January 14, 2011

July 2010

What a night!  Very lively discussion on The Glass Castle and Half-Broke Horses.  These are stories that simply won't go away.  Tickets to see Jeannette Walls go on sale Monday, August 2, so raise your hand and say Aye if you'd like to go.  You can also see her here with Craig Ferguson:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIqPov5UbRE&feature=related

On with the show:

The Glass Castle - Jeannette Walls
Half-Broke Horses - Jeannette Walls
That Old Ace in the Hole - Annie Proulx
Way Out West BBC show on Annie Proulx
The Sea House - Esther Freud
Long Walk Home - Will North
Girl in Translation - Jean Kwok
The Bricklayer - Noah Boyd
History of Christianity - Paul Johnson
Eat Pray Love - Elizabeth Gilbert
A Year of Pleasures - Elizabeth Berg
The Roar of the Butterflies - Reginald Hill
Secret Life of Bees - Sue Monk Kidd
The Lion - Nelson DeMille
The Lion's Game - Nelson DeMille
Broken Music - Sting memoir
Clapton:  The Autobiography - Eric Clapton
Jane and Michael Stern are awesome and you should check out www.popularplates.com
Pillars of the Earth - series on Starz
Life Lessons - Regina Brett
The Unincorporated Man - Dani and Eytan Kollin
The Unincorporated War - Dani and Eytan Kollin
Stranger in a Strange Land - Robert Heinlein
The Clerkenwell Tales - Peter Ackroyd
The Lightning Thief - Rick Riordan
JoAnna Carl/Eve Sandstrom/Elizabeth Storm is one person who has written many books

Visit the blog on the Little Chapel on the River for a recap of our night with the author Wendy Bounds and new artwork inspired by Starry Night:

From Jane:
I just finished reading UNBOUND......about the 30 women who went on the Long March in Mao's march to the mtns and I"ll give  review of this book when next we meet. You'll be amazed: one of the really great little known stories of the 20th Century.
 Finished yet another bk on the Korea War; reading book about Tolstoi.........a genius but what strange times he was living in (It is also about how his widow waged a legal WAR during the early communist era.... to obtain all legal rights to his works after he handed them over to a strange organzation just before dying. Did she win or not??? )
Read some mysteries and am now reading (eat your hearts OUT): a new book about Emily Dickenson who we all learned to dislike the first time every we put our eyes on her stuff. BUT.....she's NOT the person we thought she was..........more later!!!

From Dwight:
A friend has warned me about my continuing interest in AYN RAND.  Be that as it may
AYN (pronouced eye n) RAND AND THE WORLD SHE MADE by Anne C. Heller
is a page-turner, almost a thriller of a biography. 
It doesn't hurt to view the dvd of the FOUNTAINHEAD with Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal
WILLIAM GOLDING, a biography by John Carey
I enthusiastically watched the movie again and am enjoying the book remembering how much I avoided it when it first came out in the 1950's.

From Mary Lou:

Cara Black, Murder in Belleville (2000). This is the second novel in the Aimee Leduc mystery series with the tantalizing Paris settings. This one has a lot of political intrigue, both Algerian and Islamic and Belleville seems to be one of the seedier sections of Paris. I think some of Black’s later novels are better, but this one is fast paced and exciting as usual with plenty of the descriptions Paris locales, both famous and obscure.

Elizabeth Goudge, The Dean’s Watch (1960). I loved Goudge’s Pilgrims Inn when I read it years ago. Perhaps it is less sentimental or perhaps my taste has matured over the years. (One would hope so, no?) Anyway, I found this an enjoyable book. It is set in the mid-19th century in an English town in the Fen country. The central characters are a middle aged clock maker (horologist, a new word for me) and the aging Dean of the local cathedral. The book focuses on the development and refinement of these two characters, as they interact with friends, family, acquaintances and each other. The cathedral looms menacingly over the town and its inhabitants, but eventually becomes a redemptive presence.

Howard Norman, The Museum Guard (1998). The setting for this novel is an art museum in Halifax, Nova Scotia in the 1930s. Both the narrator and his uncle are employed in the museum. The first sentence announces that the narrator stole a painting titled Jewess on a Street in Amsterdam. The novel presents the tale of how the narrator came to carry out this theft as a result of his quest to please his indifferent and deluded lady love. Norman masterfully presents his characters’ misapprehensions of reality. The result is sometimes bizarre, sometimes poignant, and always interesting.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie (1847). On my recent trip to Nova Scotia, I picked up a nice little 2003 edition of this long narrative poem with illustrations from 19th century editions. The scholarly but readable introduction provides the history of the French settlement of Acadia (SW Nova Scotia) and the English deportation of the Acadians between 1755 and 1763. The long narrative poem is written in dactylic hexameter and the galloping meter is occasionally as tiresome as the critics complain. Longfellow is no Browning, but the thin plot is enriched by the vivid descriptions of the Acadian countryside and way of life in Part I and the Mississippi Valley in Part II. While I very much enjoyed reading this, I’m not in a hurry to move along to The Song of Hiawatha.

