January 14, 2011

May 2010

What an enjoyable evening!  We welcomed Ty Roth, soon to be published author of So Shelly, to our group and we hope he knows he's one of us now.  Partly because he's a cool guy, but mostly because he said the secret password Pride And Prejudice Is The Greatest Novel Ever Written.  He graciously blogged about his experience here:
And he's invited you to friend him on facebook if you get the chance.  
Ty, thanks for sharing your journey with us.  We hope you can join us often.

Here's what we covered:

The Great Train Robbery - Michael Crichton
Dead North - Sue Henry
Blue Highways - William Least Heat Moon
Little Chapel on the River - Gwendolyn Bounds
This Book is Overdue - Marilyn Johnson
The Dead Beat - Marilyn Johnson
Sarum - Edward Rutherfurd
God is Not Great - Christopher Hitchens
The Book Thief - Markus Zusak
The Glass Castle - Jeanette Walls
The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane - Katherine Howe
While I'm Falling - Laura Moriarty
Books by Elinor Lipman
Coincidance - Robert Anton Wilson
Illuminatus - Robert Anton Wilson
The Death of Ivan Ilyich - Leo Tolstoy
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
Things Fall Apart - Chinua Achebe
The Ask - Sam Lipsyte
Books By Tom Robbins
*Don't bother with Union Atlantic by Adam Haslett*
Let the Great World Spin - Colum McCann
Reality Hunger - David Shields
Jesus - Paul Johnson
Modern Times - Paul Johnson
A History of the American People - Paul Johnson
Mennonite in a Little Black Dress - Rhoda Janzen
So Shelly - Ty Roth - out in Feb 2011
The Necessity of Atheism - Percy Bysshe Shelley
Being Shelley - Ann Wroe
Ode on a Grecian Urn - George Keats
Bright Star the movie
Frankenstein Unbound - Brian Aldiss

From Dwight:

Larry McMurty has written a 2nd memoir and noted was his wry comment on immortality.  He was doing a book tour in some little town in Texas and the sign outside the Holiday Inn read:
The next day:
Steve Hamilton
I had rich pleasure in enjoying Joseph Wambaugh again; this time HOLLYWOOD MOON

From Mary Lou:

Olivia Goldsmith, The First Wives Club (1992).  The paperback cover shows Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn and Diane Keaton from the movie.  I remember it as considerably funnier than I found the book.  It seems a bit dated.  However, the wives do an admirable job of meeting out “justice” to their former husbands.  The chapter titles are marvelously campy (Crying All the Way to the Bank) and the book is a delight for connoisseurs of ironic humor.  

David Rhodes, Driftless (2008).  The setting for this novel is the small town of Words in southwestern Wisconsin.  The title refers to an area untouched by the glaciers and life in this remote rural village appears similarly unaffected by 20th century culture and technology.  The setting and the characters are faithfully drawn and recognizable to readers who are familiar with such Midwestern communities.  The point of view shifts from character to character and unsuspected depths of experience are slowly revealed.  Each person is very private and isolated, and yet their lives are closely interwoven.  Often there is delicious humor as these connections are revealed.  The balance of humor and pathos is skillful and engrossing.  This is an excellent literary work, not mere entertainment.

Nevada Barr, Borderline (2009).  This novel is the latest in the series featuring the 40-something National Park Ranger Anna Pigeon.  It is set in the Big Bend National Park, along the Rio Grande in Texas.  The story unwinds as a party of seven vacationers rafts through the Santa Elena Canyon.  The rafters consist of Anna and her husband Paul, the river guide, and four college kids.  A subplot concerns a retired Secret Service security chief for a woman gubernatorial candidate.  Border politics also figure into the story.  It is, of course, murder mystery.  Barr’s novels are reliably engrossing.

Laura Lippman, To the Power of Three (2005).  Lippman writes detective novels set in Baltimore.  In this one, she shifts the scene from the City to an affluent commuter community in northern Baltimore County.  It begins with a shooting at the high school and then provides the back-story of three girls who swore lifelong friendship in the third grade and remained inseparable thereafter, at least until their senior year, when something came between them.  It takes the whole novel for the police detective and the reader to reconstruct the shooting and uncover the events that caused the rift between the girls and the resulting tragedy.      

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