We met on November 20th and chose the follow list of books for 2017.
January22--11/22/1963 by Stephen King
Life can turn on a dime—or stumble into the extraordinary, as it does for Jake Epping, a high school English teacher in a Maine town. While grading essays by his GED students, Jake reads a gruesome, enthralling piece penned by janitor Harry Dunning: fifty years ago, Harry somehow survived his father’s sledgehammer slaughter of his entire family. Jake is blown away...but an even more bizarre secret comes to light when Jake’s friend Al, owner of the local diner, enlists Jake to take over the mission that has become his obsession—to prevent the Kennedy assassination. How? By stepping through a portal in the diner’s storeroom, and into the era of Ike and Elvis, of big American cars, sock hops, and cigarette smoke... Finding himself in warmhearted Jodie, Texas, Jake begins a new life. But all turns in the road lead to a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald. The course of history is about to be rewritten...and become heart-stoppingly suspenseful.
February19--Watchman by Harper Lee
Most people have either read or saw the movie “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Harper Lee has written a new novel starting two decades later. Maycomb, Alabama. Twenty-six-year-old Jean Louise Finch—"Scout"—returns home from New York City to visit her aging father, Atticus. Set against the backdrop of the civil rights tensiotns and political turmoil that were transforming the South, Jean Louise's homecoming turns bittersweet when she learns disturbing truths about her close-knit family, the town, and the people dearest to her. Memories from her childhood flood back, and her values and assumptions are thrown into doubt. Featuring many of the iconic characters from To Kill a Mockingbird, Go Set a Watchman perfectly captures a young woman, and a world, in painful yet necessary transition out of the illusions of the past—a journey that can only be guided by one's own conscience.
March19--A Man Called Ove by Frederik Backman
Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon—the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him “the bitter neighbor from hell.” But must Ove be bitter just because he doesn’t walk around with a smile Tto his face all the time?
Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations.t
The third Sunday is Easter so we will meet on:
April23...Shanghai Girls by Lisa See
Shanghai Girls, opens in 1937 Shanghai, then shifts to the U.S., where See focuses her unique lens on the poverty and prejudice experienced by Chinese Americans until the late 1950s.
Pearl and May Chin, 21 and 18 years old, are working as models in Shanghai when their lives are dramatically uprooted: their father’s gambling debts have forced him to sell them into marriage to Chinese-American husbands. As they plan to elude this unacceptable fate, Japanese bombs begin falling on Shanghai; in their attempt to escape, Pearl is brutally raped by soldiers and hospitalized.
Their misfortunes continue after landing at Angel Island (“the Ellis Island of the West”), where the sisters are interrogated for months. Pearl realizes they are hopelessly stranded: “China is lost to the Japanese, May’s pregnant, and we have no money and no family.” The only officially married woman of the two, Pearl takes May’s place as mother of Joy, the baby born shortly before they leave for Los Angeles to meet their husbands. See astutely blends the struggle of this extended family with actual historical events: their attempts at distinguishing themselves as non-Japanese during the war, their reactions from afar as the Red Army pushes across China and the ensuing McCarthy-era bids at labeling them Communists.
Throughout her compelling family saga, See underlines the importance of ancient traditions for her characters, especially Pearl, whose mother-in-law instills “Chinese” into her “as surely as the flavor of ginger seeps into soup.” When Joy returns from her first college year in 1956 calling her family “wrong and backward,” it is Pearl who reacts most strongly, while May is the one who has adapted L.A.’s Hollywood mores quite easily. But as the novel ends, May tells Pearl, “Whenever our hair is white, we’ll still have our sister love.”
May21...Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf
In the familiar setting of Holt, Colorado, home to all of Kent Haruf's inimitable fiction, Addie Moore pays an unexpected visit to a neighbor, Louis Waters. Her husband died years ago, as did his wife, and in such a small town they naturally have known of each other for decades; in fact, Addie was quite fond of Louis's wife. His daughter lives hours away, her son even farther, and Addie and Louis have long been living alone in empty houses, the nights so terribly lonely, especially with no one to talk with. But maybe that could change?
June18..Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter by Clifford Larson
“A biography that chronicles her life with fresh details . . . By making Rosemary the central character, [Larson] has produced a valuable account of a mental health tragedy and an influential family’s belated efforts to make amends.”
August20...Boston Girl by Anita Diamant
September17..The Supremes at Early's All You Can Eat by Edwatd Kelsey Moore
October15...The Versions of Us by Laura Bamett