Round Rock New Neighbors is a social organization of women welcoming women in the Round Rock area since 1978. Both "new" and "old" neighbors are welcome. For more information: [Barnes & Noble requires that RRNN's book club be open to the public, so you do not need to be an RRNN member to attend book club, and both men and women are welcome and do attend. ]

Literary Events

The Friends of the Georgetown Public Library’s Hill Country Authors Series events will be listed here. Next event:


Austin novelist, Jeff Abbott, will return to the Georgetown Public Library to speak at the Hill Country Authors Series on Wednesday, January 31st at 2 PM. Abbott’s first appearance here was in 2012; this time he’ll discuss his fourteenth novel, Blame, published July, 2017, to critical acclaim. Known as one of the best thriller writers in the business, his latest effort was described by fellow thriller author, Harlan Coben, as “the perfect blend of complex characters, plot twists galore, and great psychological suspense."

Bestsellers around the world, Jeff's novels are thrillers that center on ordinary people caught up in sudden, unexpected nightmares, often related to secrets in their past. They combine high-stakes intrigue with emotional punch.

In Blame an amnesiac accident victim has to investigate her own past in Abbott’s tense psychological thriller. Froom Kirkus Review: “The Austin, Texas, suburb of Lakehaven is shaken when two teenagers drive off a cliff; driver Jane Norton survives while high school hero David Hall is killed. Jane comes out of a coma with part of her memory lost. After a note is found at the accident scene that suggests Jane caused the accident in a suicide attempt, she becomes an outcast; as Jane pieces together her own history, she becomes convinced she wasn’t trying to kill herself, and the accident starts looking more like murder. The unconventional plot, the constant surprises, and above all the psychological depth of the characters all make this a first-rate crime novel. “

A Rice University graduate with a degree in History and English, Abbott worked as a creative director at an advertising agency for more than eleven years, as he continued to write novels. He left that job in 2005 in order to write full-time after the success of his thriller, Panic. Three of his novels have been optioned for film, and are in script development.

He is a three-time nominee for the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Award and a two-time nominee for the Anthony Award. Jeff’s first novel, Do Unto Others, won both the Agatha Award and the Macavity Award.

The event begins at 2 pm at the library located at 402 W. 8th Street in Georgetown; the doors open at 1:30 pm. Tickets may be purchased online (link here) beginning December 1 at the special online price of $13.00. Tickets will go on sale in the Second-Hand Prose bookstore on the second floor of the library on January 2, 2018 for $15.00, $18 at the door. Tickets are also available from the Wow!mobile, the bookmobile that services Georgetown. Contact Marcy Lowe at 512-868-8974 for more information.

A dessert and beverage from the Red Poppy Café in the library will be served.


Amazon Prime Video has released a series based on stories by Philip K. Dick. It's called Electric Dreams.
Click here to see the trailer for Stephen Spielberg's Ready Player One, currently scheduled to debut March 30th. Look for the DeLorean. (Hint-it's moving quickly and is black and you're more likely to find it if you watch one of the explanatory videos that elaborates on the trailer.) If you want to, stay on the YouTube page and see lots more about Ready Player One. After all, it's a movie about the native online generation.


The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Based on the novel by Mark Haddon
Adapted by Simon Stephens
Directed by Dave Steakley
January 31 – March 4, 2018 | Topfer Theatre
(Zach Theater in Austin)
If you can, go February 10th @2:30 PM


Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Book Buzz coming January 16: Registration Link is Up!

Looking forward to seeing all of you at Round Rock Public Library for our Book Buzz, Tuesday, January 16!   A Penguin Random House rep will talk up forthcoming titles, and attendees will get those popular canvas book bags (and refreshments, of course!).  You can register here.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Book/Author List

Claudia -Transcending the levels of consciousness. David R Hawkins
Cindy T - Mr Churchill's Secretary
Joyce M - Glass Castle
Shirley - ​Truman Capote's A Christmas Memory
Carla - Hidden Figures. Radium Girls.  Louise Erdrich many books including Round House.
Jay - David Alexrod-Believer. Nothing to Envy-Barbara Demick.   ​Unbelievable-Katie Tur.   Little Fires Everywhere - Celeste Ng
Ken - Mark Twain Jack Kerouac. Underground Railroad. Hillbilly Elegy. ​My Italian Bulldozer
Morna - Breakfast with Buddha
Peggy - Alexander McCall Smith. 
Lydia - Lost City of the Monkey God, Douglas Preston
Joyce Z - White Trash, Isenberg. 
Pam - Jurassic Park, Crichton. Conspiracy of Fools Eichenwald. Armadillo: A Novel William Boyd
Cindy V - Dune. Stephen King. The Stand. 
Jan L - Nicholas Sparks. Stieg Larsson.
Angie - Pearl Buck The Good Earth. Lilac Girls
Dennis The Club Dumas, Arturo Perez Reverte
Scott - Craftsman's encyclopedia from childhood
Priscilla - The Places In Between, Rory Stewart
Marilyn - Brock & Brodie Toehne. Under the Silence is Me, Kimberly Dixon (Marilyn's daughter)
Marcia - Outlander, Diana Gabaldon

