Family Ties that Bind & Gag

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

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 god of small things

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.

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