Book News

Church Book Club will meet November 19 having read “Mother and Sons” by Colm Toibin, a collection of short stories by an award winning Irish writer.  Discussion leader will be Kay Belt. Any who who do not usually attend and wish to join the Zoom meeting should contact Kay Belt.

Book Club met on October, 2021 using Zoom tech. Book was an old favorite, “A Prayer for Owen Meany” by John Irving.  Discussion leader was Kay Belt with club members Colleen Schumm, Joan Froelich and Peg Zimmerman.

It was also the book for September 17, but not enough members had finished the book and it was carried over for a 2-month read.

The Christian Church of Arlington Heights is open for Book Club discussion, using Zoom technology. We also have worship and other other “On-line” activities. Contact our minister, Rev. Allison Lundblad with her e-mail at to be placed on the distribution e-mails for worship, bible study, book club and other church events. Also check out the church’s website for announcements and worship. The website is:

The Last Flight

Book Club for August 2021 read “The Last Flight” by Julie Clark. Suggested by Joan Froelich, it linked two women, desperate for different reasons into each other’s lives.

This page turner had one character, Clare, escaping a bad marriage to a monied, famous man running for political office. Another character was, Eva, escaping her life of being a drug dealer. “The Last Flight” follows a plane which crashes on its way to Porto Rico. It has a chapter in Clare’s point of view and the next in Eva’s. It was a book hard to put down because of the drama and plot.

A Good Neighborhood

July 2021, Book club read “A Good Neighborhood,” by Teresa Anne Fowler.  Club met using Zoom technology on July 16, 2021.  The Book was suggested by Colleen Schumm.

The discussion, led by Kay Belt, asked if the novel accurately identified issues between neighbors and the choice the characters made. It was noted that the author had wanted to portray an ideal neighborhood with few flaws. Therese Anne Fowler usually wrote about historical people, but was trying her talents at writing fictional characters as are in “A Good Neighborhood”.

Biography of Louisa May Alcott by Susan Cheever

Book Club met by Zoom in June, 2021.  I suggested the book, “Louisa May Alcott,”, a biography by Susan Cheever. Cheever is a professor of writing programs and the work brings attention to Louisa May Alcott’s life as a writer, but also as a daughter, friend of thinkers in Concord, including Emerson and Waldon.

The discussion forgave me for recommending a book unlike the fiction we generally choose. This biography noted the thinkers at the time of Alcott’s life in mostly Concord, MA.


Nineteen Minutes

Book Club met by Zoom in May, 2021.  Book was “Nineteen Minutes” by Jodi Picoult. Book was chosen by Peg Zimmerman, but it was also on Colleen Schumm’s reader list. There were twists and turns to the plot, even until the last.

It was a book about a school shooting taken from the point of view of each person in a small town. We met the shooter at the time of his birth, his mother and father, his brother who bullied him. We learn when he took guns to school and why. His time in jail and being famous. There is his best friend, a girl being tormented by some of the same students bullying the shooter; and the girl’s mother who is a judge. There are the policeman, the shooter’s defense attorney and many in the town touched by the shooting.  The discussion was a good one, including that the author did a good job of capturing that it’s not a straight line that finds those guilty in a small town.

The Possibilities by Kaui Hemmings

April 16,  2021, club read “The Possibilities”, the long awaited novel by Kaui Hart Hemmings.  Zoom in at 12:30 pm. Book was suggested by me. I had started the book because I loved Hemmings other book “The Descendants.” It is about a woman who discovers a number of secrets at the time of her son’s unexpected death.

“The Possibilities” mirror’s Hemming’s book The Descendants in the way one of the main characters is unconscious and many secrets are discovered about her as she lies dying.

The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd

Book club for March 2021 read “The Book of Longing,” by Sue Monk Kid. The book was chosen by Peg Zimmerman. It was a powerful book to read as Christians trying to honor Lent and Holy Week with Easter pending.

Discussion led by Kay Belt involved participants, Stephanie and John Herron, Colleen Schumm, Joan Froelich, Peg Zimmerman and me. We felt the author had done a good job of writing about Jesus’ life, his ministry and relationships with others in the holy lands at the time of Jesus’ life and crucifixion. Kidd wrote with authenticity.

