Thursday, October 5, 2017

OCTOBER 2017 BOOKERS MINUTES & MUSINGS, Beartown by Fredrik Backman

          Bang, Bang, Bang
14 Bookers sloshed their way to the home of Ann Ireland for this month’s meeting, scheduled a week early due to the upcoming PWC garage sale. In light of all the personal health issues facing many in our community, our neighbors to the south and east coping after hurricanes tossed their lives into uncertainty, and the mass tragedies in Las Vegas dominating our airways, we need something uplifting to focus on. Life is made of moments and as country singer, George Strait, crooned… “life’s not the breaths you take…but the moments that take your breath away.” Consider a three-year old on the autism spectrum who has never spoken a sentence suddenly saying, “I want apples.” The simplicity and innocence of this moment that takes your breath away offers a ray of sunshine for the world we live in. Thank you Harper Stanky!
Pat Faherty led the review of this month’s selection, and in typical fashion, she offered a short synopsis of the book relying on audience participation to get to the crux of the novel. We did not disappoint. New Bookers’ member, Pat Reid, commented afterwards how comfortable everyone was sharing thoughts and personal stories as they related to the book. That’s a feather in our hats Bookers! Pat pointed out the strength of the women characters in Beartown…Ramona (her favorite)…tough as nails, Kira…never trust someone who doesn’t have something in their lives that they love beyond all reason…Maya…the fortitude of a victim of a violent crime not letting that define her… Fatima, who instilled in her son the basics of always being honest and kind whose teachings were evident at the end of the book, and Benji’s sisters…with their unending love for their brother.
The banner, Community, Values, Culture, featured inside the hockey arena was the theme of the novel. Community meant everyone working toward the same goal and accepting their respective roles in order to reach them. Values stood for trust and love for each other. Culture was as much about what they encouraged as what they would permit. The statement heard so many times in sport is…it’s only a game, but this story proves differently. “It allocates power and draws boundaries turning some people into stars and others into spectators.” A sports club in a small town means that once a week they can celebrate all the things they have in common rather than what divides them. With their economy tanking, factories shuttering, and hopelessness dominating the landscape, small towns need something to cheer for so they pinned their hopes on the young who don’t remember that things used to be better. The days of working hard, and taking what is thrown your way without complaining had run out of steam.
Hockey is the metaphor Backman uses to explore human nature. “The world becomes easier to understand and less terrifying if you divide everything and everyone into friends and enemies, good and evil.” Human nature choses sides, seeks out facts, and then dehumanizes the enemy…human nature asks us who would you choose if you had to save someone from danger…family is the answer. With their backs against the wall, the well-defined characters, both flawed and heroic, followed their instincts, and the town turned upon itself when “their” dreams were in jeopardy…getting caught up in the dynamics of the he said/she said debate in the name of ice hockey.
The novel highlights the good, bad, and ugly side of not only youth sports but what the newspapers are full of in today’s spotlight…coddled athletes void of a moral compass where entitlement comes automatically with athletic ability. Any team sport teaches loyalty, responsibility, commitment, discipline, and rules and is capable of forming seemingly unbreakable bonds between like minds…your teammates will never abandon you. On the edge of that are the parents who hang their hopes and that of the town on the backs of “children.” In this small town, the mentality was they need to win at something because they have the “bear in them.” Their mascot, the brown bear, is the largest land-based predator on earth. It is not a coincidence the author picked Beartown as a “bear” personality is a combination of gruff and powerful and sensitive and intelligent. They have a natural confidence and swagger, the tension level rising when they enter a room and they are successful through the sheer force of their personalities. They have a debate mentality of never avoiding an argument and never backing down. We hope those of you who have not read or finished this book will look at it in a different light. It’s not a book about ice hockey. Thanks to everyone who contributed to the discussion!
             On the business side
As you remember, we had extra funds from our bookcase project and we’ve found a way to put them to good use. Cherry and Jane Freer had an unbreakable bond and one of the things they shared was Cherry’s love of anything Halloween, especially pumpkins. An angel holding a pumpkin will adorn the Freer’s front porch and if you would like to add a pumpkin of your own,  please do so with Gary’s blessing.
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman is being made into a movie starring Tom Hanks as Ove. Well cast!
RED:              CHALLENGING
November 14                         Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
Based on a true-life scandal, Memphis, Tennessee, 1939 about a family who lives on a shanty boat in the Mississippi River.
                                                Host home: Chris Batt
                                                Reviewer: Melanie Prebis
December 12                          The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon
Set in England in 1976, quirky, charming coming of age story of two ten year old girls
We are returning to our regular 10 a.m. time although we will be reducing and streamlining our menu. Bonnie Magee will be our food czar again for our holiday party.
                                                Host home: Beverly Dossett
                                                Reviewer: TBD
January 9, 2018                     Beneath A Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan
Based on a true story of a forgotten hero, an Italian teenager during World War II…soon to be a motion picture.
                                                Home of Daryl Daniels
                                                Reviewer: Patty Evans
February 13                           The Mourning Parade by Dawn Reno Langley
The mother of two sons killed in a school shooting leaves her successful veterinary practice to volunteer in an elephant sanctuary in Thailand.
                                                LIGHT RED
                                                Home of Bonnie Magee
Reviewer: Jean Alexander
March 13                                Possible: The Rainwater Secret by Monica Shaw – stay tuned
Debut historical fiction by Dallas author based on the life of her great aunt about a missionary woman in Africa to teach leper children.
Home of Patty Evans
                                                Reviewer: TBD
April 10                                  Book: TBD
                                                Home of Sandy Molander
                                                Reviewer: TBD
May 15                                   Change of date due to travel plans
                                                Book: TBD
                                                Host Home: Donna Walter
                                                Reviewer: TBD
“You can’t look a gravestone in the eye and ask its forgiveness.” It’s never too late to soothe the soul.
Happy Reading,                     

1 comment:

  1. I love that you'll be reading my book in February! If you'd like to have a Skype discussion with me afterward, let me know. Cheers, Dawn