Saturday, August 30, 2014

ChocLit Guild [and a book list]

 A Friend's House 

“Chocolate is a perfect food, as wholesome as it is delicious, a beneficent restorer of exhausted power. It is the best friend of those engaged in literary pursuits.”

~Baron Justus von Liebig, German chemist (1803-1873)

Eleven years ago, I was out on a shopping trip with a close friend of mine. More accurately, she is my second mom from childhood (my mom’s best friend and the mother of my closest childhood friend). Over lunch she mentioned an idea that had come to her: a book and chocolate club. Because books. And chocolate.

Shortly thereafter, I took the idea and ran with it. Who wouldn’t want to get together once a month to talk about books and eat chocolate?!

In January, more than a decade ago when I was pregnant with Luke, our ChocLit Guild was born and we’ve been getting together to eat chocolate and discuss books ever since! Our members have stayed mostly the same with just a few leaving and a few coming. We’ve been through so much together!

[Scroll to end of this post for 11 years of book lists.]

We rotate through members’ houses/gardens as each person is available to hostess or we’ve met a couple times at coffee or frozen yogurt shops.

Thursday we met in Carolyn’s yard. She lives out in the gorgeous countryside on a working century farm. She also collects everything vintage and lovely. (I love the picture above because it shows the reality of country farm life—the clouds of dust swirling up behind tractors.)

ChocLit 1 

My mom and sister Shannon made an incredible gluten-free chocolate lava cake with ganache frosting. It even had zucchini and applesauce in it, so I’m certain it was healthy (ha!!). (Someone other than the hostess volunteers to bring dessert each month.)



ChocLit 3 

My sister Holly brought garden produce to share, and Carolyn added corn on the cob to the offerings.


ChocLit 2 



We sat snuggled in blankets on the brick patio next to the fire as the sun set on our conversation. I love my life.




Into the Night 

According to my records, this is an accurate list of the books we’ve read over the past years: 


January: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (Barbara Kingsolver)
February/March: Jayber Crow (Wendell Berry)
April: Flannery O’Connor
May: Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl (N.D. Wilson)
June: Pudd’nhead Wilson (Mark Twain)
July: Till We Have Faces and The Weight of Glory (C.S. Lewis)
August: The Red House Mystery (A.A. Milne)
September: Bird by Bird (or any book by Ann Lamott)
October: The Call (Oz Guinness)
Nov/Dec: The Birds’ Christmas Carol or Maggie Rose: Her Birthday Christmas


January: Les Miserables (Hugo)
February: The Harbinger (Jonathan Cahn)
March: Retellings of Iliad/Odyssey
April: Medieval/King Arthur themes
May: Shakespeare
June: Oscar Wilde
July: The Little Prince (Saint-Exupery)
August: Russian Literature
September: Gilead (Marilynne Robinson)
October: Fahrenheit 451 (Ray Bradbury)


January – Bonhoeffer (Metaxas)
February - Animal Farm (George Orwell)
March - My Name is Mary Sutter (Robin Oliveira)
April - A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (Mark Twain)
May - An Irish Country Doctor (Patrick Taylor)
June - Salt: A World History (Mark Kurlansky)
July - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years (Donald Miller)
August - Peace Like a River (Leif Enger)
September - The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time (Mark Haddon)
October – Biography (reader’s choice)
November - No Meeting
December – Les Miserables (movie night!)


January: Books set in China
February: The Five Thousand Year Leap by W. Cleon Skousen
March: One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp
April: Easter-themed books (The Silver Chalice, The Bronze Bow, etc.)
May: The Secret Garden/A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
June: Bianca’s Vineyard by Teresa Neumann
July: Not My Will by Francena Arnold
August: Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning
September: Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis
October: Perelandra by C.S. Lewis
(November: That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis)


January: Biography (reader’s choice)
February: Personality Style Books (reader’s choice)
March: Quo Vadis, Ben Hur, Silver Chalice, The Robe, The Bronze Bow, etc.
April: The Jesus I Never Knew (Yancey)
May: The Devil in the White City
June: Mystery (reader’s choice)
July: Cranford (Gaskell)
August: Twilight (Meyer)
September/October: The Hunger Games (Collins)
November: The Screwtape Letters (Lewis)


February: The Giver (Lois Lowry)
March: Three Cups of Tea (Mortenson/Relin)
April: Louisa May Alcott (reader's choice)
May: April 1865 (Jay Winik)
June: Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet (Jamie Ford)
July: I Am David (Anne Holm)
August: E. P. Roe (reader's choice)
September: Mystery (reader's choice)
October: Jane Eyre
November: No Meeting
(December: Share Personal Stories)

