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!

My Easy Three: Suits, Beauty and a Book

This past week was my vacay.  I was looking forward to a week of sunning by the pool and doing projects around the house.  But, a nasty bronchitis bug decided to have a vacay in my lungs so all those plans were out the door.  Despite the fact that I felt terrible and did nothing, I ended up being productive at something:  Resting.  I had one week to be on the couch to watch tv, uninterrupted, nap and just be with myself.  Rest and antibiotics were exactly what the doctor ordered for my vacation.

What did I accomplish and how does this relate to My Easy Three installment (you can read more of MET stories here, here, here , here, and here)?  Well, here are three ideas for what you can do when you are stranded at home with nothing to do:

Binge watch Suits on USA network (I’m up to Season 5 thanks to Amazon Prime).  I wanted to see what all the fuss was with Meghan Markle since I got up at 5:45 a.m. to watch her get married.  My goal is to have Suits finished by the July 18 debut of season seven.  I didn’t watch Mad Men in real time during its heyday, but I managed to watch all seven seasons of that show in three weeks.    I mention Mad Men, because it reminds me a lot of Suits.    I love all the characters, and I thought I would do a fun parallel between characters from each show…

Don Draper and Harvey Specter.  Smoldering and hot.  Both look awesome in a suit and they yell in meetings.  Harvey actually has a better sense of ethics especially in the fidelity department.  Both have a secret and have a hard time sharing their feelings.

Donna Paulsen and Peggy Olson.  Both are loyal employees, smart, funny, sarcastic, quirky, and passionate.  Donna loves Harvey.  Peggy loathed Don at times, but also was probably the closest friend Don ever had.

Peter Campbell and Louis Litt.  There is a constant competition to be at the top for these fellas and beat out Don/Harvey at every turn.  The men you love to hate, but hate to not like.  Peter was too slimy for my taste, but Louis, oh, I would love to have a fun dinner with him.  His delivery of one-liners is the best. #youhavebeenlitt  And they both loved Peggy/Donna.

Last, the wardrobe on this show, omg.  Holley should do a story on what they wear.  The costume designer, Jolie Andreatta, came onto the show in season one, episode four and elevated their style –  “My belief is that men’s wealth gets shown through the women. Their women are the ones who represent the fashion in high-end wealth.”

Let’s just say, none of these women eat cheeseburgers.  Their dresses are tailored to a t — not even a tic-tac can move around.  Jessica and Donna wear dresses.   Rachel (Duchess of Sussex) always wears separates, I think to illustrate that she does not earn the money as a Paralegal by day, law student by night, to afford the Dolce Gabbana or Prada dresses.  And, I have never seen any female at the firm wear a pantsuit.  Jessica, the managing partner played by the amazing Gina Torres, has the BEST accessories.  I’d love to rummage around in her Goodwill bags.

Closing argument:  Watch the show.  You’ll laugh, cry and learn about Tortes.

My second easy three — the book for this month’s Mrs. Twist Reads This by Julie Maloney A Matter of Chance.  It’s been a great book to read during my respite.  I am looking forward to chatting with Ms. Maloney this Thursday when she Skypes with us!  The subject matter is tough, but it’s beautifully written.  If you want to join us for our reads in July and August, head here to learn what’s coming up and join our bookclub.

 

 

And three — pimple medicine.  There is no way to segue from Harvey Spector to zits and it’s not sexy folks, but it’s real.  Even though I am 53, I still get the occasional flare up.  This week’s “pop-up” happened during my sickness and the only person who saw it was my doctor and he’s bound to his terms of client privilege (see how I made that tie into Suits!).  My go-to is Mario Badescu’s drying lotion.

The award-winning on-the-spot solution helps dry up pesky problems overnight and features Salicylic Acid, Sulfur, and Calamine.

It’s my secret weapon and a little dab will do you so it lasts a long time.

Hope you enjoyed this installment!

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!

Mrs. Twists Read This: A Little Thriller and a Lotta Jesus

April is here and it’s time for not one, but two books to read this month in Mrs. Twist Reads This book club.  First up, a debut pyschological thriller by Alice Feeney — Sometimes I Lie.

My name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me:
1. I’m in a coma.
2. My husband doesn’t love me anymore.
3. Sometimes I lie.

Amber wakes up in a hospital. She can’t move. She can’t speak. She can’t open her eyes. She can hear everyone around her, but they have no idea. Amber doesn’t remember what happened, but she has a suspicion her husband had something to do with it. Alternating between her paralyzed present, the week before her accident, and a series of childhood diaries from twenty years ago, this brilliant psychological thriller asks: Is something really a lie if you believe it’s the truth?

There is so much buzz about this book being the best mystery in 2018.  Alice Feeney is a writer and journalist. She spent 15 years at the BBC, where she worked as a Reporter, News Editor, Arts and Entertainment Producer and One O’clock News Producer.  Alice has lived in London and Sydney and has now settled in the Surrey countryside, where she lives with her husband and dog.  Sometimes I Lie is her debut thriller and is being published around the world.

