August 16, 2012

August 2012

We had the pleasure of chatting with poet Maya Stein.  She’s currently perched atop The High Line collecting stories for her Type Rider project and will be taking her interactive poetry experience to the Decatur Book Festival in a couple of weeks.  She says what inspires her is “doing the thing you don’t know the outcome to.”  Thanks, Maya, for your time and energy and we wish you the very best in your travels!

Here’s what we’ve been reading:

The Chaperone – Laura Moriarty
A Natural Woman:  A Memoir – Carole King
The Rose Garden – Susanna Kearley
Helen Keller in Love – Rosie Sultan
The Playdate – Louise Millar
Objects of My Affection -  Jill Smolinski
The Lost Saints of Tennessee  - Amy Franklin-Willis
Little Did I Know – Mitchell Maxwell
Bringing Up Bebe – Pamela Druckerman
Blame – Michelle Huneven
Moonflower Vine – Jetta Carleton
Clair de Lune – Jetta Carleton
Fidel Castro: My Life – Ignacio Ramonet
The Journal of Best Practices – David Finch
Wild – Cheryl Strayed
How Should a Person Be – Sheila Heti
Death Comes to Pemberly – P.D. James
Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
The Five Red Herrings – Dorothy Sayers
Charles Dickens’ Inner Child – Christopher Hitchens
Mediterranean World in Late Antiquity – Averil Cameron
Procopius of Caesarea – Anthony Kaldellis
New & Selected Poems – Ron Padgett
Philip Lamantia poems
A Renegade History of the United States – Thaddeus Russell
A People’s History of the United States – Howard Zinn
A Patriot’s History of the United States – Michael Allen
Roadside Picnic – Arkady Strugatsky
Stalker the movie

From our sister group in OK:

Lawton Book Bunch
August 9, 2012


Gwynne, S.C.: Empire of the Summer Moon.
Orwell, George: 1984
Bradbury, Ray: Fahrenheit 451
Wilson, A.N. The Elizabethans
Rushdie, Salman: Haroun and the Sea of Storieis
Asher, Jay: Thirteen Reasons Why
Bowers, Rick: Superman versus the Ku Klux Klan: The True Story of How the Iconic Superhero Battled the Men of Hate
Rushin, Kate: Black Back-Ups: Poetry by Kate Rushin
Parks, Gordon: Eyes with Winged Thoughts


Beasts of the Southern Wild


Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare – as high school reading
(OU will do a production set in modern times: 8 pm Sept. 21, 23, and 27-29 & 3 pm Sept.23 and 30)


The Great Courses (formerly The Teaching Company)
Frantzie’s link to NPR: “Your Favorites: 100 Best Ever Teen Novels” Geechee Kunda Museum:
Gullah and disappearing languages Bedre Chocolates (Chickasaw Nation): Chickasaw Cultural Center:
NONFICTION WRITING (Cameron University Weekend Class)
CRN 13635 ENG 3881
Nonfiction Writing is often popularly defined as narratives or accounts of events understood to be factual. Such a definition, however, ignores the
many and varied types of nonfiction writing and, more important, ignores the fact that nonfiction necessarily employs fictive techniques in the
reporting of events. This two-weekend workshop will explore a few of the types of nonfiction as well as the role of narrative and rhetorical theories
in understanding nonfiction writing. The first part of the course will explore definitions of nonfiction and its history beginning with medieval court
records and news reports as well as journalism and scientific writing in the 1600s through the early 19th century. The second part of the course
will explore contemporary notions of objectivity and genres such as autobiography, memoir, and “New Journalism.” Students enrolled for
university credit will receive a letter grade.
INSTRUCTOR: William Carney
DATES: September 8 and 15, 2012 TIME: 8:30 – 4:30P
PLACE: NB 1074

From Mary Lou in MD:

David Adams Richards, Evening Snow Will Bring Such Peace (1990).  This is the second book in the trilogy set in the small northern New Brunswick town.  Some of the characters appeared in more minor roles in the first novel.  I found them somewhat less exasperating but they are all frustrated and isolated and misunderstand themselves and each other.  There is a more sustained story line than in the first novel but it didn’t really grip my attention.  I think Richards’ view of the human experience is a bit existential for my taste.  Still, I plan to read volume three.

Studs Terkel, Coming of Age: The Story of Our Century by Those Who’ve Lived It (1995).   This is a series of brief autobiographical essays by persons age 70 and above.  As they reflect on major events in their lives that shaped their identities as well as the world around them, they also reveal how they created significance in it all.  There are 20 sections with three or four essays each, provided by leading figures in the full range of American society -- corporate tycoons, labor leaders, doctors, lawyers, ministers, farmers, whistleblowers, and poets. I recognized few of the names but many of the events. The analysis of the evolution of American culture is astute and challenging.

Claudia Shear, Blown Sideways through Life (1995).  The author is a Brooklyn misfit who tells a hilarious tale of her too-numerous-to-count employment experiences in New York and even briefly in Italy.  These include jobs as a nude model, a Wall Street proofreader, a whorehouse receptionist, and many short stints as a waitress.   This is a short, quick entertaining book in the style of a stand-up comic with an unusually perceptive understanding of human foibles. 

Walter Van Tilburg Clark, The Ox-Bow Incident (1940, reissued Book of the Month Club 1992).  Deemed “A Classic of the Old West,” this novel is set in and around the small Nevada town of Bridger’s Wells in the 1880s.  Carl and Gil ride into town after wintering in a mountain cabin and find the local townsfolk and cowboys disturbed about recent incidents of cattle rustling.  When a prominent rancher’s foreman is reported shot by the rustlers, the men form into an irregular posse and set out in pursuit.  Carl and Gil feel they must join in the chase so they will not be suspected of rustling themselves.  The portrait of mob psychology is chilling. 

Curtis J. Badger, Bellevue Farm:  Exploring Virginia’s Costal Countryside (1997).  This is a slim volume of natural history essays nicely illustrated with pencil drawings.  It describes the costal marshes and barrier islands of Virginia’s Eastern Shore.  Bellevue Farm dates back to pre-Revolutionary days but only the graveyard and the foundation of the plantation house remain. It now is part of the Nature Conservancy’s 45 thousand acre Virginia Coast Reserve sanctuary. Over many years Badger rambles the hedgerows, streams and marshes at all seasons and provides thoughtful observations of terrain and its plant and animal life.

James Lee Burke, Rain Gods (2009).  The setting is a West Texas border town and the detective is Sheriff Hackberry Holland, cousin to former Texas Ranger Billy Bob Holland whom we have meet before.  The villain is Preacher Jack Collins, a stone cold killer with a rigorous and paradoxical sense of right and wrong.  Holland and Collins both carry the nightmares and other psychologically scars of their war experiences.  Other characters include a burn-scarred Iraq vet Pete Flores and his girlfriend who sings Carter family spirituals in the beer joints where she waits table. An assortment of New Orleans lowlifes also figure into the complex plot.  The vivid descriptions of landscape and weather make the atmosphere as intense as the back-stories of the characters.  This is a totally engaging detective thriller but it is much more.  A Burke novel never disappoints. 

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