April 2016 Read: The Rosie Project

rosie project

 

Our April Read will be “The Rosie Project”. See below for a synopsis of the book as well as a few other suggested reads from Kim Oh.

 The Rosie Project, Graeme Simsion

This rather short fiction (295 pages) by New Zealand born Australian author is full of humor and charm. Simsion is multitalented intellectual, a funny and creative man, married to a Psychiatry Professor. In this entertaining fiction, bits of medical science, psychiatry, and some unique aspects of academic life are mixed with everyday life drama.

Quotes from Amazon.com:

The art of love is never a science: Meet Don Tillman, a brilliant yet socially inept professor of genetics, who’s decided it’s time he found a wife. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which Don approaches all things, he designs the Wife Project to find his perfect partner: a sixteen-page, scientifically valid survey to filter out the drinkers, the smokers, the late arrivers.

Rosie Jarman possesses all these qualities. Don easily disqualifies her as a candidate for The Wife Project (even if she is “quite intelligent for a barmaid”). But Don is intrigued by Rosie’s own quest to identify her biological father. When an unlikely relationship develops as they collaborate on The Father Project, Don is forced to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie―and the realization that, despite your best scientific efforts, you don’t find love, it finds you.

Arrestingly endearing and entirely unconventional, Graeme Simsion’s distinctive debut “navigates the choppy waters of adult relationships, both romantic and platonic, with a fresh take (USA TODAY). “Filled with humor and plenty of heart, The Rosie Project is a delightful reminder that all of us, no matter how we’re wired, just want to fit in” (Chicago Tribune).

Other Suggestions:

  • How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World, by Steven Johnson

This nonfiction authored by Steven Johnson, a science writer, consist of informative and thought provoking stories about six innovations that made modern day life possible (refrigeration, eye glasses, clock, etc.). Johnson is great story teller, as seen in his 2007 non-fiction, The Ghost Map: The Story of London’s Most Terrifying Epidemic—and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World.

  • The Wright Brothers, by David McCullough

I enjoyed this well researched book on the Wright brothers. Here are some quotes from

David McCullough, two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize, tells the surprising, profoundly American story of Wilbur and Orville Wright.

 

In this thrilling book, master historian David McCullough draws on the immense riches of the Wright Papers, including private diaries, notebooks, scrapbooks, and more than a thousand letters from private family correspondence to tell the human side of the Wright Brothers’ story, including the little-known contributions of their sister, Katharine, without whom things might well have gone differently for them.

  • Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande

In Being Mortal, Gawande, a practicing surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and a professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Harvard, explores aging, death, and medical practice. The title of this nonfiction sounds depressing. Probably too heavy/gloomy subject to discuss in bookclub?! But it is “must read for anyone who may face death. That is everyone.” Here are some review/comments about this book, that I agree with:

“American medicine, Being Mortal reminds us, has prepared itself for life but not for death. This is Atul Gawande’s most powerful–and moving–book.” ―Malcolm Gladwell

“Beautifully crafted . . . Being Mortal is a clear-eyed, informative exploration of what growing old means in the 21st century . . . a book I cannot recommend highly enough. This should be mandatory reading for every American. . . . it provides a useful roadmap of what we can and should be doing to make the last years of life meaningful.” ―Time.com

“Masterful . . . Essential . . . For more than a decade, Atul Gawande has explored the fault lines of medicine . . . combining his years of experience as a surgeon with his gift for fluid, seemingly effortless storytelling . . . In Being Mortal, he turns his attention to his most important subject yet.” ―Chicago Tribune

“Beautifully written . . . In his newest and best book, Gawande . . . has provided us with a moving and clear-eyed look at aging and death in our society, and at the harms we do in turning it into a medical problem, rather than a human one.” ―The New York Review of Books

“Atul Gawande’s wise and courageous book raises the questions that none of us wants to think about . . . Remarkable.” ―John Carey, The Sunday Times (UK)

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March Read -“A Man Called Ove”

oveOur March Read will be “A Man Called Ove”. See below for the synopsis as well as other suggested reads from Carolyn:

A Man Called Ove- Fredrik Backman   (337pages)

In this bestselling and delightfully quirky debut novel from Sweden, a grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door. Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon, the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and In this bestselling and delightfully quirky debut novel from Sweden, a grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door. Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon, the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him the bitter neighbor from hell, but must Ove be bitter just because he doesn’t walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time? Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations. A feel-good story in the spirit of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, Fredrik Backman’s novel about the angry old man next door is a thoughtful and charming exploration of the profound impact one life has on countless others.

 

Other suggestions by Carolyn:

Arcadia- Lauren Groff (289pages)

“Timeless and vast… The raw beauty of Ms. Groff’s prose is one of the best things about Arcadia. But it is by no means this book’s only kind of splendor.” –Janet Maslin, The New York Times “Even the most incidental details vibrate with life Arcadia wends a harrowing path back to a fragile, lovely place you can believe in.” –Ron Charles, The Washington Post In the fields of western New York State in the 1970s, a few dozen idealists set out to live off the land, founding a commune centered on the grounds of a decaying mansion called Arcadia House. Arcadia follows this romantic utopian dream from its hopeful start through its heyday. Arcadia’s inhabitants include Handy, the charismatic leader; his wife, Astrid, a midwife; Abe, a master carpenter; Hannah, a baker and historian; and Abe and Hannah’s only child, Bit. While Arcadia rises and falls, Bit, too, ages and changes. He falls in love with Helle, Handy’s lovely, troubled daughter. And eventually he must face the world beyond Arcadia. In Arcadia, Groff displays her literary gifts to stunning effect. “Fascinating.” People (****)

 

The Boston Girl- Anita Diamant (336pgs)

 

New York Times bestseller! An unforgettable novel about a young Jewish woman growing up in Boston in the early twentieth century, told “with humor and optimism…through the eyes of an irresistible heroine” (People)—from the acclaimed author of The Red Tent. Anita Diamant’s “vivid, affectionate portrait of American womanhood” (Los Angeles Times), follows the life of one woman, Addie Baum, through a period of dramatic change. Addie is The Boston Girl, the spirited daughter of an immigrant Jewish family, born in 1900 to parents who were unprepared for America and its effect on their three daughters. Growing up in the North End of Boston, then a teeming multicultural neighborhood, Addie’s intelligence and curiosity take her to a world her parents can’t imagine—a world of short skirts, movies, celebrity culture, and new opportunities for women. Addie wants to finish high school and dreams of going to college. She wants a career and to find true love. From the one-room tenement apartment she shared with her parents and two sisters, to the library group for girls she joins at a neighborhood settlement house, to her first, disastrous love affair, to finding the love of her life, eighty-five-year-old Addie recounts her adventures with humor and compassion for the naïve girl she once was. Written with the same attention to historical detail and emotional resonance that made Diamant’s previous novels bestsellers, The Boston Girl is a moving portrait of one woman’s complicated life in twentieth century America, and a fascinating look at a generation of women finding their places in a changing world. “Diamant brings to life a piece of feminism’s forgotten history” (Good Housekeeping) in this “inspirational…page-turning portrait of immigrant life in the early twentieth century” (Booklist).

 

January 14, 2016 Meeting

Winter has finally arrived and Carolyn has planned a menu to warm our bones! She will be making Beef Burgundy and requests that someone bring a starch for sopping the delicious sauce (e.g. rice/noodles/couscous) as well as salad, starters and something sweet. And, oh, of course. Some wine.

Our book will be “Girl on the Train” and Bridget will lead our discussion. Please let us know if you can come and what you will bring.