Tag Archives: The Bean Trees

Book Club Reflection: The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver

30 Dec

This is quite long delay, but my work book club had a quick little discussion of Barbara Kingsolver’s book The Bean Trees that I want to share with you all. You can read the review I wrote of the book here. I gave this one a full five out of five.

The other ladies agreed with me that the book had a delightfully strong voice. A lot of Taylor’s personality came out in the way she spoke. We didn’t get to know Lou Ann as well because her portion was narrated in the third person. When we were first introduced to her character, one woman really wondered how they would come together, being so far apart geographically and having so little in common. Well, we came to find out very quickly.

We liked all of the characters, even the smaller characters. A favorite was Taylor’s mother. She was a strong woman to raise Taylor on her own and she was a good mother and still let Taylor be herself. It was sad that Taylor wanted to leave so badly, but it was good that her mother let her chase that dream.

We thought Lou Ann had a very non-traditional approach to family. She had a strained relationship with her mother, who had a bad relationship with her mother-in-law. However, Lou Ann loved her ex-husband’s family because they mutually disliked her ex-husband. It wasn’t really a surprise that her character would so easily accept Taylor and Turtle into her extended family.

Matti was a great character as well. She was very brave to do what she did and even braver to be so outspoken about it. She was a good person at heart and it was her warmheartedness that led to her breaking the law.

My very own Turtle, Jane.

My very own Turtle, Jane.

Turtle was a good name to give Turtle/April. We know Taylor gave it to her because she was grabby, but she was also in her own shell a lot of the time. (As a side note, not all turtles are afraid of everything all the time. This is my turtle, Jane. She’s very outgoing.) She was able to be pulled out of her shell gradually so that she wasn’t afraid all the time. But can you really blame the girl? I don’t.

One of the other women pointed out that Taylor was very passive aggressive, which I hadn’t noticed the first time through. When someone handed her a child, she didn’t object.  I’m not sure you can get more passive aggressive than that. There were other times when she didn’t fight back against what was happening to her; when she realized she loved Estevan, when she was initially uncomfortable with the relationship with Lou Ann, etc. What changed her was when she might lose Turtle. She couldn’t stand that thought.

We found it strange that there was no concern over money in the book. Lou Ann and Taylor are both making minimum wage (or there about) but don’t seem to worry about what they can buy or how they’ll pay rent. I make more than minimum wage and I still worry about that stuff! I wish I had their confidence.

One woman in our group made a comment about how much violence there was in the book and I hadn’t noticed it until she said something. It was all implied violence, none of it really happened in the plot of the novel. There was the death by tire explosion, the murders and kidnappings that chased Estevan and Esperanza out of their country, and there was Turtle’s implied abusive background. I liked that Kingsolver kept the violence in the background so it wasn’t a focus, but it was used to move the plot along.

We also found a lot of religious satire in the book. Jesus is Lord Used Tires was kind of funny in name, but the place itself was a haven for the refugees. They were some of the most religious people in the whole book. When Taylor saw the 1-800-THE-LORD phone number, she thought it was going to be somewhere she could turn to and get answers, but it turned out to be a fundraiser. The characters found religion in very unexpected places.

The event we talked about the most was the adoption scenes. Reading about Esperanza giving Turtle away was so hard to read because of what it put Esperanza through. It was a lot for Taylor to ask of her new friends. It was almost as if Esperanza was loosing her daughter twice. I asked if it might have been therapeutic, but we agreed it wasn’t. Turtle even looked like their daughter, which only makes things worse.

Ultimately, was the adoption the right thing to do? We think that there were a lot of other things Taylor should have tried first. There were relatives somewhere, even if the mother was dead. The woman who gave Turtle to Taylor could have been a surviving relative. Speaking of that, Taylor might have tried resisting the child in the beginning. If someone hands me their kid, I think I’d ask a few more questions. Mattie might have been helpful in locating her parents, she seemed to have some good connections. However, the adoption is what was best for Turtle. It gave Taylor a purpose, too, and the two of them were a great team.

The adoption was a big step for Taylor’s character. In the beginning, she resisted the non-nuclear family she was forming with Lou Ann, thinking that it somehow meant less because they weren’t related. But the non-nuclear families in this book were the strongest. Taylor left her mother behind, but not Taylor. Lou Ann’s ex-in-laws loved her more than their son. And the closest relationships were friendships.

