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Book Clubbers, Issue #002 -- The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox
January 15, 2008

Featured Book of Month
The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox
by Maggie O'Farrell

January 2008 Newsletter

January Book Quote

I feel as though Iím waiting for something and Iím getting scared it might never come!
- Esme Lennox, The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox
In this issue...

  • Fact or Fiction?

  • Choose Your Character!

  • Did You Know...?

  • Debatable Questions

  • Featured Recipe

  • A Little Something Extra For Your Meeting!

  • Book Club Queen News and Updates.

Fact or Fiction?

Women in 20th century history with cognitive disabilities in the United States have been portrayed as sexually and socially threatening and in need of professional management and control. This is still the case today.

Answer at bottom.

Choose Your Character!

What character was most developed by the author? Who was your favorite?

  1. Iris: the unsuspecting granddaughter.

  2. Esme: the sister who spent 61 years in the mental institution.

  3. Kitty: the sister whose jealousy kept her from seeing the truth.

  4. Luke: the man who wants Iris.

  5. Alex: the stepbrother who Iris truly loves.

Did You Know...?

Did you know your Mom or Dad could commit you to a mental institution in the early 20th century for wanting to stay single and not get married?

Debatable Questions

  1. Do you think Kitty's husband was gay?

  2. Did Esme get justice in the end?

  3. Why did these Well-to-do 20th century families perceive traits in women, what we would call normal today, to be abnormal?

    Did these families put their daughters away because of embarrassment or did they really believe they were mentally deranged for having these "different" behaviors?

  4. When nursemaids raised babies and children, did it take away from the biological mother's bond so as to disconnect them emotionally from their children's lives?

  5. Do we in this civilized, 21stcentury label things we deem as abnormal - insane? Are these just our standards now that could quite possibly be totally normal 100 years from now?

To discuss these questions real time with other online book clubbers, go to our book of the month club page!

Featured Recipe

The Lennox family was Scottish. Here is an easy and yummy bread to serve at book club!

Traditional Scottish Recipes - White Rolls

There are a number of special regional rolls (such as the Aberdeen morning rolls or "Rowies") but this a recipe for plain white bread rolls. The finished rolls should be light and airy.

Ingredients (makes 16 rolls):

  • 500g/1lb plain white flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 275ml/10oz warm water
  • 2 teaspoons dried yeast
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil

    Dissolve the yeast and sugar into about half the quantity of warm water in a jug and leave in a warm place with a cloth over the top. The yeast will begin to froth in about ten minutes. The flour should be in a large bowl with the salt added and mixed. The flour should preferably be slightly warm too.

    Pour the yeast mixture into the flour and knead, either by hand or with a mixer with a dough hook. Add more water to make the texture so that it does not stick to your hands but is moist. Once it is well kneaded, form it into a ball, cover the bowl with a cloth and leave in a warm place. When the mixture has risen to about double its original size, knead it again until it has returned to its original volume.

    The dough can then be divided into 16 and formed into individual balls. Pull the dough from the top to the bottom so that the top looks smooth. Place on lightly oiled oven trays, leaving space between each one, and cover with a cloth. Leave the rolls to rise again in a warm place, for about 30 minutes.

    Finally, bake in a hot oven, 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 for about 20 minutes, until brown on top - some people prefer their rolls "lightly fired" while others prefer to bake them for longer and have a more burnt surface.

    Recipe courtesy of Traditional Scottish Recipes - Scottish Culture

    A Little Something Extra For Your Meeting!

    Read a personal account of someone who was in a mental institution during the 20th century.

    Check out

    Falsely Accused Woman and Della Raye (second on page)

    Book Club Queen News and Updates

    News Bit 1
    We are extremely excited about one of our newest additions to the site - Ask the Author.

    We've had the opportunity to interview 3 authors so far - Mamet, Marc Leepson, and Beth Harbison after reading and reviewing their books.

    As luck would have it, each interview was wonderful! These are must-read writers.

    You have to visit our Author Exclusives Page

    News Bit 2
    We told you last time that we added a general blog to our site. Well, we did and we liked it but it has definitely evolved already!

    If you haven't already, visit and vote! Books First is the name of the game!"

    News Bit 3
    We need you! Our book of the month club is getting lots of hits but we want your comments! Many of you are telling us all about your thoughts on our book of the month picks. We want you to WRITE about it on our blog!

    Pick up your copy and come back to our book of the month blog.

    The Book of the Month Pick for February is For One More Day by Mitch Albom. Pick up your copy and come join our chat!

    News Bit 4
    Do you love to cook? Do you WISH you knew how to cook? We've come up with an incredible, ground-breaking book club idea. Start up a Cookbook Book Club! But like any regular book club, you've got to follow the rules...they might just be a little messier!

    News Bit 5
    Calling All Harry Potter Fans! Queenie D has been working hard on The World of Harry Potter. Beware - not responsible for spoilers!

    Answer to Fact or Fiction - FACT.

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