November 10, 2012

November 2012

Haven’t laughed so hard or had time fly so fast.  Highlight of the evening was enjoying the stories of Plain Dealer columnist Michael Heaton and his book Truth and Justice for Fun and Profit. 

A few titles were squeezed in before we got to his book discussion:

Behind the Beautiful Forevers – Katherine Boo
Website with photos, Q and A with Katherine Boo and more
Wild – Cheryl Strayed
You might like to know Reese Witherspoon just signed on to do the movie.
The Glass Castle – Jeannette Walls
The World We Found  -  Thrity Umrigar
Barack Obama The Story  - Steve Elliot and John Aman
The Yellow Room Conspiracy – Peter Dickinson
America Past and Present – Robert Divine
Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
The Shallows:  What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains – Nicholas Carr
Truth and Justice for Fun and Profit – Michael Heaton
The Christmas Heart written by Michael Heaton premiers December 2 on the Hallmark Channel

From our sister group in OK:

Lawton Book Bunch
November 1, 2012

NOTE:  Last month we also discussed Ayers, Edward: America’s War: Talking About the Civil War and Emancipation on Their 150th Anniversaries, which is part of the Civil War discussion program moderated by Dr. Lance Janda at Lawton Public Library.


Rice, Condoleeza:  A Memoir of My Extraordinary Ordinary Family and Me
Orwell, George:  1984
Weiner, Eric:  The Geography of Bliss:  One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World
Kaplan, Robert:  The Revenge of Geography
Proust, Marcel:  Swann’s Way (trans. By Lydia Davis)
Mantel, Hilary:  Wolf Hall
Massey, Robert:  Catherine the Great
Rounding, Virginia:  Catherine the Great:  Love, Sex, and Power
Balducci, David:  Camel Club (series)
Kingsolver, Barbara:  The Poisonwood Bible
Le Carrée, John:  Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
O’Brien, Tim:  The Things They Carried
Burroughs, Augusten:  Magical Thinking

Movies, Television, Plays

Tinker, Sailor, Soldier, Spy – BBC 7-part miniseries (1979), starring Alec Guinness; (2011) theatrical film with Gary Oldman, Colin Firth
Letts, Tracy:  August:  Osage County

Discussion, Etc.

Global warming and Hurricane Sandy

Oklahoma State Questions on the ballot for November 6:
            Lawton Constitution articles

Jo Nesbø, Norwegian author of the “Harry Hole” series of detective stories

Buying new or used books from online sources other than Amazon:  Half-Price Books: -- reduced shipping cost when you buy more than one book from the same vendor; search for Goodwill vendors

New Yorker article The Dead Are Real - How Hilary Mantel Revitalized Historical Fiction 

From Mary Lou in MD:

David Adams Richards, For Those Who Hunt the Wounded Down (1993).  This is the third book in the trilogy set in the small northern New Brunswick town.  Some of the major characters and events from the earlier two novels make minor appearances.  Like many of the earlier characters, Jerry Bines suffers a great deal from his perception of himself and how he believes others see him. When he is aware of himself as a “hunter of the wounded,” he struggles to escape this behavior.  In turn, he becomes the object of a pseudo-psycho-sociological study of someone “wounded” by his experiences.  He tries so hard to be good to other people and gain their trust, but it never works.  We are frustrated by his lack of understanding but ultimately admiring of his perseverance. 

Roger Welsch, It’s Not the End of the Earth But You Can See It from Here: Tales of the Great Plains (1990).  Welsch resigned his full professorship of English and Anthropology at the University of Nebraska and moved with his wife to a farm near the little town of Centralia, Bleaker County, Nebraska.  This is a collection of chatty essays about the people and customs of Centralia.  The gentle humor is similar to Garrison Keillor’s.  The characters are fictionalized composites of ordinary folks, including waitresses, plumbers, farmers, clergymen and Omaha and Lakota Indians.  With Welsch’s incisive portrayals they are not ordinary at all.  This is a delightful little book, wiser than it seems. 

Ben Macintyre, Operation Mincemeat (2000).  In 1953 Ewen Montagu published The Man Who Never Was, the story of the deception plan he masterminded in 1943 as a Naval Intelligence officer with MI-5.  In a later book in 1977, Beyond Top Secret, Montagu referred to some secret papers he was allowed to keep.  After Montagu died in 1985, Macintyre obtained a trunk-full of papers from Montagu’s son.  From these papers, additional research of recently declassified materials, and interviews with veterans of WW-II intelligence, Macintyre constructed the full story of how a uniquely talented and creative group of characters fashioned the successful plot to fool the Nazis into believing that Sicily was NOT the Allies’ next target of invasion.  The participants on all sides – British, American, Spanish, Free French, Italian and German, are portrayed in fascinating detail.  The book contains pictures of many of them. 

Dorothea Benton Frank, Isle of Palms (2003).  Anna is a garrulous hairstylist who delights in telling us the zany story of her life.  Her early childhood years were spent happily on a barrier island off the South Carolina coast.  Then her mother dies and her stern grandmother moves Anna and her father to Charleston and takes over their lives.  Decades later, Anna returns to Isle of Palms and recaptures the happiness of her youth.  The novel is filled with hilariously colorful characters, including Anna’s ditzy blonde neighbor, her Goth daughter, and her gay ex-husband.  The unattractive characters get just what they deserve in highly amusing fashion.   This is a very amusing book.    

John Sanford, The Devil’s Code (2000).  Kidd describes himself as an artist and professional criminal.  He earns a decent living in St. Paul, MN as a painter, but he finds Robin Hood-ish cyber-theft more intriguing and lucrative.  An associate is killed and leaves word with his wife to go to Kidd if anything happens to him.  Thus begins a highly intricate tale of the worlds of talented computer hackers, an unscrupulous high-tech corporation, and an alphabet soup of government security agencies.  Kidd enlists the aid of the mysterious and beautiful LuEllen and off they go to Texas to find out what about the high-tech corporation got Kidd’s buddy killed and made Kidd and his hacker buddies targets of the FBI, CIA and NSA.    

Really can’t thank Michael Heaton enough for a great discussion that brought his stories to life.  More of his columns can be found on The Plain Dealer’s website.

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