Monday, March 03, 2008

Book Club

I have been wanting to be in a book club for as long as I can remember. I was so excited to learn that our local independent children's book store was going to start a book club for adults. I signed up on the email interest list. Last week we had our first meeting. We gathered to discuss how we would choose books - I think that things went incredibly smooth and we made selections for our first four months. I am honestly interested and excited to read each of these selections. The list of books we came up with to read was full of great selections. Have you read any of these books?

Here are the summaries from GoodReads:

TOO CLOSE TO THE FALLS by Catherine Gildiner
Heartbreaking and wicked: a memoir of stunning beauty and remarkable grace.

Improbable friendships and brushes with death. A schoolgirl affecting the course of aboriginal politics. Elvis and cocktails and Catholicism and the secrets buried deep beneath a place that may be another, undiscovered Love Canal - Lewiston, New York. Too Close to the Falls is an exquisite, haunting return, through time and memory, to the heart of Catherine Gildiner's childhood.

And what a childhood it was...

THREE CUPS OF TEA by Greg Mortenson
The astonishing, uplifting story of a real-life Indiana Jones and his humanitarian campaign to use education to combat terrorism in the Taliban's backyard. Anyone who despairs of the individual's power to change lives has to read the story of Greg Mortenson, a homeless mountaineer who, following a 1993 climb of Pakistan's treacherous K2, was inspired by a chance encounter with impoverished mountain villagers and promised to build them a school. Over the next decade he built fifty-five schools;especially for girls;that offer a balanced education in one of the most isolated and dangerous regions on earth. As it chronicles Mortenson's quest, which has brought him into conflict with both enraged Islamists and uncomprehending Americans, Three Cups of Tea combines adventure with a celebration of the humanitarian spirit.
The Senator's Wife by Sue Miller
Once again Sue Miller takes us deep into the private lives of women with this mesmerizing portrait of two marriages exposed in all their shame and imperfection, and in their obdurate, unyielding love. The author of the iconic The Good Mother and the best-selling While I Was Gone brings her marvelous gifts to a powerful story of two unconventional women who unexpectedly change each other’s lives.

Meri is newly married, pregnant, and standing on the cusp of her life as a wife and mother, recognizing with some terror the gap between reality and expectation. Delia Naughton—wife of the two-term liberal senator Tom Naughton—is Meri’s new neighbor in the adjacent New England town house. Delia’s husband’s chronic infidelity has been an open secret in Washington circles, but despite the complexity of their relationship, the bond between them remains strong. What keeps people together, even in the midst of profound betrayal? How can a journey imperiled by, and sometimes indistinguishable from, compromise and disappointment culminate in healing and grace? Delia and Meri find themselves leading strangely parallel lives, both reckoning with the contours and mysteries of marriage, one refined and abraded by years of complicated intimacy, the other barely begun.

Here are all the things for which Sue Miller has always been beloved—the complexity of experience precisely rendered, the richness of character and emotion, the superb economy of style—fused with an utterly engrossing story that has a great deal to say to women, and men, of all ages.
Song Yet Sung by James McBride
From the New York Times-bestselling author of The Color of Water comes a powerful page-turner about a runaway slave and a determined slave catcher.

Nowhere has the drama of American slavery played itself out with more tension than in the dripping swamps of Maryland's eastern shore, where abolitionists such as Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman, born less than thirty miles apart, faced off against nefarious slave traders in a catch-me-if-you-can game that fueled fear and brought economic hardship to both white and black families. Trapped in the middle were the watermen, a group of America's most original and colorful pioneers, poor oystermen who often found themselves caught between the needs of rich plantation owners and the roaring Chesapeake, which often claimed their lives.

The powerful web of relationships in a small Chesapeake Bay town collapses as two souls face off in a gripping page-turner. Liz Spocott, a young runaway who has odd dreams about the future of the colored race, mistakenly inspires a breakout from the prison attic of a notorious slave thief named Patty Cannon. As Cannon stokes revenge, Liz flees into the nefarious world of the underground railroad with its double meanings and unspoken clues to freedom known to the slaves of Dorchester County as "The Code." Denwood Long, a troubled slave catcher and eastern shore waterman, is coaxed out of retirement to break "The Code" and track down Liz.

Filled with rich history-much of the story is drawn from historical events-and told in McBride's signature lyrical storytelling style, Song Yet Sung brings into full view a world long misunderstood in American fiction: how slavery worked, and the haunting, moral choices that lived beneath the surface, pressing both whites and blacks to search for relief in a world where both seemed to lose their moral compass. This is a story of tragic triumph, violent decisions, and unexpected kindness.
Off to check for the books on paperbackswap.com or half.com

3 comments:

Jess said...

I read "Three cups of tea" several months ago, and really enjoyed it. I think it would make for excellent discussion! Our bookclub just discussed "Eat, Pray, Love", and it was probably our best meeting of the past 3 years.

Jennifer said...

They all sound really good! Excellent selections!

Jennifer said...

Can additional people join? I think I might want to come along. Also my friend from UW Nicole...she might be interested too...