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Tuesday, February 5, 2019

FEBRUARY 2019 BOOKERS MINUTES & MUSINGS, The Cottingley Secret, Hazel Gaynor



                       
 “Someday you’ll be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.” C.S. Lewis

19 Bookers met at the home of Beverly Dossett to discuss this month’s selection, led by Daryl Daniels in her solo debut. Evident was she has not lost any of her teacher preparation skills as we enjoyed a timeline, photographs, fairy wings and a magic wand. Very well done Daryl…thank you for your insights! From our lively discussion (which is what we want) some Bookers would have liked to use that magic wand to go poof to the fairies. One of the complaints was that the fairy segment of the story was too drawn out, preferring the contemporary timeline with Olivia in the “Old Bookstore” and of course “hunky” Ross, Hemingway the cat, and precious Iris. Kirkus Reviews however wanted more fairies, less Olivia. Cups of tea! Personally, I’m not sure if one story could exist without the other, the author creating a cast of characters so deeply intertwined with each other, it would be “magical” if either story successfully stood on its own merit…the fairy tale had been documented already so writing about it alone would not have made any headlines…and how would the present-day story hold a reader’s interest beyond the bookstore, and a budding love affair. Gaynor expertly connected the past and the present, blurring the line between what is real and what is imagined.

Hazel Gaynor’s melodious prose leaped off the pages so the reader was immersed in the setting and emotion of the story as in this example of her writing of the loss of Olivia’s grandfather, “The awful reality of his absence hit her, ripping through the shop like a brick through glass, sending broken memories of happier times skittering across the creaky floorboards to hide in dark grief-stricken corners.” Beautiful!

Although this is a true story, the question lingers why was it so believable not only to ordinary citizens of the British Isles, but to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle of Sherlock Holmes fame? We need only to look at the climate during the Great War to understand the desperation for something to hope for from those confined to the home front between 1914 and 1918. Fear, grief and sorrow dominated the family landscape as fathers left for distant battlefields while their children slept…300,000 never saw their Papas again and 160,000 wives were now widows. The government legislated unprecedented powers to intervene in people’s lives…overtaking any factory or workshop, imposing curfews and censorship, arresting anyone for “causing alarm” or discussing military matters in public. Pub hours were reduced, and beer watered down, suspicion of outsiders was high, and a woman suspected of having a venereal disease could be prosecuted and subjected to a gynecological exam for having sexual relations with a serviceman, even if he was her husband. The Daily Record summed it up by saying it was “not an uplifting spectacle to see this country descending to trivial and hysterical methods of vengeance.”  Children, vital to the war effort, often served as secret agents and pet dogs equipped with special tubes on their collars delivered messages from the British Secret Service. Pet pigeons flew long distances with news from the front lines. Goldfish even had a job – after gas attacks, the masks were washed and rinsed, and if the rinsing water killed a goldfish that was placed in it, that meant the masks still had poison on them.

Enter, two young girls, one camera, artistically drawn fairies and what started as an innocent prank sparked worldwide intrigue and a storm cloud over the heads of cousins, Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths residing in Cottingley, England. Suddenly, a war-ravaged nation had something to believe in and maybe the most important magic of all…finding parts of ourselves we thought lost forever and a way to believe in them. It was a time where people clung to anything hopeful – they wanted to believe in fairies and the spirit world…if fairies could visit from another realm, maybe their loved ones would too. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had a personal reason to believe in the good in the world, as he lost his son in the war and never reconciled with the fact that he himself might have caused his death and the death of others as he was involved in writing war propaganda. It was his desperation and his credibility that led the “fairy charge.”

The other part of the novel is a present-day storyline featuring an Irish woman, Olivia Kavanagh, reeling from the death of her beloved grandfather, inheriting his failing bookshop and a manuscript titled “Notes on a Fairy Tale.” Her personal life is in shambles – she’s engaged to a man she doesn’t love, hiding from him that she is infertile, and is dealing with her Nana in a nursing home suffering from Alzheimer’s.

