Thursday, April 6, 2017

Henna House, by Nomi Eve

DISCUSSION DATE AND TIME: 
Monday, April 24, 2017, at 2:00 P.M.
 Eve (The Family Orchard) re-creates the life of the Yemenite Jewish community from 1920 through the group's immigration to Israel in 1950. At the age of five, Adela Damari is terrified by the Confiscator, an agent of the local imam, whose job it is to remove orphaned Jewish children from their community and place them with Muslim families. To protect Adela, her ailing parents madly hunt for a Jewish male to become her betrothed. When her aunt, uncle, and cousin arrive in the village, Adela becomes entranced by the henna designs created by her aunt, learns her craft, and also bonds with her female cousin, Hani. As all of Adela's betrothals fail and drought strikes the village, the family flees to the seaport city of Aden. Finally, in 1950 the Israelis airlift the entire Yemenite community to Israel where they find safety, but not necessarily acceptance.... Eve opens a window on a community, little known in the Western world, whose rituals and traditions were maintained for over 2,000 years. Her appealing portrait of young men and women moving from an ancient life into modernity will captivate readers who enjoy historical fiction. (Library Journal)

Thursday, February 23, 2017

MILLER'S VALLEY, BY ANNA QUINDLEN

Book discussion date and time:
Monday, March 13, 2017, at 2:00 P.M.


Filled with the remarkable insight that is the hallmark of Anna Quindlen’s beloved bestsellers, this extraordinary novel is about a woman coming of age as she unearths surprising secrets about her family, and unexpected truths about herself.
“No one ever leaves the town where they grew up, not really, even if they go,” says Mimi Miller as she tells the story of her life, from the 1960s to the present, in a small American town on the verge of change. The Miller family has lived and farmed in Miller’s Valley for generations, but Mimi sees change looming at the corners of her community and within the walls of her home. As she grows up and discovers sex, love, and ambition, what has seemed bound together begins to drift apart: Mimi’s mother from her reclusive sister, Ruth; her damaged brother Tommy from his family and son; and the community itself, menaced by the lingering presence of government officials. As Mimi looks back on the past, she comes to understand that her family and her town itself may always have been destined to disappear.
Anna Quindlen’s stunning new novel is a masterly study of family, memory, loss, and, ultimately, discovery and finding home. Miller’s Valley reminds us that the place where you grew up can disappear, and the people in it too, but all will live on in your heart forever (annaquindlen.net)

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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

THE WONDER, BY EMMA DONOGHUE

BOOK DISCUSSION DATE AND TIME: 

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 13th, 2017, AT 2:00 P.M.

A village in 1850s Ireland is mystified by what appears to be a miracle--a little girl seems to be thriving after months without food. An English nurse and an international journalist try to get to the root of why the child may actually be the victim of murder in this psychological thriller. (NovelistPlus)

REQUEST A COPY OF THE BOOK 

VISIT EMMA DONOGHUE'S WEBSITE 

 VIEW A READING GUIDE PREPARED BY THE LIBRARY STAFF

:
/* Starred Review */ An English nurse confronts Irish history and entrenched prejudices—some of them hers—in this stinging latest from Donoghue  (Frog Music, 2014, etc.).Lib Wright has survived the Crimean War and a failed marriage by the time she's summoned to central Ireland to watch over 11-year-old Anna O'Donnell, whose parents claim she has eaten no food in four months. The girl's physician, Dr. McBrearty, and a committee of local bigwigs have hired Lib and a nun to provide round-the-clock surveillance. Lib quickly realizes that Dr. McBrearty, at least, is weirdly anxious to prove the girl's fast is no hoax, even if he deplores loose talk of a miracle. An advocate of the scientific nursing principles preached by Florence Nightingale, Lib has nothing but contempt for such an absurd idea. Yet she is charmed by Anna, as whip-smart as she is pious, and alarmed when the girl's surprisingly robust health begins to falter shortly after the nurses' watch begins. Clearly someone has been feeding Anna until now, but it's also clear she believes she has eaten nothing. Lib's solution of this riddle says nothing good about provincial Irish society in the mid-19th century, seen through her eyes as sexist, abusive, and riddled with ridiculous superstitions. Irish Times correspondent William Byrne counters with a scathing analysis of the recent potato famine, angrily instructing this blinkered Englishwoman in her nation's culpability for mass starvation as well as the centuries of repression that have made the Irish a defensive, backward people. Nonetheless, nothing can excuse the wall of denial Lib slams into as she desperately tries to get Anna's parents and the committee even to acknowledge how sick the child is. The story's resolution seems like pure wish fulfillment, but vivid, tender scenes between Lib and Anna, coupled with the pleasing romance that springs up between feisty Lib and the appreciative Byrne, will incline most readers to grant Donoghue  her tentative happy ending. Her contemporary thriller Room (2010) made the author an international bestseller, but this gripping tale offers a welcome reminder that her historical fiction is equally fine.(Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2016)

