Saturday, June 30, 2018

Readers in the Rough: a Golfers Guide to Great Reads 2018

The Trails Ladies Book Club

Our book club, Readers in the Rough,  began meeting in the summer of 2017. Because of our setting, The Trails Golf Course in Norman, OK, we decided to give our books ratings 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.

At the end of each monthly discussion we talk through the rating briefly giving books thumbs up or down, or sometimes we gently struggle between ratings, based on our favorites.

A Double Bogey rating means don’t waste your time reading it.  

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 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. 

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.

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 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.

As of June 2018 these are the books we’ve read and rated:

Hole-in-One Club


Eagle Club

Birdie Club

Par Club

Bogey Club

Hole-in-One: Beneath the Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan and A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

Eagle:  Educated by Tara Westover, Killers of the Flower Moon by David Graham

Birdie: Hill Billy Elegy by J.D. Vance, A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman, The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Par:  Five Skies by Ron Carlson, The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg, The Black Painting by Neil Olson

Bogey:  At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen,  Kiss Carlo: a Novel by Adriana Trigiani

Double Bogey: none

I will continue to update this list monthly. Suggestions for new books to read are always welcome. You may use the comment page on the blog to list book suggestions


  1. Thanks for. Your clever blog about your book club. I especially want to read A Gentleman in Moscow. lj

  2. I loved reading your group’s faves! I sent it along to the organizer of one of my clubs: I have Spanish, French (in Wichita), Holy Cross, and GAL book clubs. (GAL stands for Get a Life & I usually call it the Starr book club b/c I joined it at her repeated invitations. I finally did so when I thought I retired in 2010. I think that club has been going for about 30 years! As my friend & club organizer wrote when I forwarded to her, she enjoyed it b/c it affirms that we’re on the right track! I have read nearly all of the first three tiers, mostly in that group. I have not read Underground Railroad, but have wanted to, and that will probably be my rec to the group for next year. We don’t read for December, but have a dinner meeting & choose the books for the upcoming year.

    I love book clubs!! mb

  3. Very nice to hear from you. Loved your recent post, and the rating of books. Amazing that the latest books that I read were the two on Hole In One. I appreciated Beneath a Scarlet Sky much more than Gentleman . . . though---a little slow after Scarlet Sky. I've also read several others, and I probably would have given a Bogey to Underground Railroad. Perhaps my rating would have improved with a discussion. Sounds like a fun book-club.

  4. My two suggestions are "Where the Crawdads Sing" by Delia Owens and "The Hearts Invisible Furies" by John Boyne. I love your books and ideas. Oh and another, "Rules of Civility" by Amor Towles (Gentleman in Moscow) is also at least a Eagle if not a HIO.

  5. I think most of us read Rules of Civility before joining this new book club, but I think we'd agree on a hole-in-one for it as well. Thanks for the suggestions I will add the both to our possible list. We usually select books for three months out. Thank you, Fran, for the suggestions and for reading this.