January 25, 2013

January 2013

So happy to start the new year with new faces in our group.  Big welcome goes to Pat, Jose and Margaret!

Here’s what we discussed:

Room – Emma Donoghue
Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn  This book came up often in discussion.
And a Bottle of Rum – Wayne Curtis
Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio – Terry Ryan
Peaches for Father Francis – Joanne Harris
White Truffles in Winter – N. M. Kelby
The Lost German Slave Girl – John Bailey
The House at Tyneford – Natasha Solomons
Sweet Tooth – Ian McEwan
Westwind – Ray Ellis & Walter Cronkite
Short stories by T.C. Boyle
Nothing Like it in the World – Stephen Ambrose
Facebook for Grown-ups – Michael Miller
The Panther – Nelson DeMille
Notorious Nineteen – Janet Evanovich
Tecumseh & Brock – James Laxer
Free online courses at Coursera
I, Pencil:  My Family Tree – Leonard E. Read
My Beloved World – Sonia Sotomayor
The Last Runaway – Tracy Chevalier
The Midwife’s Tale – Samuel Thomas
London’s Strangest Tales – Tom Quinn
The Lords of Discipline – Pat Conroy
Mesa Flats Resort – George Lindsey
Are We Rome – Cullen Murphy
Empires and Barbarians – Peter Heather
A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
Cricket on the Hearth – Charles Dickens
The Chimes – Charles Dickens
Universe Next Door – Robert Anton Wilson
Seven Shadows – L. Wayne Benner
The Unincorporated Future – Dani Kollin and Eytan Kollin
Beethoven – Maynard Solomon
Thinking, Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman
Medium Raw – Anthony Bourdain
Kitchen Confidential – Anthony Bourdain
The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Sun Also Rises – Ernest Hemingway
For Whom the Bell Tolls – Ernest Hemingway
The Catcher in the Rye – J. D. Salinger
The Old Man and the Sea – Ernst Hemingway
A Moveable Feast: The Restored Edition – Ernest Hemingway

From our sister group in OK:

Lawton Book Bunch
January 10, 2013


Massie, Robert: Catherine the Great
Dahl, Roald: Matilda
Caldwell, Gail: Let’s Take the Long Way Home
Parton, Dolly: Dream More
Mandela, Nelson: The Long Walk to Freedom
Brown, Kenny L.: The Italians in Oklahoma
Pound, Ezra: ABC of Reading
Eliot, T.S.: Wasteland
Chevalier, Tracy: Burning Bright
Christie, Agatha: An Autobiography
Ampuero, Roberto: The Neruda Case
Le Carre, John: Our Kind of Traitor


Les Miserables
A Joyful Noise

February Events

Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013. Greg Hoepfner’s original musical, The Juries at Cameron’s Recital Hall. (David Fennema, director) Will last approximately one hour. For a reservation call Dr. Hoepfner at 581-2449.

Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013. Professor John Morris will present As Close to Christmas as We Could Feel: Poems of Love?. Leslie Powell Gallery 7:00 p.m.

Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013. Soulful Stories. For further information, please contact Judy Neale or Kristin Herr (581-3450 x9).

From Mary Lou in MD:

Booknotes Jan 2013
Joyce Carol Oates, First Love:  A Gothic Tale (1996).   This creepy little volume is beautifully illustrated with Barry Moser woodcuts.  Josie’s mother Delia, of dubious sexual morals, comes with her daughter to live with her aunt Esther, “a stiff-girdled woman,” in a small town in upstate New York.  Esther’s great nephew Jared Jr. is home from seminary, perhaps recovering from a nervous breakdown.  He is a tyrant to his aunt, an intriguing mystery to 11-year old Josie, and a figure of increasing horror to the reader.    This is an uncomfortable book.
Charlotte Macleod, editor, Mistletoe Mysteries:  Tales of Yuletide Murder (1989).  This collection of largely cozy short stories of the season includes tales by Macleod, Peter Lovesley, Mary Higgins Clark, Sharyn McCrumb, Isaac Asimov, and Marcia Muller, among others.  Many are dryly humorous.  Short stories are ideal when holiday activities interfere with reading time.
Ralph Bradford, Reprieve:  A Christmas Story of 1863 (Washington, D.C., December 1940.)  This slim volume appears to have been privately printed by the author and the illustrator, Lester Douglas.  Jackie Evison is a young boy who travels to Washington with his mother to seek a pardon for his father, a heroic Union soldier imprisoned for dangerous discussions of military strategies in letters to his wife.  While Mrs. Evison waits to see the President, Jackie is befriended by young Tad Lincoln and his playmates.  Although President Lincoln is jealously guarded by his cabinet members Stanton, Seward and Chase, the boys manage to alert the president to the waiting Mrs. Evison, leading to a happy resolution. Lincoln’s fondness for children and his empathy with the plight of the common citizen leave him fortunately unresponsive to the political maneuvering of his cabinet members.   
Megan Mayhew Bergman, “Housewifely Arts,” One Story: Issue Number 142, November 2010. This is a delightful short story published in a gift subscription I received. It has all the elements of the genre:  brevity, focus on single theme (in this instance the nature of grief for the death of a parent), character development, resolution of a conflict.  Bergman does an excellent job of weaving past and present in the consciousness of the narrator.  I am looking forward to my next issue.

