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Basil Citrus Sangria & Book Club update!

So many good books little time. Here is a list and some updates on book club and a beautiful fresh sangia. I hope you make it and share it will all your booky and non booky friends!

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Heft covers many topics and the lives of primarily three people, one being an extremely obese shut in.  OK I like to indulge during the summer…this book was not good for my appetite!  What was I suppose to feed my book club babes when the book made me nauseated?  I’m not saying I didn’t like the book, I’m just saying I did not know what to feed my peeps for book club. Now that I think of it our last book was not one that stimulated the taste buds either!  I think we need to read a cookbook next ; )

I thought about serving everything in take out containers…HA!  Or maybe running through one of  Arthur Opps binges and making everything he ate.  Burgers, pizza, peanut butter crackers, egg rolls, a cake, some fruit, a jug of milk…whole milk, grapes…”grapes are healthy”, UM nah that did not sound like a fun girls night out.  I decided to make what sounded good to me and not try to stick with a theme for the food from the book. So I’ll tell you what we ate and then get to our thoughts on the book.  I served various dips and chips, including spinach dip with bugles…one of my faves (I think Arthur would have really like himself some spinach dip with bugles too) and the signature drink of the night was Basil Citrus Sangria! (recipe below)


I personally loved this book, admittedly some of the characters drove me nuts and I wanted to reach in the book haul them out and spank them and toss them back in.  It was almost unanimous with the BUCs that there needs to be a sequel to Heft, the end left us wanting more.  Liz Moore gets you attached and caring for the characters, then bam it’s over!  Liz I need to know how they are now, what they are doing, who they are loving!  Please say you are writing a sequel.  If you don’t Linda will have a cow!

Here is what GoodReads had to say…

Former academic Arthur Opp weighs 550 pounds and hasn’t left his rambling Brooklyn home in a decade. Twenty miles away, in Yonkers, seventeen-year-old Kel Keller navigates life as the poor kid in a rich school and pins his hopes on what seems like a promising baseball career—if he can untangle himself from his family drama. The link between this unlikely pair is Kel’s mother, Charlene, a former student of Arthur’s. After nearly two decades of silence, it is Charlene’s unexpected phone call to Arthur—a plea for help—that jostles them into action. Through Arthur and Kel’s own quirky and lovable voices, Heft tells the winning story of two improbable heroes whose sudden connection transforms both their lives.  Heft is a novel about love and family found in the most unexpected places.

Details of the night…

Well I sort of gave them to you already in a nutshell.  I hosted.  I fed my book club Babes dips and chips and delicious sangria.  We had a decent turn out….8, and Rebecca showed her purdy face even though she didn’t read the book!  Now she doesn’t need to, because we spoiled it for her.  We welcomed a new member Heather…broke her in right away with our chitter chatter and belching and other talk of bodily functions.  She survived the initiation!  We ate, drank, and talked for hours and of course the discussion veered off on to other books that we have been reading this summer……

Mini Book review

The main characters in this book Arthur, Kel, Charlene, and then Yolanda the not to be forgotten housekeeper that Arthur hires to tidy up his place a bit…after a decade of not leaving the house or having anyone over.  Arthur has become so grotesquely obese that he hasn’t attempted to go upstairs in his home for years.  I will tell you this book for the most part is sad, I was just down right sick to my stomach for all of the characters in this book most of the time. The author has a way of making you truly connect with the characters in this book, I wanted them to make the right decisions, I wanted them to change, and grow, and to know real love, unconditional love, safe love feels like.  The characters felt very real to me, I wanted to know more about them….that’s what makes a good book for me, an enjoyable book, when I don’t want it to end.  And not because I just want it to turn out differently but because I want the story to go on.  I would say this book is about deep sadness, depression of the darkest kind, loneliness beyond what most of us could imagine, but it’s also about stepping out of our comfort zones, letting others in.  Learning to change, to love, to forgive.


We all for the most part loved this book…..and to be honest, because I was hosting I did not take notes this time and I can’t remember exactly who didn’t like this book and why….but I think someone didn’t enjoy it…please give your 2cents below BUC sister, help a memory deprived friend out.  Despite my brief memory lapse I will say that we give Heft a thumbs up and would recommend it for book club or just for reading in general.  Heft lent to some great book club discussion!


Here’s what else I’ve read this summer.  What have you been reading??

