“In the dime stores and bus stations/ People talk of situations/ Read books, repeat quotations/ Draw conclusions on the wall”
— Bob Dylan
Well if I thought last month was sparse, member-wise, this month was even thinner. A few more birds flew south to escape the winter deep freeze. We did have a new person but not really. Let me explain. When I arrived there was a man standing at the table presumably asking about the group. This is not unusual, we get interested people and we welcome any and all who are readers who want to share their books. I went to get coffee and upon my return, discovered that he decided to join us. He had a book in hand so I figured he came prepared. After introductions were made, he was Jack, Bea did the author talk about John Irving. The roundtable was next and I elected to go counterclockwise to save Jack from being the first to speak. I didn’t want to put him on the spot. After our third member had shared her book, another man arrived and tapped Jack on the shoulder. This was Jack’s ride and it was time to go. I told Jack I was sorry we hadn’t gotten to him and did he quickly want to talk about his book?
Now here’s the weird part, he didn’t want to talk about his book but instead told us a tale ‘about being outside the Two Rivers Bus Station in December and meeting a woman who needed a place to stay and she was a looker, and came home with him and is still there and how cool a woman like that would be interested in him….’ and then he left. We all looked at each other with that ‘Huh?’ look on our faces. Ellie, who had been sitting next to him, said he smelled like he had drunk a six-pack for breakfast. I bet John Irving could turn that experience into an interesting novel.
Oh well, on to our books. Only six this month since Jack wouldn’t share his.
1. In One Person by John Irving (2011) 425 pages. John Irving was the author of the month and Bea presented his body of work but I decoded to feature this one since it is his most recent. It is the story of Bill, a bisexual, who as an older man looks back at his life, his relationships, his upbringing in order to analyze how he came to be who he is. (I just loved the cover.)
2. Killing Patton: The Strange Death of World War II’s Most Audacious General
by Bill O’Reilly (2014) 304 pages. This continues O’Reilly’s “series” of books preceded by Killing Lincoln, Killing Kennedy and Killing Jesus. Patton died in a mysterious car accident. This book takes you through the final years of the war and relates the suspicions and conspiracy theories surrounding Patton’s death. Our reviewer thought the book readable, interesting and well-researched.
3. Three Minutes in Poland: Discovering a Lost World in a 1938 Family Film by Glenn Kurtz (2014) 432 pages. Glenn Kurtz finds a homemade travel film made by his grandfather in 1938 that includes 3 minutes of film shot in the village of Nasielsk, Poland. These three minutes are the only known moving images of this town whose Jewish population of 3,000 was be reduced by the Holocaust to 100 people. Part of the author’s search to solve this mystery begins when a woman, viewing the 3 minute film in the Holocaust Museum, recognizes her grandfather as a thirteen year old boy.
4. The Lost City of Z: A Tale of deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann (2005) 351 pages. “Z” is supposed to be the long, lost city of some South American civilization. Think El Dorado. Many explorers in the early 20th C searched for it but none as earnestly as British Colonel Percy Fawcett. The author tells the story of Percy’s many travels into the jungle, where he ultimately disappears, as well as the author’s own trek to discover any evidence of Fawcett’s remains or of Z. Though fascinating, his book is not for the squeamish, because along with these trips comes malaria, yellow fever, swarms of blood-sucking insects, snakes, poisonous frogs and of course the inevitable thirst and near starvation. All described in vivid detail.
5. American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History by Chris Kyle (2011) 381 pages. This is the autobiography that was used as the basis for the current box-office smash film, American Sniper. “Gripping and
unforgettable, Kyle’s masterful account of his extraordinary battlefield experiences ranks as one of the great war memoirs of all time.” -Goodreads
6. Secret Wisdom of the Earth by Christopher Scotton (2015) 466 pages. Fourteen-year-old Kevin and his mother are sent to spend the summer with a beloved grandfather in eastern Kentucky after the death of his younger brother has left Mom traumatized. His dad frequently hints that Kevin is in some way responsible for the tragic accident. Luckily, his father heads back to Indiana, leaving Kevin to have the most unforgettable, summer of his life.