Thursday, March 3, 2011

After the Dancing Days

Phew!  This is the last catch up post and then we are all up to date!

Last night we had a great meeting discussing After the Dancing Days by Margaret I. Rostkowski.  This is the story of 13 year old Annie Metcalf whose father is coming back from his assignment treating wounded soldiers as a doctor during World War I.  Annie begins visiting him at the new hospital where he is now working to continue to treat and help WWI vets who have been severely injured.  Annie overcomes her initial revulsion to a young man (Andrew) whose face has been completely destroyed by exposure to mustard gas and a deep friendship blooms.

A couple of our readers had read this YA novel years ago and loved it and found it very interesting to revisit it now as adults.  They noted that through adult eyes it was much easier to understand Annie's mother's desire to protect her young daughter from the ugliness of war.  We discussed the desire to forget the ugly things that happened during the war and pretend like they didn't happen.  This brought us to a discussion of people who look different today and how we react to them.  Whether the people we come in contact with have mental challenges or physical challenges, we discussed how every person wants and needs to be acknowledged no matter what their appearance is like.  Another insightful point of our discussion for me was in considering Andrew's choice and strength of character in moving on with his life.  He found a job that he could do and a way to help and serve others despite his obvious challenges.  It was instructive for me to consider that no matter what challenges I may have it is important to find a way to keep going, moving forward and finding ways to help others and find self-worth in what I can do, rather than wallowing in self-pity for what I can't accomplish.

We all know book club wouldn't be book club without food! Here are Lindsey's recipes for the delicious treats we enjoyed!

Although it doesn't have to be be 7 layers, here are suggestions for the layers of the bean dip:
Bottom layer: 2 cans refried beans mixed with 1 package of taco seasoning
Next layer: Guacamole (either homemade or canned, but if you use homemade, make sure you put lemon juice in it. Otherwise, it will not keep a nice green color.)
3rd layer: sour cream
4th layer: shredded cheese (any kind works)
(these 4 layers are the main ones. All layers following can be whatever you personally like)
5th layer: chopped tomoates
6th layer: chopped green onions
7th layer: olives

Fruit pizza
(makes one pizza crust):
1 can 16-18 oz refrigerated sugar cookie dough
(Or homemade recipe. This is the one I used:
Cream together 1/2 c softened butter and 3/4 c white sugar. Mix in 1 egg. Add 1 1/4 c flour, 1/2 t baking soda, and 1/4 t salt.)

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Press cookie dough into a well-greased pizza pan.
3. Bake 10 minutes (could be shorter or longer depending on the thickness of the crust. It will continue baking after it's pulled out of the oven, so take it out just when it's starting to turn a golden brown color.)
4. Cool completely.

Cream cheese topping (makes enough for 2 pizzas):
1 8 oz package of cream cheese (straight from the fridge)
5 T room temperature butter
1 t vanilla
Cream these together.
Add 2 c powdered sugar

Add whatever fruit toppings you want after frosting the pizzas (I used mandarin oranges, kiwis, strawberries, grapes, and bananas).
Chill for at least 1 hour.

Fire in the Bones

For our January meeting we "discussed" the book,  Fire in the Bones: William Tyndale, Martyr, Father of the English Bible by S. Michael Wilcox.  This book proved, I think, a little too intellectual and not reader friendly for our readers (I can say that without making somebody feel bad because I chose the book!).  I was really the only person who attended who had read the book, but I still say it is an amazing book and for me it read like a novel.  I loved learning about William Tyndale and found that knowing more about him and other reformers deepened my gratitude for their lives and sacrifices.  Further, it led me to feel a deep and profound gratitude for the Bible.  (As a side note I have an ancestor who is discussed at the very end of the book, John Rogers who continued Tyndale's work and who was also burned at the stake for him participation in moving that work forward). 

The book is written by an LDS author whose purpose in writing is to help an LDS audience appreciate the significance of the work of William Tyndale.  He points out, quite rightly, that Tyndale fought battles that made it possible for Joseph Smith to perform his work.  One of my favorite links from the Reformation to the Restoration is that Tyndale said that he wanted for the plow-boy to know more of the scriptures than the priest (because the priests knew little of the actual contents of the Bible and the plow-boy would be able to read the translated work).  That was certainly fulfilled in the person of Joseph Smith who was a plow-boy who read, loved, and applied the holy words of the Bible to his own situation which lead to coming to know his own mission on earth.

As I told our readers this is on my list of life-changing books.  We had a great discussion about our own purposes and how we must have the same sense of conviction to accomplish what we need to on earth, most notably raising our children.  It was a fun discussion!  Thanks Ladies!!!

Children's Book Review

Ok, ok, so I'm way behind on updating our book club blog.  I'll try to get us all up to date today! :)

In January we had a Children's book review.  We did this because we knew that nobody would have a chance to read a big long novel in December.  We had a great time talking about some of our favorite children's and adolescent books.  I don't think I could possibly capture what was said about all the books, and yes, there were many(!), but I will just say that we loved talking about children's books and I can definitely say I added a lot of books to my to-read list at our January meeting! :)

Feel free to comment with other favorite children's books that we should all know about! :)