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

Book Club for February 2021 read any version of “The Count of Monte Cristo” by Alexandre Dumas.  Joan Froelich choose the book because she wished to read one of the classics.  The club met using Zoom technology.

Most who reread the novel knew it from school literature, but appreciated revisiting it.  Compared to today’s literature it was long, but held most of our attentions.  John Herron was not as captivated with the version he had downloaded.

Red at the Bone, by Jacqueline Woodson

Book Club for January 2021 read “Red at the Bone” by Jacqueline Woodson, a book chosen by Colleen Schumm, an all Arlington Heights read. Discussion was led by Kay Belt using zoom technology.  The book follows a family through its many generations. All felt it was a good read. This is the beginning of a new year, but we discussed like we had not been separated by the Covid.

If any wish to join the discussion who are not regular attendees, let someone in the group know. and you will be “zoomed” in.

The Red Lotus by Chris Bohjalian

Book Club for December Read “The Red Locus”, by Chris Bohajalian.  Using Zoom Tech, the discussion was that it was a good, page turner.  The plot is about a pandemic beginning in Vietnam named the Red Lotus by the virologists.  Novel begin with the murder of a bicyclist murdered on a trip to Vietnam with his girl friend. His girl friend is a doctor at an emergency room at a teaching hospital doing research on rats and how to poison them.


The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

Book Club for November 2020 read “The Nickel Boys” by Colson Whitehead.  Zoom meeting led by Kay Belt discussed the book named after the boys sent to a reform school.  It tracked the lives of the African American “students” who survived or were killed at the school located near Tallahassee, FL.  The prologue establishes that there are unidentified graves behind the school, leading to the stories of some who lived there. Discussion was about how little we know about other peoples lives.  The Nickel Boys were so named because they were interred there.

The club had read Whitehead’s book on the underground railroad and sensed it would be a good read.

Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger

Book Club for October 2020 was “Ordinary Grace” by William Kent Krueger.  Leading the discussion was Kay Belt.  Joining the meeting was Peg Zimmerman, John and Stephanie Herron, Joan Froelich, Colleen Schumm, Sue Minarik (who recommended the book) and me. The book tells of a minister’s family from the point of view of one of the sons, a nine-year old who’s sister is murdered at a July 4th celebration.  It was a summer of death that shook a small town.

The book speaks to the many kinds of faith and of Grace at both a Christian level and during life in the world at large.

Flight of the Sparrow by Amy Belding Brown

Book Club for September 2020 read “Flight of the Sparrow” by Amy Belding Brown.  Book Club met using Zoom Technology. The novel was about a Puritan woman kidnapped by Indians, enslaved and ransomed back to her family in the 1600’s. It was set during the English settlement of  Massachusetts as Puritans met  Indian opposition to their arrival.

The woman reentered her life following her living with an Indian tribe which kidnapped her because she was wife to a church leader.  Discussion centered on her imprisonment to the strict Puritan rules. As an Indian, she felt freer.

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Book Club for August 2020 read “The Underground Railroad” by Colson Whitehead.  Leading the discussion was Kay Belt; joining in was Peg Zimmerman, John and Stephany Herron, Colleen Schumm, Joan Froelich and me.  The novel fictionalized having an actual underground railroad for slaves to escape from masters.  Of course, there really was not such a railroad. It means actually escaping, going into the danger of escaping enslavement. There are the slave hunters, the rugged terrain, and perils of having no maps to follow.  Discussion was positive and we wished there really had been such a railroad.

Recommended by Irvana
Beach Music by Pat Conroy

Book Club for July 2020 read “Beach Music” by Pat Conroy.  I became a fan of Pat Conroy’s writing when Dan Webster was our pastor and he loved anything written by Conroy. I recommend it and remind readers not to skip the Prologue – probably the best writing of Conroy.  He also dedicates the book to his brothers, including one who committed suicide.

Book discussion was by Zoom – Each person saw a unique value in the very long book.  Kay Belt served as leader. Joining the group was Stephanie and John Herron, Joan Froelich, Colleen and Mike Schumm, Peg Zimmerman and me.

