April Book Club: Spinster by Kate Bolick

Spinster by Kate Bolick

Spinster by Kate Bolick

I’m so excited to announce our second book club selection for April is Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own by Kate Bolick. I couldn’t wait to share because today is the release day for Spinster!

I know From Left to Write members will have plenty to talk about when we discuss the book on April 30. Bolick’s research about being single and her quest to dive into the lives of famous spinsters will draw you right in:

“Whom to marry, and when will it happen—these two questions define every woman’s existence.” So begins Spinster, a revelatory and slyly erudite look at the pleasures and possibilities of remaining single. Using her own experiences as a starting point, journalist and cultural critic Kate Bolick invites us into her carefully considered, passionately lived life, weaving together the past and present to examine why­ she—along with over 100 million American women, whose ranks keep growing—remains unmarried.

This unprecedented demographic shift, Bolick explains, is the logical outcome of hundreds of years of change that has neither been fully understood, nor appreciated. Spinster introduces a cast of pioneering women from the last century whose genius, tenacity, and flair for drama have emboldened Bolick to fashion her life on her own terms: columnist Neith Boyce, essayist Maeve Brennan, social visionary Charlotte Perkins Gilman, poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, and novelist Edith Wharton. By animating their unconventional ideas and choices, Bolick shows us that contemporary debates about settling down, and having it all, are timeless—the crucible upon which all thoughtful women have tried for centuries to forge a good life.

What do you think of when you hear the word “spinster”? Take a look at this video and see if your response is similar:

So grab your copy of  Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own by Kate Bolick so you can join our discussion next week. Crown Publishing also put together an AWESOME Spinster book club kit that includes paper dolls of the women Bolick researched and of course, plenty of cocktail recipes. Of course there’s the reading group guide and suggested reading in the kit.

Learn more about Kate Bolick on her website or follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

April Book Club Feature: Under Magnolia by Frances Mayes

Under Magnolia by Frances Mayes

Under Magnolia by Frances Mayes


Spring break is over and my kids are back in school! (Throws confetti) Now I can focus on our first April book club, Under Magnolia: A Southern Memoir by Frances Mayes.

As a southerner, I’m always fascinated by others’ experiences in the south.  Those who loved Under the Tuscan Sun and will be entranced by Mayes’ evocative writing and lush descriptions in her memoir. More about the memoir:

From her years as a spirited, secretive child, through her university studies—a period of exquisite freedom that imbued her with a profound appreciation of friendship and a love of travel—to her escape to a new life in California, Mayes exuberantly recreates the intense relationships of her past, recounting the bitter and sweet stories of her complicated family: her beautiful yet fragile mother, Frankye; her unpredictable father, Garbert; Daddy Jack, whose life Garbert saved; grandmother Mother Mayes; and the family maid, Frances’s confidant Willie Bell.

Under Magnolia is a searingly honest, humorous, and moving ode to family and place, and a thoughtful meditation on the ways they define us, or cause us to define ourselves. With acute sensory language, Mayes relishes the sweetness of the South, the smells and tastes at her family table, the fragrance of her hometown trees, and writes an unforgettable story of a girl whose perspicacity and dawning self-knowledge lead her out of the South and into the rest of the world, and then to a profound return home.

Join From Left to Write book club members on April 24 as we discuss Mayes’ memoir. Pick up your copy of Under Magnolia: A Southern Memoir  (now in paperback!) and join us.

ALERT: If you want to reread Under the Tuscan Sun, the Kindle version is only $1.99 right now!

Follow Frances Mayes via her website, Facebook and Twitter.


Book Club Discussion: Dead Wake by Erik Larson

Dead Wake FL2W Book Club Banner

Dead Wake FL2W Book Club Banner

Nothing makes you realize your mortality than reading about someone else’s. There’s plenty of mortality in our latest book club selection Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson. 