“The things we feel cannot always be seen.” They are often warm and fuzzy images from our own childhoods we experience again with our own children and grandchildren…who can forget the magic and anticipation of a visit from Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, or the Tooth Fairy. 

                                                            On the business side:
We are happy to report Ann Ireland’s shoulder surgery went well and she is already out and about. Sheri Green’s appointment with the oncologist at MD Anderson went well and she will soon receive a chemotherapy “cocktail” in Dallas, designed to knock cancer to its knees. We all wish her well and as always, she and the family remain in our thoughts and prayers and a little dusting of fairy dust can’t hurt either.

Beverly Dossett, Katherine McDonald, Linda Thompson, Kittie Minnick, and Gayle Robinson have all committed to the Books in Bloom event on April 12th. Hopefully we can recruit 3 more to fill our Bookers’ table. If anyone has anything with a “camping” theme to please contact Beverly as they plan the d├ęcor for the table.

Our book selection committee (Pat Faherty, Katherine McDonald, and Melanie Prebis) have agreed to serve again next year and we are grateful for all they have done in the past year to give Bookers a variety of selections. They ask to please let them know if you’ve come across a book that you think should be a consideration…they are always open to your ideas!

As an added note for all fans of “exotic love stories” E.L. James of 50 Shades fame will be releasing The Mister on April 16. It’s described as a “modern fairy tale.” Wonder if it will include some type of magical powers or maybe a fairy or two….

COLOR CODING SYSTEM
WHITE:         LIGHT READ
PINK:             MODERATELY CHALLENGING
RED:              CHALLENGING
March 5:        Stormy Weather by Paulette Jiles – Note change of date
Set in East Texas during the depression, a story of hardship, sacrifice, and strength.
                        PINK
                        Discussion Leader: Ann Ireland
                        Home of Jean Alexander
April 9:          Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen, Sarah Bird
A forgotten part of history detailing the hidden story of Cathy Williams, a former slave and the only woman to ever serve with the legendary Buffalo Soldiers.
PINKISH RED
Discussion Leader: TBD
                        Home of Aulsine DeLoach
May 14:          Where the Crawdads Sing, Delia Owens
Set in the 1950’s in very rural North Carolina revolving around a young woman named Kya Clark – celebrating strength through tragedy and the resourcefulness of a child left to fend for herself in the swamp.
PINK
Discussion Leader: Jean Alexander
                        Evening Wine & Cheese Meeting at the home of Melanie Prebis    
Summer Read: The Pillars of the Earth, Ken Follett

“Stories choose the right readers at the right time.”
Happy Reading,
JoDee


Thursday, January 10, 2019

JANUARY 2019 BOOKERS MINUTES & MUSINGS, The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah


  “No one saves us but ourselves. No one can, and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.” Buddha

21 Bookers met at the home of Daryl Daniels to discuss Kristin Hannah’s latest novel, recently voted as Goodreads Best Historical Fiction winner with Patty Evans leading the discussion, offering insight into why this selection was not high on her list of favorites. The majority of the group read and enjoyed the novel, but Patty felt it was disjointed – two books inside the cover of one…a travel book offering a spectacular view of Alaska while the other focused on a disturbing look at a family in crisis. She felt the character development lacked depth, with some stereotypical profiles, with parts in need of tighter editing to eliminate repetition. The author’s insertion of her “head” into the narrative with parenthesis like, “Leni got out of the plane carefully (nothing was more dangerous up here than getting wet in the winter.)” (My pet peeve also– this is me inserting my “head” into this commentary.) By Patty relaying her honest opinion of the novel, we learn how to positively report on literature that might not be “our cup of tea” and the role of constructive criticism in the review process. And on a side note, we couldn’t recall the literary device the author used in the beginning of the book, a quote by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, “Nature never deceives us; it is always we who deceive ourselves.” It is an epigraph, often used as a preface or a hint as to the underlying premise of the book…encouraging the reader to remember the words as they read. Thank you, Patty…well done!

