Really Cool Women\'s Book Club

All the light we cannot see by Anthony Doerr at Big Grove on August 16th at 6PM August 9, 2017

Filed under: Upcoming books, dates and places — Susan @ 9:47 pm

From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the stunningly beautiful instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.
Marie-Laure lives in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where her father works. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.
In a mining town in Germany, Werner Pfennig, an orphan, grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find that brings them news and stories from places they have never seen or imagined. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments and is enlisted to use his talent to track down the resistance. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another.
Doerr’s “stunning sense of physical detail and gorgeous metaphors” (San Francisco Chronicle) are dazzling. Ten years in the writing, a National Book Award finalist, All the Light We Cannot See is a magnificent, deeply moving novel from a writer “whose sentences never fail to thrill” (Los Angeles Times).

 

Upcoming books and places July 6, 2017

Filed under: Upcoming books, dates and places — Susan @ 6:43 pm

All the light we cannot see by Anthony Doerr on August 17th at Susan’s house

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates on September 28th at Danda’s house

Dispatches by Michael Herr on November 9th at Heidi’s house

 

Time to vote for our next 3 books July 4, 2017

Filed under: Nominated Books — Susan @ 9:24 pm

Here are the nominated books. When you have decided which to choose go to Survey Monkey at the following link to vote.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/F3XF9J5

The Girls of Riyadh by Rajaa Alsanea
The Nix by Nathan hill
To the bright edge of the world by eowyn Ivey
Grief Cottage by Gail Godwin
All the light we cannot see by Anthony Doerr
Surfacing by Margaret Atwood
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
The Bookman’s Tale by Charlie Lovett
Dispatches by Michael Herr
Pass the Butterworms by Tim Cahill

The Girls of Riyadh by Rajaa Alsanea

When Rajaa Alsanea boldly chose to open up the hidden world of Saudi women—their private lives and their conflicts with the traditions of their culture—she caused a sensation across the Arab world. Now in English, Alsanea’s tale of the personal struggles of four young upper-class women offers Westerners an unprecedented glimpse into a society often veiled from view. Living in restrictive Riyadh but traveling all over the globe, these modern Saudi women literally and figuratively shed traditional garb as they search for love, fulfillment, and their place somewhere in between Western society and their Islamic home.

The Nix by Nathan hill
The Nix is a surprising novel that you didn’t know you were waiting for until you start reading. At its center is Samuel Andresen-Anderson, a failed writer and increasingly apathetic college professor, who gets a second chance at literary fame from the most unlikely source—the mother who abandoned him as a child. The American public is up in arms about a rather absurd crime that Samuel’s mother committed against an obnoxious politician. While Sam is shocked and surprised to learn the whereabouts of his estranged mother, he also realizes it’s the chance of a lifetime to tap into the zeitgeist with some choice tidbits about her, if he can write it before media A.D.D. sets in. But in order to write the book that will revive him, Samuel is forced to dig into her life, and he discovers a completely different version of the woman he thought he knew; it turns out he’s not the only one who’s life is carved out of traumatic events. Nathan Hill is incredibly perceptive, as in this, which I can’t stop thinking about: “The things we love the most are the most disfiguring. Such is our greed for them.” Hill has created a brilliant junction of mother-son saga and comic satire about our self-righteous and obsessive society. This is a big, clever novel that wraps itself around you until you never want to leave.

To the bright edge of the world by eowyn Ivey
I’m just going to say it: Eowyn Ivey can really write. For those who read The Snow Child this statement comes as no surprise. In To the Bright Edge of the World, her second novel, Ivey manages to turn an adventure set in Alaska into much more. The book begins with a contemporary relative donating to a small museum the journals and other artifacts from an 1885 expedition. The journals were written by his great-uncle, Colonel Alan Forrester, and his great-aunt, Sophie. While we read about Alan’s accounts of his full-on Alaskan adventure, we are also introduced to Sophie’s struggles back in Vancouver. Each experiences a shift in the prism through which they see reality—Sophie takes up photography, and Alan begins to develop a more wild view of the world around him. Read it for the adventure. Read it for the time you’ll spend thinking about it long after you’ve turned the last page.