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Get the Holy Ghost, Girl!

On October 16th, Donna M. Johnson, author of Holy Ghost Girl: A Memoir, met with us to discuss her memoir. Last night was the most recent time someone mentioned to me that they very much enjoyed our author visit. This has been going on all week! I wish I had counted the number of people who mentioned how much they enjoyed reading Holy Ghost Girl and/or that this was one of our best ever author visits!

Johnson began by reading the prologue of the book aloud. She said that the prologue was the first piece from the book that she submitted for judgment. She entered the prologue into a contest and won! Publishing agents pursued her, and publication was quickly scheduled. The author has some regrets that she didn’t have time to reread and rewrite more. She says the published version is basically a first draft.

Talking about David Terrell’s followers, “Terrellites,” and their individual journeys through life, Donna explained the difficulties faced by anyone who attempts to enter mainstream society from the margins: the poor, those raised in fringe groups similar to the Pentacostal groups, minorities of all kinds and especially those raised to feel alienated from the mainstream. Those who feel like outsiders are drawn to someone, such as Terrell, who offers hope and a sense of belonging. The emotional pull of belonging to a group and forgetting about the more lonely facets of life can be strong. It’s traumatic for anyone who tries to leave the comforts of the group.

Johnson and others who tried to leave suffered various emotional and physical trials. The Pentacostals were taught that their God was punitive and exacting, with random bestowing of grace on souls. Healings were miraculous when they occurred during tent revival meetings, but the excitement and energetic emotion often didn’t last for those who had been healed, once they were home in a more stable and less stimulating environment. Johnson told us of a personal illness that seemed to be healed directly by Brother Terrell, only to reappear 10 years later, when Johnson was an adult and free of daily interaction with the Pentacostal group. She had to struggle to regain and maintain her physical and mental health once she left the group and joined society. And Johnson seems to have been one of the lucky ones among her cohorts, who were not all able to break away successfully from the strong group and who, in many cases, suffer from substance abuse, poverty, and/or inertia. It almost seems like addiction to the Pentacostal group.

Questions posed by members of our Book Club included the following:
Dennis asked whether Johnson had kept any physical items that she felt were magical or otherwise imbued with spiritual energy from the services she had attended or directly from David Terrell. Johnson said that she had not, but that she feels some of the hymns and spirituals deeply embedded into her psyche.

Cheryl asked whether Brother Terrell had shared lucrative donations. This brought a discussion about mentions in the book of Terrell’s eventual wealth and some of his buying of property of various kinds. There were questions from our audience about tax evasion, too. Terrell had a private corporation, which helped with taxes, and he did pay taxes. Johnson said he gave to individuals but didn’t just share all his receipts with the general attendance at meetings.

I asked what the difference was between Pentacostal and Evangelical. Johnson said that the Evangelical movement is more modern and more integrated with society. Evangelical services are more emotional but less weird.

Heather asked whether those who “speak in tongues” can understand each other. Johnson explained that speaking in tongues is considered to be the Holy Spirit speaking through a person, a personal love language to speak with God. Most people are somewhat entranced when speaking or praying this way and don’t really know what they are saying.

Everyone found Holy Ghost Girl fascinating, partly because it’s well-written and partly because of the unusual adventures it describes. We were all grateful that Donna Johnson shared this very personal memoir with us. There was a lengthy line for book signing!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Mozart in the Jungle

There is a series on Amazon of our January book, Mozart in the Jungle. Unless you will be playing the appropriate music at every point during your read, you simply must also watch the series. For the music!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Wonder Woman, the Feminine Super Hero, Has Quietly Endured and Maintained Popularity

Our Book Club always impresses with the number of rugged readers who read the monthly selection, and many of us seem to feel that the books we read for our discussion are enriching. The Secret History of Wonder Woman, by Jill Lepore, was a complex read, even though Wonder Woman is currently, and always has been, a pop-culture character. In presenting the book for our discussion, Amy gave us an organized summary of some of the themes of the book and directed us to consider specific quotes from the book about each theme. This organizational backbone helped our discussion to stay mostly on track and to cover a wide array of sometimes controversial topics from the book. Thanks to Amy for her efforts to help us share our opinions about this rousing book!

