September 24, 2017 @ Sue’s with Mary, Liz, Viviane & Katie (oh, and Charlotte, the spider); we missed the rest of you!
Car Talk – north
- It’s legal to travel with alcohol in closed containers (relevant info while using the Brennan Always-a-Party Bus
- The One-Thing-After-Another for Viviane’s Family Saga – good news: all are safe, many while driving her a bit nuts –in the best way possible! – while staying at her house. Saga includes escaping socialism, Miami hurricane, Mexico City earthquake, & a 3-year-old in need of peers (and maybe a light saber)
- The value of unpaid internships. This is becoming the new topic to replace Schoolitics and Poolitics. (sadly, nothing seems to replace actual politics)
- No, don’t get on Rt. 70 to get to Sue’s. Really. Stay left. LEFT.
- Some of us blatantly ignore or accidentally-then-on-purpose ignore club rule 11828 about bringing our own towels (Liz, Katie). Others go above & beyond by wearing her suit (Viv).
- Paperwork: Vivian taking the test to become a US citizen (almost ready!). Kirstie & Canadian residency/citizenship. David moving to Baltimore (a girl, the commute).
Chit Chat @ Sue’s
- The WEATHER. Perfect. Warm, Long-lasting, gorgeous melon-ish pink sunset. NOT shivering at hot tub time. Drop the mic.
- The FOOD. Sue not only provided a book-themed, yummy dinner of Indian cuisine, she did the same for appetizers. Such an array of dips and flavors, etc. She’s been charged with providing her menu (i.e. Wegman’s shopping list) so we can recreate and ‘save ourselves a trip to an Indian restaurant.’
- Kudos to Liz for getting her fulltime-4-days-a-week position (those MFA-type people are not good at math) voted in – just today.
- Sue & Steve almost got a Florida second home to rent then relocate in 1 year (Sue)/4 years (Steve); more house hunting to come. Kudos to Sue for reaching 30 years & I Can Retire Anytime status.
- champagne for all of the above (well, barely more than a thimble for Wimp Katie and of course fizzy juice of another sort for Cheapest Date Mary)
- Who’s reading what? A brief interlude while Sue put finishing touches on super-yum dinner. Biggest rave: Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. For those seeking some mental fluff-that’s-not-vapid: Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham
- We did not talk about the Redskins. Or whatever you choose to call them. No, we did not.
- Word choices, Part A – What’s the word for adult children? Offspring is too stuffy. Heirs just sounds silly. Son & daughter work, but not as one-word aggregates if you’re kids are boy & girl. Spanish: hijos (includes both genders); French: just don’t say enfants after they turn ~17.
- Word choices, Part B – Language-less children (deaf & isolated) who have learned language late in childhood & only have the verb ‘think’ are less capable at paper-based thinking tasks (e.g. comprehension, conclusions, inference) than those who also have words like ‘remember,’ ‘believe,’ ‘wonder,’ etc. So…having more words to think about thinking makes one a better thinker. Oh, the brain!
- Poetry sucks. Poetry is awesome – it can take you so many places. Bob Dylan to baseball and beyond. PSA: song lyrics are poetry.
- The Emmy’s – yada yada yada. Oh, and what WILL the Oscars do this year? There are no good movies – yet. The movie industy plot thickens..
- English is crazy. Here’s a post-meeting addition to acknowledge that fact (& fulfill a request. ‘The Chaos’ poem by Gerard Nolst Trenité http://ncf.idallen.com/english.html
Hot Tub re-cap – Overall – so nice to not be shivering!!! That giant spider going up & down & up & down will do no harm. Creepy yet elegant. It’s Charlotte, right? Tiki torches, color-changing lights, awesome water jets at all stations. Ahhhh. A nearby farm’s recent spreading of the manure pile to fertilize fields? Not so great. Physics lesson: the hot tub steam really helps to effervesce that aroma. #farmlife New neighbors – fencing in for goats, chickens, horses, and emus. That’s how they do it from South Africa.
THE BOOK: The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
Viviane chose this book because Eva recommended it. All of us read (listened to) at least more than half. Only Viviane finished. The rest of us ran out of time (for the record – chasing your book from here to NC to the library actually does not count as an excuse; napping does) OR chose to stop b/c…
- It was just so dang bleak. And it was next to impossible to truly care about the characters – at least enough to want to read the full details of Sophie’s &/or everyone else’s demise
- No real plot. Well, not one with any pace or appealing rhythm. Yes, stuff happens, but it’s all at the end. And it requires slogging through some very, very dense and swirly and sloggy stream-of -consciousness from pretty much all characters.
