January 02, 2016

October, November and December 2015

“If you are too busy to read, you are too busy.”
― Richard J. Foster, Freedom of Simplicity: Finding Harmony in a Complex World

Late fall and the holidays can be hectic.  I'm thankful that we can make time for the important things.

Here's what we discussed:

On Secret Service - John Jakes
The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach - Pam Jenoff
Finding Fish - Antwone Quentin Fisher
The Murderer's Daughter - Jonathan Kellerman
Make Me - Lee Child
X -  Sue Grafton
Shadow Play - Iris Johansen
Buddhism - Richard Gard
Salt, the Fifth Element - Garnett Laidlaw Eskew
Orphan Train - Christina Baker Kline
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - Ransom Riggs
Revival - Stephen King
An Open Book, Coming of Age in the Heartland - Michael Dirda
The Traitor's Wife - Allison Pataki
Room - Emma Donoghue
The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
Locke & Key series - Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez
Skullcrack City - Jeremy Johnson
A Moveable Feast - Ernest Hemingway
Voices from Chernobyl - Svetlana Alexievich
Shelter Dogs - documentary film by Cynthia Wade
Havana Storm - Clive Cussler
Paul Simon: A Life - Marc Eliot
The Paris Review Interviews
The Lottery - Shirley Jackson
The Haunting of Hill House - Shirley Jackson
The Asylum - John Harwood
Books by Dorothea Benton Frank
Celia Garth: A Story of Charleston in the Revolution - Gwen Bristow
Broadway musical Hamilton
Humans of New York
Felines of New York
David Rosenfelt and his character Andy Carpenter
We Are Called to Rise - Laura McBride
The Sparrow - Mary Doria Russell

Tom's list:

The Dead Mountaineer's Inn - Arkady and Boris Strugatsky
Browsing - Michael Dirda
The Day of Wrath - Sever Gansovsky
The Wright Brothers - David McCullough
Hosts - F. Paul Wilson
The Lonely Shadows, Tales of Horror and the Cthulhu Mythos - John Glasby
The Billion Dollar Spy - David E. Hoffman
Unfaithful Music and Disappearing Ink - Elvis Costello
The Mirror Man - James P. Hogan
Dick Kinzel, Roller Coaster King of Cedar Point - Tim O'Brien
The Girl Who Owned a City - O.T. Nelson
On Russian Music - Richard Taruskin

Ryan's list:

The New Gold Standard by Joseph Michelli
Skullcrack City by Jeremy Robert Johnson
The Blue Aspic by Edward Gorey
The Recently Deflowered Girl by Edward Gorey and Hyacinthe Phypps
Locke and Key Volume 4 by Joe Hill and Gabriel RodriguezThe Tailored Interior by Greg Natale
Faith vs. Fact by Jerry A. Coyne
Positioning by Al Ries and Jack Trout

Mary Lou's list:

Kris Radish, The Elegant Gathering of White Snows (2002). A group of women in a small Wisconsin town have been meeting every Thursday evening and they have developed strong friendships. They are career women, housewives, mothers, divorcees, and one ex-Prom queen. One Thursday evening one of them is in crisis and after midnight they all take off walking down their rural highway. They just keep walking for days and miles, attracting press attention and energizing women across the country. They are not much interested in the effect of their odyssey on others, but we hear some stories about that. Because his wife tells him to, the local sheriff assigns a deputy to shadow them and keep the press, gawkers, and hecklers at a distance. One by one, they tell their friends the tragedies and dark secrets that have shaped their lives. Gradually each woman gains the individual insight and strength she needs to move her life in a more positive direction. This is an intriguing book.

Mary Higgins Clark, The Lost Years (2012). Retired NYU professor and archeologist Jonathan Lyons is found shot in his study just weeks after discovering a valuable ancient parchment. His wife Kathleen, suffering from Alzheimer’s, is suspected of murdering him in jealousy about his mistress. His daughter Mariah is convinced her mother is innocent. She soon realizes that the likely murderer is to be found among her father’s friends who accompanied him on his archeological expeditions to the Holy Land. Police detective Simon Benet is convinced that Mrs. Lyons is guilty, but his partner Rita Rodriguez is not so sure. Predictably, Mariah is nearly murdered in the course of her investigation. She is assisted by long-time family friends, including her mother’s lawyer and a colorfully inquisitive retired couple. Although the plot is rather predictable, the quirky characters and the setting in Manhattan and northern New Jersey keep the novel entertaining.

