We’re going into the Wild West for this one. Here’s the summary of the book:
Two decades after the Civil War, Josephine Marcus, the teenage daughter of Jewish immigrants, is lured west with the promise of marriage to Johnny Behan, one of Arizona’s famous lawmen. She leaves her San Francisco home to join Behan in Tombstone, Arizona, a magnet for miners (and outlaws) attracted by the silver boom. Though united by the glint of metal, Tombstone is plagued by divided loyalties: between Confederates and Unionists, Lincoln Republicans and Democrats.
But when the silver-tongued Behan proves unreliable, it is legendary frontiersman Wyatt Earp who emerges as Josephine’s match. As the couple’s romance sparks, Behan’s jealousy ignites a rivalry destined for the history books…
At once an epic account of an improbable romance and a retelling of an iconic American tale,The Last Woman Standing recalls the famed gunfight at the O.K. Corral through the eyes of a spunky heroine who sought her happy ending in a lawless outpost—with a fierce will and an unflagging spirit.
We’ll be discussing this book on August 15, 2016. The book is available now for those who are Amazon Prime members. For those who are not Amazon Prime members, the book is available for purchase on July 1, 2016.
Just a reminder that Book Club for “Star Sand” is on June 15, 2016. It’s a very quick read, so you should have it done in a day or two.
“About the Night” will be discussed on July 15, 2016. For those not Prime members, you can now purchase the book (it was just made available to purchase on June 1, 2016).
If you want to join the discussion, sign up for the book club by submitting your email address in the sign up box at the top of the page. Details on the discussion will follow. If you have questions or comments about the book, feel free to leave them in the comments below or on The PW’s Facebook page.
This book is a war fiction novel that takes place during World War II. Here’s the Amazon blurb:
In 1958, a diary is found in a cave on the small Japanese island of Hatoma. Alongside it are the remains of three people.
The journal reveals the story of Hiromi, a sixteen-year-old girl who’d grown up in the United States before living in Japan in the midst of World War II. One day, while collecting star sand—tiny star-shaped fossils—Hiromi finds two army deserters hiding in the seaside cavern—one American, one Japanese. The soldiers don’t speak the same language, but they’ve reached an agreement based on a shared hope: to cause no more harm and survive. Hiromi resolves to care for the men—feeding them and nursing their ailments—despite the risk that, if caught, she’ll die alongside them as a traitor. But when a fourth person joins in on their secret, they must face a threat from within. The diary abruptly ends, leaving everyone’s fate a mystery.
Decades later, in 2011, a young female university student decides to finally determine who died in that cave and who lived. Her search will lead her to the lone survivor—and bring closure to a gripping tale of heroism at a time when committing to peace was the most dangerous act of all.
For those that are Amazon Prime subscribers, the Kindle First book is FREE. For those that are not Prime members, you’ll have to wait until May 1, 2016 to get your copy. Kindle First is offered exclusively to Amazon Prime members. Kindle First contains a selection of books picked by Amazon editors and made available one month prior to its release for free to Prime members.
Not an Amazon Prime member? You can join by clicking on the ad below.
If you’d like to join the Book Club discussion, you can join by entering your email in the box on the right. Details on the Book Club discussion will be emailed to you later in the month.
For those who are not Amazon Prime members, but would like to join the Book Club, the Book Club will discuss the book on June 15, 2016. This gives Prime members two and a half months to read the book, and non-Prime members a month and a half to read the book.
If you have any thoughts or questions you’d like to post for the discussion, feel free to leave the question/comment below or on the Facebook page.
For those wanting to participate in this month’s book club discussion for “The Light of the Fireflies,” you can find the discussion HERE. Feel free to share your thoughts of the book on the Facebook page.
Since this is the first book club, we’re making this open to anyone who’s read the book to comment on the book. So if you haven’t finished reading it yet, no problem. It will remain on the PW Facebook page.
Also, you can comment on the book here if you don’t have Facebook.
Here is the original Facebook discussion and my responses to kick the book club off.
“The Light of the Fireflies” by Paul Pen Discussion Thread.