Grief Cottage by Gail Godwin
After his mother’s death, eleven-year-old Marcus is sent to live on a small South Carolina island with his great aunt, a reclusive painter with a haunted past. Aunt Charlotte, otherwise a woman of few words, points out a ruined cottage, telling Marcus she had visited it regularly after she’d moved there thirty years ago because it matched the ruin of her own life. Eventually she was inspired to take up painting so she could capture its utter desolation.
The islanders call it “Grief Cottage,” because a boy and his parents disappeared from it during a hurricane fifty years before. Their bodies were never found and the cottage has stood empty ever since. During his lonely hours while Aunt Charlotte is in her studio painting and keeping her demons at bay, Marcus visits the cottage daily, building up his courage by coming ever closer, even after the ghost of the boy who died seems to reveal himself. Full of curiosity and open to the unfamiliar and uncanny given the recent upending of his life, he courts the ghost boy, never certain whether the ghost is friendly or follows some sinister agenda.

All the light we cannot see by Anthony Doerr

From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the stunningly beautiful instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.

Marie-Laure lives in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where her father works. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, Werner Pfennig, an orphan, grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find that brings them news and stories from places they have never seen or imagined. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments and is enlisted to use his talent to track down the resistance. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another.

Doerr’s “stunning sense of physical detail and gorgeous metaphors” (San Francisco Chronicle) are dazzling. Ten years in the writing, a National Book Award finalist, All the Light We Cannot See is a magnificent, deeply moving novel from a writer “whose sentences never fail to thrill” (Los Angeles Times).

Surfacing by Margaret Atwood
Part detective novel, part psychological thriller, Surfacing is the story of a talented woman artist who goes in search of her missing father on a remote island in northern Quebec.  Setting out with her lover and another young couple, she soon finds herself captivated by the isolated setting, where a marriage begins to fall apart, violence and death lurk just beneath the surface, and sex becomes a catalyst for conflict and dangerous choices.  Surfacing is a work permeated with an aura of suspense, complex with layered meanings, and written in brilliant, diamond-sharp prose.  Here is a rich mine of ideas from an extraordinary writer about contemporary life and nature, families and marriage, and about women fragmented…and becoming whole.

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates 
Readers of his work in The Atlantic and elsewhere know Ta-Nehisi Coates for his thoughtful and influential writing on race in America. Written as a series of letters to his teenaged son, his new memoir, Between the World and Me, walks us through the course of his life, from the tough neighborhoods of Baltimore in his youth, to Howard University—which Coates dubs “The Mecca” for its revelatory community of black students and teachers—to the broader Meccas of New York and Paris. Coates describes his observations and the evolution of his thinking on race, from Malcolm X to his conclusion that race itself is a fabrication, elemental to the concept of American (white) exceptionalism. Ferguson, Trayvon Martin, and South Carolina are not bumps on the road of progress and harmony, but the results of a systemized, ubiquitous threat to “black bodies” in the form of slavery, police brutality, and mass incarceration. Coates is direct and, as usual, uncommonly insightful and original. There are no wasted words. This is a powerful and exceptional book.

The Bookman’s Tale by Charlie Lovett
Guaranteed to capture the hearts of everyone who truly loves books, The Bookman’s Tale is a former bookseller’s sparkling novel and a delightful exploration of one of literature’s most tantalizing mysteries with echoes of Shadow of the Wind and A.S. Byatt’s Possession.
Nine months after the death of his beloved wife Amanda left him shattered, Peter Byerly, a young antiquarian bookseller, relocates from North Carolina to the English countryside, hoping to outrun his grief and rediscover the joy he once took in collecting and restoring rare books. But upon opening an eighteenth-century study of Shakespeare forgeries, he discovers a Victorian watercolor of a woman who bears an uncanny resemblance to Amanda.
Peter becomes obsessed with learning the picture’s origins and braves a host of dangers to follow a trail of clues back across the centuries—all the way to Shakespeare’s time and a priceless literary artifact that could prove, once and for all, the truth about the Bard’s real identity.

Dispatches by Michael Herr
Written on the front lines in Vietnam, Dispatches became an immediate classic of war reportage when it was published in 1977.
From its terrifying opening pages to its final eloquent words, Dispatches makes us see, in unforgettable and unflinching detail, the chaos and fervor of the war and the surreal insanity of life in that singular combat zone. Michael Herr’s unsparing, unorthodox retellings of the day-to-day events in Vietnam take on the force of poetry, rendering clarity from one of the most incomprehensible and nightmarish events of our time.
Dispatches is among the most blistering and compassionate accounts of war in our literature.

