At the most recent book club, we had two things to celebrate: book club and Marissa's birthday! Courtney hosted, and she made delicious pizza squares and cupcakes. The cupcakes were homemade banana bread with cream cheese frosting—yummy—and were in honor of Marissa's big day.
She also made a pear vanilla cocktail found on our friend Dulcie's blog. Unfortunately, our book club is cursed, so that even if the days prior to and following it are beautiful, it is always chilly and rainy at our bookish get-togethers. Still, the summery drinks were enjoyed by all.
Here is the gift basket we made Marissa. Because she was so busy with school and work, we wanted to give her a variety of things to help her relax and/or get her mind off things, like (obviously) The Hunger Games.
You see that Courtney had to throw on her fancy rain coat before we went out due to the inclement weather (after the official meeting/discussion portion of the evening had concluded). One of these days, we'll get to have a summery backyard book club.
Only one of the Bookworms finished Ender's Game before the meeting. One of us was in the family way, one was finishing up her semester, and the other two were just plain lazy. Well, that and they weren't totally taken with the novel. Ender's Game is a novel about children in a future world where aliens (called "buggers") are a real threat are brought up to be vicious soldiers. It won the Hugo and the Nebula awards, two of science fiction's highest honors. But for whatever reason, it just didn't draw all of us in. Courtney's husband heard what our next read was and said, "Yeah, that's a great book if your a seventh-grade boy." We didn't feel quite that way about it, but still I wouldn't say it was our favorite read. Which brings us to ratings: Kayla gave it 3.8 stars (out of 5), I gave it 3, and Courtney gave it 3.5, and the words we associated with it were "giant," "bugger," and "simulation."
To be more specific, some of us were a little bored by all the mock-battle scenes, of which there are a lot. I personally cannot visualize the battle maneuvers the book describes, so those became a great opportunity for me to zone out. This sentiment wasn't universally felt by all the Bookworms, nor was the next. Some of us had a hard time relating to the main characters, including Ender. I think we found the children's cold intellect, aloofness, and violent tendencies unlikeable. But, we also wondered how much of that was supposed to be due to their society and their experiences at the relentless battle school (nature versus nurture). After all, it was their society that placed such value on those characteristics and their society that created the battle school they attended. On the other hand, Ender's brother never attended battle school, and he was basically a psychopath, and Ender himself killed another child before he ever started serious training. Ender does become more vulnerable at the end and reveals his desire for love and affection, which he's never received. Courtney wondered if there were religious undertones, e.g., everyone is capable of great evil but must fight those tendencies. We weren't sure if the name Peter (Ender's brother) had religious undertones, and a quick Internet search told me that Peter showed a lack of faith or courage on a couple of occasions, but ultimately he never stopped believing in Jesus and was fundamental in establishing Christianity after Jesus's crucifixion ... for what that's worth. On another positive note, there are a few twists at the end that make it more interesting, and we've also heard that the second book is much more engaging.