September 01, 2014

August 2014

We chanted Om for B.K.S. Iyengar who passed away August 20 at age 95.

Nothing can be forced; receptivity is everything.
 - B.K.S. Iyengar, Light on Life

We also discussed:

Light on Yoga - B.K.S. Iyengar
The False Prince - Jennifer Nielsen
The Runaway King - Jennifer Nielsen
The Shadow Throne - Jennifer Nielsen
The Giver - Lois Lowry
Signature of All Things - Elizabeth Gilbert
Dear Daughter - Elizabeth Little
Northanger Abbey - Val McDermid
Silent Night - Robert Parker
The Directive - Matthew Quirk
Cut and Thrust - Stuart Woods
Goodness Falls - Ty Roth
Nothing to Envy - Barbara Demick
Man on the Run - Tom Doyle
Science Fiction, An Oral History - D. Scott Apel
Historian Discordia - Adam Gorightly
The Blood of Alexandria - Richard Blake
Full Cleveland - Les Roberts
The Driver's Guide of Hitting Pedestrians - Anderson Prunty
Driving Mr. Albert - Michael Paterniti
The Telling Room - Michael Paterniti
Carsick - John Waters
Family Pictures - Jane Green
The Manticore - Robertson Davies
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
Unbroken - Laura Hillenbrand
Waiting to Exhale - Terry McMillan
Getting to Happy - Terry McMillan
The Girls of August - Anne Rivers Siddons
The Fault in our Stars - John Green
The Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern
Still Life with Breadcrumbs - Anna Quindlen
San Miguel - T.C. Boyle
Happens Every Day - Isabel Gillies
The End of Absence - Michael Harris
The Paradox of Choice - Barry Schwartz
The Soul of All Living Creatures - Vint Verga
All the Light we Cannot See - Anthony Doerr
Me Before You - Jojo Moyes
I Love You More - Jennifer Murphy
Red Joan - Jennie Rooney
Virtual History, Alternatives and Counterfactuals - Niall Ferguson
Longfellow's translation, Purgatory - Dante Alighieri
The Dante Diet
Frankie and Melvina - Mary Waterfield
Frances Fyfield
Mrs. Dalloway -Virginia Woolf
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

From Dwight in FLA:

ee cummings - Susan Cheever
The Death of Santini - Pat Conroy
Inside a Pearl - Edmond White
The Keillor Reader - Garrion Keillor
His new book is just what it promises: it is a READER and many of the vignettes (truly a Keillor expression that I borrow all the time) you probably have read in the NYorker. There is quite a list of his books and I must confess I have devoured only 2. The tale about the Lutheran ministers falling overboard in 5' of water on the 4th of July is side-splitting.

From our sister group in OK:

Lawton Book Bunch
Thursday, August 14, 2014
The Next meeting will be Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014

Burns, James McGregor. The Three Roosevelts
Connell, Evan S. Mr. Bridge; Mrs. Bridge; Son of the Morning Star
Frazier, Ian. Great Plains
Gilbert, Elizabeth. Signature of All Things
Haddon, Mark. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Lowry, Lois. The Giver
McEwan, Ian. Amsterdam; Atonement; Black Dogs; On Chesil Beach; Saturday; Sweet Tooth
Montgomery, Ben. Grandma Gatewood’s Walk
Nesbo, Jo. Police
Pollan, Michael. Botany of Desire
Tartt, Donna. The Goldfinch
Tetzlaff, Monica Maria. Cultivating a New South

Babette’s Feast and other food movies
Hundred Foot Journey (at both Moore Warren and Quail Springs)
The Giver (At both Carmike and Lawton 12)
Mr. and Mrs. Bridge

The Great Courses
Food: A Cultural History with Professor Ken Alba (36 lectures & a terrific bibliography)
Cameron University International Film Club
French Film Festival, August 21-23 and August 28-30

From Susanna:
Several months ago I was in The Full Circle Book Store in Oklahoma City It is a wonderful independent book store. I saw Grandma Gatewood on a shelf or table. It was just quirky enough that I picked it up to examine. I bought it, read it, and want to share it with the Omni Book Club. I'd like to pack it up and send it to you or my Wooster friends, Nancy and Alice. But I would look at the book and think - I know I will want to refer to or read it again. So please accept the attached review and look in your favorite store or library.