- Don’t care how somebody eats a mango the 39th time… As in: the blurb is so much better than the ‘agonizing uncoiling’ of events.
- GORGEOUS writing abilities.
- Poetic and crystal clear in small spots
- Such clever wordplay: kid-centric mash ups ‘sourmetal smell’, All Capital Letters for Emphasis, Re-Returning
- Conveying the surreal twin-connectedness – sometimes with actual whimsy
- So many layers – family roles & rebellion, caste system, modern Indian history/politics, abuse & impacts…but less intricate interplay than jumble of perspectives
- Listening with accents and all the unfamiliar (and oft similar) names – a challenge
- We forgot to discuss the title. Is it good? What could be better?
- The Big Reveals in the final chapter – too much, too late: affair, incest, murder/cover up.
- It won the Booker because it’s depressing and because reviewers want ‘artsy’ (are they bored with clarity?). Okay, okay…the writing is quite good in stretches.
Car Talk – south
- Kudos to Mary for driving the Giant SUV all the way home.
- Yes, it’s still dark way out here in the country. Esp. with the little moon sliver. No, we don’t have to fork off. No, we don’t recall/know how or why or if that bridge thing was higher on one side or even there last time.
- Who hosts in October? Katie? Liz will set straight.
- No November host/book picker. So…do we need another member? Who? Or can we devise a Random Title Picking Game – played in November for our January read?
- Saving the World & Getting Pregnant On Time – <<brush with eugenics deleted>>
- Who’s working more now than they intended to be 3 years ago…and why? Center stage: Mary. Close 2nd: Liz.
- Term limits >>> limited discussion
- Home by 10:15-ish. Thank you and goodnight.
August 2017: We meet at China Gourmet because Hostess Viviane has newly-freed birds of a feather coming to rest in her nest. Hooray & Amen!
All attending, save Sue. We missed you, Sue!
Houston, oh, Houston. We wish you well.
Chatter, actually a round up of great & fun news (shared w/ varying levels enthusiasm):
- the GOOD Harvey photos (Karen S’s grandson); middle name (Daniel), anyone???
- Kitty & the vegan wedding – a few plans not planned, but a grand result overall
- It’s raining jobs on Liz. It’s a tricky wicket.
- Karen C. is fully finished. Her perfect position is coming; bridge consulting gig ok
- Katie enjoyed the Project Run ALS events in NYC & beach (anyone wanna learn more or donate: https://fundraise.projectals.org/campaign/project-run/c123999
- Marie’s Robert’s girlfriend and co-condo owner is adorbs; they’re so happy!
- Mary’s Michael is ensconced in his fancy (?) NYC digs > he has a full BR wall!
- Shelley spilled everything (or was on the receiving end) and her hair remained perfect – as usual
- Viviane trumps all – we toasted to new life & freedom
After the great Zucchini Confusion we did a rather efficient job ordering delish entrees for all to share (including all food-etarian needs). Brilliant split of checks by booze and food, Liz. And Karen S for bringing Order By Number to the fore. Hooray for Lazy Susans (and the housemate of that lazy wench who invented the table spinner for us)
***NEWS*** The Official Chinese Menu Item is the Pineapple Triple Delight
The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
Karen C picked it because she’d read it, ‘her’ 2017 pick was swept out from under her (Hillbilly Elegy), it’s a classic, it’s easy to read on the beach.
- we liked it – it was the keystone for all witty repartee to follow
- the wordplay remains rather unique even today and the ironic twists, too
- intelligent banter movies & sitcoms owe this one (Philadelphia Story, Big Bang Theory); the modern versions have more layers & subplots, but this play is why
- Shelley did scenes in HS & recalled them so well = Fun!
- Some of us have seen it. Others heard it while reading (in a good, non-hallucinatory way). Others of us wished to be seeing it (over reading it) since SO much would be conveyed by skilled acting. Of course dialogue speed would be fierce, so reading first may be best after all
- now THIS is satire – such skewering of social norms and reversing of roles and vapidly astute (yes, really) changes of heart
- shout out for the pun: earnest/ernest
- Who knew of and who read the 4th act? Some of us. Definitely better without it. Good decision, Oscar
Dessert – Yummy chocolate cupcakes from Karen C’s neighbor who has a baking business with no name. With a chaser of Chinese Statement Cookies. Oddly amusing.
