Wednesday, March 15, 2017

MARCH 2017 BOOKERS MINUTES & MUSINGS, The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg

 “That blouse was cut so low you could see her breakfast.” A Southernism

16 “blue bloods” arrived at the Magee’s Saint Andrews “filling station” armed with books to donate to the Pinnacle Club Lending Library and an assortment of luck of the Irish items for Jane Freer’s “green” project…delivered to her door, welcomed, and appreciated by her and Gary! Mission accomplished. The report earlier was Linda Hoff had a setback, but as of this writing, she is back home and doing much better. Bookers send well wishes and hopes she will be able to join us again soon. Many thanks to Bonnie Magee and Rosemary Farmer for setting the stage for this month’s selection…from the sign on the door to the bird feed and feeder to the model airplane, to Rosemary dressed in “filling station” attire!

Barbara Creach offered a summary of this quirky, wise, witty, warm-hearted novel that showed up “wearing a big smile and bright clothes” set in the historic little town of Point Clear, Alabama. The story opens just as fifty-nine year old Mrs. Sookie Poole has married off the last of her daughters in elaborate theme weddings and is looking forward to her golden years with her dentist husband, Earle. Her mother, Lenore nicknamed “Winged Victory,” was “terribly energetic and startlingly beautiful at age 88” lived two houses away and insisted Sookie embrace the traditions of every Southern lady, real pearls and a full set of silver – Francis the First, of course. Then the phone rings and a man says, “You are not who you think you are.” Sookie is not a “belle” after all…Lenore did not writhe in pain for forty-eight hours to give her life. She was adopted and a child of a Catholic Polish unwed mother with an unpronounceable last name.” Sookie’s search for answers leads us on a journey back to World War II where we learn of a little known piece of history about the WASP’s…Women Airforce Service Pilots who ferried military planes from their factory of origin to their point of departure for various fronts. The ending is full of discovery and acceptance with the characters receiving their fair share of “happiness bombs.” Many thanks to Barbara for an excellent review and discussion…the selection delivering as hoped, a mini-panacea designed to lift spirits.

The WASP’s story, not recognized officially for thirty-five years as their service records were sealed and classified, was of particular interest to our group as much like the “hidden figures” in our space program, these women paved the way for female roles on the largest of stages. We talked about the patriotism during World War II…everyone’s mindset was what do we need to do to win this war and get our men back home and the sacrifices every American made to facilitate that effort. Some suggested the difference beginning with Viet Nam and into today’s conflicts, is that the wars are not seen as “winnable” as often happens once we’ve sacrificed lives and leave the country, it reverts to “business as usual.” We offered some of our own “motherly wisdoms” to add to Lenore’s, “make sure your luggage matches,” like always wear clean underwear in case you get in an accident (did you ever think that if you were in an accident, those clean underwear might get soiled…just saying. Never ever wear white because it will make your butt look big…don’t ever rub your eyes…pearls and proper English will take you anywhere you want to go…sit up straight…if you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all…always check the lint trap in the dryer…don’t air your dirty laundry. The more we talked the more we remembered some of the things our ancestors used to say…like you “know you’re a blue blood.” Do you know why the Royals are referred to as blue blooded? Nor did I…here’s the scoop. Great Grandma put a silver dollar in the milk to keep it from spoiling as it sat on the back porch in the summertime. Silver is a powerful, natural antibiotic that has been used for thousands of years. Kings, emperors, sultans and their families ate from silver plates, drank from silver cups, used….drum roll…Francis the First (or a similar pattern,) and they stored their food in silver containers. Silver slightly rubbed off and mixed in with their food…the Royals’ skin had a blue tint due to the accumulation of minute traces of pure metallic silver….history lesson over. We did discover that no matter whether you grew up north or south of the Mason-Dixon Line, etiquette, good manners, and family tradition carries you a long way in life.

On the Business side
The Shack, William P., Young’s debut novelBookers’ book, November 2008, is now a movie. It’s a wonderfully written and poignant book beginning with a man in the depths of “the great sadness”…a broken believer struggling to bury the burden of guilt after his youngest daughter is kidnapped and presumed murdered. Keep up with the author at

We asked anyone with a copy of Left Neglected to donate their copy to MN to assist her brother in his seminar on the subject. She would make a donation to the PWC as reimbursement. Bonnie reminded us we supplied Diane Ewing with this book as she struggled with similar symptoms from her illness. However, if you have a copy, I’ll make sure MN gets it.
We threw out the idea of dedicating next year Bookers’ (if I’m invited to return to the helm by the new PWC President) to a theme, memoirs, non-fiction, historical fiction, mysteries, bestsellers…the consensus…variety wins again!