Everything I Never Told You – by Celeste Ng

Book Club for June 2020 read “Everything I Never Told You” by Celeste Ng.  Discussion of the book was by Zoom; Kay Belt, leader, and participating was John and Stephanie Herron, Joan Froelich, Colleen Schumm and me. It was a book we didn’t want to stop discussing. Has clues for life, friendships and parenting.

During time of separation, we pray for those ill and those working to keep us safe. We thank our church leaders.  If you are in need of prayers, let us know.  You may call the CCAH office at 847-259-0059 or leave a message in the posting technology below at the end of this page.

May 2020 Book Club
Little Fires Everywhere

Book Club for May was “Little Fires Everywhere” by Celeste Ng.  Book was chosen by Kay Belt who served as Zoom discussion leader.

This Book Club is 11 years old. Our former pastor, Rev. Steven Welker, asked members to start small groups.  Kay Belt came to me and asked about having a book discussion group. We would read mostly non-religious books. All are welcome whether we’ve read the book or not, we would take lunches to church and argue over literature.

The Alchemist – by Paulo

April 2020 Book Club  read “The Alchemist,” by Paulo Coelho.  Book Club met using Zoom.  We downloaded the Zoom technology and passwords.  Attending were the following: Kay Belt (Leader), John Herron (his wife Stephanie chose the book but didn’t share her thoughts), Joan Froelich, Coleen Schumm (and Michael) who knew the book as a book read by their children as students, and me (Irvana).  I used Audible to listen to the book, because I had not read “The Alchemist”.  It was a story of a young man on a trek to find himself, his treasures and loves.

March 2020 book
American Dirt, by Jeanine Cummins

March Book was “American Dirt,” by Jeanine Cummins.  Due to the contagious nature of the Coronavirus, Christian Church of Arlington Heights is holding all meetings virtually, using a “Zoom” appointment app.  This includes Book Club.  Those attending included Kay Belt, our fearless leader, Sue Minarik, who suggested the book, John Herron, Peg Zimmerman, Colleen and Mike Schumm, and Allie Lundblad who got us looking at the correct Zoom link. Readers thought is a good book.

Book for February 2020
Picking Cotton

February book was “Picking Cotton”, a memoir by three contributors. The book begins with a rape and how a wrong man is accused. Man’s name is Cotton.  It accounts the horrible consequences of “bias” as fallible human brains wrongly accuse individuals.  Our jails are filled with such wrongly accused.  In cases of trauma for rape or murder, our human brains can identify innocent people.

January book about escaping from North Korea
A Thousand Miles to Freedom by Ensum Kim

January 2020 Book — “A Thousand Miles to Freedom” by Ensun Kim. It is a story about a young woman’s escape from North Korea.  The author uses fake names to hide the identity of those in her memoir.  Discussion was that it identified the horrors of living in Communist North Korea with its dictators, famines and cruelty.

No meeting in December 2019.  Kay Belt and family hosted the Church Christmas Open House.  THANK YOU Kay, Ed and Molly Belt!!!

November’s 2019 book was “The Glass Castle”, a memoir by Jeannette Walls.  People who attended had a great discussion.  At the meeting it was decided not to have a December meeting. Church folks are busy during Advent.

Also an all-church-read is tackling “Silence can Kill”.  If interested in participating in the discussions which are determined by the participants, please contact the church office or Rev. Allison Lundblad.

A Gentleman In Moscow, by Armor Towles

Book Club for October 2019 was “A Gentleman In Moscow,” by Amor Towles, a novel chosen by Kay Belt.  The book weaves a story of Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov who was under house arrest at a Moscow Hotel.  He was accused in the 1920’s by the Russian Revolutionary Court and sent to live in the hotel.  If the Count left the hotel, he would be shot.  He observes the revolution from his hotel balcony’s view of life.  He is tortured by his imprisonment for being an aristocrat and being a son of Royalty.  His sister was murdered as well as many in this family.  Family properties were taken by the Russian Revolutionaries.  He had only a few possessions to take with him.  He can read.  He became a fixture at the hotel’s restaurants, but the revolution removed flowers, labels from wine bottles and things not needed for everyday comforts.

