In which Gulliver gets tied up and we eat green bean casserole

Ready, set, open your book!

Tonight six or seven or maybe eight of us will sit around living room chairs at Mary’s house to discuss our latest Book Club selection.

You want to know the exciting name of our selection?

Gulliver’s Travels.

Which yours truly did not read.

This fellow lives at Sue’s house. We met him at Book Club a few years back. His name is Pedro, not Gulliver.

Sue is enthusiastically pushing the classics on us lately.  I’ve enjoyed some of the classics over the years, although some of them are challenging to read.  Ahhhh, Anna Karenina!  Ahhhh, Little Women!  Ahhhh, ummm, I cannot remember the title of another classic this early in the morning when work beckons.

What do I recall about Gulliver’s Travels, which was read years upon years ago?

Wasn’t Gulliver the fellow who slept on a beach and tied up by little bitty folk with wee ropes?  I remember a fascinating picture from a childhood book.  Except, I mistakenly thought Gulliver was a giant and the wee folk were normal size.

Once opon a long time ago our book club went snowshoeing.

It’s supposed to be a political satire written by Jonathon Swift.  I wonder if I could make up a book review by tonight, even though it’s probably been twenty years since reading the tale? 

Can you imagine the raised eyebrows of good book club readers who faithfully perused the pages when they hear the make-believe assessment?  We would discern who truly read the assignment, would we not?  They might say, “Did we read the same book, Kathy?”  or they might think, “Boy, what an interesting book review!” or –more likely–“That Kathy is a weird one!”

Truly, we hardly talk about the book selection at all at Book Club.  The main focus is our potluck.  We talk about food, people, what we’re doing this summer.  I shall introduce Cheri, a neighbor on our road, who agreed to attend.

When we held Book club in the garden with campfire and guest.

She asked if she had to bring healthy food to the potluck.

I reassured her that the other book club members would probably adore her if she brought something decadent.

I am making green bean casserole from rattlesnake beans grown in our garden. Sounds decadent to me!  The cream of mushroom soup is not the fat-free variety. Barry is buying those crispy onion rings in town.  Will slice the green beans in french-cut style, don’t you think?, and maybe toss in cheese because it’s a potluck.

It’s almost time to go to work at the school.  People sometimes wonder what I do at the school in the summer.  They think children must be present.

In the school library

Wrong, wrong, wrong!  Your blogger/Business Manager is extremely busy during summer months at her part-time job.  One must prepare all records for the auditor.  One must submit a thousand reports, each more exciting than Gulliver’s Travels! 

This summer my office of the last twenty-some years is getting remodeled.  New drywall, paint, furniture. 

My desk was moved into the library.  I anticipated a nice relaxed work-summer tucked among books.  So much for imagination!  It’s been a hectic summer of drywall dust and screaming saws, broken copy machines and a fax-printer hidden down two flights of stairs.

I suppose I could have picked up Gulliver’s Travels and read between forms and audits, but, gosh darn, there has been no extra minutes to breathe at work before my three to four-hour shift ends.

Yesterday they delivered the new copier.  Do you think you get a nice printed manual with your copier?  Heck no.  You have to upload a disc unto your computer to learn about error messages and function codes.

The nice copy-installer patiently explained.  I must now teach the teachers how to copy. 

The new copier copies two sides simultaneously, front to back!

Our two room K-6 school

Just like a book.

Just like Gulliver’s Travels.

Thank you for traveling through this blog this morning.  I shall untie your reading ropes and let you go free into your day now.  🙂

P.S.  What books do you readers recommend that our book club might read next?  Thank you kindly.  (We will tell Sue it’s time to break from the classics.  Otherwise we will tie her up until she relents.)

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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68 Responses to In which Gulliver gets tied up and we eat green bean casserole

  1. Reggie says:

    Giggle… I like your book club’s perspective – it seems to be more important to you all to spend some fun and happy times together with a bunch of like-minded friends than to sit stiffly around a table, doing stodgy old book reports and snootily criticizing successful authors (which is kind of the image I always have of book clubs…).

    Your copier sounds positively futuristic! I wouldn’t know how to copy on both sides simultaneously! Impressive!

