July 20, 2012

July 2012

One of the things I like about this group is that I now know more about the 6th-century Byzantine Empire without having to READ about the 6th-century Byzantine Empire.

Elaine brought her friend Barb whom I hope becomes a regular visitor, and Monica is off to new adventures and moving to Granville.  We hope she knows she’ll always be a part of our group and isn’t really leaving us.  Happy reading, my friend!

Here’s what we covered:

We’re with Nobody – Huffman and Rejebian
The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Stieg Larsson
Kids today!
The case for good teachers and those who differentiate between fiction and reality
Thinking, Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman
Cutting for Stone – Abraham Verghese
11/22/63 – Stephen King
The Spiral Staircase – Karen Armstrong
In the Garden of Beasts  - Erik Larson
The Litigators – John Grisham
The Best of the Rejection Collection – Mathew Diffee
The Cuban Revolution
The Yankee Comandante  - William Alexander Morgan
Fidel Castro My Life – Ignacio Ramonet
Wicked Business – Janet Evanovich
Service Included – Phoebe Damrosch
An Available Man – Hilma Wolitzer
Unorthodox – Deborah Feldman
The Country School Farm  (affectionately known as Amish Camp in my household)
Clair de Lune – Jetta Carleton
Moonflower Vine – Jetta Carleton
Summerland – Elin Hilderbrand
Night Road – Kristin Hannah
The Secret History of the Court of Justinian – Procopius
A Cold Day for Murder – Dana Stabenow  ***available for free on Kindle***  Won the Edgar Award for Best Paperback Original in 1993
Procopius of Caesarea – Anthony Kaldellis  If the biographer of Procopius would like to speak at our book club, he's more than welcome!
Justinian vs. Constantine
Mr. and Mrs. Madison’s War – Hugh Howard
Pacific Street – Cecelia Holland
The Long Way Home -  Robin Pilcher
Creative is a Verb – Patti Digh
Life is a Verb – Patti Digh
Pomp and Circumstance – Fred Mustard Stewart
Ellis Island – Fred Mustard Stewart
Minding Frankie  -Maeve Binchy
Barefoot – Elin Hilderbrand
Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Moonrise Kingdom the movie
Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern
The Enchantments – Kathryn Harrison
Mary Roberts Rinehart mysteries
A Reliable Wife  -Robert Goolrick
Good Poems – Garrison Keillor
The Life of William Faulkner  -Richard Gray
As I Lay Dying – William Faulkner
Anna Karenina  -Leo Tolstoy
Little America  -Rajiv Chandrasekaran
Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius – Dave Eggers
NPR Funniest Driveway Moments – NPR and Robert Krulwich
Backstage Passes:  Life of the Wild Side with David Bowie – Angela Bowie
Fifty Shades of Grey  - E. L. James
The Sun Also Rises  - Hemingway
The Paris Wife  -Paula McLain
The Glass Castle – Jennette Walls
Unbroken – Laura Hillenbrand
Seabiscuit – Laura Hillenbrand

From our sister group in OK:

Lawton Book Bunch
July 12, 2012


Mantel, Hilary: Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies.
Connelly, Michael: The Brass Verdict.
Mones, Nick: The Last Chinese Chef.
Fairstein, Linda: Silent Mercy.
Mann, Charles: 1491.
O’Brien, Tim: The Things They Carried.
Burke, Jim: Illuminating Texts.
Pollen, Michael: In Defense of Food.
Trillon, Calvin: Tummy Trilogy.
Ephron, Nora: I Remember Nothing and Heartburn.


To Rome with Love
Marigold Hotel
Midnight in Paris
Moonrise Kingdom
Ice Age
How to Tame Your Dragon


Michael Woods’ Story of England (OETA, DVD, and book)
Inspector Lewis (OETA)


Pride Gallery (Southwestern Medical Center) Show: “Trees of Life” – paintings by Nancy Anderson and featuring paintings by two of her students. Opening was Thursday, July 12, 2012 5:00-6:30.

Leslie Powell Gallery Opening; Saturday, July 14, 2012 7:00-9:00 p.m.