The themes were the following: Censorship, Birth Control, Feminism, Deviance, Family Arrangement, and Honesty & Lying.

The Family Arrangement at the heart of this book seemed weird, not wonderful, but it worked for the Marston family. Perhaps there has been more communal living than is usually considered, or perhaps the time of the beginning of Wonder Woman was also the beginning of the spread of more varieties of group living arrangements, as opposed to the traditional historical version of the nuclear family. New ideas are always impacting history, and they were during the years covered in this book. In the 1960s, a number of organized communes became famous. Marston had 2 wives: one to work outside the home, and one to raise the children. This seemed to be based on a good idea. I felt that Marston’s inability to hold a job was a specific trait unique to him, thus requiring his wife to use all her energy to work for money the household needed. Had Marston’s many attempts to latch onto a steady job or to become a respected and popular paid consultant in any of his various enterprises been more financially successful, perhaps family life would have been different. Cheryl noted that Marston had 3 women meeting his needs, and Joyce added that Marston spent a lot of time at home lying around having his needs met. Carla said Marston was someone to ”tolerate and ignore.” A further example of social evolution is Carla’s statement that in her daughter’s current education in psychotherapy, there is a trend toward “relationship therapy,” among other trends in relationships.

Covering a mixture of Deviance, Honesty & Lying, and Birth Control, our group had some comments about morality. Patty noticed that the Old Testament is no longer used as the main moral code for society. She said when her husband was writing on a new high school history textbook, the publishers asked for a moral code to be included, and that this was difficult. Cindy T. said that morality should be left out of politics. Carla said that morality cannot be legislated and that individuals should have the rights to make their own choices and perhaps make their own mistakes.

Wonder Woman’s history was dynamic, including a major reduction of Wonder Woman’s power and feminism around the 1950s. The implications of those changes made by the publishers, not under Marston’s control, was interesting in itself. Wonder Woman became the secretary of the Junior Justice Society, a group of super heroes, of which she was the only woman. Thus, she stayed in the office rather than going on heroic escapades. There was an opinion expressed in the book that perhaps the weakening of Wonder Woman during that time might have slowed the speed and power of the feminist movement in the United States.

We talked about the south, Morna saying that majority in the southern United States has been “against anything and everything.” Heather has noticed that in the “Bible Belt,” it is considered polite to open a conversation by asking someone about their religion. Heather and I both feel that religion should be treated as personal. Texas was mentioned a number of times in our discussion: Joyce said Texas could take better care of the greater population. Patty noted that religion is more important in general in Texas than in California, and that Texans are more conservative and more compassionate than stereotypical Californians. Cindy T. said that politicians tend to use religion to promote their views in Texas. Discussion about birth control opened with Joyce reading aloud the quintessential historical quote in the book about birth control, the statement that women should not engage in sexual activity unless they are willing to die in childbirth. China’s birth control policies of recent years were mentioned, as was sex education. Someone said that sex education is taught in the schools but not really, especially in schools where abstinence is emphasized. Cindy T. said that where the law prohibits birth control, the government should support Planned Parenthood and food stamps. Flo mentioned that there are hospital programs for lactation education in Round Rock. Adding to our numerous topics of conversation, Joyce reminded us that the German program of allowing more immigration is primarily because they need more population to take care of the aging and large Baby Boomer generation. Cheryl had read that in Afghanistan, all children were supposed to be boys, so they dressed girls as boys during their early life for a while and then allowed them to convert to women at puberty.

This book clearly covers a lot of territory, historically and socially. It seems to characterize how history works. Joyce’s statement sums it up: “We haven’t gotten much past the past.”  

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Different From What We Expected

The Same Kind of Different As Me, by Ron Hall and Denver Moore, seemed on the surface to be an interesting story of charity, love and redemption. Our discussion brought out these facets of the story and also some of the darker sides of this supposedly true story, such as an agenda of evangelism and indoctrination. On the surface, the story seems to be about a charitable wealthy couple who begin volunteering at a shelter for the homeless. There they meet a man who is at first quiet but warms up to the charitable couple as they prove that their intentions to be helpful to those less socioeconomically fortunate than them are virtuous and sincere. The wife of the couple becomes ill, and the story follows her courageous course through illness to death.