January: Biography (reader's choice)
February: From Jest to Earnest (E. P. Roe)
March: Watership Down (Richard Adams)
April: Murder Myster (reader's choice)
May: What's So Amazing About Grace (Yancey)
June: Ruth (Elizabeth Gaskell)
July: The Inimitable Jeeves (P. G. Wodehouse)
August: The Harvester (Gene Stratton-Porter)
September: Little Britches (Moody)
October: A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
November: Mimosa (Amy Carmichael)
(December: Share Personal Stories)


March: Mere Christianity (C. S. Lewis)
April: North and South (Elizabeth Gaskell)
May: I Dared to Call Him Father (Bilquis Sheikh)
June: The Pilgrim's Progress (John Bunyon)
July: Down the Garden Path (Beverly Nichols)
August: Uncle Tom's Cabin (Harriet Beecher Stowe)
September: The Richest Man in Babylon (George S. Clason)
October: The Robe (Lloyd C. Douglas), Ben Hur, The Silver Chalice, or Quo Vadis
November: The Little French Girl (Anne Douglas Sedgwick)
December: Belles on Their Toes (Gilbreth)


January: Narnia (C. S. Lewis)
February: Safely Home (Randy Alcorn)
March: Robinson Crusoe
April: To Kill a Mockingbird
May: The Count of Monte Cristo
June: Eve's Daughters
July: The Orphan (Helen Dunbar)
August: George MacDonald (any book by author)
September: Moonstone (Wilkie Collins)
October: David Copperfield (Dickens)
November: David Copperfield (continued)
December: At Home in Mitford (Jan Karon)


January: Lorna Doone
February: Lorna Doone (continued)
March: A Rift in Time (Michael Phillips)
April: The Homecoming (Angela Santana)
May: Wives and Daughters (Elizabeth Gaskell)
June: Francine Rivers (any book by author)
July: Cheaper by the Dozen
August: The Dean's Watch (Elizabeth Goudge)
September: A Severe Mercy (Sheldon Vanauken)
October: The Tennent of Woldfell Hall
November: Our Hearts Were Young and Gay (Skinner/Kimbrough)
December: The Shoe Box (Francine Rivers)


January: Gene Stratton-Porter (any book by author)
February: Presidential Biography
March: Mystery
April: The Robe, Ben Hur, Quo Vadis, or The Silver Chalice
May: Children's Literature: Eight Cousins, The Railway Children, The Princess and the Goblin
June: Jane Austen (any book by author)
July: Patricia M. St. John (any book by author)
August: The Woman in White (Wilkie Collins)
September: A Year in Provence (Peter Mayle)
October: George MacDonald (any book by author)
November: Movie Night, The Inheritance (Louisa May Alcott)
December: Maggie Rose or The Birds' Christmas Carol


Rebecca said...

Just about the awesomest club ever. If awesomest was a word, that is.

I want a ChocLit club! So...if one were to create a club of their own (copy/steal/whatever) how would one go about it? What do you talk about? Well, OBVIOUSLY the book- but does one person prepare questions/points to direct the discussion or does the conversation just naturally flow?

I am seriously considering doing something like this- but I doubt it would be filled with such cool people as the likes of you.

Heidi said...

Rebecca~ You should start one! And I'm sure it would be just as lovely. :) I wrote a long post about starting a book club in the first month of my blog. It really depends on what *you* want as far as discussion and analysis. We are very informal/lighthearted. Occasionally we'll have a very deep, lengthy discussion, but often we talk just a little about the book and *a lot* about everything else under the sun. :) It depends on the type of books you choose, as well.

Unknown said...

Oh Heidi...our ChocLit Club IS the AWESOMEST(great new word)! What a blessing and I cannot thank you enough for "running" with the ideas!! And we thought we were just going to be buying bar stools that day! :)Love the list of books we have traveled thru together, and love being your "second Mom"! :)

Sander said...

Seriously? Les Mis in one month? I've been working on it for 2 years! : ) Sounds like a lovely book club! Might I suggest "Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert" by Rosaria Butterfield? Signed: a CC Mom in AK who loves your blog, especially all of the book recommendations!

Heidi said...

Well, I don't know how many of us got through the whole book in one month. And we had both November and December. :) We all went to see the movie in the theater together at the beginning of December! I'll check out that book--thanks for the recommendation!

Heidi said...

Oh, actually, we didn't end up discussing Les Mis until January, so we had three months. And some of us started earlier than that. :)