My name is Michelle Kenneth and I’ll be moderating our first book club discussion for Paul Pen’s “The Light of the Fireflies.” This is an Amazon Kindle First book, so if you subscribe to Amazon Prime, you get early access to the book before it is released for FREE. On the first day of every month, they release a group of selections that you can choose from.
For March, I selected Paul Pen’s book. I’ll be selecting the next book tomorrow after they release their selections. [In the future, as we get more interest in the Book Club, I’ll let someone else pick out the next month’s selection.]
So on to the discussion…
1) What did you think of the book?
2) Were you shocked by the ending of the book?
3) When they revealed who the father of the child was, were you surprised at this revelation? Did you assume the baby’s father was who the sister claimed the baby’s Father was?
4) What did you think of the real story of how they ended up in the basement and how they attained their burns?
5) As the boy tells the story from his point of view, he knows his brother is just a little off, but never to the extent we see in the back story. Based on what is revealed in the back story, did you imagine that the brother could be dangerous to society?
6) Overall, what were your thoughts on the book? Would you recommend it to your friends/family?
Diary of a Perfectionist Wannabe: I’ll start the discussion off…
1) Simply put, I did not like the book at all. Generally speaking, the incest involved and the elements of what the brother did to that girl…just not something I would normally read.
2) I was shocked by the ending of the book. I think as a woman, I’m generally concerned for the safety and well being of other women. I assumed the sister was the victim in this, sexually abused by her father. I never imagined she was actually a very bad seed. She was just altogether evil. Did she deserve getting knocked up by her brother? Was that some sort of justice? I don’t think it was. At the end, when she is killed, I thought it was a saving grace for everyone. They were safe from her torment, and she finally escaped her family.
3) I assumed the entire time the father was the father of her child. I never even imagined it was the brother that had knocked her up.
4) I really didn’t like their back story. This family was absolutely crazy. If they had called the police to begin with, they never would have gone into that basement. They never would have received those burns. I’m sure the town would have taken into account that the child had a mental disability. He didn’t report that he had found the girl because he did not know he was supposed to do that. Sure, there may have been villagers talking about how the kid sexually assaulted the girl while she was broken, but they could always move and start over. Why hide the corpse? The boy just didn’t know better. The Sister, she was evil within herself. She would have been better off leaving her family, especially after the way they ‘saved’ the boy the way they did.
The next question is…would you have followed in their footsteps or would you have called the police to save your disabled son?
5) I was very shocked when I read what the Brother did to the girl. It was just difficult to fathom he was a sexual deviant. Then to find out he had sex with his sister…I have to ask how that happened. She seems to fight well for herself. Was she raped? Did he have sex with her while she was asleep? How did he do it? It’s obvious she hates her brother and always has. How was he able to take advantage of her?
If you were in the Sister’s shoes, would you have tried to kill the baby, too? Personally, I don’t even want to think about being in her shoes.
I also could not imagine that the Brother was a danger to society. Part of me thinks that the family just made one too many wrong decisions in an attempt to ‘save’ their favorite son, thus making the situation out worse than it really was. It’s not like the boy killed the girl (or did he)?
6) Overall, I didn’t like the book. I assumed that the reason why they were all in there was because of some nuclear attack or apocalyptic happening…or maybe they wanted to be rid of society that judged them for their appearance after a fire. To find out why they went down into that basement…come on. They were a family of cowards.
Would I recommend this book to anyone? No. Just because it’s not my type of book. A lot of people on GoodReads recommend the book, even though it is very dark.
This book is so haunting it will stick with you for life just because of the disturbing images throughout the book. All throughout the book, I kept wondering how in the world the author came up with this idea.
As we go along and make this a regular book club, we’ll change how the book club is done, so make sure to sign up with your email to join the PW Book Club on the right hand side. Also, as more people join, I’ll let others pick out the next month’s Amazon Kindle First book on the first of the month.
I’ll be announcing next month’s Kindle First book tomorrow.
For those who don’t know what Kindle First is, you can read more about it HERE.
The first official PW Book Club Kindle First selection is “The Light of the Fireflies” by Paul Pen.
Here’s a synopsis of the book from Amazon.com:
A haunting and hopeful tale of discovering light in even the darkest of places.
