May 20, 2011

May 2011

We had the pleasure of having the company of Ty Roth who just had his first book published.  We enjoyed his stories of the publishing world and all the revisions it took to get So Shelly where it is today.  Thanks for taking us along for the ride, Ty.

Here’s what we’ve been reading:

So Shelly – Ty Roth
Precious the movie/Push the novel - Sapphire (Romona Loften)
Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger
The Imperfectionists – Tom Rachman
My Reading Life – Pat Conroy
The Northbury Papers – Joanne Dobson
Wordy Shipmates – Sarah Vowell
Take the Cannoli – Sarah Vowell
Books by Donald Westlake
Night Road – Kristin Hannah
Winter Garden – Kristin Hannah
The Memory Keeper’s Daughter – Kim Edwards
Upstairs Downstairs on PBS
Ireland – Frank Delaney
Cleopatra – Stacy Schiff
The Historian – Elizabeth Kostova
The Love Letter – Cathleen Schine (avoid this one)
The Cookbook Collector – Allegra Goodman
The Trinity Six – Charles Cumming
Huck and Holden – the play by Rajiv Joseph
The King’s Speech – the movie
Brooklyn – Colm Toibin
Botany of Desire – Michael Pollan

Mary Lou read:

Ruth Park, Missus (194?. 1985), The Harp in the South (1948), Poor Man’s Orange (1948).  This Australian trilogy was originally published in the 1940s.  It follows the women of three generations through the Australia of the 1890s to the 1940s.  The first novel focuses on Rowena (Eny) Kilker and her family in Trafalgar, New South Wales.  The second centers on the life of Eny’s daughter Margaret, who with her husband Hugh Darcy is raising her family in the slums of Surrey Hills, Sydney.  In the third novel, Margaret’s youngest daughter Dolour seeks to escape to a better life outside the slums.

Annie Proulx, That Old Ace in the Hole (2002).  This is another gem from the author of The Shipping News.  Jobs are hard to find, so a young college graduate takes a job scouting the Texas panhandle for distressed ranches that can be purchased for hog farming.  Bob Dollar is a naïve young man who was abandoned by his parents and raised by his uncle, who runs a junk store.  His new boss tells him not to let folks know he’s scouting for Global Pork, so instead he tells the townsfolk of Woolybucket that he’s looking for land for upscale resort housing development.  His expense account is meager and he takes up residence in the decaying bunkhouse of the widow Fronk.  From her and from the regulars at the Old Dog Café, he learns just what a stinking business hog farming is.  This is a rowdily humorous novel where Bob and justice finally triumph.
This one is definitely worth reading.

Carl Hiaasen, Nature Girl (2006).  If you haven’t yet discovered Hiaasen’s wacky South Florida world, this novel is as good a place as any to start.  It’s a mystery of sorts, featuring Honey Santana, manic and off her meds, attempting to wreak justice on telemarketers, especially one Boyd Shreave, who definitely deserves as much trouble as Honey dishes out.  A subplot introduces us to Sammy Tigertail, a blue-eyed Seminole half-blood making his private war on those who seek to commercialize what little Florida wilderness remains.   

Ian Rankin, Witch Hunt (1993).  Nine Heads of State are scheduled to attend a summit in London.  Inspector John Greenleaf, ex-Met now working for Special Branch, New Scotland Yard, is informed by his superior that a female assassin, “Witch”  may have landed surreptitiously in Britain.  In this highly suspenseful novel, Greenleaf must identify and thwart the killer.  His greatest antagonist, however, is the political bureaucracy of the British intelligence and security forces.  This one will keep you up at night.

Ian Rankin is best known for his series featuring middle aged, cynical, alcoholic, unmanageable Edinburgh police inspector John Rebus.  These include Knots and Crosses (1987), The Black Book (1993), Black and Blue (1997), and Set in Darkness (2000).  Other characters are skillfully drawn as well.  Rebus’s Edinburgh is not the clean and pleasant place we thought when we visited, but the familiar landmarks appear prominently in the plots. 

From our sister club in Oklahoma:

Lawton Book Bunch
May 12, 2011

New York: The Novel by Edward Rutherford
The Wedding by Dorothy West
Joe Jones by Anne Lamott
Citizens of London: The Americans Who Stood with Britain in Its Darkest, Finest Hour by Lynne Olson
Jane’s Fame: How Jane Austen Conquered the World by Claire Harmon
George, Nicholas, and Wilhelm by Miranda Carter
Twelfth Insight by James Redfield
The Richer, The Poorer by Dorothy West
King’s Speech: How One Man Saved the British Monarchy by Mark Logue
The Immortal Live of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
Girl Who … movies – both American and Swedish productions
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen – movie and book
Conspirator Robert Redford’s movie
Scherrey Cardwell on German genealogy

See you next time when the author of The Sweet Potato Queens series Jill Connor Browne will be joining us!

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