Get out your planner –we have your reads for the rest of the year!
At last month’s book club we decided to start announcing books three months in advance, so we had some catch up to do. Proposers and voters came through and we can now stock up on a seriously fun series of reads. True to form they are a diverse bunch. We have a mystery, a memoir of sorts, and historical fiction. Also, by popular request I have included a list of the books that were proposed but not selected.
Happy Reading All!
- August: Caroline’ s pick – Catcher in the Rye, host: Carlee Samford
- September: Linda’s pick – Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn; host: Melissa Stewart
- October: June’s pick – Some Assembly Required, Anne Lamott: Connie O’Brien with Shirley
- November: Caleb’s Crossing, Geraldine Brooks, host: TBD
Below are a few synopses of the books we will read as well as for those that didn’t make the cut …this time.
SEPTEMBER: Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn.
Marriage can be a real killer.
One of the most critically acclaimed suspense writers of our time, New York Times bestseller Gillian Flynn takes that statement to its darkest place in this unputdownable masterpiece about a marriage gone terribly, terribly wrong. The Chicago Tribune proclaimed that her work “draws you in and keeps you reading with the force of a pure but nasty addiction.” Gone Girl’s toxic mix of sharp-edged wit and deliciously chilling prose creates a nerve-fraying thriller that confounds you at every turn.
On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?
As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?
With her razor-sharp writing and trademark psychological insight, Gillian Flynn delivers a fast-paced, devilishly dark, and ingeniously plotted thriller that confirms her status as one of the hottest writers around.
OCTOBER: Some Assembly Required Anne Lamott. In Some Assembly Required, Anne Lamott enters a new and unexpected chapter of her own life: grandmotherhood.
Stunned to learn that her son, Sam, is about to become a father at nineteen, Lamott begins a journal about the first year of her grandson Jax’s life.
In careful and often hilarious detail, Lamott and Sam-about whom she first wrote so movingly in Operating Instructions-struggle to balance their changing roles with the demands of college and work, as they both forge new relationships with Jax’s mother, who has her own ideas about how to raise a child. Lamott writes about the complex feelings that Jax fosters in her, recalling her own experiences with Sam when she was a single mother. Over the course of the year, the rhythms of life, death, family, and friends unfold in surprising and joyful ways.
By turns poignant and funny, honest and touching, Some Assembly Required is the true story of how the birth of a baby changes a family-as this book will change everyone who reads it.
November: Caleb’s Crossing – Geraldine Brooks ****- Amazon Best Books of the Month, May 2011 – (sounds interesting and about Native American in Martha’s Vineyard – this venue might be interesting to some of our book club members!)
When Pulitzer Prize winner Geraldine Brooks came to live on Martha’s Vineyard in 2006, she ran across a map by the island’s native Wampanoag people that marked the birthplace of Caleb, first Native American to graduate of Harvard College–in 1665. Her curiosity piqued, she unearthed and fleshed out his thin history, immersing herself in the records of his tribe, of the white families that settled the island in the 1640s, and 17th-century Harvard. In Caleb’s Crossing, Brooks offers a compelling answer to the riddle of how–in an era that considered him an intellectually impaired savage–he left the island to compete with the sons of the Puritanical elite. She relates his story through the impassioned voice of the daughter of the island’s Calvinist minister, a brilliant young woman who aches for the education her father wastes on her dull brother. Bethia Mayfield meets Caleb at twelve, and their mutual affinity for nature and knowledge evolves into a clandestine, lifelong bond. Bethia’s father soon realizes Caleb’s genius for letters and prepares him for study at Harvard, while Bethia travels to Cambridge under much less auspicious circumstances. This window on early academia fascinates, but the book breathes most thrillingly in the island’s salt-stung air, and in the end, its questions of the power and cost of knowledge resound most profoundly not in Harvard’s halls, but in the fire of a Wampanoag medicine man. —Mari Malcolm
OTHER PROPOSED BOOKS:
1. Sacre Bleu: A Comedy d Art – Christopher Moore. *** (Promises to be rollicking despite topic, and who wouldn’t want to read a story of the art world in Paris during the Bell Epoche)
In July 1890, Vincent van Gogh went into a cornfield and shot himself. Or did he? Why would an artist at the height of his creative powers attempt to take his own life . . . and then walk a mile to a doctor’s house for help? Who was the crooked little “color man” Vincent had claimed was stalking him across France? And why had the painter recently become deathly afraid of a certain shade of blue? These are just a few of the questions confronting Vincent’s friends?baker-turned-painter Lucien Lessard and bon vivant Henri Toulouse-Lautrec?who vow to discover the truth about van Gogh’s untimely death. Their quest will lead them on a surreal odyssey and brothel-crawl deep into the art world of late nineteenth-century Paris. Oh lÀ lÀ, quelle surprise, and zut alors! A delectable confection of intrigue, passion, and art history?with cancan girls, baguettes, and fine French cognac thrown in for good measure?SacrÉ Bleu is another masterpiece of wit and wonder from the one, the only, Christopher Moore.
2. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption – Laura Hillenbrand (with the Olympics coming up, this could be an interesting aside although not primarily about the Olympics)
From Laura Hillenbrand, the bestselling author of Seabiscuit, comesUnbroken, the inspiring true story of a man who lived through a series of catastrophes almost too incredible to be believed. In evocative, immediate descriptions, Hillenbrand unfurls the story of Louie Zamperini–a juvenile delinquent-turned-Olympic runner-turned-Army hero. During a routine search mission over the Pacific, Louie’s plane crashed into the ocean, and what happened to him over the next three years of his life is a story that will keep you glued to the pages, eagerly awaiting the next turn in the story and fearing it at the same time. You’ll cheer for the man who somehow maintained his selfhood and humanity despite the monumental degradations he suffered, and you’ll want to share this book with everyone you know. –Juliet Disparte
Night Winds by Charles Frazier:
I recently read this novel by the author of Cold Mountain. It is a novel about several wounded characters (including two abused children who witnessed their stepfather kill their mother).The writer captures so much about the way humans cope with loss and abuse and points to the different paths to healing. I enjoy the way Frazier writes.
Keep the Faith – or Not by Dr. Bill Cummings
This is a memoir written by a good friend of mine, but it may be an important work because
His history is that he was a monk and a priest for 33 years before leaving the Catholic Church labeled a heretic. He spent several years at the Vatican during the 2nd Vatican Council. His insights into the top level of the catholic church is fascinating, but could be offensive to a devout Catholic. He is 80 years old now and wrote this for his kids, but it is quite enlightening. I knew him in a later part of his life as a TQM consultant who led us through that work at UAB.
The Hunger Games:
Everyone knows about these, and while written for a younger crowd, I think the series is important for our generations to read. It helps us understand what they consider an adventure novel. Given the things we now see on reality TV, I’m not even sure they are far-fetched!
“Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake” by Anna Quindlin
“That Woman” by Anne Sebba