Having said this, we had a lively discussion covering a variety of subjects – the Vietnam War, PTSD, Hannah’s textbook use of battered women’s syndrome, favorite characters, how secrets are kept both inside and outside the family dynamic, the turbulent world of America in the 1970’s with political unrest, kidnappings and plane hijackings fostering some to seek isolation as an answer to the issues, the lack of support for victims of physical and/or mental abuse, the Romeo-and-Juliet aspect of first love with the sweet, childlike innocence between Matthew and Leni, whether we saw Cora’s explosive act of protection coming when she killed Ernt, Cora’s confessional being the only thing she could give her daughter that would change her life, and Leni’s naivety being coerced into revealing her role in the crime, whether or not we would consider Cora a “good” mother, and Large Marge saying to Leni, “Your mother was a kite string. Without her strong, steady hold on you, you might just float away, be somewhere among the clouds.” Part of the book was a mother-daughter love story…only this one with a broken spine. The ending of the novel put a smile on your face as we saw a life completed, hope after all the endured pain, a family united and a young boy learning of strength and the power of love from both his parents. It might have been predictable and somewhat Polly-anna, but who doesn’t need a reason to think good things can happen, even in the worst conditions.

The art of storytelling consists of a simple formula, you have a who, a what and a why not scenario as the protagonist who is the leading character making key decisions and experiencing the consequences of those decisions. Enter the antagonist whose job it is to prevent the protagonist from achieving the goals. The State of Alaska played both roles and to me was the most powerful character in the novel. Alaska was the who and the what dangling hope for a “new” beginning in front of the Allbright family. The why not…the starkness of an untamed wilderness with its frigid temperatures, isolation, sunlit and dark days represented the literal meaning of the title, but the metaphorical implications dwelled in the lives of Leni, Cora, and even Ernt – all alone inside their own family. They didn’t enjoy the grandeur of being alone – often referred to as solitude, only the pain of being alone. Alaska won on all fronts.
On the business side:

Sheri Green sent a lovely note of thanks to all who contributed to her “surprise tin” and sent big hugs our way for the cards, sweets, words of encouragement, and most importantly, prayers. Please continue to keep Sheri and her family in your thoughts as she seeks treatment at MD Anderson in Houston.

Bookers’ selection committee has been reading…and reading…and reading in search of a selection for us to spend the summer enjoying. They all agreed Markus Zusak’s latest novel, Bridge of Clay, although good, was hard to follow. We discussed Ken Follett’s, The Pillars of the Earth, which Bookers selected September 2009, and those who had previously read it commented they would like to read it again…so ta da…we have a weighty tome to keep us entertained during our break. Thanks to Pat, Katherine, and Melanie for all they’ve done for us!!

Our relocated Bookers’ friend and thespian, Bernie Crudden, reported loving their new life in “the city” and their residences have three book clubs…one of which is “Bookers-like.” She highly recommends Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman, as they had a very lively and interesting discussion about the book. Donna Walter thought Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty a very interesting and complex read. I’m into The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell by Robert Dugoni. The Dauphin Island book club read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon, and MN is reading True Places by Sonja Yoerg.

The annual fundraiser for the Clint W. Murchison Library in Athens, Books in Bloom, is scheduled for Friday, April 12, 2019 featuring author, Sarah Bird…our April Bookers’ author! Bookers has reserved a table of 8 ($50.00 per person) every year and we hope to be able to do so again this year although so many of us are on the PWC overnight trip to Austin during this time. Beverly Dossett and Katherine Maxwell-McDonald are spearheading the effort on behalf of the PWC and Bookers. Please connect with one of these ladies if you are interested in joining them.

We strive for consistency on the regular Bookers’ dates on the second Tuesday of the month, but sometimes life happens, and change is unavoidable. Many thanks to the reviewers and home hosts for adjusting our February and March meeting dates to a week earlier to accommodate my conflicts…I am honored and excited to be addressing the American Business Women’s Association in Corsicana on February 12th and the Cedar Creek Literary Club on March 12th. 

