May 2017 Read: Warmth of Other Suns

Kim Oh Brings us three great, and diverse choices for our May 2017 read:

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson This non-fiction is a great book to read, an extraordinary way to present not-so-pretty part of history of this great nation. A little lengthy at 640pp, but illuminates profound history we often overlook or wish to forget. A page turner for me. Here are some comments from Amazon.com.

From Bookmarks Magazine

In The Warmth of Other Suns Wilkerson has composed a masterpiece of narrative journalism on a subject vital to our national identity, as compelling as it is heartbreaking and hopeful. Critics, however, were less certain about whether Wilkerson has written a definitive history of the Great Migration. Several reviewers saw the book as an important corrective to previous scholarship on the Migration that too often grouped African Americans into a voiceless mass, that focused exclusively on the negative consequences of their move to Northern urban centers, and that often emphasized economic and sociological explanations at the expense of the personal. Other critics felt that Wilkerson could have taken advantage of more of this scholarship, even if it was sometimes flawed, and could have taken into account larger structural influences. But The Warmth of Other Suns is an impressive achievement–a fresh, rich look at an important chapter in American history.

 

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Ida Mae Brandon Gladney, a sharecropper’s wife, left Mississippi for Milwaukee in 1937, after her cousin was falsely accused of stealing a white man’s turkeys and was almost beaten to death. In 1945, George Swanson Starling, a citrus picker, fled Florida for Harlem after learning of the grove owners’ plans to give him a “necktie party” (a lynching). Robert Joseph Pershing Foster made his trek from Louisiana to California in 1953, embittered by “the absurdity that he was doing surgery for the United States Army and couldn’t operate in his own home town.” Anchored to these three stories is Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Wilkerson’s magnificent, extensively researched study of the “great migration,” the exodus of six million black Southerners out of the terror of Jim Crow to an “uncertain existence” in the North and Midwest. Wilkerson deftly incorporates sociological and historical studies into the novelistic narratives of Gladney, Starling, and Pershing settling in new lands, building anew, and often finding that they have not left racism behind. The drama, poignancy, and romance of a classic immigrant saga pervade this book, hold the reader in its grasp, and resonate long after the reading is done.

 

Kim’s other suggestions:

A Week in Winter November 29, 2016

by Maeve Binchy Relatively short (337p), sweet light read from great British story teller. Here are quotes from Amazon:

 

Stoneybridge is a small town on the west coast of Ireland where all the families know each other. When Chicky Starr decides to take an old, decaying mansion set high on the cliffs overlooking the windswept Atlantic Ocean and turn it into a restful place for a holiday by the sea, everyone thinks she is crazy. Helped by Rigger (a bad boy turned good who is handy around the house) and Orla, her niece (a whiz at business), Stone House is finally ready to welcome its first guests to the big warm kitchen, log fires, and understated elegant bedrooms. Laugh and cry with this unlikely group as they share their secrets and—maybe—even see some of their dreams come true. Full of Maeve’s trademark warmth and humor, once again, she embraces us with her grand storytelling.

 

Here’s to Us February 7, 2017

by Elin Hilderbrand (Author). Juicy stories, messy relatioships and fun summer beach read. 480p Here are quotes from Amazon.com.

 

An emotional, heartwarming story from New York Times bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand about a grieving family that finds solace where they least expect it.

 

Celebrity chef Deacon Thorpe has always been a force of nature with an insatiable appetite for life. But after that appetite contributes to Deacon’s shocking death in his favorite place on earth, a ramshackle Nantucket summer cottage, his (messy, complicated) family is reeling. Now Deacon’s three wives, his children, and his best friend gather on the island he loved to say farewell. The three very different women have long been bitter rivals, each wanting to claim the primary place in Deacon’s life and his heart. But as they slowly let go of the resentments they’ve held onto for years and remember the good times, secrets are revealed, confidences are shared, and improbable bonds are formed as this unlikely family says goodbye to the man who brought them all together, for better or worse–and the women he loved find new ways to love again.

April Read -Marriage of Opposites

June proposed the following 3 for our April read and the Marriage of Opposites won out!

Click here for a review of the book from NPR.

 

1. The Museum of Extraordinary Things- Alice Hoffman oppostes2. The Marriage
of Opposites- Alice Hoffman 3. Clementine- The Life of Mrs. Winston
Churchill- Sonia Purnell

March Read -Swing Time by Zadie Smith

swing-timeI just finished [listening to] this fabulous book and though it is a wee bit longer than our usual pick am sure you swing right through it. Here is quick snippet from Amazon:

Swing Time, by Zadie Smith: New York Times bestseller
Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction

An ambitious, exuberant new novel moving from North West London to West Africa, from the multi-award-winning author of White Teeth and On Beauty

Two brown girls dream of being dancers—but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, what constitutes a tribe, or makes a person truly free. It’s a close but complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly in their early twenties, never to be revisited, but never quite forgotten, either.

