St. John's Laurys Book Club

Reading books for enjoyment, perspective and discussion

Meets the First Thursday of each month at 6:30pm
     Please use the West Entry Doors and follow the trail of books to the meeting room

Contact Brenda Frantz or Karen-Berry Frantz for more information.

 

May 7 Meeting (see 2nd Reading beow)
Every Fifteen Minutes
by Lisa Schottoline
 Dr. Eric Parrish is the Chief of the Psychiatric Unit at Havemeyer General Hospital outside of Philadelphia. Recently separated from his wife Alice, he is doing his best as a single Dad to his seven-year-old daughter Hannah. His work seems to be going better than his home life, however. His unit at the hospital has just been named number two in the country and Eric has a devoted staff of doctors and nurses who are as caring as Eric is. But when he takes on a new patient, Eric's entire world begins to crumble. Seventeen-year-old Max has a terminally ill grandmother and is having trouble handling it. That, plus his OCD and violent thoughts about a girl he likes makes Max a high risk patient. Max can't turn off the mental rituals he needs to perform every fifteen minutes that keep him calm. With the pressure mounting, Max just might reach the breaking point. When the girl is found murdered, Max is nowhere to be found. Worried about Max, Eric goes looking for him and puts himself in danger of being seen as a "person of interest" himself. Next, one of his own staff turns on him in a trumped up charge of sexual harassment. Is this chaos all random? Or is someone systematically trying to destroy Eric's life?  Every Fifteen Minutes 333
 Lisa Scottoline Lisa Scottoline is The New York Times bestselling author and Edgar award-winning author of 30 novels, including her #1 bestselling, AFTER ANNA. She also writes a weekly column with her daughter Francesca Serritella for the Philadelphia Inquirer titled “Chick Wit” which is a witty and fun take on life from a woman’s perspective. These stories, along with many other never-before-published stories, have been collected in a New York Times bestselling series of humorous memoirs including their most recent, I Need A Lifeguard Everywhere But The Pool. Lisa reviews popular fiction and non-fiction, and her reviews have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Philadelphia Inquirer. Lisa has served as President of Mystery Writers of America. Lisa graduated magna cum laude in three years from the University of Pennsylvania, with a B.A. degree in English, and her concentration was Contemporary American Fiction, taught by Philip Roth and others. She graduated cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania Law School where she taught a course she developed, "Justice and Fiction." Lisa is a regular and much sought after speaker at library and corporate events. Lisa has over 30 million copies of her books in print and is published in over 35 countries. She lives in the Philadelphia area with an array of disobedient pets, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. 

Questions for Book Clubs

  1. Sociopaths are very difficult to unmask, and we they are capable of fooling almost everyone. What did you learn about sociopaths by reading Every Fifteen Minutes? Have you ever encountered a sociopath in your life? If so, what effects did it have on your life? What makes sociopaths especially dangerous, and what are some of the red flags we should heed?
  2. When Dr. Eric Parrish is desperate to find who may have killed a teenage girl, the first place he turns is Facebook, which is full of all kinds of information. How do you use social media, and what kind of restrictions do you place on yourself or kids? Have you ever posted something and then regretted it? What are the positive uses for social media? What are the downsides?
  3. Eric and Caitlin have different parenting styles and different ideas about how to respond to Hannah’s anxiety. What was your reaction to their different styles and the way they dealt with co-parenting? Did you consistently find yourself siding with one parent over the other? In what ways would you have handled the situation differently?
  4. The Tarasoff case highlights the unique position that psychiatrists are in, as they have a responsibility to protect not only their patients, but also other people from potential harm done by their patients. Eric considers whether he has a Tarasoff issue with Eric, but is reluctant to act too quickly because of the repercussions. Did you agree or disagree with Eric’s decision, why or why not? What potential conflicts does the Tarasoff issue raise?
  5. Max has a very special relationship to his grandmother, and more and more, grandparents are helping raise their grandchildren. In what way is the grandparent relationship different from the parental relationship? What are the downsides to a child being reared by a grandparent instead of a traditional parent? What are the benefits?
  6. Eric had a responsibility to uphold the patient-doctor confidentiality, and he does so with vehemence, even when breaking it could work in Jason’s favor. Under what circumstances do you think it is okay for a doctor to reveal confidential patient information? Did you agree or disagree with Eric’s decisions? Why or why not? Do you think Eric was more so trying to protect himself or Jason?
  7. In evaluating his deteriorating marriage, Eric decides that his wife “had fallen in love with a cardboard cutout of a man, a resume rather than a human being.” Do you understand what Eric means by this? Do you think this is a fair assessment of what happened in their marriage? Does this statement seem as if Eric is blaming his wife?
  8. Jason has some mental illness that is very manageable with the proper treatment, but much mental illness goes undiagnosed or untreated and can lead to serious problems. Why do you think this country is so lacking in the treatment of mental illnesses? Do you have anyone in your life with a mental illness, and if so, how are they being treated? What do you think we can do to better care for people, early screening? Funding research? Awareness campaigns?
  9. Paul is an aggressive but effective lawyer. What did you think about his style? Would you want Paul as your lawyer, why or why not?
  10. There was a lot of blame to go around in Every Fifteen Minutes. Other than Renée, who else did you think was a true victim? What responsibility did each main character have in what happened? In the end, do you think justice was done?

  

May 7 Meeting
Dear Edward
by Ann Napolitano
 One summer morning, twelve-year-old Edward Adler, his beloved older brother, his parents, and 183 other passengers board a flight in Newark headed for Los Angeles. Among them is a Wall Street wunderkind, a young woman coming to terms with an unexpected pregnancy, an injured vet returning from Afghanistan, a septuagenarian business tycoon, and a free-spirited woman running away from her controlling husband. And then, tragically, the plane crashes. Edward is the sole survivor.

