June 21, 2012

June 2012

Last night’s discussion got me thinking about authors that grew up in unconventional families and how they make fascinating stories:  Jeannette Walls, Gabrielle Hamilton, Dave Eggers, Cheryl Strayed to name a few.  We also talked about how some people cook:  by smell, taste, winging it or following recipes to the letter.  There are those among us who feel the need to host parties and cook for a crowd.  I hope I know some of those people.

The designer of the Omni book club logo Ryan was able to join us, and I hope he enjoyed it as much as we enjoyed him.

Here’s what we discussed:

Defending Jacob – William Landay
Death at Pemberly – P.D. James
Twelfth Enchantment – David Liss
Into the Forest – Jean Hegland
Murder on the Ol’ Bunions – Dionne Moore
Keeper of the Ferris Wheel – Jack McBride White
Clapton The Autobiography – Eric Clapton
Sessions for Robert J. CD and DVD
Anne Lamott
Bird by Bird – Anne Lamott
Rosie – Anne Lamott
Wild – Cheryl Strayed
The Way movie
Bossy Pants – Tina Fey
The Lompopo Academy of Private Detection – Alexander McCall Smith
Beach House Memories – Mary Alice Monroe
Summer Breeze – Nancy Thayer
The Night and the Music – Lawrence Block
The Brandy of the Damned – JMR Higgs
Inscapes – Francis Scarfe
The War of 1812 – Donald Hickey
Service Included – Phoebe Damrosch
Blood, Bones & Butter – Gabrielle Hamilton
My Bread – Jim Lahey
Babette's Feast
Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
Would It Kill You to Stop Doing That – Henry Alford
A gentleman is one who never hurts anyone’s feelings unintentionally. – Oscar Wilde
Plenty of Candles Lots of Cake – Anna Quindlen
Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius – Dave Eggers
Creative is a Verb – Patti Digh

From our sister group in OK:
Lawton Book Bunch
June 14, 2012


Mankell, Henning: Pyramid, One Step Behind, Before the Frost, The Man Who Smiled,
  The Man from Beijing.
James, P.D.: Talking about Detective Fiction.
Meredith, Martin: Born in Africa: The Quest for the Origins of Human Life.  
Bourdain, Anthony: The Nasty Bits.
Le Carre, John: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.
Indridason, Arnaldur: The Draining Lake.
Larson, Erik: Isaac’s Storm, In the Garden of the Beasts, The Devil in the White City.
Mann, Charles C.: 1491.
Shakespeare, William: Taming of the Shrew.
Anaya, Rudolfo: Bless Me, Ultima.
Lawton Business and Professional Women’s Club: ‘Neath August Sun, 1901.
Katz, William Loren: The Black West.
Paulsen, Gary: The Legend of Bass Reeves.


Google for: Neanderthal cave artists
   msn.com: articles about Neanderthals being the first cave artists.

Movies, TV

Da Vinci’s Inquest.
Cave of Forgotten Dreams
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (PBS series with Alec Guinness)

From Mary Lou in MD:

Ann Brashares, The Second Summer of the Sisterhood (2003); Girls in Pants:  The Third Summer of the Sisterhood (2005).  This is a delightful series.  Volume 2 covers the summer between Junior and Senior years of high school   Bridget goes to Alabama to learn about her deceased mother’s family.  Carmen has a difficult time with the fact that her mother is dating.  Tibby meets new friends when she enrolls in a college film program.  Lena is still trying to recover from the previous summer’s romance when she visited her grandparents in Greece. Volume 3 covers the summer after graduation, with the girls all somewhat apprehensively looking ahead to college while working out more independent relationships with their parents. The traveling pants have not lost their magic. The tone is light but the issues are serious.   

Thomas Keneally, The Office of Innocence (2002).  In the summer of 1941-42 the people of Australia are anxious about the prospect of a Japanese invasion while their young men in uniform are serving in North Africa.  Father Frank Darragh, the conscientious young curate of the Roman Catholic parish of St. Margaret’s, finds his own faith severely tested as he strives to guide his parishioners through the moral and spiritual dilemmas posed by impending war.   Keneally does a masterful job of portraying the conflict between the ideal and the real of the priesthood.

Shelby Foote, Follow Me Down (1950).  Historian Shelby Foote was the most charming and entertaining of narrators of the PBS series on the Civil War.  He also has written several novels. This one is superb.  In Jordan County MS Luther Eustis, a bible-crazed old farmer, is on trial for the murder of a young woman whose body was discovered in a lake, weighted down with concrete blocks.  There is no doubt that Eustis is guilty.  The novel presents the trial and the events leading up to it through a series of narrators including a reporter, a deaf-mute, the defense attorney, Eustis’s wife, his victim, and Eustis himself.  Gradually the entire series of events and compulsions that led to the crime are revealed. This is a beautifully written novel with strong characters and a compelling atmosphere.

Nevada Barr, Burn (2010).  Anna Pigeon is on leave from the Parks Service and staying with a friend in New Orleans to give herself time to recover from her latest nearly fatal adventure.  She has promised her husband Paul, a county sheriff in Mississippi, that she will stay out of trouble.  Of course she can’t manage that and when she receives voodoo threats she’s off and running in another life-threatening quest to solve a series of interlocking mysteries.  

Jana French, In the Woods (2007).  Dublin police detective Rob Ryan is assigned to investigate the murder of a twelve-year-old girl in a woods near a suburban housing development.  Neither Ryan’s superiors nor his partner Cassie are aware that the boyhood Ryan has a sinister history with these woods. Ryan remembers very little about that long ago traumatic experience but gradually he realizes that he must solve both mysteries if he is to salvage his career on the murder squad.  The faintly bizarre characters include the family of the victim and the workers on an archeological dig near the woods.  The plot has enough twists and turns for a maze.  

Elizabeth George, Missing Joseph (1993).  The vicar of Winslough has noted that the figure of Joseph is missing from pictorial representations of the Holy Family.  Simon and Deborah St. James are not willing to accept the Coroners verdict of accidental poisoning in the vicar’s death.  Simon asks his friend Detective Inspector Thomas Lynley to join him in investigating the matter.  The solution to the mystery hinges on the missing figure. 

John Sanford, Sudden Prey (1996).  This is one of the goriest and scariest cases of Lucas Davenport’s career with the Minneapolis police.  As usual in a Sanford novel, we know who the bad guys are and what they are up to from the beginning.  They are terrifyingly unstable and unpredictable and someone is giving them inside information about the investigation.  The suspense is in watching Lucas and his colleagues figure everything  out before it’s too late. 

Robert B. Parker, Sixkill (2011).  The dialog is as entertainingly cryptic as usual.  Hawk is off to the Far East on a Buddhist retreat and Spenser has to make do with a new heavy as his backup.  Zebulon Sixkill is an American Indian and a body guard employed by a Hollywood sleezeball accused of murdering a female fan.  Sixkill is a potential witness and Spenser attempts to interview him on the set in Boston. The sleezeball orders Sixkill to throw Spenser off the set and Sixkill gets himself decked and fired n the attempt.  An unlikely friendship ensues. Eventually the murder gets solved.   

Happy Summer Reading!

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