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BookTalk June 2011
"The Outlander" is "exciting, dark and cinematic."

Jill Zahniser and Carly Voshell's book group currently has all female members, ranging in age from 27 to the early 60s.

What books by women have you read recently?
Elizabeth Strout's "Abide with Me." We also read her award-winning book, "Olive Kitteridge," and loved it. We've read "A Plague of Doves" by Louise Erdrich, "A Mercy" by Toni Morrison, "Empress Orchid" by Anchee Min and "The Gastronomical Me" by M.F.K. Fisher.

We enjoyed Gil Adamson's "The Outlander." It's exciting, dark and cinematic. You learn bits and pieces about the main character, the Widow, who is after her and why. Ultimately, it's the story of a woman learning to survive in a brutal Montana in the early 1900s. We found the author's choices about presentation of plot and characters intriguing, while not everyone felt the same way about the major characters.

What book by a woman would you recommend?
"Sisters of Sinai" by Janet Soskice, a story of how two lady adventurers discover the hidden gospels. It is a nonfiction book, though not religious. Instead, it is an accessible Victorian adventure story.

What makes your group successful?
Everyone participates in the book choices. The genres vary from classic fiction to humor to historical nonfiction. We read both women and men authors.

We are flexible about meeting times, depending on people's schedules and meet monthly, year-round. Currently we are meeting the first Tuesday of the month at the Black Dog Café in Lowertown.

We expect, when members show up, that they have read the book. We draw questions for discussion about the book from Internet research.

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How did your group get started?
We began as an offshoot of a group from the Riverview Library in St. Paul. While four to six members meet each month, we have about 10 active members and are still accepting new members. (Contact Voshell at missjeanmail@gmail.com)

Tell us about your book group! 
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