LitClub: Storie Delle Sorelle
Baltimore/Annapolis, MD


a) high-end Italian shoe designer
b) Mediterranean seafood dish
c) book club in Maryland.

   —The Answer is C—

So, like, do you ever wear designer shoes?, they're too expensive, and they hurt our feet. But we do read a lot.

Okay, then—tell us about your name.
Storie delle sorelle is Italian for "stories of the sisters." We have 15 or so "sisters": some are real sisters, (two are mothers), but all of us are sisters-in-spirit — with stories to share through books and real life.

What books have you read?
We've been around since 2005, so we've read quite a bit. Here are some (not all) of our titles:

The Alchemist
Charming Billy
Curious Incident of the Dog...
East of Eden
Map of Love
Mary, Mary (James Patterson)
Memoirs of a Geisha
Me Talk Pretty One Day
Mists of Avalon
Poisonwood Bible
Pride and Prejudice
Reading Lolita in Tehran
Secret Life of Bees
The Wedding (Nicholas Sparks)
What Our Mothers Didn't Tell Us (Danielle Critenden)

Best discussions?
What Our Mothers Didn't Tell Us: Why Happiness Eludes the Modern Woman by Danielle Critenden. This book led to an intense discussion about whether the feminist movement has really helped or hindered women's lives. We had to chill out in the swimming pool after a fairly heated discussion.

Another great discussion came from The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley. Although not everyone liked the book, most appreciated the strong female characters. Some enjoyed learning about rivalry of tribal kingdoms, which has relevance to the Bible's Old Testament.

[The book is a retelling of the Arthurian legend from a female point of view, specifically Morgaine, Arthur's half-sister and antagonist. In Thomas Mallory's Le Morte d'Arthur (ca. 1450), it's Morgaine who plots Arthur's downfall with Mordred. In this version, Morgaine gets to have her say. —Editor]

Any club favorites?
Memoirs of a Geisha —we all loved it, which is unusual for us. We had a themed meeting with Asian garb and food. An invited guest brought some Japanese heirlooms, including an antique samurai sword (see top photo).

Any other fun activities or themes?
For The Secret Life of Bees , we all showed up wearing silly hats (as in the book). We also love to eat, so for our winter meetings our hostess cooks a main entry related to the book's theme. We all bring complementary appetizers and sides. In the summer we meet in an outdoor Mexican restaurant, chipping in for appetizers and margaritas. We also have an annual pool party.

Any other ideas you could share with us?
Yes. We have a few tips on dealing with busy schedules:

  • We meet exclusively on weekends—which helps boost our attendance.
  • We split long books between two sessions—we've done so with East of Eden, The Mists of Avalon, and The Poisonwood Bible. It takes a lot of pressure off of everyone.
  • Sometimes if we're overwhelmed, we skip a single book altogether and plan a "Book Report" session: members give summaries of what each is reading on her own.

How do you choose your books?
Each member gets a chance to choose her own book. It works well, especially because we all end up reading books we might not otherwise choose.

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