Friends of the Library: Meeting Monday, July 16, 2012 Noon. The new director, Kristin Herr, will discuss her vision and plans. $2.00 for lunch

Let’s Talk About It. Library Meeting Room Tuesday, July 17, 2012 6:30 p.m. Professor John Morris will lead a discussion of “The Last Chinese Chef” by Nick Mones.

From Mary Lou in MD:

Bill Bryson, Notes from a Small Island (1995).  This is a must read for Anglophiles. After 20 years in Yorkshire and before returning to the States with his family, Bryson spends several months traveling England by rail and foot and even occasionally by rental car. His rambles take him to many famous places (e.g. Bournemouth, Salisbury, Stonehenge) and some out of the way ones as well.  His commentary is delightful as always.

Anne Tyler, If Morning Ever Comes (1964).  After his first few months at Columbia University law school, Ben Joe Hawks is irresistibly drawn home to visit his family in Sandhill, North Carolina.  Ben Joe’s father, the prominent town doctor, died some years before and the household now consists of his mother, grandmother, and several sisters.  The characters all are well developed and yet all remain somewhat mysterious to Ben Joe and to each other.  Ben Joe is even more mysterious to himself as he strives to do the right thing, if only he could figure out what that might be.  Even in this first novel, Tyler shows great skill in portraying complex family relationships. 

John Le Carre, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (1974).  Betrayal is an even more dominant theme in this novel in the series featuring George Smiley.  Control is dead, Smiley has been pushed out into retirement, and The Circus is in disarray with bureaucratic competition.  Then Smiley is re-commissioned for a secret investigation of his old organization to find the mole within the highest levels of British Secret Service.  There are twists and turns aplenty as Smiley digs for the truth.  A nice subplot involves the relationship between a misfit adolescent boy and the intriguing new teacher who shows up at his school, living in a caravan in a remote part of the grounds.  Eventually he plays a role in the Smiley mystery.  I didn’t see the movie, but I doubt it could have done justice to the novel. 

Laurie R. King, The Game (2004).  This is a novel in the series featuring a 40-someething Sherlock Holmes and his sidekick (and now wife) Mary Russell.  Mycroft sends the couple off to British Colonial India to investigate the mysterious disappearance of Kimball O’Hara (Kipling’s Kim) and other surveyors.  In transit they meet the rather tiresome Goodheart family from Chicago.  After arriving in Bombay, Holmes and Russell spend a period in disguise as traveling magicians.  Eventually Mary re-joins the Goodhearts in a visit to the remote northwest India estate of an eccentric Maharaja.  Russell and Holmes surmount many dangers in the course of solving a number of mysteries, including the one that brought them there.  This is a thoroughly diverting novel and should not be in the least offensive to Conan Doyle fans. 

David Adams Richards, Nights below Station Street (1998).  Richards is an award winning Canadian novelist from New Brunswick.  This is the first book in his trilogy set in a small town in northern New Brunswick.  It is principally a novel of character, and the characters fail to communicate in various frustrating ways.  I wanted to slap most of them at one time or another. There is very little plot until the last few chapters, when things suddenly get exciting.  This was a decent enough novel that I’m planning to read the rest of the series and I hope to enjoy them more.

P.D. James, Death Comes to Pemberley (2011).  This novel is almost as well plotted as we would expect from P.D. James but the discursive passages hardly sparkle.  The portrayal of life at Pemberley is interesting.  A great deal of the novel is from Darcy’s point of view, not Elizabeth’s.  Still, I don’t think Austen fans will be offended, which is perhaps as much as can be hoped.  

From Dwight in FL:

THE LIFE OF AN UNKNOWN MAN, by Andrei Makine (Graywolf Press. org) caught my eye and I read it in one sitting, well almost. 

I just saw THE ARTIST and what a wonderful, coy film.  Naturally, I wept. 

All the hooplala about London and the Olympics, for some reason I have lost interest in the Royal Family.  There goes the neighborhood!

Thanks everyone – see you next time!

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