the bird sisters

December/January Book Club Wrap-Up: The Bird Sisters

January 10, 2012 at 3:10 pm , by

We picked The Bird Sisters for December/January hoping to inspire chatter about sisters and family ties with your own loved ones over the holidays—and many of you did just that! We successfully hosted our first LHJ Book Club author Facebook chat, and tons of you came out to ask Rebbecca Rasmussen your burning questions on her life as a novelist, share your favorite recent reads and declare your love for the book (read some of chat here—and stay tuned for more author chats in the future!). Still haven’t been bitten by The Bird Sisters bug? Read Rebecca’s letter to her readers and thoughts on the novel from the bloggers at Girls In The Stacks to get you started.

And now that February issues are on newsstands, it’s on to the next for the LHJ Book Club! This month we’ll be chatting about The Revenge of the Radioactive Lady, by Elizabeth Stuckey-French. Sound like wacky one? It is—sort of. Stuckey-French’s tale of a woman who plots revenge after she’s unwittingly involved in a Cold War-esque government study tackles themes of struggle and sadness, but from a darkly humorous angle that makes Radioactive immediately addicting. Visit our book club page for an introduction! And, as always, stay with us on Facebook, Twitter, and right here on our blog to join the conversation as we chat about the book all month long.

But first, tell us what you thought of The Bird Sisters! Comment here or tweet us at @LHJMagazine with the hashtag #lhjbookclub.

Guest Blog: How Sisters Shape Our Lives, a Book Club Discussion

November 22, 2011 at 2:53 pm , by

Today’s post is by Neely Kennedy of Reading Group Choices, a leading online resource for book club tips and discussible selections.

The special bond of siblings can often be the longest and most important relationship in our lives, transcending friends, jobs, parents, and sometimes even marriage. This month’s LHJ Book Club pick, The Bird Sisters by Rebecca Rasmussen, tells the story of sisters Milly and Twiss and the heartbreak, sacrifice, love and secrets that they share through childhood, adulthood and old age.

Here are some tips to enrich your book club discussion, exploring how your sibling relationship has influenced the trajectory of your own life. Encourage members who are only children to participate, as they offer a fresh perspective to the discussion.

Back to the Sand Box: Tell a specific story from childhood that recalls a vivid memory about your sibling. Sharing personal anecdotes can make great ice breakers to get a group discussion flowing! Add some depth by asking members to bring along pictures of their sisters or brothers to share.

The sight of the Mason jars led her back to the town fair. She could see Twiss rearranging her jars of Purple Prairie Tonic from a simple line into a pyramid, trying to sell them with a manic energy and an equally manic twinkle in her eye. She could see her mother and father strolling along in the late light, untwining their fingers, it seemed, just so they could entwine them again. And she could see Bett.

Stiff Competition:  Competition for mom or dad’s attention is often at the heart of sibling issues. Was this the case in your family? How do you think birth order affects sibling relationships?

“Beauty gives you choices,” their father said to Milly. “Ugliness doesn’t.”… “What about me?” Twiss said. “Your hands belong on a golf club,” their father said.

Compare & Contrast: Identify the similarities and differences between you and your sibling. How have they shaped your personality?

Although Milly was the one who earned perfect grades term after term, Twiss was the one with all of the creativity and the daring. Milly may have known how to balance both ends of Mr. Stewart’s chemistry equations without making a mistake, but Twiss was the one who possessed the heart to be a real scientist.

Life Lessons: What life lessons have you learned together?

Twiss traced the rim of the teacup. “Remember what she used to say?”… The two sisters lingered in front of the sideboard, as if waiting for their mother to appear and caution them, before they took up their lists and went about their chores. “Bone china is like your heart. If it breaks, it can’t be fixed.”

The topic of sibling relationships offers so much to ponder; I hope that your book club enjoys a rich and rewarding discussion of The Bird Sisters.

November Book Club Wrap-Up: The Widower’s Tale

November 16, 2011 at 11:45 am , by

This past month, The Widower’s Tale left us all with tons to chat about. Author Julia Glass vividly depicted four very different characters (who were all male!)—how did she do it? Which was our favorite? Which female character did we wish we’d heard more from (Julia talks about this in her Q&A with us)? And just which of characters is the man illustrated on the cover? We were enthralled with the deep family ties and intense passions of all kinds this novel brought to life. If you haven’t picked up a copy yet, take a look at the discussion questions to get you started. And don’t forget about Glass’s ode to her favorite independent book stores—her list is a must-keep for your next road trip.

And while we’re sad to leave the family of The Widower’s Tale, we’re also excited to introduce December/January’s book pick, The Bird Sisters, a story with another intriguing family at its core. Sisters on a Midwestern farm, Milly and Twiss have a special relationship with, you guessed it, the birds that come their way, each one carrying the troubles of the people who own them. It’s a enveloping tale about being a sister (and being yourself) that we know you’ll love. Visit our book club page for an introduction! And, as always, stay with us on Facebook, Twitter, and right here on our blog to join the conversation as we chat about The Bird Sisters all month long.


But first, tell us what you thought of The Widower’s Tale! Comment here or tweet us at @LHJMagazine with the hashtag #lhjbookclub.