    • Kathy says:

      Reggie, We laughed for almost three hours straight. We talked about books AND we ate good food. The first thing several of them said was, “WHAT? You made some normal food for us?” They couldn’t believe it. (I am still not sure if I know how to copy on both sides simultaneously…)

  2. Elisa's Spot says:

    let me think…a book about tying up….

  3. I vote that your next book should be, “The Paris Wife” by Paula McLain. It’s a fiction book (based on fact) about Ernest Hemingway’s first marriage (he was married four times).

    • Kathy says:

      Laurie, Pam looked this book up on her Kindle and we all thought this book was looked fascinating. However, after bringing up at least 25 titles, we chose “The Hangman’s Daughter” for our October meeting. I will keep my eye open for the Paris Wife. What proved interesting from our book club is how MANY different books we all read in between our meetings.

  4. sybil says:

    I love your stream of consciousness style Kathy. It gets a bit creepy coz it feels like I’m inside your head ! My guess is that there is barely enough room for YOU in there, let alone me and all those other voyeurs.

    Next book ? How’s about “Animal Farm” ?

    • Kathy says:

      Sybil, I love stream-of-consciousness writing. You never know what’s going to float by in the stream! There is so much going on in this head…that’s why I’ve learned to meditate. SOMETHING had better witness all these crazy characters!! It’s kinda like an Animal Farm in there, ha ha…

  5. Karen says:

    I think potluck is much more interesting that reading about Gulliver. Why of why can’t we have manuals. Now you have to carry around a laptop if you need to know how to get a product to work.

    • Kathy says:

      The potlucks are lovely, Karen! We had bourbon-roasted barbecued beef on buns, tapioca pudding, tortilla roll-ups, lots of good food. (I am still not over the manual-less shock about that copier. Hopefully we’ll learn to cope.)

  6. Oh, it is early! You said Gulliver’s Travels, but I was thinking Gilligan’s Island. My mind was working like this, “Oh, I didn’t know that TV show was based on a book…it was a pretty crummy TV show…wonder if the book was better…or maybe the book was written based on the TV show…which would be a stupid idea, but it’s been done before…but what an awful book club choice”…and then I realized my mistake. I think you could’ve faked it beautifully…until you wrote this blog! Good luck! Have a great day at work, Kathy!

    • Sara says:

      OMG, Gilligan’s Island. That’s hysterical, Cindy!

    • Kathy says:

      Cindy, like Sara, I had a good laugh about Gilligan’s Island! Gulliver, Gilligan…what was the difference, really? lol! You know, maybe we should avoid writing blogs until we’re 100% awake. We would be much more succinct then! (But not so funny, would we?) Thanks for your good work day wishes. Hey, it’s the work day again tomorrow already… You have a good day, too.

  7. Kerry Dwyer says:

    Pedro is one scary person. I am glad he lives as Sue’s and not near me.

  8. Sara says:

    You got me thinking about classics I’ve never read and I came across this:

    Lots of fun things to choose from.

  9. lisaspiral says:

    Mistress of Spices by Chitra Divakarun, then you can talk about food and the book at the same time.

    • Kathy says:

      Lisa, I am excited about this book. It sounded like a perfect read for our group–food AND books. Seems like the way books get picked (at our club) is that at least person in the club must have read it. Then, when the book is enthusiastically waxed, the other members agree to try. I will keep my eye open for that spicy book.

  10. Fountainpen says:

    I am reading: AN ALTAR IN THE WORLD by Barbara Brown Taylor. A wonderfully
    written lovely book.

  11. susan says:

    Hi Kathy,
    You had me at green bean casserole! 🙂 Yummmm. To me that is almost as decadent as gelato, which I am SOOO glad they don’t have up here in Eagle River or I wouldn’t fit into my kayak!

    • Kathy says:

      Dear SuZen, we’ve had this conversation before, but I LOVED gelato when we were in Italy and long for it sometimes. I never long for green bean casserole, but appreciate it when the beans are thick in the garden. (I also long for kayaking.)