Tracey makes it to the chorus line but struggles with adult life, while her friend leaves the old neighborhood behind, traveling the world as an assistant to a famous singer, Aimee, observing close up how the one percent live.

But when Aimee develops grand philanthropic ambitions, the story moves from London to West Africa, where diaspora tourists travel back in time to find their roots, young men risk their lives to escape into a different future, the women dance just like Tracey—the same twists, the same shakes—and the origins of a profound inequality are not a matter of distant history, but a present dance to the music of time.

February Book Club Meeting -2nd Wednesday

We are switching things up for the shortest month of the year and meeting next Wednesday, February 8th at Carolyn’s House. She is making her fabulous Elegant Shrimp Casserole which will be served atop wild rice. Salad/Veggies/Apps/Wine and Dessert are all welcome! Please let us know if you can come by “leaving a comment” below. Note if you have trouble please email Caroline.

February Book Pick- The Life We Bury

life-we-buryCarolyn brought us three great suggestions for our Feb read and The Life We Bury rose to the top. See below for the synopsis as well as the other two almost reads.

 

1)“The Life We Bury”, Allen Eskens
The plot of The Life We Bury is something akin to a good Grisham-style thriller. Joe Talbert, a poor Minnesota University student with an autistic brother and alcoholic mother from hell, is assigned to do a biography on someone for his English class. To make the piece stand out, he chooses Carl Iverson, a man living the last days of his life in nursing home with pancreatic cancer after being imprisoned over thirty years for the rape and murder of a fourteen-year-old girl. Joe is skeptical about Carl’s claim of innocence, although the old man admits to have both “killed and murdered” in his life, but with the help of Virgil, Carl’s buddy from Vietnam, and his inquisitive neighbor, Lila, he uncovers truths that could both substantiate those claims and cause considerable danger for Joe and his friends.
In his debut, Eskens shows his skill as a storyteller. The pacing could be set to a metronome and the style is clean and accessible. He finds fresh takes on puzzle pieces for the story and knows when to present them.
More than anything, he gets us involved his characters, not just Joe and Carl, but those around him. He even brings life to the victim. He is unafraid to take time from the plot and look into the lives of his people, realizing they will be dealing with the messiness of their day to day and past  as well as mystery. It makes the reader truly care for them when those lives are threatened.
Allen Eskens is a perfect fit for Seventh Street. He writes a smart, fresh mainstream thriller that knows how to grab a reader. He also knows that character is key. Looks like they found another good one for us.
2)   Ordinary Grace     
From New York Times bestselling author William Kent Krueger comes a brilliant new novel about a young man, a small town, and murder in the summer of 1961.

New Bremen, Minnesota, 1961. The Twins were playing their debut season, ice-cold root beers were at the ready at Halderson’s Drug Store soda counter, and Hot Stuff comic books were a mainstay on every barbershop magazine rack. It was a time of innocence and hope for a country with a new, young president. But for thirteen-year-old Frank Drum it was a summer in which death assumed many forms.

When tragedy unexpectedly comes to call on his family, which includes his Methodist minister father, his passionate, artistic mother, Juilliard-bound older sister, and wise-beyond-his years kid brother, Frank finds himself thrust into an adult world full of secrets, lies, adultery, and betrayal.

On the surface, Ordinary Grace is the story of the murder of a beautiful young woman, a beloved daughter and sister. At heart, it’s the story of what that tragedy does to a boy, his family, and ultimately the fabric of the small town in which he lives. Told from Frank’s perspective forty years after that fateful summer, it is a moving account of a boy standing at the door of his young manhood, trying to understand a world that seems to be falling apart around him. It is an unforgettable novel about discovering the terrible price of wisdom and the enduring grace of God.

3) Everything I Never Told You
Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.

So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them into chaos. 

A profoundly moving story of family, secrets, and longing, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another.


January Meeting-Hillbilly Elegy

Looking forward to starting off 2017 with a book to provide some prospective on how we got here! I will be our host and serving up my best rendition of Appalachia -Grilled Venison and rice and peas. I would love folks to bring cornbread, salad, dessert and any other Appalachia appetizers they can think of.

We begin at 6:30 and Bonnie will lead our discussion.

January Pick-Hillbilly Elegy

hillbillyI apologize for the tardiness, but we have a page-turner for January so I hope you all have time to get a good, thought-provoking read in over the Christmas Holidays. Bonnie has brought us “Hillbilly Elegy” which is described as a “passionate and personal analysis as a culture in crises -that of white working class Americans”. This is sure to be good fodder for an engaging discussion.

Hillbilly Elegy; J.D. Vance; click here to read a review in the New York times.

 

Bonnies other suggestions also sound great:

Whitehead, Colson, The Underground Railroad, 2016.  (novel, received The National Book Award)
Beatty, Paul, The Sellout, 2016.  (novel, Man Booker Prize, National Book Critics Award, etc.)