June 26, 2016

April 2016

In honor of National Poetry Month, special guest Dave Lucas joined us for an evening of poetry and laughter.  We thank him for sharing his writing and insights!

We also talked about the latest books we've read:

After the First Death - Lawrence Block
Disasters of Ohio's Lake Erie Islands - Wendy Koile
Deep Shaker - Les Roberts
The Chocolate Falcon Fraud - JoAnna Carl
Ancillary Mercy - Ann Leckie
Cockpit Confidential - Patrick Smith
When You are Engulfed in Flames - David Sedaris
Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls - David Sedaris
The Martian - Andy Weir
The Finest Hours - Michael Tougias
The Nightmare - Lars Kepler
The Great Bridge - David McCullough
The Girl in the Ice - Robert Bryndza
The 6:41 to Paris - Jean-Phillippe Blondel
Dark Corners - Ruth Rendell
Doc: A Novel - Mary Doria Russell
Miller's Valley - Anna Quindlen
Go Tell it on the Mountain - James Baldwin
A Spool of Blue Thread - Anne Tyler
The Beat Goes On - Ian Rankin
The Steal Kiss - Jeffery Deaver
Confucius and the World He Created - Michael Schuman
Apple Turnover Murder - Joanne Fluke
Annie Dillard
1916 Easter Rising
Sonny's Blues
The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden - Jonas Jonasson
The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared - Jonas Jonasson
My Life in France - Julia Child
Ruhlman's Twenty - Michael Ruhlman
Market Garden Brewery's Brews and Prose

From our sister group in OK:


Baldacci, David. The Sixth Man
Chabon, Michael. Yiddish Policemen’s Union
Goldsworthy, Andy. Arch
Hyland, William. George Gershwin
Indridason, Arnaldur. Outrage
Kaufman, Sarah. The Art of Grace
Macmillan, Gilley. What She Knew
Nimura, Janice P. Daughters of the Samuri
Penny, Louise. Discussion of books and of Inspector Gamache
Roosevelt, Eleanor. The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt
Scakzi, John. Lock In: A Novel of the Near Future
See, Lisa. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
Sime, Ruth Lewis. Lise Meitner: A Life in Physics
Simenon, Georges. Books in general and Inspector Maigret
Smith, Tom Bob. The Secret Speech (Child 44 Trilogy)


Eleanor Roosevelt


At our February meeting, I mentioned the kitchen scene from Bandits with Cate Blanchett in relation to the book The Art of Grace: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aC6rilb9RN0


Call the Midwife
Father Brown

Official Name of our Book Group

Any Book Book Bunch

From Mary Lou in MD:

Jane Austen, Emma (1816; Lionel Trilling, editor, Riverside 1957). Austen said Emma was “a heroine whom no one but myself will much like.” I agree more with the author than the critics who rave about this novel. Emma is snobbish, insensitive, deluded, and egotistical and most of the time I wanted to smack her. Her character only shows favorably in contrast to the even more snobbish, insensitive, deluded and egotistical Mrs. Elton. Where Emma manipulates young and beautiful Harriet Smith into refusing a loving match in hopes of one with more social standing, Mrs. Elton positively bullies the refined but penniless Jane Fairfax into accepting a governess position she does not want. Austen’s irony and narrative skill flourishes in her use of dialogue to reveal the misconceptions of Emma, Mrs. Elton, and other characters. Many of the characters speak at cross-purposes to highly comic and sometimes disastrous effect. Eventually, Emma recognizes and acknowledges her mistakes and the harm she has done to others. Alas, unlike more sympathetic readers, I remain unconvinced that Emma is a reformed character by the end of the novel. I am confident that continuation of her story would have made me want to smack her again.

Anne Tyler, If Morning Ever Comes (1964). At the age of 25, Ben Joe Hawkes left his home in Sandhill, North Carolina, to start law school at Columbia. Three months later, dissatisfied with the scanty news from home contained in his sister Jennifer’s letters and worried by the discovery that his older sister Joanne has left her husband in Kansas and come home with her baby, he takes the overnight train home. His family is a collection of improbable characters including five sisters, his grandmother, and his widowed mother. No one knows what he is doing home, not even Ben Joe. Nobody understands anything about anybody else and yet they all love one another. There us a great deal of comedy, some of it resulting from the characters’ blindness to their own motivations and much of it provided by the outlandish statements and actions of Gram. In the course of Ben Joe’s visit, we learn the bizarre family history and the things he has done in largely futile attempts to shield his relatives from pain. Already in this early novel Tyler is skillful in portraying family dynamics.

Regina O’Melveny, The Book of Madness and Cures (2012). Gabriella Mondini is the daughter of a prominent Venice doctor in the 16th century and a medical practitioner in her own right. Her father disappears and she is no longer permitted to treat patients. Taking his letters and her own medical manuscript and supplies, she sets off with her maid Olmina and Olmina’s husband Lorenzo in search of her father. They journey through northern Italy, Switzerland, Germany, France and Scotland, staying in places her father had mentioned in his letters. Olmina and Lorenzo remain reluctant but faithful companions. The news of Dr. Mondini is increasingly discouraging. Hardships increase and resources diminish, but Gabriella continues her quest. Illustrative maps are provided of this journey through Renaissance Europe.

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