COLOR CODING SYSTEM
WHITE:         LIGHT READ
PINK:             MODERATELY CHALLENGING
RED:              CHALLENGING
February 5:     The Cottingley Secret by Hazel Gaynor – Note change of date
Set in 1917 England and based on a true story, two young cousins somehow convince the world that the magic exists.
                        PALE PINK
                        Discussion Leader: Daryl Daniels
                        Home of Beverly Dossett
March 5:         Stormy Weather by Paulette Jiles – Note change of date
Set in East Texas during the depression, a story of hardship, sacrifice, and strength.
                        PINK
                        Discussion Leader: Ann Ireland
                        Home of Jean Alexander
April 9:          Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen, Sarah Bird
A forgotten part of history detailing the hidden story of Cathy Williams, a former slave and the only woman to ever serve with the legendary Buffalo Soldiers.
PINKISH RED
Discussion Leader: TBD
                        Home of Aulsine DeLoach
May 14:           Where the Crawdads Sing, Delia Owens
Set in the 1950’s in very rural North Carolina revolving around a young woman named Kya Clark – celebrating strength through tragedy and the resourcefulness of a child left to fend for herself in the swamp.
PINK
Discussion Leader: Jean Alexander
                        Evening Wine & Cheese Meeting at the home of Melanie Prebis    
Summer Read: The Pillars of the Earth, Ken Follett   
Happy Reading,
JoDee

Thursday, December 13, 2018

DECEMBER 2018 BOOKERS MINUTES & MUSINGS, Mr. Dickens and His Carol, by Samantha Silva


           Aren’t we all angels in training…just waiting to spread our wings and fly?

25 Bookers joined together to celebrate the holidays at the home of Bonnie Magee in her dual role of hostess and food czar extraordinaire. Many thanks to her for coordinating our fare and to all those who brought yummy sustenance to soak up the spirits as we toasted the season of joy and good tidings. If there was a Bah Humbug among us a Mimosa took care of it.


As we’ve done in the past, our community rallies when one of our “own” needs to be lifted by the warmth of our caring arms. Sheri Green is participating in clinical trials and will undergo a CT scan on December 17 to evaluate the effectiveness of the treatment. On my front porch (315 St. Andrews Drive) is a “Boost Sheri Christmas Tin” and we are asking that you please add a note of encouragement; a poem; a quote; a prayer; or simply that you wanted her to know you are thinking of her…anything that might put a smile on her face. Also, if you prefer, email me and I’ll print out your message and include it in the tin, which will be placed on her front porch the morning of the 17th. Thank you for your compassion.

Everyone had either read Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” or had seen one of the movies or plays of this classic. He changed the way we see Christmas forever by featuring how the Ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future showed a crotchety old miser the error of his ways reminding Mr. Scrooge what it means to have love in his heart.

In her novel, Samantha Silva details how she imagined Charles Dickens came to write this timeless classic. Charles is not in the spirit of the season. His latest book is a flop, the critics have turned against him, and his relatives hound him for money while his wife is planning a lavish holiday party. He doesn’t have “sugar plums dancing in his head” …only visions of the poor house as his publishers try to blackmail him into writing a Christmas book to save them all from financial ruin, which he refuses. To make matters worse, he has lost his muse, his great palace of thinking, the city of London, has forsaken him, and he’s experiencing a serious bout with writer’s block.

Within the context of the novel not only did the author detail how she imagined Charles Dickens came to write “A Christmas Carol,” she shared the secret to storytelling and the challenges every author no matter their credentials face at some time or another…insecurities, writer’s block, self-worth dictated by reader loyalty, self-doubt coupled with criticism, especially from peers. A “shank” in golf and a “block” in writing have the same DNA as they saturate your subconscious with negativity. Victor Hugo increased his caffeine intake threefold and stripped naked instructing his staff not to return his clothes until he met his deadline. On the practice tee one day I saw the “shank” in person as my hubby, a pretty decent golfer in his own right, hit an entire bag of balls dead right. I innocently asked if he was doing this on purpose. His response was not G-rated. Both dilemmas require burying the words deeply hoping they never resurface.

