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Book Club Questions for Oncology

1. Cancer is not a subject many people wish to talk about. How much did you know about this book before deciding to read it? What surprised you the most?

2. Did this book challenge or change your perspective or opinion on something?

3. In addition to Nora Brady and her friends, Toby Sanders is a character who appeared in a previous book, where he may have seemed very different. What did you think of his character here (even if you hadn’t met him before)?

4. Did you have a favorite character? Why? Which character did you dislike or disagree with the most? Why?

5. Nora does not appear to get along with, or have much respect for her boss, Walda Oldenfield. Given that they had not worked together previously, why do you think Nora felt this way? What did you think of the hospital administration in general?

6. What was the most memorable or shocking or twist in the story? Why?

7. Did the book bring back any memories for you? How did that make you feel? Happy? Sad? Cringing?

8. Were you surprised by the person(s) who committed the crimes? If you guessed, what clues had you noticed? If you were surprised, who did you think it would have been instead? Why?

9. Once again, Nora finds herself in some harrowing situations. Do you think she is smart and focused, or headstrong and somewhat careless?

10. How did you feel about the ending? Did it make sense and tie up all the loose ends? If you weren’t satisfied, what left you hanging?



You might guess from my previously posted recipes that I come from a family of dessert lovers. Topping the list of our favorites is the Yum Yum cake, although some might know it as a Texas sheet cake, which I’ve never had, so I can’t compare. I will say there’s plenty of butter and sugar in both the cake and the frosting, so it’s rich and chocolatey and there is seldom any leftover. It is and has always been the most requested cake to celebrate birthdays or any special occasion in my

I’ve linked this cake with Oncology as, like many others, I’ve had my share of family and friends who’ve been afflicted. When thinking of the clinic in this book, I thought of my father, my sister, Maureen, and my friend, Molly—all have passed, and each loved desserts. They also provided me with a more personal insight into cancer treatment which is quite different from that of a nurse. One can’t slay the dragon of cancer, but Oncology was a fun-filled opportunity to create a few villains from whom I could extract some pleasure in bringing down. Enjoy!


13 x 9 baking dish (metal or pyrex) Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2 cups sugar, 4 Tbsp cocoa, 2 cups flour, ½ cup buttermilk, 1/2 cup shortening (Crisco or oil), 2 eggs, 1 stick butter, 1 tsp soda, 1 cup water 1 tsp vanilla

Bring to a boil in a pan: shortening, butter, water and cocoa. Pour over flour and sugar which has been sifted. (I never sift.)

Mix well. Add buttermilk, eggs, soda, and vanilla. Mix well and pour into a greased and floured (or sugared) pan.

Bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

1 stick of butter, 4 Tbsp cocoa, 6 Tbsp milk
Bring to a boil and add 1# box of powdered sugar and 1 tsp vanilla.
Add 1 cup nuts (optional) Pour over cake while hot. Cool cake before serving.

Great with ice cream! Enjoy!

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