(The links to the books mentioned below are listed at the end of this post.)
An amazing aura, bordering on a phenomenon, hovered eerily over 106 Winward, the home of Melanie Prebis, as 31 Bookers gathered for the 4th Annual Wine & Cheese evening meeting to celebrate and toast another successful year of Bookers. Unbeknownst to those in attendance, a case study suggesting the amount of wine one consumes is directly proportional to a little-known condition known as Arm Restrictive Syndrome, or ARS, was being tested. Those suffering from this are prevented from raising the arm in response to the question…Do we have any volunteers? Miraculously, we can now confirm that when the body is exposed to the right dosage of alcohol, the arm freely and enthusiastically detaches from the side and can be held high over one’s head without pain! Glory be…who knew!
Thanks to freedom from ARS, we were able to fill next year’s calendar with host homes and book reviewers and (seriously) we thank each of you for answering the call. Our 8th year of Bookers will begin in September on an “organized” note. We appreciate your support and these results almost guarantee the 5th Annual Wine and Cheese Meeting a lock! The following members have agreed to review books selected for the upcoming year:
Melba Holt, Janet Noblitt, Jean Alexander, Charlotte Pechacek, Jane Freer, Beverly Dossett, Linsey Garwacki (with a group), Patsy Dehn with Colleen Hinckley & Marsha Smith, and Melanie Prebis. MN & I will review the April 2012 selection.
On the Business Side:
Thanks to Kay Robinson for bringing to our attention the book signing of local artist, Abby Rike, who has written her memoir, Working It Out, detailing the tragic loss of her husband and two children in a car crash and her climb out of that darkness with the help of family, friends, and faith. She was a contestant on The Biggest Loser, and through the process of physical and emotional change, was able to gain inner strength, hope, and wisdom. She will be signing this book (books available at the event) at 5:00 PM at Mabank High School, May 20th. Beverly Dossett and Jane Freer are coordinating the “caravan” from Pinnacle. Please contact either Beverly or Jane for more details. We hope the Pinnacle Women’s Club and Bookers will support this remarkable young lady.
Ann Hays’ Dallas book club, Literary Lions, provided us a list of their choices for the upcoming year. There are 29 options, each with a summary, and you might find that special read to keep you happy and content during the summer months. The list is attached to this e-mail.
I have read a debut novel, A Thread of Sky, by Deanna Fei and fell in love with the lyrical writing. MN concurs but has only read a few pages so we are reluctant to recommend it for the group yet. The June 14th meeting will be held at the home of Bonnie Magee and co-hosted by Pam Davis. We are reading Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson, which was highly recommended by Gayle Robinson, MN & family and JoDee. Barbara Creach has volunteered to lead the review of this selection. We are on summer break until September 13th, which will begin our 8th year of Bookers.
The inaugural Sip-A-Lot & Share (I renamed it again) kicked off by choosing a colored balloon, a group sing-a-long of the “La-La-La” chorus from Whoppi Goldberg’s Sister Act, the busting of the balloons revealing an order number, and the identification of one’s personality based on what color balloon was chosen…blues are soft, soothing, compassionate and caring and are admired for their steady character and wisdom, but with somewhat inflexible beliefs…teals are poised and attractive, sensitive, intellectual and refined, if not rather detached and capable and often refuse help or guidance…greens symbolize hope, renewal and peace and are generally frank, community-minded, fairly sociable, but prefer peace at any price…pinks are symbols of love and affection without passion, maternal and desire protection wanting to appear delicate and fragile…purples are highly individual, fastidious, witty with a strong desire to be different and could become aloof and sarcastic if misunderstood and usually achieve positions of authority…you might have to use your imagination to figure out who chose what color if you weren’t there. Then we got down to the nitty-gritty of talking about the books we wanted to share:
Marsha & Boyd Smith: North River by Pete Hamill.
Native New Yorkers call the Hudson the North River. This book is set in “The City” during the Depression and is described as a heart-warming meat and potatoes love story,
New York style. “Sometimes you need a book where there is a happy ending.”
Kay Robinson: Seeds by Dr. Sasha Vukelja. A non-fiction book written by a well-
respected oncologist in Tyler detailing a mother-daughter journey from
Yugoslavia to the United States. Letters of a Woman Homesteader by Elinore
Pruitt Stewart published in letter form beginning in 1909 when the author claimed
a homestead of 160 acres in Wyoming.
Patsy Dehn: Stigma, a debut thriller by Dr. Philip Hawley about a troubled doctor who
gets caught up in a global conspiracy after a mysteriously afflicted four-year-old
Guatemalan boy dies on his watch.
Donna Walter: Decision Points by George W. Bush and Spoken From the Heart by
Pam Davis: Anything Danielle Steele, her new release is 44 Charles Street
Bernie Crudden: Ladder of Years by Anne Tyler about a 40-year-old wife and mother
feeling unappreciated, unnoticed, and unnecessary who walks away from her
“normal” life and starts over in a new town.
Daryl Daniels: Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson, a non-fiction book about
building schools for the children of Pakistan. His “facts” and “charitable
contributions” are now the center of an investigation, which is a shame as this
book is a lesson in how a real field of dreams comes into being, thus putting a
noble goal in jeopardy.