Carol Higgins Clark, Decked (1992). This is a traditional light murder mystery I the style of the author’s mother Mary. The action takes place between Oxford, England and the Queen Guinevere cruise ship. Private investigator Regan Reilly returns to Oxford to attend her 10-year class reunion at St. Polycarp’s. She and her former roommate attend a cocktail party at octogenarian Lacy Veronica Exner’s Llewellyn Hall. The body of their classmate Athena, who disappeared 10 years before, has just been discovered near the Hall. Superintendent Livingston comes to the Hall to question the residents and Athena’s classmates, since the disappearance now appears to be murder, not elopement. Lady Veronica’s companion is taken ill and Regan is persuaded to take her place and accompany Lady Veronica on the trans-Atlantic crossing. Soon Regan discovers that Lady Veronica’s safety is threatened by more than her impetuosity and lack of judgment and Regan’s suspicion of her fellow cruisers increases. The Superintendent continues to investigate St. Polycarp while Regan suspects a link between Athena’s murder and the threats to Lady Veronica. There are many comic episodes, verging on farce. Several plot threads arte skillfully braided toward a satisfying cheerful resolution.

From our sister group in OK:


Chandra, Vikram. Sacred Games
Davis, Katharine. Slender Thread
Diamond, Jared. Guns, Germs, and Steel
Ellison, Harlan. “Croatoan” and “I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream” (short stories)
French, Tana. Secret Place
Hill, Roxann. Death of the Blue Flower
Howe, James. Bunnicula: A Rabbit-Tale of Mystery
James, Miranda. Arsenic and Old Books
Kyle, Aryn. The God of Animals
Mankell, Henning. d. Oct. 5, 2015. General discussion.
Penny, Louise. Still Life
Ryan, Hank Phillippi. Truth Be Told
Smith, Tom Rob. Child 44


E.O. Wilson: Of Ants and Men (PBS)
Newsroom (HBO)


Bowler, Jerry. The World Encyclopedia of Christmas
Brett, Jan, Illustrator. The Night Before Christmas: A Poem by Clement Moore. 10th Anniversary Edition
Brown, Dan. Digital Fortress
Canellos, Peter S. The Last Lion: The Fall and Rise of Ted Kennedy.
Fang, Jade. Twelve Days of Christmas
Joyce, Davis D. Alternative Oklahoma: Contrarian Views of the Sooner State
McCormick, George. Island Empire
Matthews, John. The Winter Solstice: The Sacred Traditions of Christmas. (394.261 Matt). “Winter Solstice” p.45,
Monahan, Brent. Jekyl Island Club
Moore, Clement C. The Night Before Christmas. Illustrated by Niroot Puttapipat
Morris, Edmund. Theodore Rex
Pearlman, Edith. Binocular Vision


“Bridge of Spies.” (Tom Hanks – James Donovan, Mark Rylance – Rudolf Abel)

Television & DVDS

“A Christmas Carol: The Concert” (As seen on PBS) Composed & arranged by Bob Christianson. Lyrics and Book adaptation by Alisa Hauser. Adapted from the Novella by Charles Dickens.
“Great British Baking Show.” BBC on PBS.


Beattie, Ann. Mrs. Nixon: A Novelist Imagines a Life
Boo, Katherine. Behind the Beautiful Forevers
Buck, Pearl. The Good Earth
Ishiguro, Kazuo. Never Let Me Go
Marquis De Custine. Empire of the Czar: A Journey Through Eternal Russia
Patton, Benjamin. Growing Up Patton: Reflections on Heroes, History, and Family Wisdom
Penny, Louise. Still Life
Sheff, David. Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction
Stevens, Chevy. Never knowing


The Good Earth. (1937 with Paul Muni, Luis Rainer, Walter Connolly. Also on DVD)

Television: Einstein’s Centennial

Inside Einstein’s Mind. Craig Sechler. PBS-Nova. (Aired 11-29-15).
The Universe Beyond the Big Bang. Erik Thompson. History Channel H2. (Aired 11-30-15)

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