

What’s in your Summer Stack? Books we are reading at Home with a Twist

I’ve rounded up all the books we are reading this summer in our Mrs. Twist Reads This book club, and a fun announcement.

Summer reading is for the whole family.  In 2009, then Secretary of Education Arne Duncan described summer learning loss as “summer slide.”  It is estimated that school summer breaks will cause the average student to lose up to one month of instruction, with disadvantaged students being disproportionately affected. You can read more about the study here.

When Miss Bee was little I always included reading on her summer to-do list with visits to storytime at bookstores and the library.  She was allowed to check out as many books as she was years old.  We made a chart on the refrigerator with different rewards for every few books she read. I would even join in with her to read as well. One of our favorite things still is to stop into libraries in cities we are visiting while on vacation.

According to the Scholastic Kids & Family Reading Report™: 7th Edition, 77% of kids ages 6–17 and 94% of parents believe reading books over the summer helps kids during the school year.  Here is a fun reading challenge from Scholastic for summer reading and activities. Our local library, Fort Worth Public Library, offers a summer reading challenge for prizes and its for adults and children. Be sure to check your local library to see what they are offering.  Here is a free pdf from Highlights for Children to encourage creative places to read — like in a fort with a friend or in a sand chair at the beach. And another pdf “Scavenger Hunt” to have fun while learning.

Mrs. Twist Reads This has two very different books planned for book club for July and August.

For our July read it’s Mrs. Everything from Jennifer Weiner.

Do we change or does the world change us?

Jo and Bethie Kaufman were born into a world full of promise.

Growing up in 1950s Detroit, they live in a perfect “Dick and Jane” house, where their roles in the family are clearly defined. Jo is the tomboy, the bookish rebel with a passion to make the world more fair; Bethie is the pretty, feminine good girl, a would-be star who enjoys the power her beauty confers and dreams of a traditional life.

But the truth ends up looking different from what the girls imagined. Jo and Bethie survive traumas and tragedies. As their lives unfold against the background of free love and Vietnam, Woodstock and women’s lib, Bethie becomes an adventure-loving wild child who dives headlong into the counterculture and is up for anything (except settling down). Meanwhile, Jo becomes a proper young mother in Connecticut, a witness to the changing world instead of a participant. Neither woman inhabits the world she dreams of, nor has a life that feels authentic or brings her joy. Is it too late for the women to finally stake a claim on happily ever after?

In her most ambitious novel yet, Jennifer Weiner tells a story of two sisters who, with their different dreams and different paths, offer answers to the question: How should a woman be in the world?

In August, it’s an adventure thriller – The River by Peter Heller. Wynn and Jack have been best friends since freshman orientation, bonded by their shared love of mountains, books, and fishing. Wynn is a gentle giant, a Vermont kid never happier than when his feet are in the water. Jack is more rugged, raised on a ranch in Colorado where sleeping under the stars and cooking on a fire came as naturally to him as breathing. When they decide to canoe the Maskwa River in northern Canada, they anticipate long days of leisurely paddling and picking blueberries, and nights of stargazing and reading paperback Westerns. But a wildfire making its way across the forest adds unexpected urgency to the journey. When they hear a man and woman arguing on the fog-shrouded riverbank and decide to warn them about the fire, their search for the pair turns up nothing and no one. But: The next day a man appears on the river, paddling alone. Is this the man they heard? And, if he is, where is the woman? From this charged beginning, master storyteller Peter Heller unspools a headlong, heart-pounding story of desperate wilderness survival.

Commonplace Bookstore – WestBend

In September we will kick off our fall reading by meeting at the fun new reading spot — Commonplace Bookstore in WestBend.  They have offered to partner with Home with a Twist and host our bookclub in their gorgeous space.  The shelves are full of exquisite, unique titles.  It’s not your average bookstore, it’s something special.  We will enjoy fun bites and sips, too.  We will be reading Small Fry – a memoir by Lisa Brennan- Jobs daughter of Steve Jobs. Born on a farm and named in a field by her parents―artist Chrisann Brennan and Steve Jobs―Lisa Brennan-Jobs’s childhood unfolded in a rapidly changing Silicon Valley. When she was young, Lisa’s father was a mythical figure who was rarely present in her life. As she grew older, her father took an interest in her, ushering her into a new world of mansions, vacations, and private schools. His attention was thrilling, but he could also be cold, critical and unpredictable. When her relationship with her mother grew strained in high school, Lisa decided to move in with her father, hoping he’d become the parent she’d always wanted him to be. Part portrait of a complex family, part love letter to California in the seventies and eighties, Small Fry is a poignant coming-of-age story from one of our most exciting new literary voices.