Janet Noblitt: Split Second by David Baldacci details two Presidential secret service
Charlotte Pechacek: First Family by David Baldacci about a birthday party held at
Camp David ending with a daring kidnapping and immediately turning into a
national security nightmare.
MN: The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery was first published in 1943,
narrated by a downed pilot in the Sahara Desert frantically trying to repair his
wrecked plane. This is a fable of love and loneliness…a timeless lesson of what
is really important. A Painted House by John Grisham (with Stanky family ties)
is not your typical Grisham suspense novel venturing into true-blue literary
fiction. Narrated by a seven-year-old boy growing up in a farming community in
Arkansas in 1952. The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher is a family saga set
in World War II with rich layers of description and engagingly flawed characters.
A Week in Winter by Marcia Willett (“the new Rosamunde Pilcher”) sets you in an English countryside chocked full of characters with an old family farmhouse at the center of the story.
Beverly Dossett: David Copperfield by Charles Dickens, I Feel Bad About My Neck by
Nora Ephron who wrote the screenplays for When Harry Met Sally & Sleepless in
Seattle, tells us the honest truth… that it is sad to be over 60. This is detailed in
15 essays covering only 160 pages and is a thoughtful concession to pre and post-
menopausal women. Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand, a historical non-fiction that
incorporates the horse’s racing career into the context of the era…a true escape
for those who were suffering from the depths of the Great Depression. The Killer
Angels by Michael Shaara, a historical Civil War novel of the Battle of
Bonnie Magee: The Jack Reacher series by Lee Child. Reacher is an ex-military
cop…the perfect anti-hero – tough as nails but with a brain and conscience to
match. The series is described as “pure escapist gold.”
Jane Freer: Caleb’s Crossing by Pulitzer Prize winner, Geraldine Brooks, is narrated by
a minister’s daughter who secretly befriends the son of a young American Indian
chieftain. Set in the tiny settlement of Martha’s Vineyard it follows the
educational process and “crossing of cultures” as Caleb becomes the first and only
American Indian to graduate from Harvard.
Cherry Fugitt & Family: The Idiot Girls’ Action-Adventure Club by Laurie Notaro is a
collection of columns detailing the author’s daring exploits and comical mishaps
as she matures from a wild teenager to a disheveled adult…these are “true tales
from a magnificent and clumsy life”…a laugh-out-loud fun read.
Lee Durso, Alison Crawford, Beverly Dossett, Jane Freer, Melanie Prebis, Jean
McSpadden (by earlier vote): Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese is a
wonderful story set in India about conjoined twin boys born to a nursing nun who
dies in childbirth and the presumed father, Thomas Stone, disappears into the
night. I was “medically challenged” as the story, for me, bogged down
with the detail, but again, it is an incredible tale, will make a wonderful movie,
and is “loved” by so many of our Bookers, it has been selected for our March
book and will be reviewed by Lee Durso.
Linsey Garwacki: Spoken From The Heart by Laura Bush, and from husband, Steve,
“Sail” by James Patterson. This is an epic tale of the Dunne family who find
themselves trapped in paradise fighting for their lives.
Madelyn Chubb: The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly. The movie version stars
Matthew McConaughey as Mickey Haller, a criminal defense attorney who operates out of the backseat of his Lincoln Town Car…for him it is not a question of guilt or innocence…it’s about negotiation and manipulation…and sometimes even justice. Andersonville by MacKinley Kantor won the 1955 Pulitzer Prize for this story about the infamous Civil War prison in which tens of thousands of Northerners were inhumanely confined under obscene conditions.
Rosemary Farmer: Minding Frankie by Maeve Binchy is like settling in for a cozy chat
with an old friend…this time set in a snug Dublin neighborhood when a young
alcoholic learns he has fathered a child with a dying woman and must assume the
role of father, protector, and provider to his infant daughter.
Sandy Molander: Authors, Harlan Coben, Michael Connally and Robert Crais
Colleen Hinckley: The Earth Children’s Series by Jean M. Aul, the first written 30
years ago and the 6th and final book in the series, The Land of Painted Cave
concludes the journey of 19 year old heroine, Ayla.
Melba Holt: The Magdalene Line series, The Expected One, Book of Love, and The
Poet Prince by Kathleen McGowan, a fictional account whereby the author
attempts to prove Christ was married to Mary Magdalen.
As the evening wound down, we all made it home without incident and no one wrecked havoc with the outside of Melanie’s house. And she has volunteered again for next year’s “meeting”… yikes!
Thanks to all the hot air and nimble fingers responsible for the balloon blowing on our patio…we couldn’t have burst them without you…and No, Gene Robinson, we are never going to grow up!
JoDeeWorking It Out
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
A Thread of Sky
Seeds: A Memoir
Letters of a Woman Homesteader
Stigma by Philip Hawley
Spoken From The Heart
44 Charles Street
Ladder of Years
Three Cups of Tea
The Little Prince
A Painted House
The Shell Seekers
A Week In Winter
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
I Feel Bad About My Neck
The Killer Angels
The Jack Reacher series
The Idiot Girls' Action-Adventure Club
Cutting For Stone
The Lincoln Lawyer
The Earth Children's Series
The Expected One
Magdalene Series Book of Love
The Poet Prince