January Book Club

Well here we are at the end of January, it is time for the first book club review of 2019.

This month we had two very different styles of books, The Hunt Life choice was, of course, the lifestyle guide Whisky in a Teacup by Reese Witherspoon. The Hello Sunshine Book Club choice was the biography of the Los Angeles Public Library fire in 1986 The Library Book by Susan Orlean.

I enjoyed both books and found them to be equally interesting and enjoyable to read. Let’s discuss the books in depth……

Whisky in a Teacup by Reese Witherspoon

Whisky in a teacup by Reese Witherspoon


This book was a quick an interesting read, it is more of a southern woman lifestyle guide than any sort of biography about Reese herself. The book is beautiful and full of stunning photographs and beautifully spaced text but is perhaps more of an extended coffee table book than a how-to guide.

Reese introduces the book as with a quick paragraph about her coming into her own in her late 20’s with help from the inner monologue southern voice of her grandmother.

Whisky in a teacup by Reese Witherspoon

The book is filled with beautiful southern style charm and interesting short stories about Reese’s youth and family history but could be considered a little underwhelming. Whilst I enjoyed hearing about the strong women that paved the way for our current generation most stories were finished in a page or two and didn’t go into any real detail.

How to Hot Roller your hair
Whisky in a teacup by Reese Witherspoon

Throughout the book, there was plenty of stunning pictures of a beautifully styled southern house, intertwined with a few How-To guides and recipes. Whilst I did enjoy reading about these great southern staples I felt that sometimes these were not necessarily relevant to today’s modern woman.

Cheddar Biscuits Recipe
Whisky in a Teacup by Reese Witherspoon

Final Thoughts

Whilst I thought this was a beautiful book I felt a slight air of privilege and thought perhaps it may not resonate with all readers. I would like to try a few of the recipes listed (I have never had sweet tea) but for the most part, I felt alienated from the book and in turn Reese herself.

Book Review Questions

What did you think about the book?

What was your favourite recipe?

Will you try to implement some of the guide’s idea’s in your life?

Are you as passionate about wallpaper as Reese?

Did you feel an air of privilege towards the book?

Would you recommend this book to your friends, why?

The Library Book by Susan Orlean.

The Library Book by Susan Orlean


The Library Book is a mesmerising look into the Los Angeles Public Library fire in 1986. I found this book quite captivating with the way it was so well written, the book tells the history of the library before the fire, fabulously details the fire and the devastation it created and takes us on a mysterious detective journey as we learn about the possible arsonist Harry Peak. Throughout the book, Susan Orlean manages to capture the magic that libraries and books themselves provide for so many of us whilst simultaneously switching to part biography and detailing her own personal relationship with books as well which was lovely to read.


The Los Angeles Public Library is essentially its own character, working as a live Beehive we learn all about the behind the scene magic that takes place to keep the Library itself and surrounding libraries constantly in motion. Throughout the book, we are introduced to different characters that play differing roles in the library system but who all come together to produce the one entity that is the library.

Harry Peak is an interesting character, as this is a true recollection of the events that took place but Harry is no longer alive to completely tell his side of the story, I wonder if we are able to get a better understanding of his true flaws. It seems that Harry never managed to live up to his full potential and lived his life as a perpetual liar, I felt that although never officially charged with arson Harry seemed like he could have been the arsonist.

Susan Orlean the writer wonderfully intertwines her own history and relationship with books throughout the story. Susan also goes into great detail about the research that she had to undertake and intimately discusses her own experiences with meeting the people involved in the library and Harry Peak’s family.

Final Thoughts

I haven’t read a book like this before and I found it incredibly captivating, Susan Orlean is an amazing writer and was able to write in such a way that it felt like part history report, part biography, part crime novel. The book really gave a sense of nostalgia for role libraries used to play in our lives and reminded me why they are still so very important to everyone.

I finished this book vowing to visit my local library with my son more often, create memories for my son to cherish, inspire his love to read and really enjoy the magic that libraries create.

Book Review Questions

What are your thoughts on libraries and their inner works?

Where you aware that libraries like the Los Angeles library are such big hubs for moving books?

Did this book recapture the nostalgic role libraries played in your youth?

Had you heard of the fire before reading the book?

What was your impression of Harry Peak? Did you think he could be the arsonist?

Would you recommend this book to your friends, why?

Did you enjoy this month reading?

Leave me a comment below letting me know your favourite part.

If you read both books which one was your favourite and why?


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