The next book we’re reading together is Attachments by Rainbow Rowell, which I’ve just started. We’ll be talking about it in the new year.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 3-December-2014

3 Dec

Time for MizB’s WWW meme yet again! I’m still at the tipping point for many of my books so expect a bunch of updates to come in a rush. It’s more fun that way, right?

www_wednesdays4The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently reading:  My ebook is still The Domesday Book by Connie Willis. As always, it’s progressing slowly though I’ve been able to read a few good chunks of it in the last few days which has been great.
I’m getting close to the end of Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett on audio but haven’t made much progress since I’ve been out-of-town. I’m getting antsy to finish it soon, though!
The audiobook on my phone is California by Eden Lepucki and I’ve finally made it to Chapter 10. I’m going to put this on hold, though, so I can concentrate on an e-audiobook from the library. Darn due dates.
I’m in the middle of my last book for the When Are You Reading? Challenge, These Is My Words by Nancy E. Turner. I really disliked this book at the beginning, but I’ve since been sucked into it and I hope to finish soon!

Recently finished: I finished The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver last Wednesday and I loved it! I’m excited to have my book discussion with the work girls tomorrow.

Reading Next:   My next physical book will be The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood for a book club. I’ve also got Paper Towns by John Green checked out as an e-audiobook which I’ll be starting on ASAP. I’ve only got 18 days to finish it up and I’m super excited.

The school semester ends next week and I hope to get some quality reading time once it’s done. That will be my Christmas present. How is your WWW? Leave a comment and let me know and check out the original post on MizB’s blog!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 26-November-2014

26 Nov

Time for MizB’s WWW meme yet again! And moderate progress again! I think it will all come at once, a big wave of books being finished to share with you. But until then, bear with me.

www_wednesdays4The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently reading:  My ebook is still The Domesday Book by Connie Willis. As always, it’s progressing slowly yet steadily. I hope to make some more progress as life slows down a bit. It’s a great story and I’m really enjoying it
I’m getting close to the end of Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett on audio. I just popped in disk 27 of 32 so the end is in sight. It’s just a manner of getting across that finish line
The audiobook on my phone is California by Eden Lepucki. The narrator is getting on my nerves a bit but I”m enjoying it. This will become my main audiobook when I finish ‘Pillars.’ When that miracle finally occurs.
I got my copy of The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver from the ladies at work and I’m flying through it. I’m really enjoying the story and adore that the little girl’s name is Turtle. So awesome!

Recently finished: I finished The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri this past week and LOVED it! You’ll see a lot of posts about this one coming up soon because I have a book review, a book v. movie post and a book club reflection to do on it. And I promise, it’s all worth it.

Reading Next:   I’m still planning to read the last book for my When Are You Reading? Challenge, These Is My Words by Nancy Turner. AND I have a book club book for January, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. The other book club’s selection for January is TBD, but I have that looming over my head as well. I’ll add it here when we find out what it will be!

We’re flying out to California this weekend for Thanksgiving so I should have plenty of time to read on the plane. If I’m not bogged down finishing NaNoWriMo of course! How is your WWW? Leave a comment and let me know and check out the original post on MizB’s blog!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Friday 56, 21-Nov-2014

21 Nov

Welcome to the pre-Thanksgiving edition of The Friday 56 hosted by Freda on Freda’s Voice. Head on over there and check out the other participating blogs. The community has been really great and I’m excited to jump in!

Friday 56

The way this meme works is pretty simple. If you want to join in, head over to Freda’s blog and add your link.

Rules:
*Grab a book, any book (I grab the one I’m currently reading)
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it) that grab you.
*Post it.

The book I’ve in the middle of now is The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver. I’m reading this with a few women from my work and I’m the last one to read the copy so I’m rushing through it. I hit page 56 last night and here’s a great quote:

Whenever Ivy looked at her Lou Ann could feel the tired half-moons under her own eyes.