Evelyn M. Richardson, We Keep a Light (1954, 2005). We visited many lighthouses on our recent trip to the Maritimes and I discovered this book there. The author describes the life she and her family lived at the Bon Portage Island lighthouse in the Atlantic off the southern tip of Nova Scotia. The Richardsons bought the island and began their life there in 1929, before the birth of their three children. The book covers a period of more than 20 years. The duties of light-keeping, along with the rough sea, rocky shores, and erratic weather kept them isolated from the nearest town of Shag Harbor for months at a time, particularly in winter. They lived without electric power, telephone, or even a 2-
way radio. The structure is thematic rather than chronological. The book describes Evelyn’s first dismayed impressions of her new home and the improvements made in the earlier years to make the light station more livable. It also describes the improvements made over the years, including the acquisition of more seaworthy boats, the construction of additional outbuildings, and efforts to supplement the meager lightkeeper’s salary by raising sheep and gathering Irish Moss (used in making ice cream, among other things) from the rocks along the shore, as well as living off the land by shooting ducks, salting fish, picking wild berries, and canning and pickling whatever came to hand. Evelyn of necessity home-schooled the children and also taught them a great deal of natural history as the family enjoyed impromptu picnics and other outings around the island. There’s a chapter on shipwrecks, another on duck hunting, and intermittent descriptions of local fishermen. While the book describes the many challenges and hardships of this small family’s life on the island, it is nevertheless quite cheerful. 

We have a sister group in Oklahoma and here's what they covered this month.  Hope we can keep the exchange going!  

Lawton Book Bunch
July 8, 2010

“Georgia O’Keeffe” movie with Joan Allen and Georgia O’Keeffe – discussion of the relationship and balance of power between the two
“David Suchet on the Orient Express”  PBS special/aired  (aired July 7, 2010)
“Murder on the Orient Express”  PBS – Masterpiece Theatre (to air July 11, 2010)
“The Shack” by William P. Young – dealing with difficult transitions in life
“Middlesex” by Jeffrey Eugenides – one reader gave up and gave away; another reader made it to the end
“Virgin Suicides” by Jeffrey Eugenides – reader did not particularly like
Jamaica Kincaid: “Annie John,” “A Small Place,” “My Garden (Book):,” “The First    Time I Saw England” (a short story) – terrific writing style and helps the reader see matters from a different perspective.
Forrestine C. Hooker: “Cricket” and “Star” – Cricket was a young child at Fort Sill; Star was Quanah Parker’s horse. A look at life on the southern plains more than a century ago. Not just for children
“Dance Hall of the Dead” by Tony Hillerman – A fine writer who opens doors to other cultures and ways of viewing life. Hillerman grew up in Oklahoma – and worked at “The Lawton Constitution” in the late 1940s
“Leviathan” by Thomas Hobbs – reader’s interests  caused her to purchase – report later
“Chinese Cinderella: The True Story of an Unwanted Daughter” by Adeline Yen Mah
Octavia Butler books – what it is like to grow up unloved and to accomplish a lot in life despite that – the author became a doctor
“Empire of the Summer Moon” by S.C. Gwynne – fascinating and informative new book about the Comanche Indians and Quanah Parker. Reader recommends, though she felt the author makes some possibly unwarranted statements
Fyodor Dostoevsky: “Crime and Punishment” and “The Brothers Karamazov”  Reader prefers the Brothers to C&P
“Evolution of Calpurnia Tate” by Jacqueline Kelly – Young girl growing up on the Texas frontier in the 1890s who has scientific interests – a to-be-read book
“Creation” 2009 movie about Charles Darwin
“Something’s Gotta Give” movie with Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson
“Julie and Julia” both the movie and the book
“Milo and Otis” (movie)
“Abel’s Island” by William Steig – recommended for a good family read with grade schoolers.
“Nim’s Island” by Wendy Orr
“Airbender” (movie)
“Avatar” (movie)

See you next time when we can all say Cheese!  Riverhead books will donate $2 to Khaled Hosseini's foundation, a charity dedicated to providing humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan, for each photo sent to them of a reader with either A Thousand Splendid Suns or The Kite Runner.  So get ready to have your picture taken.  Books will be provided.  More information can be found here:  http://community.penguin.com/_Hosseini/group/115047/150186.html?WHOAMI=User&URL=http://community.penguin.com/penguinAdmin

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