September Meeting @ Sue’s – most likely Sept. 23 or 24; book TBD (Viviane)
June 2017 Meeting @ Mary’s House
(small-but-mighty: Shelley, Liz, Karen C., Mary, Yours Truly)
- The Parkwood Res. Assoc. approves a Little Free Library (the $$$, too; nice one, Liz)
- stealing vs. taking without permission vs. absconding (Liz wants Mary’s glider)
- Grace C’s vocal chord spasm>steroids (Dr. Mom Team diagnosis+cure; drop the stethoscope)
- dog watching: running/borrowing Maisie, Matt’s in Greece (how long until Liz & Tim also own a dog?)
- good vs. legitimate reasons for missing book club – yes, there’s a difference
- 4th graders free in national parks – who scams the system? do park rangers care? if you can do it, it’s so worth it! Ask Karen C. for tips
- appreciating Mary’s and Kevin’s big backyard & access way
- small town moment: customer phone locked in at Sunflower’s; Ron just gives store key (Shelley was NOT leaving the meeting for such nonsense)
- crazy names: Precious, the hyphenated Queen sisters, etc. & names that simply cannot make a comeback (Mabel, anyone?)
- Karen C – a deluge of pink slips at over-reaching office; may the odds be in her favor, eventually (who wants to give up working at/from home?)
- email vs. verbal communication: who can/will read vs. who is lazy or perhaps avoiding the efficiency/specificity of writing it all down & responding
- swim team socials: keep it simple (or suffer). Do NOT ask Karen C. for tips.
- Writing a book: Volunteer Snafus. Chapter 1: the craft closet
- NYC – Michael Sing-Kirchner and his rental broker
- Firefly – no sleeping plan, but at least a sleeping bag? And change of clothes?
- Praise for Mary’s carrot salad! (started by Liz-who-hates-veggies)
- Kirstie is staying in Canada with a Big New Promotion: Director. Not bad, eh?
- Did some people miss book club b/c the book ‘scared’ them? (one person’s concern)
THE BOOK: Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Liz picked the book because:
- Return to original goal of this club: read what you’d not otherwise pick for just yourself (classics/supposed to, different genre, etc.)
- Has her mom’s copy of the book from her old book shop jaunts with old boyfriend
- It’s on David’s List (son); he read it and did not seem to hate it
- very modern tone, pace and voice – how did Huxley do that from 1931?
- ‘1984’ usurped this title from most of our HS reading lists – a shame, really
- for the record: pneumatic means plump-ish (but not really)
- the new terms were fun; for the new-to-us terms, some of us wanted dictionaries
- story’s emphasis on different head sizes – was it a reflection of Huxley’s oddly large one? or just the clearest way to display genetic meddling
- Huxley visited the US in the post-WWI era; he found the society to be vapid…this showed up here, for sure
- genetics – pretty sophisticated prognosticating
- world building – so clever, but took some careful reading to get the full parameters; no spoon feeding of the reader, here (intentional? unlike the spoon-fed masses in the book? probably)
- The Savage (also, Christ figure): only person who could think for himself and had fairly even (depth, not time) exposure to Shakespeare, Native culture, traditional religion, and Society
- Head Controller also could think for himself; he chose power over autonomy (Savage did the opposite) – unfortunate choice (plot) that the Savage suffered while HC seemed not to…
- “Economy of Happy” – but is numb/middle-of-the-road the same as happy? no pain/no passion was the goal – was it working? maybe* (esp. with the pressure relieving islands for those who would not accept lack of individuality)
- *IF you ignore the soma addictions
- Ford/God – fun and prescient pun (at least in terms of automation-of-all)
- more predictive genius: media frenzy, paparazzi, fan-damonium, cruelty of public opinion/mob-induced-by-media
- was it racist? did the lower castes also all have dark skin?
- Names were fun puns: Lenina, Bernardo Marx
- was it more fun to discuss than read? 50/50 for some, yes for others
- Recommended: Huxley’s follow up (non-fiction); some books had it included
Mary’s July book pick: Circle the Sun by Paula McLain
Meeting at Karen C’s on Thursday, 7/20 at 7:20 – b/c we are just that clever.