Ms. Silva drew on the truths of Mr. Dickens’ life as his celebrity had faded, he was deeply in debt, his fifth child was on the way, and his publishers threatened to deduct monthly from his paycheck, which would have ruined him at the time. One of the great ironies of his creation of “A Christmas Carol” is that it was created and written in six weeks because of his financial situation, but the result was the clearest example of his vision of the world, not only at Christmas but for all time…we must be responsible for those who have less and generosity is the only antidote for our selfishness, greed, and miserliness. Interestingly, because he wanted it priced so people could afford to buy it, even offering to pay for it himself, he didn’t make money on this novel.

Rebecca Brisendine did an excellent job of leading the discussion of this month’s selection using Dickens’ reflections on his past, present, and future to compare with our own. In addressing the significance of the City of London to Dickens’ life and livelihood, we reflected on the influences of our own stomping grounds…are we products of where we grew up? We talked about the usages of clocks in the novel and how each one signaled a different meaning. We spoke of Dickens’ view of his past filled with social injustice, his present producing an ever-enlarging world, his future filled with uncertainty. We wished our actress, Bernie Crudden, had been there to give us some insight into an actor’s role in character development. Most were shocked at the ending to find Eleanor was indeed a ghost although several “tells” were planted by the author to suggest this…her payroll records and that she left no footprints. We asked who dressed him in his disguise if she wasn’t really there and marveled at the detail used in describing the chemistry between the two…and what was the purpose of the “ghost” factor – maybe to make the relationship between Eleanor and Charles more acceptable given he was married and a father of five. Several had issues that it seemingly took so long to name his newborn. The author says, “a biography tells the truth of a person, whereby a story tells the truth about us.”

                               Look inside and you will find an abundant of blessings.
    On the business side:
Great news…a new independent bookstore opened nearby…Athens Alley Books & Boutique is stocked and ready for shoppers. It is located at 408 North Prairieville, a couple of blocks north of the square.
COLOR CODING SYSTEM
WHITE:         LIGHT READ
PINK:             MODERATELY CHALLENGING
RED:              CHALLENGING
Jan. 8, 2019:    The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
Set in Alaska in 1974. The ultimate test of survival for a family in crisis.
                        RED
                        Discussion Leader: Patty Evans
Home of Daryl Daniels
February 12:   The Cottingley Secret by Hazel Gaynor
Set in 1917 England and based on a true story, two young cousins somehow convince the world that the magic exists.
                        PALE PINK
                        Discussion Leader: Daryl Daniels
                        Home of Beverly Dossett
March 12:        Stormy Weather by Paulette Jiles
Set in East Texas during the depression, a story of hardship, sacrifice, and strength.
                        PINK
                        Discussion Leader: Ann Ireland
                        Home of Melanie Prebis
April 9:          Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen, Sarah Bird
A forgotten part of history detailing the hidden story of Cathy Williams, a former slave and the only woman to ever serve with the legendary Buffalo Soldiers.
PINKISH RED
Discussion Leader: TBD
                        Home of Aulsine DeLoach
May 14:           Where the Crawdads Sing, Delia Owens
Set in the 1950’s in very rural North Carolina revolving around a young woman named Kya Clark – celebrating strength through tragedy and the resourcefulness of a child left to fend for herself in the swamp.
PINK
Discussion Leader: Jean Alexander
                        Evening Wine & Cheese Meeting at the home of TBD        
Summer Read: Book TB
                      He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.
Happy Reading,
JoDee

NOVEMBER 2018 BOOKERS MINUTES & MUSINGS, A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving


      “…any good book is always in motion…”
20 Bookers braved a blustery north wind, cloudy skies, and temperatures in the low 30’s to the home of Katherine McDonald for this month’s meeting. When we selected November for our discussion of A Prayer for Owen Meany it was unlikely it would be colder in our neck of the woods than in New Hampshire, the setting of the novel. We were wrong. We observed a moment of silence for the destruction of property and lives lost in the California fires and for the shooting victims and their families in an all too familiar scene played out across our country.

