Category Archives: Fiction

The Hobbit – Summary, Questions, Etc.

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The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien is a magical tale, in all the best senses of that phrase.  It tells the story of a hobbit named Bilbo Baggins, an every-man despite the fact that he isn’t a man.  He deals with his unexpected adventure the way most of us would.  He’s scared, cranky, and more often than not, wishing that he had stayed at home in his nice comfy hobbit hole.  But the fact that Bilbo didn’t really want to be on this trip doesn’t take away from the adventure, it adds to it because it is through Bilbo that the reader feels connected to the story.  It may be hard to relate to a wizard or a dwarf, but Bilbo is familiar to us, because in some way, he is us.  Bilbo is thrown into the midst of a party of dwarves looking to reclaim their homeland from the dragon, Smaug.  Along the way, they encounter giant spiders, men who turn into bears or vis versa, elves, goblins, and a magical ring.  Bilbo grows from a frightened hobbit to the leader of these brave souls.  He grows and is never the same again. (http://carolinelibrarybookclub.blogspot.com/2012/12/the-hobbit-review-and-discussion.html)

Discussion Questions: (From various sources and some of our own)

1. How might Tolkien’s tone and content change if he included a few lady hobbits, elves, or dwarves in this adventure? Why do you think he didn’t include them? http://www.shmoop.com/hobbit/questions.html

2. Are you reading this for the first time? If this is a re-read, what is different from your first time? How has the experience changed?

3. Did the author do a good job of world building? Why or why not?

4. Which of the characters did you like the most? Which did you dislike? Were you able to keep the characters straight?

5. Were there parts of the book you especially enjoyed, or parts you did not like?

6. Did the plot take turns you did not expect, or did you find it predictable?

7. What was the most influential factor in drawing you in or turning you off the book? (Pick a passage, a character, a scene, an idea, etc.)

8. The Hobbit is 75 years old. Why do you think we are still reading it (and making movies of it)?

9. A frequent complaint about The Hobbit is the amount of songs and poems included. Did you read them? If you did, did you enjoy them? (http://www.galesburglibrary.org/BookClub/Hobbit.pdf – questions 2-9)

10. Have you read the original chapter “Riddles in the Dark” that later was revised to accommodate Lord of the Rings?

11. Why do you think that Gandalf picked Bilbo to go on the quest with the dwarves?  He lies and tells them that Bilbo is a burglar, but adds that hobbits can often go unnoticed.  Why include a hobbit at all since they hate adventure? (http://carolinelibrarybookclub.blogspot.com/2012/12/the-hobbit-review-and-discussion.html)

12. What is different from the story and the movie?

Movie Information and Sitehttp://www.thehobbit.com/

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Official Trailerhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SDnYMbYB-nU

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Linda offers several Reading Choices by or about Pearl Buck

By Pearl Buck:

The Good Earth (her Pulitzer Prize winner/historical novel about Chinese peasant life, turn of the twentieth century)

My Several Worlds (her autobiography)

The Fighting Angel (biography of her missionary father)

The Exile (biography of her missionary mother)

The Child Who Never Grew (about her severely mentally handicapped daughter)

The Townsman – under the pseudonym John Sedges (She wrote several historical novels about turn of the century Kansas under this name, to prove her worth to the literary community at the time.)

There are, of course, many other novels about China.  The Good Earth is actually a trilogy.  The second is Sons; the third is A House Divided.

About Pearl Buck:

Pearl S. Buck:  A Cultural Biography – Peter Conn

A Woman in Conflict – Nora Stirling

Pearl Buck in China – Hilary Spurling

Pearl of China – Anchee Min (this is actually historical fiction, but follows Pearl Buck’s life growing up in China very closely)

Just some ideas.  Feel free to choose anything you’d like.  Many of these books are out of print, but are available on Amazon.  Linda also has some, and is happy to lend them.

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May’s Meeting at the Pearl Buck House

Thank you Linda for organizing this exciting event to the Pearl Buck House. Please read below Linda’s detailed letter for further information:

I’ve confirmed our May 10th date to hold our meeting at Pearl Buck International.  As I outlined earlier, we will first have the Legacy Tour, and then our book club meeting.  We should supply wine and snacks.  They will provide water and sodas.

