June 26, 2016

May 2016

With the help of modern technology, we were able to chat with author Eve Sandstrom (JoAnna Carl) and enjoy her lovely company.  We hope one day to be able to visit with her live and in person.  Thank you, Eve!

We also talked about the books we've ready lately:

The Aviator's Wife - Melanie Benjamin
What You Really Need to Know for the Second Half of Life - Julieanne Steinbacher
The Chocolate Moose Motive - JoAnna Carl
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime - Mark Haddon
The Prodigy's Cousin - Joanne Ruthsatz
The Secret Keeper - Kate Morton
All the Stars in Heaven - Adriana Trigiani
The Japanese Lover - Isabel Allende
Fat Girl Walking - Brittany Gibbons
Harry Bosch series by Michael Connelly
The Sword of Damascus - Richard Blake
The Core of the Sun - Johanna Sinisalo
I'll Give You the Sun - Jandy Nelson
Morning Star - Pierce Brown
To Live Forever - Jack Vance

From our sister group in OK:


Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi. Purple Hibiscus

Chevalier, Tracy. At the Edge of the Orchard

Doerr, Anthony. All the Light We Cannot See

Le Carre, John. Night Manager

Michener. James A. The World Is My Home

Montgomery, Sy. The Soul of an Octopus

Morton, Frederic. Thunder at Twilight: Vienna 1913/1914

Murray, Pauli. Song in a Weary Throat

Poling-Kempes, Leslie. Ladies of the Canyon: A League of Extraordinary Women and Adventures in the American Southwest

Roosevelt, Eleanor. The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt

Scott, Paul. Staying On

Smith, Lane. It’s a Book

Smith, Tom Robb. Secret Speech (Child 44 Trilogy)

Social Register Association. Social Register of Philadelphia 1947

Urquhart, Brian. Ralph Bunch: An American Life

Walker, Alexander. Audrey: Her Real Story


Miller, Jennifer. “Men Have Book Clubs, Too.” New York Times. May4, 2016.

Television & Videos

Le Carre, John. Night Manager

Masterpiece: Mr. Selfridge

Scott, Paul. Raj Quartet


From Mary Lou in MD:

Laurie Fabiano, Elizabeth Street: A Novel Based on True Events (2006, 2010). The central characters in this novel are based on the author’s grandmother and great grandmother. The novel or fictionalized biography begins in the small island fishing town of Scilla, Calabria, Italy, 1890 – 1901. Despite austere living conditions, Giovanna Costa enjoys a happy childhood and marries her childhood sweetheart Nunzio. The declining economy leads Nunzio to seek a new life with his cousin in New York, leaving his wife behind. Things do not go well. Eventually Giovanna also journeys to New York. Life there is also difficult but Giovanna finds work assisting a midwife. Elizabeth Street is the location where she raises her family. The description of immigrant life begins with the Ellis Island experience and progress through language and cultural difficulties and labor exploitation. Familiar historical events also influence the lives of the characters. The family history is traced through the 1970s and 1980s, but the majority of the story occurs during the first two decades of the 20th century. The story is engrossing and the characters are especially vivid.

Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre (1847, 1848, Norton Critical Edition 1971). The novel was originally published under the pseudonym Currier Bell. It was quite successful, going through three editions in Charlotte’s lifetime. Contemporary reviews were favorable, although some found the melodrama and plot coincidences excessive. Yes, it is melodramatic and yes, the coincidences are excessive. The characters are roundly drawn, however, and Jane’s first person narrative sustains the suspense over her situational difficulties and ethical crises. I re-read the novel for a class on the Brontes and found it every bit as good as I remembered.

Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights (1847, 1850, Norton Critical Edition 1963). The novel was originally published under the pseudonym Acton Bell and the 1850 edition was edited by Charlotte, since Emily had died by that time. Contemporary reviewers found Jane Eyre melodramatic? Her sister’s novel is decidedly gothic. I found it a faster read than Jane Eyre, which may be an indication of my inferior taste in novels. Where Jane firmly governs her emotions with reason and ethical principles, Catherine Earnshaw has no such restraint. As for Heathcliff, he is beyond Byronic and positively demonic. The love between the two is intense, but they bring out the worst in each other. The dual levels of narration, first the Thrushcross Grange tenant Lockwood and then the housekeeper Nelly Dean, take us from the opening chapter in 1801 back some 30 years into the histories of the Linton family (The Grange) and the Earnshaws (Wuthering Heights) before the final resolution of the family conflicts. Both narrators have their misconceptions and Bronte is very skillful at revealing the distortions to us. I am hard pressed to declare which Bronte sister has written the better novel.

Margaret Coel, Eye of the Wolf (2005). In 1874 in the area that later became the Wind River Reservation, a group of Shoshone led Captain Bates’s US cavalry unit onto Arapaho tribal grounds and almost everyone there was massacred. Now Father John O’Malley receives a threatening anonymous message about revenge against old enemies and telling him to go to the Bates battlefield. There he discovers three dead Shoshone positioned to mimic warriors fallen in the battle. His friend Vickie Holden, Arapaho attorney, is representing the main suspect in the deaths. Someone is attempting to disrupt the peace that has endured for decades between the Arapaho and Shoshone on the Reservation. Father John and Vickie must solve the murder mystery to restore harmony. Coel has produced another master blend of history and suspense.

No comments:

Post a Comment