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Drink Merlot and discuss Defending Jacob at Giampino's in Havertown

Thank you Gina for suggesting this book and reminding me how interesting it is.  I found some good discussion questions. (spoiler alert - don't look before reading)

Merlot is a red wine we've not shared yet so let's all bring a $15ish bottle of Merlot and like past meetups, we'll share the bottles and find what we like.  Merlot is a versatile grape, it's often called the insurance grape because while similar in taste to Cabernet Sauvignon, it ripens earlier and is not as tannic so it requires less aging before it is drinkable.   It is grown all over the world.  It thrives in Bordeaux where it is the main grape on the right bank (these are often blends) and the US (you'll find it all over CA - Napa, Paso Robles, as well as WA and OR).  But you can find examples from Italy, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia.  We may find differences between the areas (cool vs. hot).  It is often used as a blending grape, but let's try to find examples that are mostly Merlot. 

Below is a link to the restaurant website for more information including directions and menus.

Defending Jacob by William Landay

About the book (only $2.99 on Amazon)


Entertainment Weekly • The Boston Globe • Kansas City Star

“A legal thriller that’s comparable to classics such as Scott Turow’s Presumed Innocent . . . Tragic and shocking, Defending Jacob is sure to generate buzz.”—Associated Press


Andy Barber has been an assistant district attorney for two decades. He is respected. Admired in the courtroom. Happy at home with the loves of his life, his wife, Laurie, and teenage son, Jacob.

Then Andy’s quiet suburb is stunned by a shocking crime: a young boy stabbed to death in a leafy park. And an even greater shock: The accused is Andy’s own son—shy, awkward, mysterious Jacob.

Andy believes in Jacob’s innocence. Any parent would. But the pressure mounts. Damning evidence. Doubt. A faltering marriage. The neighbors’ contempt. A murder trial that threatens to obliterate Andy’s family.

It is the ultimate test for any parent: How far would you go to protect your child? It is a test of devotion. A test of how well a parent can know a child. For Andy Barber, a man with an iron will and a dark secret, it is a test of guilt and innocence in the deepest sense.

How far would you go?

Praise for Defending Jacob
“Ingenious . . . Nothing is predictable. All bets are off.”—The New York Times

“Stunning . . . a novel that comes to you out of the blue and manages to keep you reading feverishly until the whole thing is completed.”—The Huffington Post

“Gripping, emotional murder saga . . . The shocking ending will have readers pulling up their bedcovers to ward off the haunting chill.”—People

“The hype is justified. . . . Exceptionally serious, suspenseful, engrossing.”—The Washington Post

“Even with unexpected twists and turns, the two narratives interlock like the teeth of a zipper, building to a tough and unflinching finale. This novel has major motion picture written all over it.”—The Boston Globe

“Yes, this book came out in January. No, we are not done talking about it.”—Entertainment Weekly

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  • Carolyn

    I enjoyed the restaurant, the wine and the book. Everyone was very welcoming. I plan to go again!

    1 · July 14, 2014

  • Ilene P.

    I'm so glad I attended last night's event at Giampino's. It's only the third time I've been able to make it, but I really enjoyed the evening. The book was a good read, leading to a lively discussion. The food and wine were great and most of all I enjoyed the company of those who attended. I'm looking forward to attending next month's dinner.

    July 14, 2014

  • Sherre

    Thanks everyone for what may be the best book discussion so far. Thanks again Gina for the suggestion. Good wine and good food. It's always great together with everyone and to meet new people.

    2 · July 13, 2014

  • Randy Q.

    Good food, good wine, good conversation.

    July 13, 2014

  • Cara

    This book reminds me of The Dinner by Herman Koch...has anyone read?

    June 30, 2014

  • betsy h.

    Hate to have to cancel on this one but I have a conflict. Let me know what the next book selection is.

    June 23, 2014

  • Mike C.

    As most of you now know, I am retiring June 19th and moving to Nashville. Though I would love to continue to join you each month for wine and a great book, June will be my last meeting. I cannot tell you how much I have enjoyed being with each of you.

    May 13, 2014

    • Sherre

      Mike, I for one will definitely miss your charm and sense of humor. I do hope we stay in touch. I'd love to go to Nashville one day. Love ya!

      May 13, 2014

    • Barb N

      Mike, Your imput and company will be missed. You could always join us virtually if there's a book you'd like to discuss...however sharing wine might prove a little difficult.

      May 13, 2014

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