I’m excited that Charles Snyder will be joining us to moderate our discussion.  He did this for my other book club, and we all agree, this was the best meeting we ever had!!  Charles is a former librarian and has been conducting the Pearl Buck Book Club for some years now.  He’s delightful, a great moderator, and has many insights as well.

Our agenda for the evening will be:

·         7:00 – 7:30 – arrival, wine and snacks

·         7:30 – 8:15 – Legacy Tour conducted by CEO Janet Mintzer and VP, Relationship Development Tony Luna

·         8:15 – 9:00 – Book discussion with Charles Snyder, along with more wine and snacks

You can read any book of your choice either about or by Pearl Buck.  This format provided lots of interesting discussion for my other book club.  I’m sure it will be even more interesting with this group of much more serious readers!

If you need directions, or are interested in any more information about Pearl Buck International, their website ishttp://www.pearlsbuck.org/ .

Thanks,   Linda

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How well have you read The Mezzanine?

Now that you have been reading The Mezzanine for sometime, see if you can pass this quiz: http://www.bookrags.com/studyguide-the-mezzanine/free-quiz.html. GOOD LUCK!

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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Character Breakdown

Main Character:  Juliet Ashton (British – writer – aka Izzy Bickerstaff and wrote semi-weekly column for Spectator called Izzy Bickerstaff Goes to War also wrote about Anne Bronte)

–        33 yrs. old, brown hair, her parents died when she was 12, lived with great uncle in London, then to boarding school where she met Sophia (p. 118)

–        had a fiancé, who dies – Rob Dartry p . 19

–        suitor – Markham Reynolds (American) – publisher, sends lots of flowers , likes to go out, asks to marry her (p. 132)

–        publicist helper – Susan Scott organizes book tour

–        hateful reporter – Gilly Gilbert p. 18

–        publisher – Sidney Stark of Stevens and Stark’s  – he breaks leg in Australia while visiting friend Piers

–        Sidney’s sister and her close friend from boarding school – Sophia Strachan – married Anthony with child – Dominic

–        Lady Bella Taunton – fire wardens together – write recommendation for her – p. 42

–        Reverend Simon Simpless – recommendation letter – p. 45

–        she visits Guernsey on 21 May 1946 (p. 159)

Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society Members:

Rules for the club: p. 51

Island: 7 miles long by 5 miles wide, 42,000 inhabitants, off the coast of France, once belonged to Duchy of Normandy but when he became William the Conqueror, he gave the islands to England (p. 111)

Dawsey Adams – pig farmer – reads Charles Lamb, the copy once owned by Juliet – The Selected Essays of Elia, sends Juliet white lilies, quiet, reserved, Juliet falls in love with him and proposes (272)

Amelia Maugery – lives in a manor house and farm by the sea –  secret pig roast and hence started group p. 28

Elizabeth McKenna was a servant of Sir Ambrose Ivers, who took Elizabeth after her mother died, (p. 66), with German Captain and doctor Christian Hallman have baby Christina – Kit born April 1942 and being raised by the members of the Society, Elizabeth sent to prison camp in France for sheltering and feeding an escaped prisoner, executed March 1945 at Ravensbrueck

Isola Pribby – lives in cottage next to Amelia, has chickens, goat, Ariel and parrot , Zenobia, fond of Bronte sisters, p. 53, has letters from Oscar Wilde to her grandmother Granny Pheen (p. 234 -)

Eben Ramsey – fisherman, read Selections from Shakespeare, Eli is grandson – was evacuated to England and is now 12(p. 74), daughter Jane and new born baby died the day the Germans bombed the island on 6/28/40

Clara Saussey – reads from her own cookbook and drives everyone mad (p.103)

John Booker – read The Letters of Seneca: Translated from Latin in one Volume, pretended to be Lord Tobias Penn-Piers, was his valet before he fled to England (p. 88) and lives in his house, drinks his wine and wears his silk pjs., is drunk at the 1st mtg. found out (p. 148)

Clovis Fossey – courted widow Hubert with poetry, p. 73

Sally Ann Frobisher (p. 143), Micah Daniels (p. 145) food list, Will Thisbee (pie)

Remy Giraud – friends with Elizabeth while at Ravensbrueck Concentration Camp – letter p. 178

Adelaide Addison – not in the group – Christian women who despises the others

German occupying soldiers – arrived June 30, 1940 – there to fortify islands using Todt or slave workers(105) and under Himmler’s horrifying Death by Exhaustion campaign

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