Montgomery, Ben. Grandma Gatewood’s Walk: The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail.

  In 1955, 67-year-old Grandma Gatewood set off from Gallia County, Ohio, on the greatest adventure of her life. “She had no map, no sleeping bag, no tent.” She walked the complete length of the Appalachian Trail from Mount Oglethorpe in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine. She was the first woman to accomplish a thru-hike alone. She went through seven pairs of Keds over a trail that was not as developed or cared for as it is today. Sometimes, she managed to sleep in a cabin or home, sometimes, on a pile of leaves. The reader follows her steps and experiences on the trail, as well as reading about Grandma Gatewood’s harrowing life. The reader is also given pertinent information about the history and development of the trail and of the Interstate Highway System. She walked the trail two more times and in 1959 walked the Oregon Trail in celebration of its centennial. She played a part in the development of the Buckeye Trail and, in the Hocking Hills State Park, there is a Grandma Gatewood Trail. If the beginning of the book seems a bit slow, as it did for me, stick with it. Curl up in a chair and share an adventure with this remarkable woman.

From Mary Lou in MD:

Booknotes Laura August 2014
Jodi Picoult, The Storyteller (2013).  This is a stunning work of literature.  I don’t know how Picoult managed to envision it and I don’t know how to describe it.  Sage Singer is very shy about her scarred face.  She avoids social interactions by working at night as a baker.   Our Daily Bread is part of Our Lady of Mercy Shrine in the New Hampshire foothills run by Mary DeAngelis, a former nun.  One of the regular bread customers is nonagenarian Josef Weber who is also a member of the grief support group Sage has attended since the death of her mother.  Sage’s grandmother Minka is a Holocaust survivor who was born in Poland in the 1920s.  She is the storyteller.  Her story is a sort of Grimm tale narrated by eighteen-year-old Ania about her father the baker in the forest, the tax collector and the guardsman who oppress the villagers, and the horrifying and mysterious beast that preys on the village livestock and residents.  The several stories presented in the novel are interspersed and interdependent.  They weave themselves into various strands of allegory exploring the nature of evil, guilt, justice and forgiveness.  Buy some yeast and flour and read this novel.  
 Bailey White, Quite a Year for Plums (1998).     This little novel speaks in the charming, witty voice we remember from White’s NPR’s commentaries.  The novel set in a small south-Georgia town is filed with delightfully eccentric characters.  Roger is a peanut pathologist who becomes intrigued by notes left on still-useful items at the town dump.  He watches for the mysterious dumper and makes the acquaintance of Delia, an artist renown for her bird paintings. She is supposed to be preparing for an art show about wild birds, but instead she obsessively paints a lovely pair of Dominicker chickens, America’s oldest breed and now endangered.  Roger’s ex-mother-in-law Louise has taken to wandering and comes to live with her sister Eula. Their conversations are masterpieces of miscommunication.  Jim Wade collects vintage electric fans and will go to unusual and even unlawful lengths to obtain them.  White manages to make these and other improbable characters and their bizarre adventures believable.   
Laura Childs, Blood Orange Brewing (2006).  This novel is one of a cozy series set in and around a tea house in Charleston, SC.  Theodosia Browning, Drayton Connelly, and Haley Parker own and operate the Indigo Tea Shop. Drayton invents improbably combinations of teas, spices and herbs and Haley creates fancy entrees and pastries.   Theodosia handles the business side when she’s not distracted by her amateur sleuthing.  At the beginning of this tale, the trio are catering a candlelight concert in a rundown Victorian mansion recently donated to the Historical Society.  The event is a fundraiser attended by Charleston’s political and societal elite, all of whom become suspects in a locked-room murder mystery. Warning:  This novel will make you hungry for exotic pastries. Recipes are included.  