This author also wrote “Rules of Civility,” a novel about New York society in the 1920s.

The Source, a historical novel by James Mitchner

Book Club for September 2019 read “The Source” by James Michener.  The novel parallels an archeological dig in Israel to the history of humans on earth and belief in God.  I suggested the novel.  It is one of the first historical novels made successful by Michener.  It tracks the origins of cave men, how humans moved out of the caves, their religious sacrifices, Judaism and Christianity.  It was first written decades ago.  Because of it relevance for today’s reader, it has been reprinted into paperback with a forward by Dave Barry.


Water for Elephants

Book Club for August 2019 read “Water for Elephants,” a best-selling novel by Sara Gruen. I was not able to attend, but I understand the discussion was great.

Book Club Rules — Club will meet at 12:30 p.m. on the third Friday of the month at the Christian Church of Arlington Heights. Kay Belt serves as discussion leader. All are welcome whether we’ve read the book or not. We take lunches to the discussions in the Conference Room at the Christian Church of Arlington Heights, 333 W. Thomas, Arlington Heights, IL – 847-259-0059. Each person attending writes book suggestions on slips of paper, which are drawn from a basket at the end of each meeting.


July’s 2019 Book Club was “this is how it always is,” a novel by Laurie Frankel.  The book chronicled a family with five sons, one of whom loved pink and wearing dresses and playing with dolls.  The mother is a doctor and the father a stay-at-home writer.  They move across the United States and to other countries to find a home with acceptance for their son.



For June, Book Club read “The Little Paris Bookshop” by Nina George. The book was chosen by John Herron who drew the selection placed on “suggestion slips”. The book generated much discussion about the many kinds of love.  It is a beautiful and complicated novel set in present day France.  The Bookshop is on a floating barge and is operated by an eccentric book seller and taken from Paris to the Loire Valley.



Book for May 2019

Book Club for May 2019 read, “Just Mercy: a Story of Justice and Redemption,” by Bryan Stevenson.  Stevenson is an attorney trying to defend men sentenced to death row.  He identifies the wrongs done by authorities wanting a quick win, especially if the man has little or no money.  It is a powerful book.  We were joined by John Herron who added depth to the discussion.  There is an ability to financially support the work of the attorneys for mostly men on death row.

Book Club met on April 2019’s Good Friday — and discussed  “The 100-year-old man who climbed out the window and disappeared,” a novel by Jonas Jonasson, a Swedish writer.  Kay Belt led the discussion; others attending included Coleen Schumm, Peg Zimmerman, Sue Minarik (who recommended the book) and me.

“the curious incident of the dog in the night-time” by Mark Haddon


March 2019’s Book Club read “the curious incident of the dog in the night-time”, a novel by Mark Haddon, suggested by me. Discussion was lively because it was written to better understand someone with autism. It tells of a British family and how each person in the novel relates to the autistic boy. This is the second time I read the novel, because I didn’t understand it the first time I read it.




Skeletons at the Feast by Chris Bohjalian

February 2019 we read “Skeletons at the Feast,” a novel by Chris Bohjalain.  Book was suggested by Judi Frost, past member at our Christian Church of Arlington Heights.

Kay Belt, a friend and long-time member and elder of the Christian Church, began Book Club a few years ago. Kay’s mission — read good books, discuss them over lunch, and learn insights about literature and each other. Kay serves as discussion leader.


Educated by Tara Westover

January’s first book for 2019 was  “Educated”, a memoir by Tara Westover.  Over lunches we discussed how a woman raised in a survivalist family survived illnesses, car crashes and never going to a doctor to become a professor.

Book Club skipped December’s 2018 meeting —

in November 2018 we read “The Tea Girl from Humming Bird Lane,” by Lisa See, novel about a girl and her family growing up in China.  It tracks experiences in a closed Chinese society with spies and ruthless leaders.

Book Club skipped October 2018’s meeting —

The Kitchen House – Book Club for August

For September 2018 we read “Glory Over Everything,” a sequel to our August book, “The Kitchen House,” both novels are by Kathleen Grissom and show the lives of plantation slaves and owners.