May 31, 2017 @ Liz’s
(missing Mary; spewing ‘friendly invectives’ at Viviane for late cancel>>No Salad Crisis)
Chatter (Or w/all the good news, should this be Snaps?):
- Karen S: Christopher’s graduation & Montana trip!!! New grandbaby, Harvey!!! Bro married significant other of 16 years!!! Drop. The. Mic.
- Sue’s Utah trip. Pictures for miles! Almost too much to absorb. AND she resolved the No Salad Crisis!
- Karen C: passed all 4 CPA exams; hours done by end of June!!
- Kitty’s wedding news!! June 10th!! Getting ready: a repeat of worked with Barry (DC JP); uncomfy-yet-gorgeous shoes; vegan receptions require music…and alcohol
- Liz’s Savannah Wedding Adventure – location, food stations (fried chicken, shrimp & grits), DJ (better than live), so much dancing!
- New baby stuff – Bootleg gift to Karen S (The Story Book Knight + gift card); the new stuff is tricky but awesome…old car seat & stroller woes
- holding babies (infants): some of us love and some of us defer; point to ponder: wet nurse as ‘career choice’ (long ago…not now, silly)
- Our Wedding Stories – Marie’s drunk, sunburnt guests & JP @ Quaker Meeting House; Katie’s fainting & fab reception; Liz’s judge (Catholic/Jewish)>>Unitarian Church on Cedar Ln; Shelley’s Catalina Island & Ron’s white jeans w/Hawaiian shirt; Kitty (see above); anyone else?
- paper towels in lieu of napkins: grocery store faux pas or themed décor?
- Mountain Dew as center piece (nice one, Marie)
The Book: Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance
Shelley picked this book because:
- At the April meeting Marie mentioned a book and Vivian said something like, “I’m foreign & I know only a certain type of American.” This book presented something very un-20895. (If only Viv had been here…)
- Shelley’s mom’s husband started out a hillbilly and rose to mega success. The potential parallel was of interest.
- Some of us had childhoods with some similarities or had parents who lived this kind of life (albeit not in the same location) – so for some, this book was off-putting and for others it was intriguing/familiar; for others it was just alien
- sounds like Pat Conroy: sharing ‘his people’ and some similar milestones of personal development
- not stark, not lyrical; more family memoir than dense non-fiction sociological treatise = overall style engaging (or at least easy) to read
- the family had $100,000/year and still lived in disarray and squalor? It’s expensive to clean up civil & social fallout of addicts
- Vance’s point seems to be you can bootstrap and somewhere along the line it works thanks to important moments with key people (math at the table, books in the house, another place to stay)
- socio-economic status is major (less so than culture) & access to/use of education
- military = a saving grace
- surveys: totally bunk? usually the questions are so poorly structured, so YES
- some contentious exchanges on purpose or perceived tone of book – it seemed to boil down to how much anyone thought Vance was trying to push his personal experience and/or philosophy as a solution (as opposed to relaying his story). And if we liked/understood/abhorred what seemed to be his suggested solution options.
- enabling vs. enriching = the ultimate tricky balance when trying to help somebody (both personal and social program-wise)
- Is housing aid working? What about if public funds go to helping people move to where jobs are? Would they go?
- reminded some of us of The Glass Castle – (theme of using whatever you can to get ‘there’)…but not nearly so literary
- Marie shared Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) Questionnaire and Resilience Questionnaire. Some did not see themselves at all. Others saw self or parent with very high scores on both.
- agreement: the solution is closer to home than within top-heavy government; more community, less impersonal policy
Next Meeting: Mary’s house; Tuesday, June 27th at 7:15
Liz’s Pick: A Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
April 2017 Meeting @ Shelley’s House (we miss you, Karen C…)
- Liz’s NC property woes (wood rot)
- Day of the Book – good crowds, less well-known authors, lots of fantasy & kid books, Read to a Dog station, Poetry Tent (packed all day…who knew?), music
- Bethesda Lit Festival as Competition – meh: all indoors, spread out, 3 days, not family fun (true literati only?)
- T-shirts: self-printing iron-on = yes! w/a brief ‘remember when’ nod to puffy paint
- Velcro on the fireplace remote: Ron B Designs – available for hire (if you dare)
- Move stacks of wood or go to the gym = equal options (less driving for wood…)
- chimney sweeps – bad reps (except for Bert); yet needed 1x per decade, please…
- Viviane’s wrist PT: ‘distraction’ = LYING! SO painful. When the PT switches to Spanish you know the pain is coming. Marie concurs (for English-only), too.