Edward's story captures the attention of the nation, but he struggles to find a place for himself in a world without his family. He continues to feel that a piece of him has been left in the sky, forever tied to the plane and all of his fellow passengers. But then he makes an unexpected discovery--one that will lead him to the answers of some of life's most profound questions: When you've lost everything, how do find yourself? How do you discover your purpose? What does it mean not just to survive, but to truly live?

Dear Edward is at once a transcendent coming-of-age story, a multidimensional portrait of an unforgettable cast of characters, and a breathtaking illustration of all the ways a broken heart learns to love again.

 DearEdward 313
 AnnNapolitano 350

Ann Napolitano's new novel, Dear Edward, was published by Dial Press in January 2020. She is the author of the novels A Good Hard Look and Within Arm’s Reach. She is also the Associate Editor of One Story literary magazine. She received an MFA from New York University; she has taught fiction writing for Brooklyn College's MFA program, New York University's School of Continuing and Professional Studies and for Gotham Writers' Workshop.

Dear Edward was published by Dial Press in the United States, and by Viking Penguin in the United Kingdom. The novel currently has fifteen international publishers.

Ann lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children.

 
 AUTHOR’S NOTE

I never thought I would write a novel about a plane crash. I’m a nervous flyer, and fictionally I’ve always gravitated more toward family drama than novels filled with crashes and explosions. But in 2010, I became obsessed with a news story about a nine-year-old Dutch boy who was the sole survivor of the crash of Afriqiyah Airways Flight 771. I couldn’t stop thinking about this child who lost everything—his parents, his brother, his entire world—in one sweeping moment. My own sons were one and three years old at the time, and I needed to believe that if they ever had to endure such a loss, they would somehow be able to go on. I wanted to think that they could go to school, make new friends, fall in love. That need to believe in a path forward after unimaginable tragedy drove me to write one for my fictional Edward.

When I started writing, I realized that Edward’s story couldn’t include just what happened to him after the crash; it also had to describe what happened in the air. The plane journey was integral to Edward, and those hours in the sky would forever remain as real to him as his new life. I decided to set the plane chapters side-by-side with those depicting the years that followed. That meant writing in detail about the crash itself. It was important to me to portray those scenes accurately, so I did extensive research to understand the factors involved in a crash: I spoke to a retired pilot, studied National Transportation Safety Board reports, and read real black box transcripts. The mechanics of what happens to the fictional flight in Dear Edward are based largely on a real crash, that of Air France Flight 447, about which I found the work of journalist Jeff Wise to be vital. (I’m grateful to Jeff and to Hearst for giving me permission to incorporate his reporting into my novel.) And some of the cockpit dialogue in Dear Edward is drawn from the true black box recording of Flight 447.

My intention was to accurately and respectfully portray the human experience of such an event, both what happens in the moment and what follows for the people left behind. I hope I have honored the real people who have inspired my fictional work: Ruben van Assouw, Pierre-Cédric Bonin, Marc Dubois, David Robert, and all the passengers aboard Afriqiyah Airways Flight 771 and Air France Flight 447. The more I learned about these flights, the more my compassion for the passengers, the crew, and their loved ones grew. I hope that compassion is reflected in the story of the fictional flight 2977.

I started writing Dear Edward in an effort to discover how someone—in this case, a young boy—can learn not just to survive, but to truly live. It took me eight years to write this story. In that time, I found that the empathy of others is essential in clearing a path through grief. I hope readers of Dear Edward discover similar wells of kindness in their own lives.

–Ann Napolitano, 2019

 

Past Readings

May 2020 Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano
April/May 2020 Every Fifteen Minutes by Lisa Scottoline
March 2020 When We Believed in Mermaids by Barbara O'Neal
February 2020 The Orhpans Tale by Pam Jenoff
January 2020 What Was Mine by Helen Kleinroth
December 2019 Mr. Dickens and His Carol by Samantha Silva
November 2019 The Code Girls by Liza Mundy
October 2019 The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
September 2019 What the Wind Knows by Amy Hanson
August 2019 Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
July 2019 Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
June 2019 Educated by Tara Westover
May 2019 Defending Jacob by William Landay
April 2019 The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine
March 2019 The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
February 2019 The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell by Robert Dugoni
January 2019 Animal Farm / 1984 by George Orwell
December 2018 The Christmas Train by David Baldacci
November 2018 Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, Translation by Aylmer & Louise Maude
October 2018 Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly
September 2018 The Boys In The Boat by Daniel James Brown
August 2018 The Woman In Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
July 2018 Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
June 2018 The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
May 2018 Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
April 2018 My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt
March 2018 Redemption Road by John Hart
February 2018 No Exit by Taylor Adams
January 2018 Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
December 2017 The Divine Romance by Gene Edwards
November 2017 Magic Hour by Kristen Hannah
October 2017 The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
September 2017 The Silent Wife by Kerry Fisher
August 2017 Still Summer by Jacquelyn Mitchard
July 2017 The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeanette Walls
June 2017 Marrow: A Love Story by Elizabeth Lesser
May 2017 The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
April 2017 The Lake House by Kate Morton
March 2017 The Thirteenth Tale by Dianne Setterfield
February 2017 The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
January 2017 A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
December 2016 Skipping Christmas by John Grisham
November 2016 My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry by Fredrik Backman
October 2016 Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
September 2016 Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
August 2016 Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
July 2016  The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
June 2016  The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
May 2016  The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
April 2016  Forgiven by Terri Roberts and Jeanette Windle
March 2016 The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher
February 2016 Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee
 January 2016  The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

 

 Meeting
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