Don’t wait until September to check out Commonplace.  Stop by and say hello to Kaitlynn, the store manager, and plop down on their stunning green velvet sofa for a coffee and look through all their titles.  They also have a beautiful selection of candles and journals and other gift items.  On Saturday mornings at 10:30 a.m. they offer a fun storytime for the littles (that’s my little in the blonde pigtails in the photo!).

If you are local to Fort Worth, feel free to join us for our July book club discussion Thursday, July 25  at 7 p.m. — we always have sips and snacks! Even if you aren’t local to my area, you can join our bookclub, membership is free, through Bookmovement.  By signing up you will receive notifications on our upcoming meetings and the books we will be reading.  Plus, you can create your personal queue of books you want to read outside of our group and find out new releases and trends in all genres of books.  Friends are always welcome.

No matter where you live, we’d love to have you join our community of women spending more time reading and less time using technology.  Join our movement!

Mrs. Twist Reads This — Is Turning Two!

It’s time for cake y’all!  Two years ago I hatched an idea to help me spend more time reading books and less time watching TV.  About six of us met for the first time in my living room as we read Into the Water by Paula Hawkins.  We needed a spread sheet to keep track of the cast of characters.  I think we drank wine and ate snacks, but what I do remember most is how much fun we had talking about books.  There was excitement to fall in love with reading again!  I planned for the bookclub to be just a summer affair, but our members begged me to keep it going all year long!

Eighty-two members and twenty-four books later (there have only been a few duds, see all the books we’ve read here) we’ve had luck with many well-known authors call or Skype into our meetings, made new friends and read books we might not otherwise haven chosen on our own.

Join us Thursday, May 30 at 7 p.m. for our 2nd birthday party where we will discuss a hot new mystery The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides.

The instant #1 New York Times bestseller

“An unforgettable―and Hollywood-bound―new thriller… A mix of Hitchcockian suspense, Agatha Christie plotting, and Greek tragedy.”
―Entertainment Weekly

The Silent Patient is a shocking psychological thriller of a woman’s act of violence against her husband―and of the therapist obsessed with uncovering her motive.

Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.

Alicia’s refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety. The price of her art skyrockets, and she, the silent patient, is hidden away from the tabloids and spotlight at the Grove, a secure forensic unit in North London.

Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations―a search for the truth that threatens to consume him….

If you are local to Fort Worth, feel free to join us for discussion, cake and door prizes Thursday, May 30 at 7 p.m.  Even if you aren’t local to my area, you can join our bookclub, membership is free, through Bookmovement.  By signing up you will receive notifications on our upcoming meetings and the books we will be reading.  Plus, you can create your personal queue of books you want to read outside of our group and find out new releases and trends in all genres of books.

No matter where you live, we’d love to have you join our community of women spending more time reading and less time using technology.  Join our movement! And eat cake – lots of it.

Mrs. Twist Reads This – Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity and Love

This month Mrs. Twist Reads This Bookclub is reading Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity and Love by Dani Shapiro.

“What makes us who we are? What combination of memory, history, biology, experience, and that ineffable thing called the soul defines us?

     In the spring of 2016, through a genealogy website to which she had whimsically submitted her DNA for analysis, Dani Shapiro received the stunning news that her father was not her biological father. She woke up one morning and her entire history–the life she had lived–crumbled beneath her.

Inheritance is a book about secrets–secrets within families, kept out of shame or self-protectiveness; secrets we keep from one another in the name of love. It is the story of a woman’s urgent quest to unlock the story of her own identity, a story that has been scrupulously hidden from her for more than fifty years, years she had spent writing brilliantly, and compulsively, on themes of identity and family history. It is a book about the extraordinary moment we live in–a moment in which science and technology have outpaced not only medical ethics but also the capacities of the human heart to contend with the consequences of what we discover.”

I discovered Ms. Shapiro and her book from her Podcast “Family Secrets” where in each episode guests share long-hidden secrets from their families’ past.  You can also check out her podcast interview with Oprah Winfrey here on Super Soul Sunday.

If you are local to Fort Worth, feel free to join us for discussion and snacks this Thursday, April 25 at 7 p.m.  Even if you aren’t local to my area, you can join our bookclub, membership is free, through Bookmovement.  By signing up you will receive notifications on our upcoming meetings and the books we will be reading.  Plus, you can create your personal queue of books you want to read outside of our group and find out new releases and trends in all genres of books.

No matter where you live, we’d love to have you join our community of women spending more time reading and less time using technology.  Join our movement!

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!