Email: Lisa Joliecoeur
Book Club Summary and Upcoming Selections
On Thursday, October 5, 2017, Book Club members met at Lisa’s house where they were served hot apple cobbler with freshly picked apples from The Big Apple, almond spice bread, fruit, crackers and cheese spread, an array of delicious herbal teas, and wine. Happy to reconnect after our summer hiatus, the room was abuzz with conversations about travel, summer activities, family, and books.
Upcoming Books: Thursday, November 2, 2017 at the home of Sandy Daniels: “Woman in Cabin 10” by Ruth Ware.
December 7, 2017: “A Fall of Marigolds” by Susan Meissner. Host TBA.
January 4, 2018: “Small Great Things” by Jodi Piccoult. Host TBA
We missed our book talks and talked a great deal about every book. Although we usually rate our books, we did not do so this evening because our discussions were so varied about each book since not everyone had read each book. There were enough members who read the books, however, and even those who had not were enthralled with our conversations. Topics inspired by our book discussions included history, current events, politics, food, fine wines, Downton Abbey, Lizzie Borden, the afterlife, movies, and so much more!!!
“News of the World” by Paulette Jiles Those of us who read this book loved it: In 1870, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd travels through northern Texas, giving live readings to paying audiences hungry for news of the world. An elderly widower who has lived through three wars and fought in two of them, the captain enjoys his rootless, solitary existence. We enjoyed the descriptions of the places the captain visited and the varied receptions he received. We also discussed how in today’s world we are inundated with news, so often that we take for granted that information is always within reach. Jiles crafts great details of people hanging on every word Kidd shares, and Kidd is thrilled when he arrives in a community with updated news papers. The ending of the novel is satisfying.
“Gentleman in Moscow” by Amor Towles In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal and is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him a doorway into a much larger world of emotional discovery.
Brimming with humor, a glittering cast of characters, and one beautifully rendered scene after another, this singular novel casts a spell as it relates the count’s endeavor to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a man of purpose.)
Book club members who read this book had a great deal to discuss. We agreed that at first, the novel appeared to be limited in scope, but the richness of details brought a broad array of characters to life and made it feel as though they were not confined to one place. Additionally, there was great attention to food and lavish style, which made the Count a very likable and funny person. We enjoyed his liaison with the actress and loved that he made his little room something unique and fun.
Those of us who read this book enjoyed it very much and some even said they did not want it to end. As it turns out, one of our Book Club members attended college with the author!! Maybe he’ll visit one of our meetings??
“Belgravia” By Julian Fellowes (writer of Downton Abbey): (from the website:It’s the eve of the Battle of Waterloo, 15th June 1815. The Duchess of Richmond throws a magnificent ball in Brussels for the Duke of Wellington. The guests include James and Anne Trenchard, who have made their money in trade. Their beautiful daughter Sophia has caught the eye of Edmund Bellasis, the son and heir of one of Britain’s most prominent families. Twenty-five years later, when the two families are settled in the newly developed area of Belgravia, the events of the ball still resonate. Because behind Belgravia’s magnificent doors is a world of secrets, gossip and intrigue…
“Underground Railroad” Colsom Whitehead (from the publisher: Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, the #1 New York Times bestseller from Colson Whitehead, a magnificent tour de force chronicling a young slave’s adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hell for all the slaves, but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood—where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned—Cora kills a young white boy who tries to capture her. Though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted.
Book Club members who read this book described it as powerful and well written, and they were happy to have read it because they learned so much about what the underground railroad really entailed. Additionally, the novel is full of great characters who illustrate the horrors of slavery. Members said, despite the heaviness, it was a great depiction of a harsh time period and journey.
“Ruby” by Cynthia Bond. (website: Full of life, exquisitely written, and suffused with the pastoral beauty of the rural South, Ruby is a transcendent novel of passion and courage.) Book Club members who read this book thoroughly enjoyed the writing style and interesting story lines. We agreed that the book reminded us of Toni Morrison’s style, such as in “Beloved,” and some of the magical realism of Isabelle Allende. While some of the behavior seemed bizarre in the novel, such as Ruby’s obsession with “ghosts,” we loved exploring the reasons and ultimately the themes represented by such behaviors. Dealing with some heavy topics, the novel offered a unique approach and tenderness that we found compelling.