Our list of “injured reserve” seems to grow with the passing of each day and we are sending our healing thoughts on a bullet train to Melba Holt, Lee McFarlane, and Sheri Green. It was wonderful that Ann Ireland felt well enough to be here today, Melanie Prebis’ arm is improving, and Tanya Holstead shared some positive news on her Dad…welcome reports all around.

The majority of the group read and finished this month’s selection. In terms of loves/likes/dislikes/and ughs…we were a divided group, and although it was not everyone’s cup of tea, (and what book is…maybe Cinderella?), the general consensus was there were laugh-out-loud funny moments; political tirades; promiscuous behavior; sexual content a little beyond innuendo; and an exploration of faith…all the while throwing a few conventional religions under the bus. Many thanks to Melanie for her insights into this complex novel. If we had even touched on every aspect of this book, most would have missed bridge, canasta, not to mention the cocktail hour and dinner.

Writers are both devotees and prisoners of their childhoods and often write to explain their lives to themselves. John Irving typifies that statement. His mother was not married when he was born, and she never told him who his father was. In his 1978 novel, The World According to Garp, he narrates a story of a man born out of wedlock to a feminist nurse, Garp growing up to be a writer. In his 1985 novel, The Cider House Rules, the protagonist grows up in an orphanage, never knowing who his biological father was. John Irving is often referred to as the modern Charles Dickens with his use of humor, tragedy, humanity, and a great deal of the absurd in his characters and situations. This novel was no exception with the stuttering Revered Lewis Merrill who doubted his faith and was identified as John’s biological father; Owen Meany, “the second virgin birth,” tiny and rodent-like with a wretched voice who spoke in all caps, knew he was the instrument of God, and accidently killed his best friend’s mother; John Wheelwright, the narrator, the result of his mother’s “little fling,” Owen’s best friend, and still a virgin at 45; Dan Needham, the good guy; Tabby, a babe, John’s mother, but lead two lives, one as a homebody, the other a nightclub singer; Hester (the Molester)…no need to explain further; Harriet Wheelwright, old-school, old money, WASP who could trace her roots to the Mayflower, and loved Liberace. Mr. Irving….bow to Mr. Dickens.

In the epigraph of “Meany” there is a question from Frederick Buechner (who is a writer of fifty books in a variety of genres, a theologian, and an ordained Presbyterian minister) he asks, “how could God reveal himself in a way that would leave no room for doubt? If there were no room for doubt, there would be no room for me.” How could not the entire novel not be an exploration of doubt with this quote in the beginning?

The first sentence of the novel contains “the whole novel.” “I am doomed to remember a boy with a wrecked voice – not because of his voice, or because he was the smallest person I ever knew or even because he was the instrument of my mother’s death, but because he is the reason I believe in God.” Irving never writes the first sentence until he knows all the important things that happen in the story, especially the ending. “The idea that Owen Meany is God’s instrument or that he believes he is and so does the narrator, is specifically connected not only to his diminutive size but to the illusion of his weightlessness.” In the beginning the children lift Owen over their heads in Sunday school and at the end his weightlessness is interpreted that he was always in God’s hands.”

A Prayer for Owen Meany, published in 1989, is a classic by one of America’s most prolific novelists and screenwriters relating a story of friendship between the first-person narrator (coincidentally or not named John) Wheelwright and the diminutive Owen Meany. The story is told from a present-day Wheelwright looking back on his New Hampshire childhood and youth from his self-imposed Canadian exile. Structurally, the narration skips from memory to memory and scene to scene concurrently with important events in America history. The book starts with a bang as Owen Meany, a member of a baseball team who is never allowed to bat because pitchers cannot find the strike zone because he is so small, is given the green light to swing away. His efforts result in an errant foul ball killing his best friend’s mother.  

