Our book club, Readers in the Rough, began meeting in the summer of 2017. We normally meet to discuss the book at The Trails Golf Course in Norman, Oklahoma. We named our book club "Readers in the Rough.” We rate our books based on the game of golf. This rating system has been revised and discussed from time to time, as nothing is quite perfect. We absolutely enjoy our lively book discussions and ramblings about life, and like the game of golf we read and discuss for fun and friendship. In 2020 we adapted to meeting through Zoom and Meet Google.
Like in golf, par is the expected score for the best players. A novel or memoir should be the same way.
A Par rating meets the expectation of the elements of fiction: a
solid plot, strong and dynamic characters, setting that is defined, a theme we
can discuss along with a point of view that lends itself to telling the story,
and strength of genre. A Par rating for memoir asks for a compelling story
using truth, theme, voice, point of view being I, and an ongoing attempt to
arrive at answers.
the end of each monthly discussion we talk through the rating briefly giving
books thumbs up or down, or sometimes we gently struggle and argue between
ratings, based on our perceptions. In the end, the majority wins with the
votes. Ironically, our Hole-in-One and Eagle rated books are usually
The Hole-in-One rating is reserved for only the best of the best, in our opinion, and one that we would reread, rave about and encourage others to read. It must meet all of the criteria of an eagle, birdie, and par.
The Lilac Girls: A Novel by Martha Hall Kelly
An Eagle rating says it is superb, exciting, and well worth reading. It meets all of the requirements for par and birdie, plus it is a book we will long remember for perhaps different reasons. We would highly recommend it to others.
The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See
The Dutch House by Ann Pachett
Two novels I read this year also
fit into this category of Eagle:
*The Book of Longings by Sue Monk KiddSue Monk Kidd official website
*Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk (Translation from the Polish) World Literature Today review
A Birdie rating meets all of the criteria of a Par plus it creates excellent discussion based on a powerful theme, or other elements of fiction.
The Woods by Harlan Coben (Mystery)
The Bahamas, 1941. Newly-widowed Leonora “Lulu” Randolph arrives in the Bahamas to investigate the Governor and his wife for a New York society magazine. After all, American readers have an insatiable appetite for news of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, that glamorous couple whose love affair nearly brought the British monarchy to its knees five years earlier.
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion This international bestselling romantic comedy features the oddly charming, socially challenged genetics professor, Don, as he seeks true love. The art of love is never a science: Meet Don Tillman, a brilliant yet socially inept professor of genetics, who’s decided it’s time he found a wife. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which Don approaches all things, he designs the Wife Project to find his perfect partner: a sixteen-page, scientifically valid survey to filter out the drinkers, the smokers, the late arrivers.
Olive Again by Elizabeth Stout Prickly, wry, resistant to change yet ruthlessly honest and deeply empathetic, Olive Kitteridge is “a compelling life force” (San Francisco Chronicle). The New Yorker has said that Elizabeth Strout “animates the ordinary with an astonishing force,” and she has never done so more clearly than in these pages, where the iconic Olive struggles to understand not only herself and her own life but the lives of those around her in the town of Crosby, Maine.
The Testament by Ann Atwood More than fifteen years after the events of The Handmaid's Tale, the theocratic regime of the Republic of Gilead maintains its grip on power, but there are signs it is beginning to rot from within. At this crucial moment, the lives of three radically different women converge, with potentially explosive results.
Another outstanding translation I read is:
A Long Petal of the Sea by Isabell Allende. Translated to English by Nick Caistor and Amanda Hopkinson. Destined to witness the battle between freedom and repression as it plays out across the world, Roser and Victor will find that home might have been closer than they thought all along.
A Par rating meets the expectation of the elements of fiction, as fully explained earlier.
Bringing Down the Colonel: A Sex Sandal of the Gilded Age and the 'Powerless' Women Who Took on Washington by Patricia Miller The story of Madeline Pollard, an unlikely nineteenth-century women’s rights crusader. After an affair with a prominent politician left her “ruined,” Pollard brought the man—and the hypocrisy of America’s control of women’s sexuality—to trial. Pollard was asserting the unthinkable: that the sexual morality of men and women should be judged equally.
Searching for Sylvia Lee by Kwok Sylvie is brilliant: clever, beautiful, successful, with a rich husband and good job. Her little sister, Amy, is stuttering and timid, until she finds herself travelling across the world to search for her missing sister, Sylvia.
Two books I read in my quiet time were:
The House at the Edge of the Night by Catherine Banner Spanning nearly a century, through secrets and mysteries, trials and sacrifice, this beautiful and haunting novel follows the lives of the Esposito family and the other islanders who live and love on Castellamare: a cruel count and his bewitching wife, a priest who loves scandal, a prisoner of war turned poet, an outcast girl who becomes a pillar of strength, a wounded English soldier who emerges from the sea
The First Mrs. Rothschild by Sara Aharoni Translated by Yardenne Greenspan. In this award-winning historical saga, passionate young lovers in a Jewish ghetto rise to become the foremost financial dynasty in the world.
A Bogey rating means a book may meet some of the
elements of fiction, but overall the book is not strong enough to gather our
full attention. We would not recommend it for discussion.
A Double Bogey rating means don’t waste your time reading it. This year we didn't read any books that fell in that category.
If you like to read please click on the links below for other great reads.