Next, to return our pulses to normal after this book, is the beautiful first book my Courtney Moore “Joyful, Thankful, Prayerful:  A Journal That Organizes your Prayertime.”  When we started our bookclub last summer, it was important to me that we try to dip into all the genres our members have expressed interest in.    Joyful Thankful Prayerful is a prayer journal that organizes your time with God.  It incorporates the prayer method of praise, thanksgiving and petition along with the spirit of 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 that calls us to always have joy, pray without ceasing and give thanks in all circumstances!  The best part is that the author is a Fort Worth resident and has graciously accepted our invitation to join us at our April meeting to share her journey and sign our books!

If you are a not a member of our book club, it’s free and easy to join.  Just sign up here through our site at BookMovement to create your free account and link up to our club’s page.  You will automatically receive email updates on our meetings and the next month’s pick.  You can create a personal queue of books you want to read on your own and there are links to Their Best Books Index , a wonderful resource of new releases and best sellers.

Not local to our meetings in Fort Worth?  No problem.  We have many members who follow us remotely.  If you just want a community of women to read along with, we are your tribe!  Mark your calendar for Wednesday, April 25 at 7 p.m.  Happy Reading!

Mrs. Twist Reads This: Dumplin’

It’s time for this month’s read from our book club — Mrs. Twist Reads This — Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy.  Our book for March will surely put a smile on your face.   Written by Julie Murphy, a YA author, this beloved novel, a #1 New York Times bestseller, will soon be a major motion picture starring Danielle Macdonald and Jennifer Aniston. I hope to see you at our book club meeting the last Thursday of the month, March 29 at 7 p.m.  Tell a friend and get them to read along with us!

For fans of John Green and Rainbow Rowell comes this powerful novel with the most fearless heroine—self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson—from Julie Murphy, the acclaimed author of Side Effects May Vary. With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine—Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.

Dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom, Willowdean has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American-beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked . . .  until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.  

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Teen Blue Bonnet Pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

Want to sign up to read along with us?  Whether you are local to our Fort Worth monthly meetings, or just want to be apart of a community of women reading more and spending less time using technology, sign up for  free here on our Mrs. Twist Reads This page at Bookmovement.

Mrs. Twist Reads This: Bonfire by Krysten Ritter

Our February book club selection is Bonfire by Krysten Ritter.  You can link up to our club’s page to sign up for a free membership to our book club through Book Movement.

Here’s the synopsis of the book…

From actress, producer, and writer Krysten Ritter, a gripping, tightly wound suspense novel about a woman forced to confront her past in the wake of small-town corruption
 
It has been ten years since Abby Williams left home and scrubbed away all visible evidence of her small-town roots. Now working as an environmental lawyer in Chicago, she has a thriving career, a modern apartment, and her pick of meaningless one-night stands.

But when a new case takes her back home to Barrens, Indiana, the life Abby painstakingly created begins to crack. Tasked with investigating Optimal Plastics, the town’s most high-profile company and economic heart, Abby begins to find strange connections to Barrens’s biggest scandal from more than a decade ago, involving the popular Kaycee Mitchell and her closest friends—just before Kaycee disappeared for good.

Abby knows the key to solving any case lies in the weak spots, the unanswered questions. But as she tries desperately to find out what really happened to Kaycee, troubling memories begin to resurface and she begins to doubt her own observations. And when she unearths an even more disturbing secret—a ritual called “The Game”—it will threaten reputations, and lives, in the community and risk exposing a darkness that may consume her.

With tantalizing twists, slow-burning suspense, and a remote rural town of just five claustrophobic square miles, Bonfire is a dark exploration of what happens when your past and present collide.

We are meeting on Tuesday, February 27 at 7 p.m. to review the book.  And as always, there will be sips and bites to enjoy as we discuss.  Have a booking loving friend?  Bring them along!

Happy reading!

Mrs. Twist Reads This: I’m Proud of You

Is “Read More” on your resolution list?  Then, consider this your personal invitation to join our Mrs. Twist Reads This book club!  It’s free, we meet once a month and have fun discussing each month’s selection while we nosh and sip.  Save the date for Wednesday, January 31 at 7 p.m.

This month’s book is I’m Proud of You by Tim Madigan.

“It began as another newspaper assignment, a celebrity profile of the children’s television icon. But in Fred Rogers, Texas journalist Tim Madigan found more than a fascinating subject. From their first meeting in 1995, at Rogers’ invitation, the two became unlikely friends, a deep and abiding relationship that lasted until Rogers’ death in 2003. In that time, Madigan found Rogers to be much more than the calm and compassionate personality of television. He was a person of unique human greatness who embodied love, compassion and wisdom his every waking moment. He was the transcendent being who guided Madigan through periods of life-threatening depression and the tragic death of a sibling and helped him heal his difficult relationship with his father. I’m Proud of You reveals Fred Rogers as a person who deserves a place among history’s greatest people. It chronicles male friendship at its finest and most powerful. And it is a book that has already brought hope and inspiration to many thousands of its readers.”