Barbara Kingsolver hits you over the head with great sentences like this one. This book alternates between a first person point of view and a third person, which is where this quote comes from. Lou Ann is a new mother and I can picture her so vividly with tired bags under her yes. But Kingsolver says ‘half-moons.’ It’s so beautiful.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 19-November-2014

19 Nov

Time for MizB’s WWW meme yet again! AND I FINISHED A BOOK! WOOOOOO.

www_wednesdays4The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently reading:  My ebook is still The Domesday Book by Connie Willis and it’s finally back in! I make a point to read at least a little every day so hopefully I’m progressing well. I’m making steady progress Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett on audio. It’s so good and it will be weird to not be with these characters anymore when I’m finally through with it. I think this is how Follett is getting me to buy his next book. Damn him. The audiobook on my phone is California by Eden Lepucki. My goal was to make some progress on this one and I did. Yay me. I still have a lot to go, but something is better than nothing. I’m working through my next book club selection, The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri and I’m only two chapters from the end. It’s torture to stop, but I keep getting so mad at a character that I have to put it down and breath. Ugh.

Recently finished: I rushed to the finish line of Read Along #2 and finished The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar on Sunday. It was so good! I’m excited to see how the end of the discussion goes on this exciting read.

I got one book review written but it’s a doozy! I posted my review of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl yesterday. Warning, there are MASSIVE spoilers. Read if you dare!

Reading Next:  I got the copy of The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver that my work book club was passing around so it’s time for that next. I also grabbed the last book for my When Are You Reading? Challenge, These Is My Words by Nancy Turner. AND I have a book club book for January, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. I’m really pumped to read all of these!

There’s so much upcoming but I can’t wait to get started on all of them in time for the holidays. How is your WWW? Leave a comment and let me know and check out the original post on MizB’s blog!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 12-November-2014

12 Nov

Time for MizB’s WWW meme yet again! And while I’m moving forward, it’s not fast enough. Darn.

www_wednesdays4The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently reading:  My ebook is still The Domesday Book by Connie Willis, and it’s still checked out to someone else and waiting on hold. I hope I don’t forget too much of it before I get it back! I’ve finished the next section of Read Along #2The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar and OMG I want to keep reading. I’m torturing myself to read this so slowly. I’m making steady progress Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett on audio. I just renewed it for the third time yesterday so I hope to make some more progress in the next month so I don’t have to hold onto it through the holidays. The audiobook on my phone is California by Eden Lepucki but I have no progress to report. I haven’t had much time to listen to it by myself. I’ll use it as my next car audio selection but that requires finishing Pillars so it might be a while. I’m working through my next book club selection, The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri. So far it’s pretty great. The only struggle is keeping all the Indian names straight between this and Umrigar’s novel. I think I can handle it.

Recently finished: Nothing finished this week unfortunately. I’m not sure what I’ll finish next, to be honest. I’m right in the middle of most of these.

I did get around to writing a book review of Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling by Ross King if you want to check that out. Warning: it’s not flattering.

Reading Next:  I’ll get a copy of The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver soon so I’m still planning to read that. I’ve been told the woman before me is ‘almost done’ so this will be next after Namesake.

I’m going to make an effort to listen to California this week. There’s got to be some time I’m free while cleaning, right?! How is your WWW? Leave a comment and let me know and check out the original post on MizB’s blog!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 5-November-2014

5 Nov

Time for MizB’s WWW meme yet again! And there is finally progress to report! Yay progress.

www_wednesdays4The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently reading:  My ebook is still The Domesday Book by Connie Willis, but I don’t have it checked out now and it’s likely to be two weeks before I can get it back. Stay tuned. I’ve working on the next section of Read Along #2The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar. I want to keep plowing ahead with this one, it’s a struggle to stop each week. I’m making steady progress Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett on audio. I’m about half way done now, which is crazy. This plot is so involved, I’m not sure how he’s going to wrap it up! The audiobook on my phone is California by Eden Lepucki. I’ve haven’t done as much with this one now that football season is over (yay) and my husband is around more. I hope to keep listening to it, though, it’s really enjoyable. I grabbed the next book club selection as well, The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri. I recommended reading this one and a lot of people have said it’s a great read, so I’m really excited.

Recently finished: I flew through Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I wanted to read it so I can go see the movie and be able to compare the two. That’s my favorite part of movies lately.

Reading Next:  I’ll get a copy of The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver soon. I’m the last in the rotation for my work book club so I’ll be the only one holding up the discussion. We’ll see.

