“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.” -Groucho Marx
You’ve arrived at the first post in my book series.
I belong to two book groups and two online book share sites (Slice and Goodreads). The “live” groups are very different from each other and that makes it easy to belong to two. One group is very traditional. All the members read the same book. We gather, we eat good food, we discuss the book. We are the Bookies.
The second group called “Whadda Ya Readin’?”got started when I still worked at the public library. It was considered an outreach tactic to make the library visible in the community so we met at a local coffeehouse. At that time I led the group and did all the prep but when I retired the library didn’t want to continue with this particular project. However the group wanted to continue and so we do. Back then I would give a short talk, usually presenting a book related topic or an author, and then we went around the table and each member shared what they were reading (a mini-book talk). In post retirement, the opening presentation is shared, but I still monitor the round table. If I can’t make it someone else stands in as leader. This is an enthusiastic group who read many books so a leader is definitely needed to move things along or we would be there for hours. Depending on how many attend (pick a number between 4 – 11) dictates how many books everyone gets to present. When I did it as part of my job I had to stick to an hour now we have more flexibility but we hardly ever go over 90 minutes.
Each month I will share the titles group number two brings to the table. This is an eclectic group who have a wide variety of backgrounds and life experiences. Right now we are nine women, one man, all retired, but anyone can join at anytime. The books we read range from light mysteries to multi-volume biographies. I’ll try to say a bit about each book but anything extensive will make this post go way too long. Hopefully you’ll see something you may like to research further.
Our last meeting was June 13. The author presented was Sandra Kring, a Wisconsin author who sets her books in Wisconsin and writes about families, love and relationships. Here are the books from the round table.
From left to right, top to bottom. Racism, prejudice and the time frame of WWII seemed to pop up alot. Seven novels, one book of essays, one book of nonfiction.
The Book of Bright Ideas by Sandra Kring (2006) Takes place in the summer of 1961, and with characters like Button, Winnalee, Freeda and Uncle Rudy, how can you go wrong? Our other Jeanne enjoyed this author’s work so much she’s working her way through all of her other books.
Fallen into the Pit: A Felse Mystery by Ellis Peters (1951) This author is best known for her Brother Cadfael mysteries set in the 12th century. She also writes historical fiction under her own name, Edith Pargeter. Since Anita has read all of those she is now starting the George Felse mysteries set in Britain right after WW II.
Wingshooters by Nina Revoyr (2011) A novel that takes on American racism. Set in the countryside of Central Wisconsin against the backdrop of Vietnam and the post-Civil Rights era. Winner of the Indie Bookseller’s Choice Award.
Glow by Jessica Maria Tuccelli (2012) This debut novel is, ” a tale of ghosts, slavery, racism and redemption”. For a group of people who only talk with each other once a month it’s amazing how our books end up on a theme.
Nothing to do But Stay by Carrie Young (1991) Eight essays on the hardships of pioneering in North Dakota in the early 20th century. The author details her mother’s experiences as a landowner, wife and mother.
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford (2009) A novel about the love and friendship of a Chinese boy and a Japanese girl during the Japanese internment in WWII. And yes, prejudice plays a part.
Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls (2013) by David Sedaris His latest collection of narrative essays, if you only read one let it be the one about getting a colonoscopy. Better yet listen to him read his own work on the audiobook.
When She Woke by Hilary Jordan (2011) A future imagined with The Scarlet Letter by Hawthorne in mind. Instead of wearing your shame and crime on your clothing in the form of an embroidered letter, you wear it on your skin. Your skin is literally turned red from an injection.
The Obituary Writer by Ann Hood (2013) The love affairs, the heartbreaks, of two very different women from two very different eras – post earthquake San Francisco and the early 60’s – and how their lives connect.
See you next month, we meet on the second Thursday.