  12. Stacy Lyn says:

    I’m not a big fan of political satire, so I can sympathize with your lack of enthusiasm for Gulliver. Though you weren’t entirely wrong about his being a giant. He was so on a different one of his travels. 🙂

    Might I make a humble suggestion that your book club tackle my little novel? It’s for middle schoolers, so it would be a quick read for busy bloggers. Here’s the synopsis:

    No pressure, and no hard feelings if you choose something else, of course. I’m a really bad self-promoter and hate to ask! ❤

    • Kathy says:

      Stacy Lyn, I followed the link to your book and it looks SO interesting! I am now reading that it is for middle-schoolers…I think this would make a good book for our school library, perhaps. (Although we are mostly K-6.) As soon as we’ve finished paying for our $6,000 health deductible I will try to remember to buy this. Do remind me again.

      • Stacy Lyn says:

        Yes, it is for middle-schoolers – I would say grades 4-8. I think that libraries can buy it wholesale through my publisher, if you want it for an addition to your school’s library. There’s a link to them on my website. Thanks for your interest! (I just sent #2 to the publisher.) ❤

  13. Oh, Kathy, you make me chuckle! Actually, your book club sounds a lot like my writers group these days. It’s more about the food than the actual writing/reading. My recreational reading has been almost non-existent for some time, now, so I’m really the wrong person to ask about what books to read, although if you want a change of pace, you could always try YA (hint! hint!). Hope you enjoy your book club tonight. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      See what happens to us readers/writers, withershins? We get all distracted with food. The YA suggestion sounds like a good hint, but I’ve decided that the only books chosen by our book clubs are books that at least one of our members has read and liked. They will listen to titles, but get so indecisive. It was actually one of the best book clubs in a long time. We laughed and talked and ate and sipped some wine for three hours.

      • Sounds like a wonderful time! My grandmother belonged to a book group. I came across a book that had a label in it, with a list of names from the group who had read it. I have no idea what their meetings were like, but I imagine they were much like yours! 🙂

        • Kathy says:

          Nancy has a list of the books we’ve read, going back 6-7 years since our beginning. How fun to have your grandmother’s book with the names in it. What a precious piece of family history.

  14. Actually, I just want to work at that marvelous looking 2 room school. Any openings?

    • Kathy says:

      Linda, there aren’t any openings now. It’s a wonderful place to work. There are only a few students there now– seven, in grades K-6. Our rural schools have had declining enrollment over the last twenty years. When our kids went there, we had 40 students one fall. That was the highest year in recent memory.

  15. Connie T says:

    I just read an e-book that is free on It is Fire, burn and cauldron bubble by H.P. Mallory. It is about a girl who gives readings and this handsome guy comes to her and tells her she is a witch. It is a fun book but it is no classic one.

    • Kathy says:

      The book club readers were very intrigued by your book suggestion, Connie, as our next meeting is in October, near Halloween. However, they chose “The Hangman’s Daughter”. We’ll keep your book in mind for another time, thank you!

  16. Well Kathy, if I joined a book club I’d probably never have my homework done but I too would get enthusiastic about making things for the potlucks. My summer reads started with a very intellectually rich choice – McCullough’s A Greater Journey followed by The Paris Wife (got into a french theme here). Then I sort of downgraded (or upgraded in terms of fun!) to read Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter which I thoroughly enjoyed. And now I’m at the true street-curb, pit of literature reading one of a series which happens to be a favorite – Mary Janice Davidson’s Undead and Unfinished. Her Undead and Un,,, series is a riot, each can be read in about two sittings. But much to my embarrassment I have to go to the “Romance” section of the bookstore to find them. Love the campfire thing by the way. What is that?

    • Kathy says:

      It sounds like you have had a very rich reading summer, Patty, and have offered lots of suggestions! When I was in my 20’s and newly married I devoured romances, and now, rarely read them at all (except when romance sneaks into the fiction.) I am not sure what you call those campfire thingees. You can buy them around here, but we don’t have one. Nancy would know.

  17. Carol says:

    I loved the Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Society. Also Cheryl Strayed’s Wild. I have so many books on my wish list. Have you read The Help?

    • Kathy says:

      Carol, I loved the Potato Peel Society book very much. It was a winner. We read The Help in book club–most of the club liked it, but not everyone. I have not read Cheryl Strayed’s Wild. Sounds like a good one to try.

  18. bearyweather says:

    I used to be in a local book club, too. Those evenings with a glass of wine around a fire (inside or out) were so lovely … like you, the books were not usually the main topic of conversation. The book we talked about the most was “In The Lake of The Woods” by Tim O’Brien. A mystery/missing person/murder? that takes place in Northern Minnesota. The book does not spell everything out and leaves you with questions and that is where the conversation was so great .. what did you think happened?