For his whole life, the boy has lived underground, in a basement with his parents, grandmother, sister, and brother. Before he was born, his family was disfigured by a fire. His sister wears a white mask to cover her burns.
He spends his hours with his cactus, reading his book on insects, or touching the one ray of sunlight that filters in through a crack in the ceiling. Ever since his sister had a baby, everyone’s been acting very strangely. The boy begins to wonder why they never say who the father is, about what happened before his own birth, about why they’re shut away.
A few days ago, some fireflies arrived in the basement. His grandma said, There’s no creature more amazing than one that can make its own light. That light makes the boy want to escape, to know the outside world. Problem is, all the doors are locked. And he doesn’t know how to get out…
For those who are Amazon Prime members, Kindle First books are part of your membership. You don’t have to pay anything extra. It’s FREE.
What is Kindle First? Amazon Prime members can choose one of six books selected by Amazon editors before they are released to the general public. Even if you don’t finish the book by the end of the month, it’s still yours to keep at no charge (i.e. it’s FREE).
If you are not an Amazon Prime member yet and would like to join in this month with the Book Club selection, you can try the service out for free for the next 30-days. If you take advantage of all Prime has to offer (books, music, movies, photo storage, free 2-day shipping) and want to continue after the 30-days, you are charged for the year up front (about $110 depending on your state’s tax). For those who want to cut back on streaming services, Amazon Prime is like Netflix, Dropbox, and iTunes/Google Play Music all wrapped up into one membership. It figures out to be about $8/month, which is a pretty substantial savings.
For those who want to join the Book Club, we are going to do a LIVE chat at 4PM ET on March 30th.
How can you join the live chat? Sign up using the email link under PW Book Club on the right hand side. I’ll email the details and reminder as we get closer to the date. In the meantime, if you have any questions or comments you want to make while you’re reading, feel free to comment below.
Looking forward to chatting with everyone. Happy reading!
One of the resolutions I make every year is to read 52 books a year. At the end of last year, as I started following more and more bibliophiles on Instagram, I was shocked to see that some people read over 100 books by the end of the year. I could never imagine doing that feat. 52 books seemed doable, even though that resolution went to the wayside over these last couple of years.
This year, I wanted to make sure I didn’t just read 52 books, but that I read MORE THAN 52 books this year.
My method of attack is this:
Read 50+ pages every day. On the weekends, read 100+ pages.
While you’re at work, walking, doing dishes, getting ready for work, listen to audio books.
Once a month, do a quick read that’s less than 150 pages.
Finish books you started in the past, but never finished.
After seeing all of the different Instagram challenges, I thought I’d do my own to get people to challenge themselves to read more this year.
Here is how the challenge works:
Choose a Reward for Yourself. Pick out an item that you really want, that you could save for along this journey. Be it a vacation, a luxury handbag, a pair of obscenely overpriced shoes, a class you’ve always wanted to take…pick something that would be considered a serious treat for yourself. You should reward yourself for a job well done. Make sure this is something you’re going to enjoy!
Come up with a pricing system. This will depend on the price of the item you are saving for and what you can afford. For instance, I reward myself if I don’t purchase the book. If it was free, a library book, or a gift, I put away $25 after I’ve completed the book. If it’s a classic (a more challenging smart book), I reward myself $100. If it’s a book for Book Club that I purchased, I allow myself $20. If I purchased the book in order to read it, because I just had to have it, only the retail price listed on the book goes into the reward jar, and the amount I actually paid for the book comes out of the reward jar. Taking the money out of the reward jar to pay for the book is my way of making sure I don’t spend money on unnecessary purchases. The only exception to purchasing the book is if it is for the Book Club. If the book is currently in my personal library, because I am making it a challenge to read what’s actually in my personal library this year, I’m rewarding myself $50 per book completed.That’s the reward system I’ve set up for myself. As you can see, the books I really want to challenge myself to read more of, I set the prize at a higher price in order to encourage myself to read more of those books.
Keep track of what you read. I used to keep track in a journal of what I read every year, including the amount I earned. Now, I keep track in my calendar. I keep stickers handy so I can place a sticker on the days where I completed a book. It’s a good way to visually see my progress and if I’m staying on track with a book a week (at the minimum).