The books for the Pinnacle Club Lending Library will be delivered upon completion of the downstairs construction. They are stored at Bonnie Magee’s home for now. Daryl suggested asking Dee Dee to include a notice in the newsletter about the library, as most residents don’t know about its existence.
Janet Noblitt recommended Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance. It’s a memoir written by a former marine and Yale Law School graduate…a powerful account of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town. It’s a personal analysis of a culture in crisis – that of white working-class Americans. He tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck.
Others you might enjoy reading are as follows:
The Tennis Partner, memoir by Dr. Abraham Verghese, the author of Cutting for Stone. With his marriage unraveling, he relocates to El Paso where he meets a medical student recovering from drug addiction and the two men begin a tennis ritual that allows them to shed their inhibitions and find security in the sport they love and with each other.
Tribe by Sebastian Junger (only 192 pages).Decades before the American Revolution, Benjamin Franklin lamented that English settlers were constantly fleeing over to the Indians-but Indians almost never did the same. Tribal society has been exerting an almost gravitational pull on Westerners for hundreds of years, and the reason lies deep in our evolutionary past as a communal species. The most recent example of that attraction is combat veterans who come home to find themselves missing the incredibly intimate bonds of platoon life. The loss of closeness that comes at the end of deployment may explain the high rates of post-traumatic stress disorder suffered by military veterans today. Combining history, psychology, and anthropology, Tribe explores what we can learn from tribal societies about loyalty, belonging, and the eternal human quest for meaning.
Lincoln in the Bardo, George Saunders new novel, a moving and original father-son story featuring Abraham Lincoln, as well as an unforgettable cast of supporting characters, living and dead, historical and invented. February 1862. The Civil War is less than one year old. The fighting has begun in earnest, and the nation has begun to realize it is in for a long, bloody struggle. Meanwhile, President Lincoln’s beloved eleven-year-old son, Willie, lies upstairs in the White House, gravely ill. In a matter of days, despite predictions of a recovery, Willie dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery. “My poor boy, he was too good for this earth,” the President says at the time. “God has called him home.” Newspapers report that a grief-stricken Lincoln returns, alone, to the crypt several times to hold his boy’s body. The negatives I’ve heard are that it is confusing and written in very unconventional style.

Possible Summer Reads:
We are considering American’s First Daughter by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie as our summer read. (600 pages). It’s an historical fiction telling of Thomas Jefferson’s eldest daughter, Martha “Patsy” Jefferson Randolph, the woman who kept the secrets of our most enigmatic founding father. She became the “first lady” when her mother died and at fifteen learned about her father’s troubling liaison with Sally Hemings, a slave girl her own age.
Beartown, by Fredrik Backman, bestselling author of A Man Called Ove returns with a dazzling, profound novel about a small town with a big dream—and the price required to make it come true. People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest is slowly losing ground to the ever-encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded this town. And in that ice rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semi-finals, and they actually have a chance at winning. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys. Set to release April 25th.

Elizabeth Strout’s latest, Anything Is Possible is set to release April 25th. It’s written in the same vein as Olive Kitteridge, a series of linked short stories exploring the whole range of human emotion through the intimate dramas of people struggling to understand themselves and others. She’s taken the characters from My Name Is Lucy Barton, featuring the return of Lucy to her hometown after a seventeen-year absence.

FYI, we had talked about Life in a Box being our summer read. Unfortunately, its status is a bit dicey right now, as my publisher has been hospitalized. The book is in her hands for “final” edits. I’m hopeful the release date will still be May, but I’m not certain so looking at a backup plan for summer reading. Thanks for caring!!!! In the meantime, I’ve set up a website with some information on the book, the characters, motivations, etc…check it out and let me know what you think:

                                     COLOR CODING SYSTEM
                                     WHITE:         LIGHT READ
                                     PINK:             MODERATELY CHALLENGING
                                     RED:              CHALLENGING
April 11th:                              The Girl Who Wrote In Silk, by Kelli Estes, debut
                                                The protagonist discovers an elaborately stitched piece of fabric hidden in her deceased aunt’s island estate revealing a connection with a young Chinese girl mysteriously driven from her home a century before.
Reviewer: Pat Faherty
                                                Home of Rokhshie Malone
May 2nd                                  Earlier date due to travel conflict
                                                Orphan # 8 by Kim van Alkemade
                                                Reviewer: Patty Evans
                                                Wine & Cheese evening meeting, 6:00 p.m.
Home of Melanie Prebis.
                                                Bonnie Magee, Food Czar

Summer Read:                        To be determined

                                                   “Don’t let anyone put dill in your pickle!”
Happy Reading,


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