- LONG DIVERSION – innocent start: Karen S, is there baby news? All too soon: Red Tent 2.0… we all have a story or two or more (and some TMI tendencies)
- Mary’s brother’s well engineered marching sign…weatherproof, too!
- wedding blues – Kitty’s daughter’s new mom-in-law WILL NOT host rehearsal dinner…bucking protocol not acceptable (wait…is she more Bootleg than we are?)
- Shelley’s ravioli spinach alfredo – a surprisingly light and delish delight! Ditto on Marie’s mini cheesecakes and hand-dipped strawberries. yum.
- Viviane and Shelley: founders of the George Clooney is Meh Club
The BOOK: The Possibilities by Kaui Hart Hemmings
Marie picked it because she was looking for library-available books. She liked The Descendants and the light and frothy Hemmings title was not available. Decided this was an okay option (beyond availability) because several Bootleggers are having hard times and this was a ‘meet you where you are in hard times’ book…maybe more of a fit for these moods/states of mind than something silly.
- a very real and close look at one version of grief
- unimaginable situation for parent – some of us ‘didn’t really want to go there’
- appealing characters and easy to connect with or at least recognize as ‘real’
- dialogue had nice flow; ditto speech mannerisms
- noticeably low on physical descriptions; Billy & Kit had a bit than others (this was preferred by most)
- Sarah’s return to work scenes were painful, real, amusing – Hemmings either knows that biz or interviewed somebody in it (NOTE to Jane Smiley: that’s how you do satire)
- Sarah’s dad: quirky funny mix of real Dad Behavior + solid albeit skinny thread of retirement choices theme
- some/many of the scenes/encounters were quite amusing, realistic or both
- some of us did not like being in main character’s head – esp. for so long
- book plot and ‘something else’ kind of fell apart at the 7/8 mark
- though some thought the ending was very good (go home and consult with your actual family about what to do)
- 1 (maybe more) suggested the ‘real’ problem – parental grief – was waylaid by the baby discussions; the first topic was sufficient for a book (and was not well resolved by the change of focus)
- too much drama of all sorts
- sex scenes were bad/dumb/purposeless and skip-worthy
- the slow roll out of Cully’s dad (Billy) as a solid person, good father was well done over the course of the book; nice, comforting thread
- parallels between Kit’s and Sarah’s lives were a bit too convenient
- the setting was not a character, but it was so key (in many good ways) to character arcs and plot points
- Suzanne and Sarah – their friendship had strong points, but was odd in some ways…and why did Sarah have to keep saying how it was almost a point of pride that neither of them expressed their true positive feelings for each other?
- some of us agreed this was written to become a movie; it rang falsely…not coming from the heart
NEXT BOOK: Hillbilly Elegy (Shelley’s pick; she has 4 copies to share)
NEXT MEETING: 7:!5 on May 31st @ Liz’s (who never would assign herself May…)
March 2017 @ Marie’s House
(missing Mary/work; Karen C/family; Viviane/broken wrist!)
special guest: Kitty’s sister, Margaret (don’t even think ‘Peggy’)
- dogs: familiarity, control (or not); poor Viviane
- visiting adults kids & vice versa – there’s some calculus about the farther away they live the more you see them
- Shelley is a neat reader; does she wear gloves? sit in a bubble? with perfect posture? (full disclosure: she re-sells her books)
- young adult kids & driving in major snow storms – they all do it at least once
- Katelyn’s hotel room in Bethlehem, PA was sold out from under her…no room
- redemption movies: ugh. too much pain for the 10 minutes of relief
- Katie tuned out a bunch of Hollywood Bad Behavior – blah, blah, blah
- Kitty in the Hot Seat: telling her sister what each of us does (in life and for a living). She was not batting 1.000. But it was fun
- Babies/grand babies: people, just add 3 weeks to the due date (but have a bag packed)
- good books don’t always engender good discussion & vice versa, for sure
- favorite: when bad book engenders good chat
- Sue & Steve doing Grand Tour of Utah in May: they are the best travelers
- DNA Genealogy test: Liz, Marie, Shelley, Kitty, Margaret. Apparently it’s a thing.