    When my eye sight improves, reading will be the one thing I will most look forward to.
    I am in the stressful time of preparing for teachers and students, too. New tech need to be explain to teachers in workshops next week by me … and prep for new classes. I am going to miss my summer freedoms starting tomorrow.

    I hope we both have great school years ….

    • Kathy says:

      That sounds like a great book to read, bearyweather. The book club likes to read local books, and you Minnesotans are considered “almost” local. 🙂 I’ll bet you are in a stressful time, too. It must be hard to feel such freedom and then have to go back to work. Fortunately or unfortunately I have to work on & off all summer, so I never have that yearning feeling. The teachers do, though. Wishing you a great school year, as well.

  19. Gulliver’s Travels sounds fun.Last thing I read for fun was Harry Potter. lol
    I love The Witching Hour by Anne Rice.

    • Kathy says:

      I enjoyed the Harry Potter series, too, Butterflies. And read an Anne Rice book once–can’t remember the name of it–which was fascinating.

  20. Gosh, it’s been ages since I read Gulliver’s Travels. I know I wrote about it in graduate school, but I know I’ve not looked at it since–maybe 25 years.

    I recommend Barbara Kingsolver’s novel “The Poisonwood Bible”–about a missionary family in Congo during the early 1960s. It’s written the alternating voices of the family’s 4 daughters. Brilliant writing, I promise!


    • Kathy says:

      We did read the Poisonwood Bible, Kathy. I really liked it. “Brilliant writing” is a good way to describe it. Unfortunately, not all members of the group felt the same way. I’m not sure what’s wrong with them. 🙂

  21. shieram says:

    I have to admit I haven’t read Gulliver’s Travels as well. 😉 And it’s only recently that I have started to appreciate the classics. If I may recommend books for your book club, any of Mitch Albom’s books is a good, inspiring read. For something light and interesting, try The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Good luck with your next adventure with the book club! 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Shieram, Mitch Albom does have some inspirational books. Will keep in mind that Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Can’t wait to go to a bookstore tomorrow or the next day and leaf through some of these titles. Thank you for your suggestions!

  22. Dawn says:

    Never read Gulliver’s….maybe should. Love the “will add cheese because it’s a potluck” line…Exactly! 🙂

  23. Heather says:

    I’m afraid to type it for fear of making it happen, but your snowshoeing picture made me long for winter, if you can believe it! We definitely have more ice cream than green bean casserole, but I think I actually long for the casserole more. Tony would disagree, even though green bean casserole is truly one of his favorites.
    I’m still interested to read your Gulliver’s Travels review 😉

    • Kathy says:

      No, no, no, Heather. You are not allowed to get too excited about winter too soon. I made another green bean casserole just for Barry and me yesterday. It will be gone by the time we leave for the “east” tomorrow. (And I didn’t make up a story about Gulliver’s Travels. I was good.)

  24. Robin says:

    I have often thought I should find a book club around here because it sounds like so much fun. Even without reading the “assigned” book. lol! I don’t think I’ve read Gulliver’s Travels.

    “The Lacuna” by Barbara Kingsolver (anything by Barbara Kingsolver) was a wonderfully interesting book. Also enjoyed on my recently read list is “The Art of Travel.”

    • Kathy says:

      Yes, indeed, Robin, you might enjoy finding a book club in your neck of the bogs. They say there are all kinds of book clubs in the world. Serious ones, literary ones, fun ones. I suspect finding a good book club is like finding a partner. Yep. That would make an interesting blog title, wouldn’t it?

  25. In my book club, “I’m not finished yet, so…” seems to work pretty well! And green bean casserole fits my definition of indulgent (full fat ingredients, fried onions, eaten on holidays–right?)

    • Kathy says:

      Yep, Inger, have heard that comment several times before at our book club. I am glad you agree that green bean casserole is indulgent. The majority of our club just determined the casserole was “normal”.

  26. Colleen says:

    Kathy, has your book club read The Buddaha in the Attic or When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka? I know it’s all subjective but she’s a wonderful writer and the books are very compelling.

    Me (we) love green bean casserole and had not eaten it until we moved down here, although surely it must be eaten in Canada too 🙂

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