 


 

Monday, December 5, 2016

VINEGAR GIRL, BY ANNE TYLER

Vinegar Girl: the Taming of the Shrew Retold, by Anne Tyler

Book discussion date and time: Monday, January 9, 2017, at 2:00 P.M. 


Thursday, November 17, 2016

Thirteen Ways of Looking, by Colum McCann

BOOK DISCUSSION DATE AND TIME:
 MONDAY, DECEMBER 5, 2016, AT 1:00 P.M. 




Four unforgettable stories by the author of Let the Great World Spin, and winner of The National Book Award.  In the exuberant title novella, a retired judge reflects on his life’s work, unaware as he goes about his daily routines that this particular morning will be his last. In “Sh’khol,” a mother spending Christmas alone with her son confronts the unthinkable when he disappears while swimming off the coast near their home in Ireland. In “Treaty,” an elderly nun catches a snippet of a news report in which it is revealed that the man who once kidnapped and brutalized her is alive, masquerading as an agent of peace. And in “What Time Is It Now, Where You Are?” a writer constructs a story about a Marine in Afghanistan calling home on New Year’s Eve.  
 

Monday, September 26, 2016

THE INVENTION OF WINGS, BY SUE MONK KIDD

BOOK DISCUSSION DATE AND TIME: MONDAY, OCTOBER 31, 2016, AT 2:00 P.M.

Sarah Grimké was an actual early abolitionist and feminist whose upbringing in a slaveholding Southern family made her voice particularly controversial. Kidd re-imagines Sarah's life in tandem with that of a slave in the Grimké household. In 1803, 11-year-old Sarah receives a slave as her birthday present from her wealthy Charleston parents. Called Hetty by the whites, Handful is just what her name implies--sharp tongued and spirited. Precocious Sarah is horrified at the idea of owning a slave but is given no choice by her mother, a conventional Southern woman of her time who is not evil but accepts slavery (and the dehumanizing cruelties that go along with it) as a God-given right.


Thursday, September 22, 2016

THE ODD WOMAN AND THE CITY, BY VIVIAN GORNICK

BOOK DISCUSSION DATE AND TIME:
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2016 AT 2:00 P.M.

"A contentious, deeply moving ode to friendship, love, and urban life in the spirit of Fierce Attachments A memoir of self-discovery and the dilemma of connection in our time, The Odd Woman and the City explores the rhythms, chance encounters, and ever-changing friendships of urban life that forge the sensibility of a fiercely independent woman who has lived out her conflicts, not her fantasies, in a city (New York) that has done the same. Running steadily through the book is Vivian Gornick's exchange of more than twenty years with Leonard, a gay man who is sophisticated about his own unhappiness, whose friendship has "shed more light on the mysterious nature of ordinary human relations than has any other intimacy" she has known. The exchange between Gornick and Leonard acts as a Greek chorus to the main action of the narrator's continual engagement on the street with grocers, derelicts, and doormen; people on the bus, cross-dressers on the corner, and acquaintances by the handful. In Leonard she sees herself reflected plain; out on the street she makes sense of what she sees. Written as a narrative collage that includes meditative pieces on the making of a modern feminist, the role of the flaneur in urban literature, and the evolution of friendship over the past two centuries, The Odd Woman and the City beautifully bookends Gornick's acclaimed Fierce Attachments, in which we first encountered her rich relationship with the ultimate metropolis"-- Provided by publisher.