Suzanne Rindell, The Other Typist (2013).  Rose, the narrator, was raised in an orphanage by nuns and she finds her comfort zone in adhering to rules and conventions.  It is the roaring 20s and she is employed as a typist at a New York City police precinct.  Odalie, a glamorous and mysterious new girl joins the typing pool.  Rose is fascinated by Odalie’s unconventionality and soon allows herself to be introduced to the world of speakeasies.  As she describes her ventures away from the straight and narrow, she warns that her relationship with Odalie will not end well.  It doesn’t, and in a quite surprising manner, despite our sense throughout the novel that we know more about Rose than she knows about herself.
Giles Milton, Russian Roulette (2013).  This history of the early years of Britain’s Secret Service, later MI6, is meticulously constructed from memoirs, archives, and intelligence files.  It begins in the final years of World War I. Retired naval commander Mansfield Cumming is recruited by the Director of Naval Intelligence to create a secret network of spies to track events in Russia.  “C” as he is known gathers a cadre of venturesome individuals who are sufficiently fluent in Russian and other languages to move freely in many levels of Russian society.  Many of them are expert in assuming multiple identities and as the Bolshevik revolution evolves they form effective courier networks around Moscow and St Petersburg and provide increasingly valuable information to the Secret Service.   Meanwhile, British explorer Frederick Bailey gathers a small group of men and treks into Russian Turkestan to counter Lenin’s plans to foment revolution in northern India.  These men are not as successful as their northern counterparts in transmitting intelligence, but eventually Baily makes it to Meshed and briefs British officer Wilfred Malleson.  Malleson proves very savvy and creative in disseminating  disinformation that short-circuits a budding alliance between the Bolsheviks and the Muhammedans.  Giles presents the colorful personalities of these spies and their dangerous exploits in a very suspenseful and entertaining account of the evolution of spycraft.    
Heidi W. Durrow, The Girl Who Fell from the Sky (2010).  Rachel, blue-eyed daughter of a Danish mother and a Black American GI, is being raised by her grandmother and aunt in Portland after a family tragedy in which her mother and siblings died.  Rachel spent her first 10 years in base housing in Germany and school in Portland provides her first experience of race in America.  Rachel is the narrator for much of the novel but some of the chapters are narrated by Jamie (Brick), a young boy who witnessed the tragedy.  The novel follows Rachel into her teen years as she eventually allows herself to remember what happened and discovers something of why.  All of the characters are well drawn and this is a very impressive first novel.  
Greg Iles, The Devil’s Punchbowl (2009).  This is a real thriller that is hard to put down.  Penn Cage, formerly a prosecuting attorney in Houston, has returned to his hometown of Natchez, Mississippi.  He has been mayor here for two years and is disappointed in how little he has been able to accomplish.  The oil industry is mostly gone from Natchez now and the town has turned to riverboat gambling casinos to boost its economy.  But rumors of crime have come with the casinos, especially the opulent Magnolia Queen, where Penn’s boyhood friend Tim Jessup is a dealer. At a midnight meeting in the town cemetery, Tim tells Penn that the reality is worse than the rumors of drugs and prostitution and extends to high-stakes gambling on the illegal blood sport of dog fighting. Corruption has seeped into local law enforcement and no one can be trusted.  Penn and his doctor father assemble a “magnificent seven” that includes a retired Texas Ranger, a Delta Force commando, a Marine sniper, a helicopter pilot, and a newspaper reporter who happens to be Penn’s former girlfriend.  They pit their wits and skills against sadistic IRA gangsters, Chinese money launderers, and huge, ferocious fighter dogs.  And the Mississippi River keeps on rolling. 

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