“After nourishment, shelter and companionship,
stories are the thing we need most in the world.” ― Philip Pullman
I love my book groups. At this one, I sort of facilitate…you know, keep the discussion rolling, but frankly any of the members could do it. We are a very compatible bunch. We all love books and reading and we make sure everyone gets a chance to talk about the books they brought. I, unfortunately, had an unexpected trip to Urgent Care with my Mom this past month so there was no way I was going to get to the meeting. I quickly contacted a few people, asked them to keep a list of the books discussed and said I’d try to get there if I was able to get away in time. No such luck. Later, I felt sad. I discovered that I really really missed being there. When I saw Philip Pullman’s quote (above), I knew it was the one for this post. I need the stories and I needed the companionship of my fellow readers.
The other Jeanne kept the list and dropped it off the following Saturday, saying, “I wonder if you can guess who read which book?” Yikes! Quite a challenge. First of all I didn’t know who attended and who didn’t. We also have a few new people. I haven’t quite gotten a handle on their reading patterns yet. To be honest, we have some long time members who are pretty eclectic readers, so they are a challenge as well. At this week’s meeting, I am going to make my guesses. I will add a note later to this post with the results. (See note at end, added 12/10/15). In the meantime, here are the books.
1. The Innocent Killer: A True Story of a Wrongful Conviction and its Astonishing Aftermath by Michael Griesbach (2014) 283p. An in-depth look at a very important case in Wisconsin criminal law. It is the story of violent crimes against women, police investigations and the vital importance of evidence.
2. The Lost Continent: Travels in Small Town America by Bill Bryson (1989) 299p. The author travels 14,00 miles through America visiting a variety of small towns. Remember this was the America of over 25 years ago.
3. And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini (2013) 404p. A far-reaching novel, Hosseini explores the ways families nurture, wound, betray, honor and sacrifice for each other and how we are often surprised by the actions of those closest to us.
4. Winter Stroll by Elin Hilderbrand ((2015) 272p. 2nd in a trilogy, following Winter Street, and it is another Christmas on Nantucket. In this one, Kelley Quinn, owner of the Winter Street Inn, reflects on the past year as he writes a holiday letter to friends and family.
5. West of Sunset by Stewart O’Nan (2015) 304p. A compelling but also heartbreaking novel of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s last years in Hollywood.
6. Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith (2015) 489p. The is the third in the Cormoran Strike mysteries written under a pseudonym of J.K. Rowling. It starts off with a bang when a mysterious package containing a woman’s severed leg is delivered to Robin Ellacott (Strike’s partner). Then it is just an exciting ride to the finish.
7. The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom (2012) 224p. “In this fable, the first man on earth to count the hours becomes Father Time.” –Goodreads
8. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (2004) 371p. Our second novel by this author. This one, his debut novel, is set in Afghanistan and is the story of an unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant. Was made into a feature film.
9. Mamista by Len Deighton (1991) 410 pages. As a group of Marxist revolutionaries in Spanish Guiana prepare to unseat their country’s leader, a group of high-powered men in Washington prepare to keep the current government intact and capitalize on the small country’s newfound oil.
10. The Pearl that Broke its Shell by Nadia Hashini (2014) 464p. Set in Kabul, 2007, Rahima and her sisters, with no brothers or strong father, can only sporadically attend school, and can rarely leave the house. Their only hope is an ancient custom, which allows young Rahima to dress and be treated as a boy until she is of marriageable age. As a son, she can attend school, go to the market, and chaperone her older sisters. But this is a story of two women because a century earlier, her great-aunt, Shekiba, lived her life the same way.
11. The Tears of Dark Water by Corban Addison (2015) 464p. This is the story of a Somali pirate hijacking gone bad despite the best efforts of Paul, the best hostage negotiator the FBI has. It tries to explain the reasons behind such acts of piracy without excusing them. Though this is fiction the author uses real incidents to tell his tale.
12. The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty (2012) 384p. In 1922, only a few years before becoming a famous silent-film star, a fifteen-year-old Louise Brooks leaves Wichita, Kansas, to study with the prestigious Denishawn School of Dancing in New York. Much to her annoyance, her parents insist she be accompanied by Cora Carlisle, a thirty-six-year-old chaperone, who is neither mother nor friend. Five weeks in the big city together will change both of their lives.
13. The Bavarian Nurseries by Hector Tobar (2011) 432p. Tobar, the author of Deep Down Dark, uses his fiction to take a look at life in Southern California. He centers the story around the well-to-do household of Scott Torres and Maureen Torres-Thompson and their over-worked cook/housekeeper, Araceli. Araceli happens to be an educated woman from Mexico City but because of her illegal status can only find work as a domestic.
Note: Checked in with the group today. I got 7 of the 13 correct. Not too shabby!!