Thanks to everyone for a great meeting!  See you next time February 27.

January 03, 2013

December 2012

The holidays were ushered in by our merry group on 12/12/12.  Everyone was glowing, and conversation was light and bubbly.  Thanks to everyone for the cookbook with your autographs.  May 2013 find us better than ever!

The Mermaid Collector – Erika Marks
The Russian Revolution:  A Very Short Introduction – S. A. Smith
The Time Traveler’s Guide to Medieval England – Ian Mortimer
Waiting for Snow in Havana – Carlos Eire
Tesla:  Man Out of Time – Margaret Cheney
Too Soon to Say Goodbye – Art Buchwald
Quiet – Susan Cain
Knockemstiff – Donald Ray Pollack
The Devil All the Time – Donald Ray Pollack
The Violent Bear It Away – Flannery O’Connor
Behind the Beautiful Forevers – Katherine Boo
The Little Prince – Antione de Saint-Exupery
Wonder – R. J. Palacio
Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
Sleepwalk with Me:  and Other Painfully True Stories – Mike Birbiglia
The Hydrogen Sonata – Iain Banks
KLF:  Chaos Magic Music Money – JMR Higgs

From our sister group in OK:

Lawton Book Bunch
December 6, 2012


Mantel, Yann:  Life of Pi
Vaillant, John: Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival
Goodwin, Doris Kearns: Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln
Schiff, Stacy: Saint-Exupery: A Biography
Albaret, Celeste: Monsieur Proust
Deresiewicz, William: A Jane Austen Education
Wodehouse, P.G.: Code of the Woosters
Mankell, Henning: The Wallander series
Miller, Arthur: The Crucible
Orwell, George: Nineteen Eighty-Four
Millard, Candice: River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey


The Wallander series in Swedish
West Wing

Movies we have seen or look forward to seeing

Life of Pi
Hyde Park on Hudson
Anna Karenina
Les Miserables

Our group has been discussing how children are and are not being taught to properly hold a pen/pencil, to write cursive, and to print or write in cursive legibly. Vaillant's Tiger is quite complex. It is the story of the hunt for a man-eating tiger in far east Russia in 1997 encompassing ecology, tiger-human relationships, ethnology, history, economics, politics, geography, etc. I was reading Tiger when I saw the movie Life of Pi, to which the former added an extra depth to the latter. Any way, when I read the attached passage, it resonated.

Vaillant, John. Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival.   p. 236.

For most of our history, we have been occupied with the cracking of codes – From deciphering patterns in the weather, the water, the land, and the stars, to parsing the nuanced behaviors of friend and foe, predator and prey. Furthermore, we are compelled to share our discoveries in the form of stories. Much is made of the fact that ours is the only species that does this, that the essence of who and what we understand ourselves to be was first borne orally and aurally: from mouth to ear to memory. This is so, but before we learned to tell stories we learned to read them. In other words, we learned to track. The first letter of the first word of the first recorded story was written – “printed” – not by us, but by an animal. These signs and symbols left in mud, sand, leaves, and snow represent proto-alphabets. Often smeared, fragmented, and confused by weather, time, and other animals, these cryptograms were life-and-death exercises in abstract thinking. This skill, the reading of tracks in order to produce food, or identify the presence of a dangerous animal, may in fact be “the oldest profession.”
   Like our own texts, these “early works” are linear and continuous with their own punctuation and grammar. Plot, tense, gender, age, health, relationships, and emotional states can all be determined from these durable records.”

From Mary Lou in MD:

Booknotes Dec 2012
Molly Gloss, Wild Life (2000).  Charlotte Drummond is a very independent and modern woman living in a small Pacific Northwest settlement in the early 1900s.  She supports her five young boys by writing dime novels and delights in shocking her neighbors with her feminist self-sufficiency, her manly dress and her bicycle.  When a neighborhood child goes missing in the wilds of logging country, she outfits herself for the wilderness and joins the loggers searching for the child.  When she becomes lost herself, her ingenuity and scientific assumptions are challenged in a most astonishing way.  The characterization of Charlotte is masterful,  the portrayal of the western frontier is vividly detailed, and the plot carries us by imperceptible steps beyond the boundaries of the known world.    
Marina Lewycka, Strawberry Fields (2007).  An international crew of migrants is working the strawberry fields in Kent, England.  The men live in one trailer and the women in another, with virtually no amenities but they are happy to be earning more than they could in their home countries.  This makes them vulnerable to many forms of exploitation which they show great pluck and ingenuity in avoiding. There are multiple narrators: the Convent-educated  Emanuel who writes eloquent letters with hilarious Latinate misspellings to his sister in Africa;  the beautiful young Ukrainian Irina who doesn’t want her mother to know about her desperate escape from a rape-minded labor boss; the Ukrainian coal miner’s son trying to work out his relationships with the fair sex; and most intriguingly, Dog, who adopts the group, describes their individual identities in terms of smells, and acts as their guardian angel.  The plot follows the travels of these and other characters after they must flee the strawberry farm.  The conflicts center around the varied outrages perpetrated on the migrants, generally by other émigrés.  
Lee Child, The Enemy (2004).  This novel takes us back to Jack Reacher’s U.S. Army MP career, before he became a samurai-type wanderer in reluctant service of justice.  In the midst of the operation in Panama, on New Year’s Eve 1990, Reacher is transferred without notice to be the MP Executive Officer on a North Carolina base.  Police from a near-by town phone and inform him that a soldier has died of a heart attack in a sleazy motel next to a strip joint. The deceased turns out to be a 2-star general and Reacher is ordered to deal with the matter without embarrassing the Army.  Additional deaths occur, Reacher’s superior officer receives a midnight transfer, and the replacement orders Reacher to cease investigating.  That’s not happening, of course.  He takes as his sidekick a tough, fast-driving Black female sergeant from Mississippi and together they unravel the twists and turns of a delightfully complex plot that involves conspiracy at the highest levels of Army bureaucracy.  

From Bhumi in OH:
This list of books was from my International Coach Federation book exchange.
I gave the first book on the list Celestine Prophecy.
Thought you and Marian, avid readers, might find some interesting so I am passing it along.

Another great book exchange last Friday! Many have asked what books were exchanged; THANK YOU, Lisa Ryan, for capturing the list! Please see below. Happy Holidays, everyone.
ICF-Cleveland Book Exchange List  12-14-12
The Celestine Prophesy - James Redfield;
When I Stepped Out on Faith - Ciaj Diann Harris;
Excuse Me Your Life is Waiting - Lynn Grabhorn;
The Path - Laurie Beth Jones;
True Compass - Ted Kennedy;
10,000 Horses - John Stahl-Wert, Ken Jennings;
The Worst Case Scenario of Dating and Sex Care of the Soul - Thomas Moore;
Energy Makeover and Energy Makeover Journal - Betsy Muller;
Unplug the Christmas Machine - Jo Robinson, Jean Coppock Staeheli;
How to Become a Rainmaker - Jeffrey J. Fox;
Contagious Success - Susan Annunzio;
Change Your Questions, Change Your Life - Marilee Adams;
Super Parenting for ADD - Edward Hollowell;
Live With Intention - Rediscovering What We Deeply Know - MaryAnne Radmacher;
Finding Inner Courage - Mark Nepo;
Soulcraft - Crossing in the Mysteries of Nature and Psyche - Bill Plotkin;
Lemonade Stand Selling - Diane Helbig;
Chicken Soup for the Soul - I Can't Believe My Dog Did That; If Life is a Game, These are the Rules - Sherry Carter Scott;
The 8th Habit - Stephen Covey;
Get Noticed and Get Referrals;
Energy Leadership - Transforming Your Workplace and Your Life from the Core - Bruce D. Schneider;
Rich Dad, Poor Dad - Robert Kiyosaki;
The Monk Who Sold his Ferrari - Robin Sharma;
Beyond Booked Solid - Michael Port;
Giving Thanks with the Aramaic Jesus - Tom Leonhardt;
Pop Goes Cleveland - Peter Shikarian;
The Browns Tailgating Guide - Peter Shikarian;
Everything I Do Positions Me - Christine Zust;
The Circle Maker - Mark Batterson;
Value Based Fees - How to Charge and Get What You're Worth -  Alan Weiss;
To Love is to Be Happy With - Barry Neil Kaufman;
Be Free Where You Are - Thicht Naht Hahn;
The Startup of You - Reid Hoffman;
My American Journey - Colin Powell;
Tuned In - Craig Stull, Phil Myers, David Meerman Scott;
Nine Lies that Are Holding Your Business Back - Steve Chandler;
Caring Enough to Lead - Leonard Pellicer;
Who Killed Change - Ken Blanchard;
The Gifts of Imperfection - Brene Brown;
The Law of Attraction - Esther and Jerry Hicks;
Positioning - The Battle for Your Mind - Al Ries and Jack Trout;
The Second Circle - How to Use Positive Energy for Success in Every Situation - Patsy Rodenburg

See you next time January 23!