Book Club for August 2018 read “The Kitchen House,” a novel by Kathleen Grissom.

Book Club for July 2018 read “A Man Called Ove,” by Fredrik Backman.  We were joined by Carol Nelson who is on summer break from her job at school. This was a book recommended by our church’s administrative assistant, Sue Minarik.

About the murders of the Osage Indians and beginning of the FBI
Killers of the Flower Moon – by David Grann

We met in June 2018 to discuss “Killers of the Flower Moon” by David Grann. It tells about the murders of the Osage Indians in Oklahoma and the birth of the FBI.   It was my choice for this month, and a real page turner. It cornicles how the Federal government with its treaties worked to rid fertile farm land of Indians. It brought in homesteaders and white settlers to replace tribes. The Osage tribe was given “worthless” land in Oklahoma, but deposits of oil were eventually discovered, making them wealthy. Then the Osage Indians living where oil was found began to be murdered. 

This book is important to my family because my Father’s first wife Beulah LaRue Earlywine was from a Plaines Indian tribe and a French trader father.  They had a daughter Betty and son Donald, my half-sister and half-brother who would have gone to Indian School, but my father objected and wouldn’t send them away. He insisted they attend white school.

The Maximum Security Book Club – by Mikita Brottman

May 2018’s book was “Maximum Security Book Club”, by Mikita Brottman. It tells about the time the author taught a literature class at a maximum security prison. The group felt some of the literary choices the author chose were advanced in terms of being too literary for the men she taught.  But it also told of the lives of men locked away for serious crimes and their knowledge they would not get released soon. 

April 2018’s Book Club read “Books for Living,” by Will Schwalbe.  This is a continuation of his previous work, “End of life Book Club,” which had given the group lots to discuss.

March 2018’s book club was skipped because of Lent – 

February 2018’s book was “Suffragette: My Own Story,” by Emmeline Pankhurst, an English suffragette who demonstrated to get laws passed allowing women the vote in England.  United Stated suffragettes were also ridiculed and imprisoned.  Voting rights for US women had to be an Amendment to the Constitution, which is approved by a majority of voters in each state in the union.  US suffragettes knew laws could be overturned, but not Amendments to the Constitution.  US is a representative democracy where laws of self governance differ from England.  England has a parliament, prime minister and king or queen.  The US is a true democracy where every office is elected, up and down the ballot.

Book Club met on January 19, 2018, having read “Grace Without God” by Katherine Ozment.  Joan Froelich recommended the book.  Ozment does not believe in God.  She names herself God and like Moses invents her own 10 Commandments.  She then gives herself and her children Grace.  She could just attend CCAH – we seek God with abundant love, but she only went to witch covens and alternative gatherings.

Book Group choice for October 2017
Expecting Adam by Martha Beck

December 2017’s group was skipped due to members being busy during Advent –

November 2017’s Book was “Expecting Adam” by Martha Beck.  It is about a difficult pregnancy and the unique son who was born with Downs Syndrome.  She was a professor and debated having and abortion but decided to deliver her son, Adam, who became a blessing to people he met.

Book Club for October 2017 got a jump on Advent by reading “Wishin’ & Hopin’,” by Wally Lamb – a Christmas Best Seller.  During the discussion it was a trip down memory lane for us and the family Lamb wrote about.

September 2017’s book was “Small, Great Things” – by Jodi Picoult.  “Small, Great Things” tells the story of a hospital delivery nurse accused of murdering a newborn in her care.  She is African American and the father of the newborn is a member of a white-supremacist group.

Book Club for August 2017 meeting was skipped – 

Book Club for July 2017 read – “Trials of the Earth: The true Story of a Pioneer Woman” by Mary Hamilton.

Inside the O’Briens

Book for June 2017 was “Inside the O’Briens” by Lisa Genova.   The novel was recommended by Lisa Edwards and Coleen Schumm.  It tells the story of a family of a police officer as they face the illness of the officer.   This is the second Genova book read this year. 

May 2017’s book was “The Book of Unknown Americans” by Christina Henriquez. This was an All-Arlington-Heights-reads-it book; and was recommended by Jack Sturgeon.