Our discussion brought out some of the darker and deeper facets of the story. The charitable couple, Ron and Deborah, engaged a ghost writer, Lin Vincent, to help with the book. Vincent is politically active and conservative, having collaborated on Sarah Palin’s Going Rogue as well as being linked with white supremacists. Among our group, only Amy C. had researched the ghost writer and was aware of her role in the book. Along this line of thought, Dennis claimed that while reading the book, he didn’t trust the veracity of the dialog supposedly spoken by the black homeless character, Denver. Heather thought Denver’s way of speaking was realistic, as it reminded her of much that she heard when she lived in Charlotte, in the deep South.

Cindy T. had particularly noticed the episode in the book when Denver went to visit an aunt who he had known in his childhood when he had lived like a slave. Denver described how, when visiting the old lady’s house as an adult, he had felt an evil presence that chased everyone out of the house. This highlighted some of the dark and superstitious beliefs in the story. Although this dark aspect didn’t seem to play a major role in the story’s action or in the religious beliefs and actions in the story, superstition and the supernatural appeared numerous times in the story, such as when Deborah recognized Denver from a dream, when Denver forecast Deborah’s bad luck, and a few other times.

Our discussion touched on some of the other details in the story. Shirley noticed that Denver claimed he ate 2 chocolate pies daily when he was a slavelike farm laborer. Marcia said she had been fascinated by the way that Denver had run away from the perpetual debt syndrome of the slavelike laborer’s life and became homeless.  I mentioned that Ron had felt like he was acting out guilt from white privilege when he began volunteering at the homeless shelter. We had general agreement that Deborah was sincere in her wishes to help the homeless and that Ron came to feel that way, too.

We talked at length of examples of volunteers helping the homeless. Marcia told us about some work she did among the homeless in Austin when she was a nurse. Judy told us stories from her work for the homeless at LifeWorks. She told us about a somewhat secret subculture of homeless children who choose to live free on the streets rather than joining an orphanage-type home. Marilyn mentioned a woman who cared for homeless children and treated them well; with respect and love without judgment, this woman created an atmosphere and success that Marilyn claimed was similar to how Deborah treated the homeless in the book. Amy C. suggested a website about choices for end-of-life care Through examples of many fine organizations and the volunteers who run them, we found a very positive theme that the book advocated: giving from the heart.  

Thanks to Carol for nominating this book and inspiring our multifaceted discussion.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Swedish Curmudgeon Has a Big Heart

Introducing A Man Called Ovë, by Fredrik Backman, Cindy listed themes from the story and gave each of us a quote to ponder. The themes included masculinity; change and technology; relationships; and “the whiteshirts,” i.e. authority and bureaucracy. The quotes gave us food for thought, and we expressed our ideas about them and chose which theme they related to.  

Ovë had a strong personality! Dennis spoke about the first quote, which was from Ovë. Ovë asked what the value of a man was in a world where everything could be bought. This brought discussion in the group about Ovë’s penchant for making things and fixing things, plus some discussion about more recent products that are not meant to be fixable. Ovë felt that people should be able to do things by themselves. His independence was strongly expressed by his life. Amy said that Ovë’s friend Rune didn’t make or fix things, but he was a valued person, particularly as a husband and friend.

The discussion went on to Ovë expressing feelings of lost masculinity when he lost his job. His firing also brought out the theme of change and technology, as Ovë was fired partly because he wasn’t keeping up with the new technology at work. Joanne said that what you do, not just what you say, should be important; as Ovë helped people by fixing things.

After Ovë had lost his job and his beloved wife, he attempted suicide a number of times; each time failing for some reason: the rope he was hanging himself from broke, the phone rang and he stopped to answer it, the doorbell rang and he stopped to answer that, or neighbors were gathered outside his picture window. These suicide attempts and interruptions were portrayed as humerous. Morna’s quote said that Ovë was not good at killing himself. Cindy observed that each of the failed suicide attempts brought something new into Ovë’s life.

Some of the quotes were about the importance of relationships. Carol’s quote said that sorrow not shared drives people apart. Ovë and his wife shared the sorrow of losing their pregnancy. Amy noted that though Ovë was not a father, children called him “grandfather.” Marilyn said that life happens to us all, and we each choose whether to become bitter or better

Frank gave us a final humorous quote, saying, "Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend; but inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."