Pass the Butterworms by Tim Cahill
In Pass the Butterworms, Cahill takes us to the steppes of Mongolia, where he spends weeks on horseback alongside the descendants of Genghis Khan and masters the “Mongolian death trot”; to the North Pole, where he goes for a pleasure dip in the 36-degree water; to Irian Jaya New Guinea, where he spends a companionable evening with members of one of the last head-hunting tribes. Whether observing family values among the Stone Age Dani people, or sampling delicacies like sautéed sago beetle and premasticated manioc beer, Cahill is a fount of arcane information and a master of self-deprecating humor.

 

It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis on July 6th, 2017 at Pizza Antica at 6PM May 31, 2017

Filed under: Books,Upcoming books — Susan @ 5:55 pm

It Can’t Happen Here is the only one of Sinclair Lewis’s later novels to match the power of Main Street, Babbitt, and Arrowsmith. A cautionary tale about the fragility of democracy, it is an alarming, eerily timeless look at how fascism could take hold in America.

Written during the Great Depression, when the country was largely oblivious to Hitler’s aggression, it juxtaposes sharp political satire with the chillingly realistic rise of a president who becomes a dictator to save the nation from welfare cheats, sex, crime, and a liberal press.

Called “a message to thinking Americans” by the Springfield Republican when it was published in 1935, It Can’t Happen Here is a shockingly prescient novel that remains as fresh and contemporary as today’s news.

 

Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly on May 25th, 2017 at Radio Maria’s hosted by Ann

Filed under: Books,Past Meetings — Susan @ 5:53 pm

The phenomenal true story of the black female mathematicians at NASA whose calculations helped fuel some of America’s greatest achievements in space. Soon to be a major motion picture starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae, Kirsten Dunst, and Kevin Costner.

Before John Glenn orbited the earth, or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as “human computers” used pencils, slide rules and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space.

Among these problem-solvers were a group of exceptionally talented African American women, some of the brightest minds of their generation. Originally relegated to teaching math in the South’s segregated public schools, they were called into service during the labor shortages of World War II, when America’s aeronautics industry was in dire need of anyone who had the right stuff. Suddenly, these overlooked math whizzes had a shot at jobs worthy of their skills, and they answered Uncle Sam’s call, moving to Hampton, Virginia and the fascinating, high-energy world of the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory.

Even as Virginia’s Jim Crow laws required them to be segregated from their white counterparts, the women of Langley’s all-black “West Computing” group helped America achieve one of the things it desired most: a decisive victory over the Soviet Union in the Cold War, and complete domination of the heavens.

Starting in World War II and moving through to the Cold War, the Civil Rights Movement and the Space Race, Hidden Figures follows the interwoven accounts of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson and Christine Darden, four African American women who participated in some of NASA’s greatest successes. It chronicles their careers over nearly three decades they faced challenges, forged alliances and used their intellect to change their own lives, and their country’s future.

 

Mrs. Sherlock Holmes by Brad Ricca on April 13th, 2017 at JoLynne’s house April 7, 2017

Filed under: Upcoming books, dates and places — Susan @ 10:49 pm

In Mrs. Sherlock Holmes, Brad Ricca paints the picture of Grace Humiston, a soft-spoken yet persistent woman investigator determined to solve the disappearance of an 18-year-oldgirl―this in the midst of both the suffragist and white-slavery movements. Where the police leave off, Humiston, undaunted by naysayers, picks up clues and doggedly follows them. Ricca lays out this fascinating whodunit with a novelist’s skill, making Mrs. Sherlock Holmes a suspenseful winner.

 

Upcoming books and places March 2, 2017

Filed under: dates and places — Susan @ 11:01 pm

Mrs. Sherlock Holmes: The True Story of New York City’s Greatest Female Detective and the 1917 Missing Girl Case That Captivated a Nation by Brad Ricca

JoLynne house on April 13th, 2017

 

Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly 

Ann’s house on May 25th, 2017

 

 It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis

Marci’s house on July 6th, 2017