The book discussion this evening was on When Women Were Birds by Terry Tempest Williams – lead by Sonya and Dave, and chosen by Cashew. Everyone really enjoyed the book. One woman admitted that she started it, decided she didn’t like it, put it down, picked it up again later, and after finishing it, bought several of the books for her friends! Another person said that reading it felt like reading poetry!
Next book club meeting on 3/21: The Invention of Nature by Andrea Wulf lead by Jon
Phinney Books, 7:30pm – Each person can talk about a book they have read during the past month and rate it from 0 to 5. Zero – “I really disliked it.” Five – “Best book I have recently read!”
Sonya, The Milk Lady of Bangalore: An Unexpected Adventure by Shoba Narayan, 3.5: An Indian woman, her husband and children move back to India after some time in NYC. She writes of reintegrating with Indian life – in particular, there is a woman across the street from her apartment who has several cows from whom people buy their milk each morning – fresh from the cows’ teats. She writes of her relationship with the milk lady, of the history of cows in India, and other aspects of her life. I enjoyed it because it is giving me a flavor of life in Bangalore.
David, Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks, 5.0: Almost anything by Oliver Sacks is fascinating.
Leah, An American Marriage by Tayari Jones, 3.5: The husband is wrongfully convicted of rape and is put in jail, and eventually released. It is about how these events affect their marriage. She found it more political than expected. Each chapter has a different narrator. Another woman in the group heard her interview on PBS – the author was amazing – very dynamic.
Kjerste, Lilian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney, 4.5: This woman tells you her life story as she walks – lives in NYC. It is a fun story and based on true events.
Tom, Vengeance by Zachary Lazar, 4.5: Not exactly sure why he picked it up. It is called a novel but really seems to be autobiographical. The protagonist shares his name and history with the author. It is set in contemporary Louisiana, sees a passion play in the state prison, talks to one of the inmates who says he is innocent, it then shifts to inmates point of view. At the end, Tom had forgotten that it was fiction, and was left floundering a bit – finally remembered it is fiction because the inmate was not in the acknowledgements at the end. The author is very aware of his position as a white person, the writing is exquisite but not in a flashy way.
Shelagh, Dear Mr. You by Mary Louise Parker, 4.8: It is a memoir written through letters – she writes to the various men in her life – cab driver, uncle of a somalian girl she adopted, former lover. Very good writing.
Kathleen, The Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan, 5.0: Sweeping history of last few thousand years showing that the world revolved and revolves around the countries of the Siulk Road from Chinga to Italy. Showed how people were interconnected through interchange of culture, language, slaves, disease and trade. And, how governments and powerful people continue to make the same types of mistakes century after century.
Karen, The Persian Boy by Mary Renault, 4.5: A historical novel, the last 7 years of Alexander the Great’s life, campaigns up to India and back, learned about his campaigns and what kind of leader he was, why they followed him. The device she uses is the persian boy who is the eunuch lover of King Darius, and then of Alexander. He is a real boy, and it is very likely that Alexander did have those types of relationships.
Tim, The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place by Alan Bradley, 4.0: Flavia de Luce novels – it starts with the father dying, then there is the aunt who is going to decide everything for them, the sisters go on a boat trip, get a better sense of who Dodger is.
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles 5.0: the 30-year saga of the Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov, who is placed under house arrest inside the Metropol Hotel in Moscow in 1922.
The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness 4.0: This is the third and final volume of the All Souls Trilogy that started with A Discovery of Witches. This is one of the few trilogies, that I have read, in which the final volume is the best of the three. As with the other volumes, the author packs this story with historical details in a wonderful magical setting.
Pam, We Were Eight Years in Power by Ta-Nehisi Coates, 5.0: It is a collection of essays published in the Atlantic Magazine over the course of Obama’s presidency.. He takes a topic and drills down – very enlightening, challenging and intense – talks about the presidency and some of the positions which he disagrees with. She found it fascinating – many things she didn’t know about before on how blacks were treated.
Paul, God: A Human History by Reza Aslan, 4.0: He writes on the premise that how we organize our society is how we organize our spirituality. The hunter-gatherer society had pantheism, societies with royalty have monotheism – it is an interesting idea and it appears to be generally true, though Hinduism is left out.
Kitty, Gilgamesh: A Novel by Joan London, 5.0: Fabulous so far, small little book.
Mimi, Last Hope Island by Olson, 4.75: Story of the contributions of the Poles Czechs, Norwegians to the Allied effort in WWII which the Britich & Americans never really acknowledge (arrogance was unbelievable). Two people had it on their top 10 list for last year – it is worth it.
Best Mystery Stories of 2017, 3.5