April 19, 2012

April 2012

Tina Fey and Anne Lamott – what do they have in common?  I’d like to invite them both to dinner, sit back and watch what happens.

Here’s what we covered last night:
Blood, Bones and Butter – Gabrielle Hamilton
Buddha in the Attic – Julie Otsuka
The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
Bossypants – Tina Fey
Physics for the Rest of Us – Roger Jones
The Uncommon Reader – Alan Bennett
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close – Jonathan Safran Foer
Aragon dragon series
The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Shaffer
The Flight of Gemma Hardy – Margot Livesey
The Sneetches – Dr. Seuss
PBS Harper Lee biography
PBS Margaret Mitchell biography
Rise to Rebellion - Jeff Shaara
PBS Great Expectations
Adventures with a Nook – not much to haul when traveling!
Adapting to change:  Print vs. Electronic
The Deadly Tools of Ignorance – Robert Elias
The Boxcar Brigade – Mary Ellen Ester
A Small Hotel – Robert Olen Butler
The Piano Teacher – Janice Y.K. Lee
Mr. Chartwell – Rebecca Hunt
Little Giant of Aberdeen County – Tiffany Baker
One Story non-profit org.
Second Impressions – Ava Farmer
Death Comes to Pemberly – P.D. James
The Thoreau You Don’t Know – Robert Sullivan
Behind the Beautiful Forevers – Katherine Boo
In the Lion’s Mouth – Michael Flynn
Death of a Kingfisher – M.C. Beaton
Natural Law – Robert Anton Wilson
The War of 1812 Bicentennial Edition – Donald Hickey

From our sister group in OK:


The Cats of Roxville Station by Jean Craighead George
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen by Paul Torday
11/22/63: A Novel by Stephen King
Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin
1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann
Pere Goriot by Honore de Balzac
Lost Illusions by Honore de Balzac
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert; translatedby Lydia Davis
Glass Bead Game by Hermann Hesse
New York by Edward Rutherford
Language of Mathematics by Keith Devlin
Giants and Dwarfs by Allan Bloom
I Never Walked Alone: The Autobiography of an American Singer by Shirley Verrett
Consuelo by George Sand
Social Animal by David Brooks
Comprehension and Collaboration by Harvey Daniels and Stephanie Harvey
The Way the Crow Flies by Ann-Marie MacDonald


Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

Opera DVDs

Samson and Delilah with Shirley Verrett
Macbeth with Shirley Verrett

From Mary Lou in Maryland:

Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient (1991).  Either I’ve forgotten the movie or it did not closely follow the book.  As World War II draws to a close, four characters are left behind in a half-bombed-out villa in Italy.  Hana, a nurse, is from Canada and so is the soldier Caravaggio.  The Sihk spends his days locating and defusing mines.  The English patient emerged from the North African desert badly burned and unidentifiable.  He is not English after all.  Eventually his identity is discovered and much is revealed about the war in the desert.

Julia Glass, Three Junes (2002).  This three-part novel won the National Book Award for fiction.  It begins with Paul, recently widowed, who attempts to ameliorate his grief by joining a tour group to Greece.  The second part, six years later, is set in Paul’s home in Scotland.  We meet Paul’s sons David, an uptight veterinarian, Dennis, a chef in Paris, and Fenno, a bookstore owner in Manhattan.  Once again, we see that each dysfunctional family is dysfunctional in its own way.  Yet five years later, we visit Paul’s home in Greece and through the eyes of a young woman Paul met on his tour, more is revealed about the family.  There is a strong thread of mystery in this novel as the characters and their stories are gradually revealed. 

Nevada Barr, Burn (2010).  Anna Pidgeon is on leave from the Park Service and staying with a friend in New Orleans.  She is supposed to be recuperating from her latest life-threatening adventure.  She is not supposed to be investigating voodoo, missing persons, and murder. 

Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog (2006).  The public personas bear little resemblance to the private identities of the major characters in this novel.  The widow concierge of a wealthy Paris apartment building and the twelve-year-old daughter of one of the resident families begin to recognize each other’s true identities.  They learn much about themselves in the process.  This delightful novel is both comic and poignant. 

John LeCarre,  A Most Wanted Man (2008).  Absolutely no one is to be trusted in this tale of espionage in Hamburg, Germany.  A young Russian refugee, an idealistic young lawyer, and a third-generation Scottish international banker are spun and manipulated by competing and bureaucratic anti-terrorist spy agencies of Germany, Britain and the USA. 

Stuart Woods, Fresh Disasters (2007).  Stone Barrington, former NYPD cop turned lawyer, handles the more distasteful matters for a prestigious NYC law firm.  His secretary and office manager Joan has just scolded him about the imbalance between income and expenses when he receives a lucrative assignment he would like to refuse.  In the course of representing the client, who is far from truthful and his own worst enemy, Stone finds himself on the wrong side of the mafia.  The pace is fast and the plot is twisty.

Julian Symons, The Blackheath Poisonings:  A Victorian Murder Mystery (1978).  This mystery features two eccentric and unlivable houses, one dark and gloomy and build like a church and the other is styled as an Italian villa, full of windows and sprawling inconveniently behind its columns.  The family members are as eccentric as the houses.  The initial murder goes undetected because it would be scandalous for the family doctor to decline to issue a death certificate.  There’s plenty of social comedy to spice the mystery.

P. B. Ryan, Still Life with Murder (2003).  Set in Boston in the late 1860s, both the Civil War and Irish immigration provide the historical background for this story of family pride, loyalties, and deception.  Nell Sweeny, Irish maid to the wealthy Hewitt family, demonstrates considerable wit and courage as she assists her mistress in unraveling the mystery.

Laura Childs, The English Breakfast Murder (2003).  This is not as cozy a mystery as the title suggests. Theo Browning, a woman of a certain age, runs the Indigo Tea Shop in Charleston, SC.   In the course of assisting hatching loggerhead turtles in finding their moonlight path to the sea, she discovers a body floating the waves.  She is convinced that the victim’s interest in sunken treasure has something to do with his murder. 

One of my favorite authors Anne Lamott.

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