Here’s an even better part — The author, Tim Madigan, will be joining us to answer all our questions, share additional insights and sign your books!  You may best know Tim from his writing at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. By the mid-1990s, Tim had become one of the most decorated newspaper reporters in recent Texas history (three times named the state’s top reporter), while writing about everything from sick children, to serial killers, cowboy poets, to his own experiences as a husband and father.  He is so personable and I just know you will enjoy getting to meet him.  I am honored, that with bribery of homemade carrot cake, he accept my invitation to join us for the evening.

Want to join us?  Visit our book club’s page at BookMovement by clicking on this invitation link here to sign up.  It’s free and by creating an account you will receive notification emails from me when a new book has been selected and when the club is planning to meet.  You can also use the site to RSVP your attendance at our monthly gathering, create your personal queue of books, follow discussion boards and see the newest releases from your favorite author.  Our book club usually meets the last Thursday of the month in Fort Worth (we adjusted this month’s gathering to accommodate Tim’s schedule).  But, even if you don’t live locally and just want motivation and accountability to spend more time reading, you can follow along remotely.  I select each book based on the group’s interest and so far we’ve read some pretty good books!

I hope we will see you at the end of the month!  Until then, happy reading!

Mrs. Twist Reads This: Best Day Ever

Our bookclub is coming up the week after Thanksgiving and I wanted to share what we’re reading this month, and if you have time during the holiday, some ideas on other books to read over the week.

In the bestselling, page-turning vein of The Couple Next Door and The Dinner, Kaira Rouda weaves a gripping, tautly suspenseful tale of deception and betrayal dark enough to destroy a marriage…or a life.

“I glance at my wife as she climbs into the passenger seat, and I am bursting with confidence. Today will be everything I’ve promised her…and more…”

Paul Strom has the perfect life: a glittering career as an advertising executive, a beautiful wife, two healthy boys and a big house in a wealthy suburb. And he’s the perfect husband: breadwinner, protector, provider. That’s why he’s planned a romantic weekend for his wife, Mia, at their lake house, just the two of them. And he’s promised today will be the best day ever.

But as Paul and Mia drive out of the city and toward the countryside, a spike of tension begins to wedge itself between them and doubts start to arise. How much do they trust each other? And how perfect is their marriage, or any marriage, really?

Forcing us to ask ourselves just how well we know those who are closest to us, Best Day Ever crackles with dark energy, spinning ever tighter toward its shocking conclusion.

Want to join in and read it with us?  Join the Mrs. Twist Reads This book club through BookMovement. It’s free and even if you don’t live local to our monthly meetings, you can still join our club!  It’s a great way to create accountability to spend more time reading and less time using technology.

Here’s a fun link I found for “Eleven Books You Can Read Over Thanksgiving.”  I hope to maybe checkout one or two of these books after I’ve finished all my cooking.

What is Your Tendency?

I am reading an interesting book right now in my book club Mrs. Twist Reads This (read more here).  The Four Tendencies by NYT best-selling author, Gretchen Rubin, is an indispensable personality profile that reveals how to make your life better, and other people’s lives, too.

During her multi-book investigation into human nature, Gretchen Rubin realized that by asking the suspiciously simple question “How do I respond to expectations?” we gain explosive self-knowledge.

She discovered that people fit into Four Tendencies:  Upholders, Questioners, Obligers, and Rebels.  Our Tendency shapes every aspect of our behavior, so understanding this framework lets us make better decisions, meet deadlines, suffer less stress and burnout, and engage more effectively.

The first step is to determine what your tendency is.  Visit her website here to take a free, simple quiz.  After you have completed the quiz you will automatically learn your tendency.  Then dive into the book to learn more about how to use your tendency to become happier, healthier, more productive and more creative.  It will be fun to guess what other people are.  For example, I know that Mr. Bee is a Questioner.  I can’t tell you my tendency…you have to wait until book club night!

The Four Tendencies hold practical answers if you’ve ever wondered:

  • People rely on me, so why can’t I rely on myself?
  • Why do people tell me that I ask too many questions?
  • How do I work with someone who refuses to do what I ask – or one who keeps telling me what to do?
  • How do I stop by teenager from dropping out of school?
  • Why can’t I convince my patients to take their prescriptions?
  • How can my team become more effective, with less wasted time and conflict?

At our book club meeting on October 26 we are going to do a fun activity to learn what our tendencies are and help each other to harness our strengths.  Wanna join the fun?  Visit BookMovement, our book club website to sign up for a free account.  Use this invitation code to join our club, and whether you are local or far away, you can be a part of a community spending more time reading and less time using technology!