SE1 Book Club 2016

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Sunday 24 April 2016 10.05am
Thanks all for being so welcoming (and apologies for the late post). Really enjoyed meeting you, and I'm definitely looking forward to the next one.
Jac
Saturday 14 May 2016 9.20pm
a reminder Nat London it's your turn to shortlist. Hopefully Grange lady told you.
Sunday 15 May 2016 10.37pm
Woopsie, only just read the reminder, thanks Jac!
So, here we go, shortlist for the July book:

1. The turtle warrior by Mary Relindes Ellis
Told from several different perspectives and also traversing almost forty years, The Turtle Warrior is essentially a story of two brothers, their parents, and their loyal neighbours who farm in the beautiful, isolated country of Northern Wisconsin.
As the novel progresses all the characters gradually exercise their demons and lay their souls on the table. But the real strength of the novel is in Ellis's effortless description of nature's natural beauty. One can appreciate this book just for Ellis's remarkable lyricism alone. Mary Relindes Ellis has provided a startlingly beautiful and devastatingly emotional piece of work. Ellis's writing style and her themes of family loyalty are very reminiscent of Michael Cunningham as she brings the tortured sufferings and dysfunctions of a small town family to life.

2. Housekeeping by Marylinne Robinson
Housekeeping is the story of Ruth and Lucille, orphans growing up in the small desolate town of Fingerbone in the vast northwest of America.
Abandoned by a succession of relatives, the sisters find themselves in the care of Sylvie, the remote and enigmatic sister of their dead mother. Steeped in imagery of the bleak wintry landscape around them, the sisters' struggle towards adulthood is powerfully portrayed in a novel about loss, loneliness and transience.
Robinson is also the Orange Prize winning author of Home, acclaimed on publication as a contemporary classic.

3. The brief wondrous life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
The dominant theme of this multigenerational story is the "fuku" (curse) Oscar's family lives under. (Of course, as a character points out, every Dominican family believes itself to be cursed by the fuku americanus, a curse brought by European colonialists which has turned the Caribbean Eden into a despotic prison to be escaped.) The fuku first hits Oscar's grandfather, an upper-class doctor undone by the rise of the Trujillo thugocracy. His daughter (Oscar's mother) faces her own tragedy due to the fuku, and is the bridge between life in the D.R. and life in America, as she escapes to New York. Her children, Oscar and Lola, represent the generation born and bred in the U.S. -- both connected to, and apart from their Dominican heritage. The story thus enables Diaz to examine how nationality, culture, and language become more and more blended over generations. Diaz writes with so much compassion for his characters that one would be hard pressed not to be affected. And above all, there is the sheer exuberance and dexterity of the prose, which makes the book well worth reading from a purely stylistic or technical perspective.

Some might say the common thread or theme is around somewhat wacky families – then again, aren’t they all?

I'll bring print-outs of this list tomorrow. See you then.
Tuesday 24 May 2016 7.45am
Hi all,

sorry for the radio silence, lots of work and guests have had me go totally underground - more guests tomorrow so I take advantage of a few quiet minutes to let you know the book chosen for July is
The brief wondrous life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Diaz.

Enjoy, and see you in June.
Wednesday 15 June 2016 1.59pm
Hey folks.

Am I right in saying that the next Book Club meeting is next Monday, June 20? I've lost track of the schedule, but if that's correct then I shall be there.

I only just picked up June's book, so you'll have to forgive me if I don't get very far through it ... I'm really just more excited to visit with everyone again.

- Chris
Jac
Sunday 19 June 2016 6.41pm
Yes indeed its book club tomorrow - King's Arms, Newcomen Street. 7.30pm look forward to seeing everyone . Chris we missed you will be nice to see you again.

As always any one else who would like to join us is very welcome to come along.
Sunday 19 June 2016 9.30pm
See you guys tomorrow, and the shortlist for Aug is:

Option 1: Gods Behaving Badly (fiction)

Being immortal isn't all it's cracked up to be. Life's hard for a Greek god in the 21st century: nobody believes in you any more, even your own family doesn't respect you, and you're stuck in a delapidated hovel in north London with too many siblings and not enough hot water. But for Artemis (goddess of hunting, professional dog walker), Aphrodite (goddess of beauty, telephone sex operator) and Apollo (god of the sun, TV psychic) there's no way out... Until a meek cleaner and her would-be boyfriend come into their lives, and turn the world literally upside down. Would you believe that the end of the world could be caused by Apollo refusing to heat up Aphrodite's bath water? And that Zeus thinks that Dr Who is a God? Do you get embarrassed at rolling around laughing in public? If you answered yes to the first two questions and no to the third, then this is the book for you. And if you answered no to the first two questions and yes to the third, watch out for thunderbolts.


Option 2: Eat, Pray, Love (non-fiction)

It's 3 a.m. and Elizabeth Gilbert is sobbing on the bathroom floor. She's in her thirties, she has a husband, a house, they're trying for a baby - and she doesn't want any of it. A bitter divorce and a turbulent love affair later, she emerges battered and bewildered and realises it is time to pursue her own journey in search of three things she has been missing: pleasure, devotion and balance. So she travels to Rome, where she learns Italian from handsome, brown-eyed identical twins and gains twenty-five pounds, an ashram in India, where she finds that enlightenment entails getting up in the middle of the night to scrub the temple floor, and Bali where a toothless medicine man of indeterminate age offers her a new path to peace: simply sit still and smile.

Option 3: Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (fiction)

Miss Pettigrew, an approaching-middle-age governess, was accustomed to a household of unruly English children. When her employment agency sends her to the wrong address, her life takes an unexpected turn. The alluring nightclub singer, Delysia LaFosse, becomes her new employer, and Miss Pettigrew encounters a kind of glamour that she had only met before at the movies. Over the course of a single day, both women are changed forever.

I didn't go back through the reading history, so hopefully you haven't read all of these already!
Jac
Saturday 16 July 2016 8.56pm
Book Club this monday 18th June 7.30pm Kings Arms Newcomen Street
Discussing The brief wondrous life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Diaz.

Mrs B to short list books for September.

Hope to see you there

New members welcome
Sunday 7 August 2016 7.21pm
Hi everyone,

My name is Nicola and I am an interested in joining as a new member - can you let me know if you have chosen the book for September yet? Thanks!
Saturday 13 August 2016 8.07am
Hi all,

of the selection above, Gods behaving badly will be discussed this Monday 15th August - at the King's Arms, Newcomen Street, 7.30. Based on our last conversation we may well say a few words about Kevin Katchadourian, too, who knows...

Of the selection proposed in print in July for the September session (The unbearable lightness of being by Milan Kundera, The third man by Graham Greene and Rituals by Cees Nooteboom) the majority vote went for Rituals. We'll talk about it on Monday 19th September.
Nicola, we'll see you then, welcome!

See you all this Monday, enjoy the sunshine in the meantime.
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