Gone Girl ~ Unlike Heft this book was not a book I wanted to continue…I could not wait until it ended.  It wasn’t bad in a way that made me want to stop reading, it was just not enjoyable for me, it made me clench my jaw and scrunch my brow.  I did not like any of the characters.  I feel like I am the only person on the planet that did not like this book.  I hear tell that they are making it into a movie…UGH!  Of course I’m going to have to waste my money on that,  just because I’m left wondering will the movie be better?

P.S. I hesitate to tell you this because I don’t want to sound like a prude, but the language in this book is awful…off putting to me personally.

Language of Flowers ~ A new favorite!!! Oh good God I loved this book.  The story of this book was so intriguing to me.  I can’t even begin to tell you.  Language of Flowers is the story of Victoria an orphan who is now emancipated from the system and has no where to go.  Can you say heart wrenching, but Victoria has a gift for flowers and because of this mysterious gift she has for helping others by choosing the right flowers for them she is able to have a second chance on a life that was all but destroyed for her as a child.  Get out the kleenex people this one was a knock down drag out emotional roller coaster.  Loved it.  A new and refreshing story like none I have ever read or will read again.

My previous favorite book of all time was Memoirs of a Geisha…just to give some perspective on what my faves are 😉

Me Before You Loved this book too!  Wishing we would have read this book for book club.  It would make for some great discussion.  The characters in this book are lovable and believable.  And although the story at times is predictable it’s ok, because it is so well written you just can’t put it down.  A love story that will bring you to your knees.  I read this book in 4 days, record time for me…I could not put it down!

The Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Pie Society ~ just started it last night so far so good ; ), but dang whats with the super long name?? I keep wanting to stick the word sweet  in there.  Guernsey Sweet Potato Pie Society sound yummier doesn’t it?

Happy Reading! Sheila

Basil Citrus Sangria

Fresh fragrant this citrus sangria has all the tastes of summer with basil and strawberries added at the end.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 12 minutes
Course cocktail
Cuisine Drinks
Servings 8 servings


  • 1 large glass pitcher


  • 1 bottle Pinot Grigio or White Table Wine
  • 33 ounce bottle Blood Orange Soda
  • 4 ounces Brandy
  • 1 Lemon sliced thin
  • 1 Lime sliced thin
  • 1 Orange sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup Basil leaves cut into thin strips and then measured
  • strawberries for garnish


  • Chill the wine and the soda. Slice citrus as thin as possible, place in a pitcher with basil pour in brandy and muddle together with a wooden spoon, add wine and blood orange soda, chill until ready to serve. Fish out a few pieces of fruit, place fruit in glass with ice, pour sangria over ice, ENJOY!


I love the Arancino Organic Blood Orange Soda brand of soda found at Costco for this drink, but I realize that it may not be accessible to everyone, so I think any blood orange or better quality orange soda will do. Also feel free to add in any other fruit you like, as you see I tossed in a few strawberries.
Keyword basil, citrus, drink, strawberry, wine
Tried this recipe?Mention @eat2gather or tag #eat2gather!

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    1. I’m liking the GuernseyPPSociety book..but I feel like I wish I could read it straight through, when I take a break I forget who’s who in all these letters. It is a cleaver book though!

  1. Hi Sheila!
    Thanks for sharing! I’m always looking for a good read. I’ll be going on vacation soon, maybe I’ll pick up The Language of Flowers. Recently, I’ve read Book #4 in “The Walk” Series. The name is escaping me at the moment. “The Sharper Your Knife, The less You Cry” by Kathleen Finney, and “The Blue Bottle Club”. I’m also planning to pick up Sarah Jio’s latest, I think it’s “The Last Camelia”. I’ve read all her books and love them.
    On a separate note, Julie Roche saw my “Bread & Wine” book when she taught swim lessons at my pool recently. She brought up your name… small world. 🙂

  2. I read all of “Guernsey” and thought that it was overrated. Please don’t apologize for including warnings about language, explicit sex, or anything else that might be objectionable. It’s helpful!

  3. I just started a book club a few months back and am loving it! We meet every month at my house and (like you all) spend a lot of time talking NOT about the book. LOVE your drink recipe and your book reviews…… There are so many to choose from that it’s nice to hear from a friend’s perspective before reading a book. PS~ Chose not to read Gone Girl (a bunch of girls from the group had already read it… and agreed with your review).

  4. I have been waiting to read the Potato Peel Society book for a while but I just have never picked it up. I’ll be interested so see what you think of it. I’m currently doing some light summer reading: Game of Thrones 😉 I watch the show but I feel like I am learning so much more about the characters through reading the book. I need to start a book club! It sounds so fun!