Irving learned the art of turning names into themes from Charles Dickens whose cruel schoolmaster in Hard Times is named Mr. M’Choakumchild. The town named Gravesend could be interpreted as Grave’s End (resurrection and rebirth) or Grave Send (death & fate). Meany denotes Owen’s commonness and littleness. Tabby, a cat’s name, is often described as cat-like. Sawyer Depot refers to the rustic wildness of Tom Sawyer and the outpost quality of a train station – also is the home of John’s unruly cousins.

A strong theme of the book is religious faith and the struggle to find it and maintain it through tough circumstances. The novel explores how doubt and faith working in tandem are sentinels of our devoutness to a power greater than our own. John Irving made a generation relive the Vietnam war concentrating on the emotional and physical devastation on both sides of the world with Owen stating, “the only way you can get Americans to notice anything is to tax them, draft them, or kill them.” The symbolism of armlessness and amputation represents helplessness of people against the injustice of fate and the pain caused by that injustice; the loss of relations or possessions; and most telling, the surrender of the individual to God – in a sense using one’s arms as his instruments – as when Owen swings the fatal bat. Irving leaves it up to the reader to decide about fate and free will and explores how it is possible for friends to survive a friendship when one friend kills the other friend’s mother – John and Owen did because each one needed something from the other – a real test of friendship. 

So much for our rule to avoid books about politics or religion. For argument’s sake, let’s say this one was a character study in the spiritual condition of humankind and a look at the dynamics of a divided nation embroiled in an unpopular war.
On the business side:
Bookers selection committee has added two more books to round out our year as indicated below and are considering our summer read. Stay tuned.

Bonnie again has volunteered to coordinate our fare for our annual party in December. She will be sending out a list of suggestions and ask that you respond directly to her.

Jane Shaw, who volunteered to host April, will be experiencing construction issues so we will need to find another host home. Please let me know if you can help.

Sandy Molander is again coordinating CASA Christmas, and if you haven’t already notified her and want to participate in making the holidays bright for these children, please contact Sandy directly.

For all of the fans of Elizabeth Strout of Olive Kitteridge fame, (you know how I feel) she will be releasing, Olive, Again September 3, 2019. Her comment, “Guess Olive wasn’t through with me or I with her.”
                        COLOR CODING SYSTEM
WHITE:         LIGHT READ
PINK:             MODERATELY CHALLENGING
RED:              CHALLENGING
December 11:  Mr. Dickens and His Carol by Samantha Silva
                        Bookers annual holiday party coordinated by Bonnie Magee.
Charming and poignant about the creation of the most famous Christmas tale ever written.
                        PINKISH WHITE
                        Discussion Leader: Rebecca Brisendine
Home of Bonnie Magee
Jan. 8, 2019:    The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
Set in Alaska in 1974. The ultimate test of survival for a family in crisis.
                        RED
                        Discussion Leader: Patty Evans
Home of Daryl Daniels
February 12:   The Cottingley Secret by Hazel Gaynor
Set in 1917 England and based on a true story, two young cousins somehow convince the world that the magic exists.
                        PALE PINK
                        Discussion Leader: Daryl Daniels
                        Home of Beverly Dossett
March 12:        Stormy Weather by Paulette Jiles
Set in East Texas during the depression, a story of hardship, sacrifice, and strength.
                        PINK
                        Discussion Leader: Ann Ireland
                        Home of Mary Wensel
April 9:          Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen, Sarah Bird
A forgotten part of history detailing the hidden story of Cathy Williams, a former slave and the only woman to ever serve with the legendary Buffalo Soldiers.
PINKISH RED
Discussion Leader: TBD
                        Home of Aulsine DeLoach
May 14:           Where the Crawdads Sing, Delia Owens
Set in the 1950’s in very rural North Carolina revolving around a young woman named Kya Clark – celebrating strength through tragedy and the resourcefulness of a child left to fend for herself in the swamp.
PINK
Discussion Leader: Pam Davis (with a little arm twisting)
                        Evening Wine & Cheese Meeting @ home of Jean Alexander        
Summer Read: Book TBD
“Faith can be based on many things, ignorance among them being the worst.”
Happy Reading,
JoDee