Not sure I’ll have anything finished by next week but that’s always the goal. How is your WWW? Leave a comment and let me know and check out the original post on MizB’s blog!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 29-October-2014

29 Oct

Time for MizB’s WWW meme yet again! I’ve finally started moving forward, thankfully! So here’s a new set of books!

www_wednesdays4The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently reading:  My ebook is still The Domesday Book by Connie Willis, but I don’t have it checked out now and it’s likely to be two weeks before I can get it back. Stay tuned. I’ve finished the next section of Read Along #2The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar. I want to keep plowing ahead with this one, it’s a struggle to stop each week. I’m making steady progress Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett on audio. I’m around disk 14 now and I’ve renewed it for the first time. I’ll keep counting how many times I need to do that. And there are two new books! I started an audiobook on my phone, California by Eden Lepucki. This was a free Audible download courtesy of the Ford Audiobook Club. If you haven’t seen this on Goodreads, go check it out. You get a free audiobook every month and they don’t expire. This was the September selection so I’m behind on discussion, but I’ve got the October selection downloaded as well. This book is perfect for time spent unpacking and cooking. I recommend it. I’ve also jumped on the bandwagon with my physical book selection; Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I’ve heard so much about the movie that I want to read the book so I can go see it! I have two other books that I need to be reading now, but I’ve got to get this one out-of-the-way first.

Recently finished: I’ve finally finished Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling by Ross King. YAY! I finished it and promptly took an hour-long nap. It’s that kind of book. I think this would be a great research book if I were writing a thesis, but this was not a good book club selection and I wish I’d skipped it.

I’ve also gotten a book review done, so check out my recap of The Compound by S.A. Bodeen.

Reading Next:  I’ll get a copy of The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver soon as a part of my work book group. The first person to read it really liked it and the second person is in process. No word yet to how that’s going.

Ideally, I’ll finish Gone Girl this week but with Halloween and the beginning of NaNo (which I’ll post on soon), that doesn’t seem likely. How is your WWW? Leave a comment and let me know and check out the original post on MizB’s blog!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 22-October-2014

22 Oct

Time for MizB’s WWW meme yet again! It’s safe to say progress has stalled. And I know where to point the finger.

www_wednesdays4The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently reading:  My ebook is still The Domesday Book by Connie Willis. I just had it e-returned to the e-library until my e-hold brings it back. I’m about half way through and I’m really loving it so I hope I get it back soon. I’m working my way through the next section of Read Along #2The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar. This book is so good and so sad at the same time. I’m torn. The book club book of the moment is Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling by Ross King. Here I point the finger. This book is dragging! I can’t wait to finish the last 40 pages. I’ve chosen another book to read next to get me out of this slump! I’m making steady progress Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett on audio. I put disk 10 in today! Here’s to progress!

Recently finished: Nothing this week, again. This is what happens when you move.

Reading Next:   The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver has gone to the second person in our three person rotation so I’ll be reading that soon. And, my ‘big’ announcement, I’ve decided to read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn to try to get me out of my reading slump. I hope it works!

I’m more than determined to finish Michelangelo this week. I’ve got to move on to something else! How is your WWW? Leave a comment and let me know and check out the original post on MizB’s blog!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 15-October-2014

15 Oct

Time for MizB’s WWW meme yet again! It’s safe to say progress has stalled.

www_wednesdays4The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently reading:  My ebook is still The Domesday Book by Connie Willis. I’ve only progressed another 5% to a total of 35% this week. I mean, its progress, right? I’ve finished the second section of Read Along #2The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar so no further progress to report. No progress on Misterio de La Guia de Ferrocarriles by Agatha Christie this week either. I’ve been reading my book club selection instead. Speaking of which, the book club book is Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling by Ross King. Last week I said I could power through. This week, I’m not so confident. It’s put me in a bit of a reading slump. Though I’m making steady progress Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett on audio. I’m three disks in to the whopping 31 disk set, but at least I’m moving forward!

Recently finished: Nothing this week. But I did write two reviews, Canada by Richard Ford and The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory.

Reading Next:  No change here. I’m still targeting The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver for my work book club.

Between moving this weekend and being in a reading slump, I’m not too optimistic about finishing anything this week. We’ll have to see. How is your WWW? Leave a comment and let me know and check out the original post on MizB’s blog!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!