In April 2017 we read, “Still Alice” by Lisa Genova about a woman with Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease.  The book was suggested by me and Coleen Schumm for its portrayal of a college professor with early onset Alzheimer’s.

In March 2017 we read “The Paris Architect” by Charles Belfoure. It was recommended as a “can’t put it down” by Sue Minarik, Christian Church’s Administrative Assistant.

February 2017 book was “Run” by Ann Patchett, a novel about a Boston family, its members, both adopted and born to the Boston Royalty.

January 2017 – We welcomed new pastor, Rev. Allison Lundblad who chose “Dreamers of the Day”, by Mary Doria Russell for January 20, 2017, the first Book Club choice for the new year.  It was a fictional depiction of historical events in the Middle East.

Christian Church of Arlington Heights read Jim Wallis’ book, “America’s Original Sin”.   We joined other Disciple churches in the Region to use the Wallis book to discuss issues for unity in a beloved, but fractured country.  Book discussion was led by Rev. Allison Lundblad and Ken Nelson.  Beginning February 26 and every 2 weeks we met in the Church Conference Room after church.  All were welcome to attend this on-going discussion.

I post this blog to help us remember great books we’ve read and to get comments from any who also have read them.  The following is a list – from recent to older – of most of books read by the Christian Church Book Group.  The Club was started in 2010.

“The Invention of Wings” – by Sue Monk Kidd.  All the light We Cannot See – by Anthony Doerr   The Aviator’s Wife – by Melanie Benjamin The Nightingale – by Kristen Hannah The Piano Teacher – by Y. K. Lee

Orphan Train – by Christina Baker Kline  •  Behind the Beautiful Forevers – by Katherine Boo   • The Midwives – by Chris Bohjalian   •  Same Kind of Different as Me – by Ron Hall  •  Nine Parts of Desire – by Geraldine Brooks •  The Book Thief – by Markus Zusak  •  The Red Thread – by Ann Hood  •  An Invisible Thread – by Laura Schroff and Alex Tresniowski  •   Now You See Her – by James Patterson  •  Of Gods and Men   •  The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow – by Joyce Magnin

All Other Nights – by Dara Horn  •  Little Bee – by Chris Cleave  •  The Descendants – by Kaui Hart Hemmings  •  The Nineteenth Wife  •  Complications •  Gilead – by Marilynne Robinson  • Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter – by Tom Franklin  • Cutting for Stone – by Abraham Verhgese  •  The Light Between Ocean’s – by M.  L. Stedman  • Gone Girl – by Gillian Flynn

Bel Canto – by Ann Patchett  • The Stone Diaries – by Carol Shields •  The Language of Flowers– by Vanessa Diffenbaugh  • Loving Frank – by Nancy Horan  •  The Beginner’s Goodbye – by Anne Tyler  •  Zeitown  •  Rules of Civility by Amor Towles  • Infidel -by Ayaan Hirsi Ali •  Farewell My Queen by Chantal Thomas  •  The Fourth Turning – by William Strauss and Neil Howe

Interpreter of Maladies  •  The Year of Living Biblically  • A fine Balance – by Rohinton Mistry  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society – by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows • The Known World   •  Professor and the Mad Man  • Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – by Stieg Larsson 

5 Replies to “Book News”

  1. Kay –
    I’m beginning to list the books. Thanks for providing it. Got as far as the first book — Girl with the Dragon Tattoo — what an amazing book that was.

    1. Kay –
      I couldn’t find your posting about my updated web page. I did see an e-mail. Thanks for your advice on everything.
      Can you reply to this posting?

  2. Dear Irvana,
    I just finished reading The Indigo Stain. It was very interesting and tender. Molly is here for the weekend and she read it too. Kudos to you from both of us. I also read to Molly your writing about your family. You were right…It is not a straight line! I also looked at the Book News section and noticed how lovely it is. I had not looked at it for a long time…shame on me! You have placed on it the book covers and written so much about each book. This is so impressive!

    1. Dear Kay and Molly – Thanks for your comments about my story. I realized I hadn’t done justice to your kind reading of the Indigo Stain story. Bless you for all you do to encourage me. (Irvana)

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