September 22, 2013

August 2013

So pleased to welcome Jane into our group.  Having already read Tampa, she has a leg-up on our October meeting when Alissa Nutting will be joining us.  Looking forward to hearing more of her insights.

Here's what else we discussed:

The Dirty Life - Kristin Kimball
Danube - Claudio Magris
The Black-Out Book - Evelyn August
Royal Secrets - Stephen Barry
Proof of Heaven - Eben Alexander
The Great Degeneration - Niall Ferguson
The Western Reserve - Harlan Hatcher
The Last Original Wife - Dorothea Benton Frank
The House Girl - Tara Conklin
Books by Luann Rice
Love Water Memory - Jennie Shortridge
The Water is Wide - Pat Conroy
Two-Part Inventions - Lynne Sharon Schwartz
The View from Penthouse B - Elinor Lipman
Z A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald - Therese Anne Fowler
The Stench of Honolulu - Jack Handey
Because it's not a book club meeting without Ricky Jay being mentioned:  RICKY JAY
Tampa - Alissa Nutting
Bad Monkey - Carl Hiaasen
Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk - Bill Fountain
The Dinner - Herman Koch
U is for Undertow - Sue Grafton
Bleeding Kansas - Sara Paretsky
Keeping Faith - Jodi Picoult
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves - Karen Joy Fowler
The Fall of Giants - Ken Follett
Pillars of the Earth - Ken Follett
Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks - Rebecca Skloot
Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother - Amy Chua
Biographies of Hermione Lee
The Blue Flower - Penelope Fitzgerald
Some Remarks - Neal Stephenson
Sketches New and Old - Mark Twain
In the Woods - Tana French
On the Razor's Edge - Michael Flynn
The Secret Society - Mathew Aid
After Thermopylae - Paul Cartledge
Biography of Cary Grant - Mark Eliot
Life is a Banquet - Rosalind Russell
Christian Nation - Frederic Rich
Family - Ian Frazier
Charles Curran

From our sister group in OK: 

Lawton Book                                                                   

Sept. 11, 2013

Next meeting will be Thursday, October 10.



Austen, Jane: Emma

Brown, Nathan Lee: Karma Crisis: New and Selected Poems

Frye, Joanne: Biting the Moon: A Memoir of Feminism and Motherhood

Golding, William: Lord of the Flies and An Egyptian Journal

Mak, Geert: Amsterdam and In Europe: Travels Through the Twentieth Century

McCullough, David: The Great Bridge: The Building of the Brooklyn Bridge

McDermott, Andy: The Sacred Vault

Morpurgo, Michael: An Elephant in the Garden

Orwell, George: Down and Out in Paris and London

Smith, Lana: It’s a Book

Thompson, Jim: Rough Neck

Todd, Charles: A Test of Wills and A Lonely Death

Vaillant, John: The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival

Wang, Jack: Cozy Classics: Pride and Prejudice*

 *  Cozy Classics are board books that tell the story in about 12 or 14 words. The series includes: Les Miserables, Moby Dick, War and Peace, Emma, and Oliver Twist


We ARE book people, who meet once a month for dinner and scintillating conversation which turns partly (but only partly!) on books.  That’s who we are.  And National Book Lovers Day is a marvelous tip of the hat to who we are.  But we would be book people even without National Book Lovers Day.  Frantzie Couch


From Mary Lou in MD:

Catherine Coulter, Riptide (2000).  Becca Matlock is being stalked and the NYC police won’t believe her.  She changes her appearance and erases her trail and takes refuge in the small town of Riptide Maine.  We are well into the thriller before the FBI team of Sherlock, Savage, and Max the computer appear on the scene.  Becca is a delightful character.  It takes many twists and turns to unravel this plot. 

Tom Stoppard, Arcadia (1993).  Our fellow guests at the B&B in Niagara-on-the-Lake convinced me it would be a good idea to read this play before seeing it.  I read about half of it beforehand, but then stopped so as not to spoil the suspense.  It is very intricately plotted, shifting back and forth between 1809 and the present, all in the same English country manor.  There’s brilliant dialogue (of course), complex mathematical theory, literary allusions, and plenty of mystery.  It reads very well, also. 

Maeve Binchy, Whitethorn Woods (2006).  The small town of Rossmore, Ireland is in considerable civic conflict over the proposal to build a bypass highway.  Speculators are attempting to buy up land.  Impoverished farmers are bargaining for the best prices.  Townspeople who believe they or members of their family have been aided by St. Anne after praying at her statue by the spring in the wood vigorously oppose the road that would wipe out the wood and the shrine, Father Brian Flynn is determined to remain neutral in the controversy.  The plot of this novel introduces us to a wide variety of characters whose lives have been influenced by their interactions involving visits to the shrine, although probably not by St. Anne. 

Maeve Binchy, Evening Class (1996).  Aiden Dunne teaches Latin at Mountainview College in a poor section of Dublin and dreams of Italy.  Nora Donaghue was born in Ireland and fell in love with Mario when they were working in London.  Mario is called home to a small town in Sicily for an arranged marriage and to take over the family business.  Nora moves to the village and is Mario’s discrete mistress for many years.  When Mario dies, Nora, now known as Signora, returns to Ireland.  She becomes the beloved teacher of Mountainview’s new evening class in Italian.  The book evolves into a series of interlocking novellas featuring Aiden, Signora, and members of the class. As with most of Binchy’s novels, the fascination resides in the characters. 

Sharyn McCrumb, The Ballad of Frankie Silver (1998).  Sheriff Spencer Arrowood is confined to his home on the North Carolina mountainside, recovering from a bullet wound.  He is brooding about the upcoming Tennessee execution of a man he arrested for murder years ago.  His deputies don’t tell him about a current murder that resembles the case from decades prior.  Arrowood fights boredom by reviewing the century-old case of Frankie Silver.  Seer Nora Bonesteel assists Spencer in resolving the mysteries.   The Appalachian setting is compelling as usual. 


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