January 14, 2011

September 2010

Well, The Glass Castle is such an electrifying book that the conversation spilled out into the parking lot!  A complicated life on so many levels, I hope the author Jeannette Walls is seeing a therapist.
Now on with the show:

City of Falling Angels - John Berendt
We didn't talk about it that night but another good book on Venice is A Thousand Days in Venice - Marlena De Blasi
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil - John Berendt
Philistines at the Hedgerow - Steven Gaines
The Day the Rabbi Resigned - Harry Kemelman
The Lighthouse - P.D. James
The Lincoln Lawyer - Michael Connelly
The 36-Hour Day - Nancy Mace
The Long Goodbye - Patti Davis
History of Christianity - Paul Johnson
(There are only two emotions:  fear and love)
The Inheritance of Rome - Chris Wickham
Cryptonomicon - Neal Stephenson
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary Ann Shaffer
The Book Thief - Markus Zusak
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larsson
Obama's War - Bob Woodward
A Journey of My Political Life - Tony Blair
The Christ From Death Arisen - Robert Geis
The Ten Things You Can't Say in America - Larry Elder
Let's Take the Long Way Home - Gail Caldwell
Drinking, A Love Story - Caroline Knapp
The above two books led to the discussion of the friendship between Ann Patchett and Lucy Grealy
Beachcombers - Nancy Thayer
Prodigal Summer - Barbara Kingsolver (the members were polite with what could have been an uncivilized discussion)
A Gate on the Stairs - Lorrie Moore
Jack the Ripper - Patricia Cornwell
Charlotte Bronte
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks - Rebecca Skloot
The Glass Castle - Jeannette Walls
The Red Tent - Anita Diamant
Unbound - Dean King
Mount Pleasant - Steve Poizner
The Unbearable Lightness of Scones - Alexander McCall Smith
The movie(s) of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency are really good!
The Kay Scarpetta novels by Patricia Cornwell

From our sister group:

Lawton Book Bunch
September 9, 2010
Again, we were only four and we still spent two hours discussing. There were fewer books.
Cricket: A Little Girl of the Old West by Forrestine C. Hooker. Cynthia is very interested in the history of this area and talked about collecting Forrestine Hooker’s books. She has two copies of this one with the prices at about $30 and $100 – not related to condition.
Beyond Einstein: The Cosmic Quest for the Theory of the Universe by Michio Kaku. String theory.
Read My Pins by Madeline Albright. Jewelry and diplomacy.
Annie John by Jamaica Kinkaid. Frantzie really enjoys Kinkaid’s writing. She and Susanna are going to read their way through her books.
Russia Against Napoleon by Dominic Lieven. Frantzie’s read in preparation for “War and Peace.”
New York by Edward Rutherford. Kim liked the vast amount of description and the multigenerational approach. Discussion of the gang era and the movie, Streets of New York.
The above also led to discussion of the recent biography Edith Wharton by Hermione Lee and to Rutherford’s Sarum.
Susanna brought copies of the magazine “Bookmarks” and shared a review of The Imperfectionists: A Novel by Tom Rachman. The book deals with an English-language newspaper in Rome. One for the newspaper folks.
Summer at Tiffany by Marjorie Hart. Very light read.
Still Alice by Lisa Genova. A novel about early on-set Alzheimers.
Cynthia brought a survey of banned books that the AARP magazine had recently published. This led to a discussion of the absurdity of banning books.

Mary Lou was able to join us in person and highly recommended The Red Tent:

Antero Pietila, Not in My Neighborhood (2010). This is a very well researched history of housing discrimination in Baltimore. I lived there for 15 years and knew or knew of many of the individuals discussed in the chapters dealing with the 1960s and later. It explains how Baltimore came to be the City of Neighborhoods and I will never again view that as the benign phrase of the local Chamber of Commerce.
Laura Lippman, In Big Trouble (1999). This is one of the earlier books in a series of detective novels set in Baltimore. The detective is Tess Monaghan and the case in this novel takes her to San Antonio, Texas.
Louisa May Alcott, A Long and Fatal Love Chase (1995; written 1866). Alcott wrote this novel at her editor’s suggestion to make some quick money for her family after returning from a year in Europe. It features many of the places she visited on her trip. It’s a romance novel on the order of Fielding’s protracted rape novel Clarissa. Her editor deemed it too sensational for publication, unfortunately. The current editor acquired the manuscript from a university library in 1994, where it had been mis-catalogued, and obtained permission to edit and publish it. A portion of the royalties go to the Orchard House, the Alcott home in Concord, MA.
Anita Diamant, The Red Tent (1997). This is an excellent historical novel, describing the tribal and pastoral way of life of biblical times. It features Dinah, the only daughter of the Jacob of the book of Genesis. It is principally the story of the lives of the women of the family, Jacob’s four wives (all sisters) as well as Dinah. Dinah learns midwifery from her Aunt Rachel and this skill later saves her life. The women in this legend are sources of love and stability, while the men are victims of testosterone poisoning in various forms of greed, lust, envy, and aggression. Nevertheless the characters are powerfully and convincingly drawn, escaping stereotypes. Read this book.
James Lee Burke, Half of Paradise (1965). Burke is a novelist whose powerful descriptive passages read as poetry. This is his first novel, set on the Louisiana Gulf Coast. It features three men, strangers to each other, whose lives are eventually linked as they struggle to overcome the destinies to which they were born.
James Lee Burke, Cimarron Rose (1997). This is an early (perhaps the first?) novel in Burke’s series featuring defense attorney Billy Bob Holland of Deaf Smith, Texas. Once again, the hero is a jaded, flawed, credible seeker of truth and justice in a corrupt world. The lyrical descriptions of the setting contrast sharply with scenes of violence. Evil is real in these mystery novels, but so is redemption.
James Lee Burke, Heartwood (1999). This is another novel featuring Billy Bob Holland.
James Lee Burke, White Doves at Morning (2002). This civil war novel focuses on two friends who join the 18th Louisiana regiment of the Confederate Army. Two beautiful women are also featured, a Yankee Quaker abolitionist and the slave daughter of a local plantation owner. The novel explores the nature of courage. Burke’s style and characterizations are well suited to the story of this most painful American epoch.

From Dwight:

Hi!  I haven't heard much about bruhaha in Cleveland literary circles but we are aghast at the closing of the Port Charlotte (FL) library due to an invasion of bed bugs.  (Cf.:  bedbugs is now two words according to the NYT.)  We all shake the binders and covers and I must watch the cracker crumbs, too.   Flying termites usually infest desk drawers in season, devouring all the glue on postage stamps and envelopes.  (Seems all creatures have a drug of choice!)
Meanwhile, I look forward each month to the goings-on with your book club!  So much enthusiasm, so catholic in the reads.St Mary Windau would be pleased.
I finally got around to the sequel to Presumed Innocent - INNOCENT - Scott Turow .  Stephen King said this book is the dedicated fiction-reader's version of El Dorado.
Thanks to the NYT Book Review I picked up SECRET HISTORIAN, the life and times of Samuel Steward, professor, tattoo artist, and sexual renegade - by Justin Spring.
I would be interested to know how many of the members are reading e-books, subscribe to the NY Review of Books, the NYT Book Review, the Kenyon Review, all of which whet our appetites to no end.

From Sharman who's getting her first pair of glasses  ;P   :

I'm reading Vinegar Hill now and next is Shoot the Moon by Billie Letts (same author as Where the Heart Is) ... I think.  

This is Banned Books Week.  Celebrate by reading one of them:  http://bannedbooksweek.org/index.html

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