At September’s Book Lovers meeting a lively discussion happened, as is usual. Many interesting books to share.
Rodney had to leave early, so he went first. He had read Maus by Art Spiegelman. This is a graphic novel about a survivor of the Holocaust and his relationship with his son (currently a book being removed from some school libraries). We talked about our reactions to graphic novels and the Holocaust. Another book Rodney brought was very unusual: Encyclopedia of Buffalo Hunters and Skinners, Vol. I: A-D. Compiled by Miles Gilbert, Leo Remiger, and Sharon Cunningham. Significant to our group only because an article Rodney had written for another publication had been included in this compilation.
Brad started with Blue Remembered Earth (Poseidon’s Children, Book 1) by Alastair Reynolds. Next was Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA by Tim Weiner. Sounds like an interesting book. And lastly Speaking of Harpo by Susan Fleming Marx with Robert S. Bader. Susan was Harpo’s widow and a well-known entertainer on her own. The memoir was finished in 2002, but not published until recently. Lots of interesting stories. Sounds like a fun read.
Peggy started us off with The Swift and The Harrier by Minette Walters. We had read mysteries by the author before, but this is historical fiction. Set in 1640s England, it follows the Swift family and the Harrier family during the English Civil War. How do people look at a war they are involved in and what do they do to survive? Next, some humor with Iona Iverson’s Rules for Commuting: Sometimes You Have to Break the Rules by Clare Pooley. Iona is an advice columnist who strictly follows her set of rules for commuting to and from work. What happens when circumstances require her to break those rules?
Kat had read The Bolter: The Story of Idina Sackville, Who Ran Away to Become the Chief Seductress of Kenya’s Scandalous “Happy Valley Set” by Frances Osborne. Bolter is a term used in the 1920s and 1930s for women who broke the rules and fled their marriages. The subtitle pretty much covers the content. This led to the mention of a movie, Mountains of the Moon which was set in Central Africa in the1850s, about the search for the origin of the Nile River. I have a note about Candice Millard’s River of the Gods about this search. The First English Dictionary 1604 by Robert Cawdrey had lots of intriguing words in it. The Tangled Tree: A Radical New History of Life by David Quammen is about the 1970s scientists who started using DNA sequences to reexamine the history of life. One great discovery of this period is HGT, or Horizontal Gene Transfer — the movement of genes across species lines, including plants to people!
Michael joined us by Zoom. He had read some CNF, or creative non-fiction. Horse by Geraldine Brooks is based on the true story of the record-breaking thoroughbred, Lexington, from 1850 Kentucky. Three stories about a discarded painting in a junk pile, a skeleton in an attic, and the greatest racehorse in American history are woven together to tell the story of Lexington. The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles is a road trip set in summer 1954, as four young men go on a quest along the Lincoln Highway that stretches from New York to San Francisco. This highway became the basis for one of the first of the interstate highways. A collection of essays by Joan Didion that describe her experiences in California during the 1960s, Slouching Towards Bethlehem has three essays Michael particularly enjoyed: “Slouching Towards Bethlehem,” “Where the Kissing Never Stops,” and “Marrying Absurd.”
David had read The Ripper’s Shadow by Laura Joh Rowland. Interesting, but some parts seem improbable. Peggy had read another title by this author and liked it. David also read Spacecraft in Fact and Fiction by Harry Harrison and Malcolm Edwards. Mostly fiction and concepts for spacecraft, but very intriguing.
Both David and Coleen read The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen for another book group. We usually read one graphic novel each year in that group. Tien’s family immigrated to America from Viet Nam. They now have become US citizens, but his parents are still learning the English language. Tien is trying to tell his mother that he is gay, but he doesn’t know the words in Vietnamese, and his mother doesn’t know the words in English. They read fairy tales together to practice their language skills. The author uses different colors and repeated themes as visual shortcuts for the reader.
Coleen also read Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper. Melody is eleven years old, has a photographic memory, and is incredibly smart, but no one knows it because she has cerebral palsy, is nonverbal and can barely move. She’s very frustrated until, with the help of a new aide at school, she is able to get a computer she can use to speak. Fascinating book. The author has written a sequel since thousands of readers wanted to know what happened to Melody. It was just recently published, ten years after the first book. Continuing to read all of Jane Austen (there are only six complete novels), Sense and Sensibility was next in line. The movie from 1995 is a good adaptation although some liberties were taken with the timeline. Next up is Mansfield Park, which I have never read before. I’m enjoying the project so far.
That’s it for September’s books. Come next time and tell us what you are reading. Second Sunday of every month. Chit chat at 2:00 p.m. Book talk starting at 2:30 p.m. (But you can come late if you need to. We usually talk until 5:00 or 6:00.) Treats are welcome, but not required. Just you and your books!