Don’t dip into the reward jar until the first day of the year. I’m speaking from experience here. You are doing two things for yourself…you are working hard towards a goal and you need to learn to save for the reward at the end of the journey. It is no fun if you get to the end of the journey and realize there’s no reward money there because you spent it already.For many people (including myself), saving money can be very difficult when we live in a society where we get what we want, when we want it. We don’t save for the future or save for something we want. Since I started the KonMari method, I have stopped the consumer cycle. I was literally overflowing with stuff. I vowed that if I wanted something new, I would have to save for it using the reading challenge. I’m not allowed to buy the item now. I have to work towards earning the right to have that item, so that I would appreciate it more in the end because I would know how hard I worked to earn that item.Keep the money in a safe place. Keep it safe from yourself (if you think you’re going to dip into the jar). Earn some interest off the money while you save. Just keep plugging at that savings and don’t touch it until January 1st.
But It’s March
Ok. I know I started this challenge for you to join in March. If you’re a bibliophile, you’ve probably already read at least 10 books this year already, so you are on track. If you are starting from scratch, we can go at this in 2 different ways. You can either: 1) fast track (and over the months I’ll tell you how) or 2) do this as a full 52-week challenge, let the challenge run through 2017 and you can access that cash on March 1, 2017.
Whichever method you decide to do, I’ll be helping you along.
For those who are Amazon Prime members, I’ll be making recommendations from the Kindle First collection. If you choose the same book that month, I’ll have a Book Club sign up where we can discuss the book at the end of the month. [Amazon Prime members can choose one book each month from the Kindle First collection. These are books selected by the Amazon editors to read prior to the book’s release date. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, this is part of your membership, no extra charge.]
For those who need to get their extra books in via audio books, I highly recommend Kindle Unlimited. It’s around $10/month to access many books on your Kindle device or app. Just make sure when you select the book to borrow that it says Read and Listen For Free on the tab. If it doesn’t, you may have to pay extra for the Whispersync/Audible audio recordings. What about Audible membership? Audible is $14.95/month and that’s just for one audio book a month. Kindle Unlimited with Whispersync/Audible allows you to read the book and if you need to put the book down, you can switch it to audio and listen until you can read the book again. Audible doesn’t allow that. It’s just the audio book.
The only reason you should have Audible is if you want a book that is not audio available on Kindle Unlimited. I used Audible for Book Club selections when I was having problems getting back into the swing of reading books again after my surgery. 2016 is actually the first time I’ve actively been reading a lot of books since my surgery in 2013. I didn’t want to give up Book Club, so I listened to the books until I got comfortable with reading books again. So if you’re concerned about not being able to read as much, seriously consider audio books. You can listen to them wherever you go when you can’t pick up the physical book.
The March Challenge
So here’s the March challenge. We essentially have five weeks this month. Your focus is going to read/listen to no less than five books. Here are the five books I’ll be reading.
For those not in a book club, I highly recommend joining a book club. You can find these at your local library or bookstore. It’s a great way for you to meet other bibliophiles such as yourself. It gives great insight into the book that you may not have even realized while you were reading. It’s also a good way to meet new people and make new friends. Books are meant to be shared.
If you don’t want to join a book club, since our book club is reading a classic, you can substitute option #2 with a classic or read what we’re reading.
For the Amazon Prime members that choose the same Kindle First book as I do and want to join in our own book club, please comment below, tweet me (@MichelleDoPW or @MichelleKenneth), ping me on Facebook, or tag me on Instagram (@diaryofaperfectionistwannabe). I’ll share the additional details in an upcoming post.
For those taking the March Challenge, ping me on social media using the hashtag #PWMarchBooks so that we can all find each other and share what we’re reading this month. I’ll Repost/Retweet, etc. so we can all connect to each other.
* For those playing catch-up, include a short book of poetry and choose at least 2 books this month that are less than 150 pages. If you can, try to boost your reading by listening to a couple of audio books. You can listen to these in the car, at work, while you’re working out, walking, etc.