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the disaster and Larson had us riveted. Head over to From Left to Write members’ sites to join our book club discussion of Dead Wake as they share their stories inspired by the book:

Grab your copy of  Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson and let us know what you think!

Want a more in-depth thoughts about the book itself? Take a look at these more traditional reviews by our members:

Follow Erik Larson on his websiteFacebook, and Twitter.

Book Club Feature: Dead Wake by Erik Larson

Dead Wake FL2W Book Club Banner

Dead Wake FL2W Book Club Banner

We’re so thrilled to feature Erik Larson’s new book Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania as our next book club selection. Well written narrative non-fiction truly brings history alive for me.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the disaster and Larson will have you hooked by page one:

On May 1, 1915, with WWI entering its tenth month, a luxury ocean liner as richly appointed as an English country house sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool, carrying a record number of children and infants. The passengers were surprisingly at ease, even though Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone. For months, German U-boats had brought terror to the North Atlantic. But the Lusitania was one of the era’s great transatlantic “Greyhounds”—the fastest liner then in service—and her captain, William Thomas Turner, placed tremendous faith in the gentlemanly strictures of warfare that for a century had kept civilian ships safe from attack.

Germany, however, was determined to change the rules of the game, and Walther Schwieger, the captain of Unterseeboot-20, was happy to oblige. Meanwhile, an ultra-secret British intelligence unit tracked Schwieger’s U-boat, but told no one. As U-20 and the Lusitania made their way toward Liverpool, an array of forces both grand and achingly small—hubris, a chance fog, a closely guarded secret, and more—all converged to produce one of the great disasters of history.

It is a story that many of us think we know but don’t, and Erik Larson tells it thrillingly, switching between hunter and hunted while painting a larger portrait of America at the height of the Progressive Era. Full of glamour and suspense, Dead Wake brings to life a cast of evocative characters, from famed Boston bookseller Charles Lauriat to pioneering female architect Theodate Pope to President Woodrow Wilson, a man lost to grief, dreading the widening war but also captivated by the prospect of new love.

Dead Wake by Erik Larson

Grab your copy of Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson and join us on March 26 as From Left to Write members discuss the book.

Follow Erik Larson on his website, Facebook, and Twitter.


Book Club Challenge: Thrive by Arianna Huffington

Thrive FL2W Book Club Banner

Thrive FL2W Book Club Banner

For our latest book club discussion, we’re approaching the book a little differently.

Inspired by Arianna’s book, I challenged my fellow From Left to Write book club members to take a 7-day Thrive challenge. Some of us opted to unplug in the evenings, while others attempted to get more sleep in the evenings. So how did we do?

Since we’re all bloggers and work in social media, this is no small challenge. Head over to our members’ sites to learn how they succeeded (and failed) their challenges for our book club discussion of Thrive by Arianna Huffington:

As you can tell, we had fun revisiting Thrive.  Make sure you check out our Thrive book club discussion when we discussed it last year.

Book Club Challenge: Thrive by Arianna Huffington

Thrive by Arianna Huffington

Thrive FL2W Book Club Banner

Last year From Left to Write members read Arianna Huffington’s Thrive, where she shares the story of her wake-up call and how to make changes for a better work-life balance. As shown in our Thrive book club discussion, the book resonated with many of our members. We’re excited to revisit the book this month.

For our second March book club, we’re doing things a little bit different for the paperback release of Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder.

Thrive by Arianna Huffington

We’re taking a 7-day challenge inspired by one of Arianna Huffington’s tips in Thrive. Whether it’s getting 8 hours of sleep a night or unplugging completely on the weekends, we’re going attempt it for an entire week. Since we’re all bloggers and social media influencers, this will definitely be a big change for us!

Want to join us? Grab a copy of Thrive on hardcover or Kindle (you can pre-order the paperback).

Then come back on March 19 for our challenge results and book club discussion of Thrive by Arianna Huffington.

What would your 7-day work-life balance challenge be?