- Marie had a toast for us. Actually, it was to honor Katie’s dad (he died March 11). Not a dry eye. Read it; you’ll be happy (well, and crying) that you did. Here you go:
The Book: Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
Kitty picked it because:
- Her sister (and our guest) had suggested it a while back. Kitty liked it.
- The recent HBO series reminded her of it.
- ~98% of us read it
- overall: interesting; light, easy page-turner; our genre title: ‘heavy chick lit’
- also: Real Housewives of Australia (was it Melbourne?) – some of his were entertained by the drama/snark & others not quite so much
- author did NOT over-reveal; clues were doled out with some finesse
- Jane’s reason for going to PP in the first place = particularly satisfying
- main gimmick (who died? how?) was engaging/appealing
- clever chapter format: the point of view changes and the police interview quips
- title was good – so many layers
- each character had a reasonable-to-realistic mix of good & bad
- helicopter parenting – bitingly accurate portrayal
- realistic men, for the most part; for the record, we like Ed best
- Mrs. Ponder – not really necessary, but we’re glad she was there
- subtle wording made some of us wonder: did Perry decide to let go when Bonnie pushed him? his ‘perfect’ life was gone… & would such an athlete really go over so easily or die from a 2nd story fall?
April Meeting: Shelley’s
Marie’s book pick: “The Possibilities” by Kaui Hart Hemmings.
January 2017 @ Karen S’s with everyone but Karen C. (she’ll be back!)
Snow earlier today, but no major storm. A variation on the Storm Theme of recent years.
Neighborly News: Hardware City closing in March (maybe Strosniders coming); Town Planning for empty gas station & Savannah’s = zippo; so many fails at the Frankly Pizza site (but it’s holding); Dish & Dram = new winner (3 pm Happy Hour->KP Moms can hang to 4:15 then meet the bus)
Sue: GRAND BABY GIRL DUE IN JUNE! So fun!
Kitty: Madeline getting MARRIED June 10 @ JP + Union Station Party
Choosing last names – who, how, why???
Aging well: Mary’s mom (99), Sue’s aunt (98)
THE BOOK: Elephant Company: The Inspiring Story of an Unlikely Hero and the Animals Who Helped Him Save Lives in World War II by Vicki Croke
Katie picked it because:
– craving nonfiction
– loves elephants
– despite being wary of yet another WWII theme/setting, this was so unique >> risked it
- we underestimated elephants before this book (or at least Asians)
- we want it to be a movie!
- some patches of writing were ‘fact listing’ and the start was a bit slow while the end seemed a bit rushed – perhaps the pacing was impacted by whether or not Croke had detailed/extensive primary sources…after all, this is not a novel (though it almost reads as one)
- SO HEROIC – the people (all of them) and the elephants. Wow.
- Why so much PR on this being a WWII book? It’s so, so much more.
- Wife Susan was just so cool in the face of the lifestyle & jungle realities (early training with wacky uncle poppy)
- curmudgeonly mentor relationship – well wrought & ‘entertaining’
- the return to England = another fascinating chapter
- relationship with Burmese elephant handler and the layers of reality/hardship of the handlers = so well handled by Croke
- Oh-So-British: the teas, the cutlery, the protocols for everything
- priority: keep it all streamlined & healthy for the benefit of the ELEPHANTS
- relationship between people and elephants = so nicely revealed
- his running his hands over elephants to analyze/diagnose them was so organic, advanced and impressively right
- we liked it!
So disappointing to end such a great discussion with The Stupidest Conversation Ever: Ryan Reynolds/Ryan Gosling, twins or not? [NOT!]
Next Meeting: Kitty’s / Karen S’s book
…and the top THREE most popular books of 2016 are (drumroll)
[10 total voters]
- The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks with 6 votes
- A Bear, Backpack & Eight Cases of Vodka with 6 votes (& 1 el stinko)
- The Children Act with 5 votes
EL STINKO: Ten Days in the Hills with a whopping 4
November 2016 @ China Gourmet – our big night out!
Shelley, Liz, Mary, Marie, Kitty, & Yours Truly
Pre Chat: Lots of catching up & empathy on family health issues…some rather TBD (Katie’s dad), some impressively & lightheartedly long-lived (Mary’s mom), and some a bit icky and fortunately short-acting (Liz’s offspring).
Oh, the conundrum of menu narrowing & entrée selection. We prevailed. Deliciously. After the waitress checked on us – oh so nicely – 3x!
Book Talk: Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger
Shelley picked it by perusing reviews & noting the setting is 1961 (birth year). Impressions & Inputs:
- some trouble with suspension of disbelief since one 13-year-old boy, Frank, was responsible for so many key decisions that impacted so many people over a long-ish period of time
- The Bartender’s Tale had charm & grim reality; this was just pretty bleak, overall…it needed more quirky, a few more twists of flat-out crazy, or shots of levity
- we hated Doyle for good reason
- we mostly disliked the mom Ruth, too (shallow, selfish, living in the past & rather a stage mom)
- Jake = very likeable and realistic
- Nathan’s/Dad’s job as pastor made it reasonable that this family would know so much about so many situations
- Warren – intriguingly bitter
- the concept of grace was handled deftly in terms of showing a realistic span of how different people try to live, share, display grace
- pastor: ignore/damp down war PTSD; keep calm & carry on
- Jake: allowing others to ignore/deride him – to a point; kind to himself
- also a good job showing poor examples (boyfriend’s parents)
DESSERT: Thanks to Hege, we had SUPER YUMMY Norwegian chocolate. So thoughtful. AND she sent us ‘Literary Listography – My Reading Life in Lists.’
The first list is My Top 20 Most Beloved Books. So let’s do this…
Leave a comment with your utmost BELOVED BOOK.
Next Meeting: The Holiday TEA Party @ Liz’s
Sunday, December 11th 2:30-5:30.
Bring bubbly & a smashingly posh & delish nibble to share.
January book: Katie’s pick tba. Location tba.
Bootleg September 2016 @ Viviane’s House – ALL in ATTENDANCE!!!
Daily Life (Chatter)
- National Book Festival in DC (Liz & Sue): Stephen King, Richard Russo, signings, lines, fun, dinner
- …AND they bought 3 mom-of-groom dresses (Nordstrom!)
- Sue’s dress photo (none of the above) – selected by Stacey; gorgeous!!!
- Mary got a new FLIP phone; she’s so FLEEK
- Karen S: June/Glacier; July/Capon Springs, WV; Aug/Canada; Sept/here…slumming
- Summer not over – humidity remains (Katie happy. Anyone else?)
- Driving in super heavy rain = bad. Whiteout fog? Worse.
- Kirstie (Shelley’s int’l worker bee): Snap Chat Queen of Toronto, among other things
- Karen S’s boys – all appear to be walking on sunshine
Surreal Life (Deeper Chatter)
- Katie – updated on Dad (he survived pneumonia; time to address tumor again, soon)
- Viviane – her sister could leave Venezuela as soon as niece is legal resident of Canada! [more below]
Dinner Conversation – all seated at the lovely table
- pumpkin ravioli – yum! (it’s STILL not full-on autumn, though)
- long update on the situation in Venezuela: disappeared people, stress (but lying about it), hunger, shortages, fear…WTF?
- recommended reads: The Emperor of All Maladies (Viviane), Persepolis [graphic novel] (Kitty), The Invoice (Katie)
Book Talk: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
Karen Castle picked it because she owned it (from her mom who also recommended it).
- – it was surreal for Katie to be reading it while seeing the Bromo Seltzer tower & trying to keep Dad alive (cancer, etc.)
- – so many ethical breeches clear with modern era hindsight!
- – as much about the Lacks family as the evolution of research ethics and informed consent
- -Skloot did a masterful job of simplifying but not dumbing down the science
- – yes, Skloot became part of the story…but thank goodness she did…otherwise the Lacks family could STILL be in the dark about so much
- – Sue says audio version offers a fantastic interview with Skloot
- – Deborah’s attitude of ‘don’t take your anger into history’ was impressive and hard to imagine doing, but it’s how she survived and even improved
- it’d be nice for Hopkins to do something for at least a few Lacks family members (not sure what…but a lecture series does not seem quite enough)
- – Deborah finding out about her sister!!! Oh. My. Goodness. (and another gift from Skloot & that one doctor)
- – thank goodness for the researcher who finally showed the Lacks cells to Deb and her bro
- – Henrietta seemed to really have a special spark (even with ‘revisionist history/glowing memories’); did that actually connect to her super-powered telomeres in her cells???
NEXT BOOK: The Dinner by Herman Koch (Viviane’s pick)
NEXT MEETING: October 26 @ Shelley’s House (yes, a Wednesday)