I am excited to be a part of a book club again. We are reading The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman. I am almost finished with it. We meet next Tuesday, and I am anxious to hear what everyone has to say about the story.
The Buddha in the Attic.
by Julie Otsuka
Finalist for the 2011 National Book Award
Julie Otsuka’s long awaited follow-up to When the Emperor Was Divine (“To watch Emperor catching on with teachers and students in vast numbers is to grasp what must have happened at the outset for novels like Lord of the Flies and To Kill a Mockingbird” --The New York Times) is a tour de force of economy and precision, a novel that tells the story of a group of young women brought over from Japan to San Francisco as ‘picture brides’ nearly a century ago.
In eight incantatory sections, The Buddha in the Attic traces their extraordinary lives, from their arduous journey by boat, where they exchange photographs of their husbands, imagining uncertain futures in an unknown land; to their arrival in San Francisco and their tremulous first nights as new wives; to their backbreaking work picking fruit in the fields and scrubbing the floors of white women; to their struggles to master a new language and a new culture; to their experiences in childbirth, and then as mothers, raising children who will ultimately reject their heritage and their history; to the deracinating arrival of war.
In language that has the force and the fury of poetry, Julie Otsuka has written a singularly spellbinding novel about the American dream.
Link for Book Club Questions:
We haven't selected any books to read since November. I will keep you updated if things change.
I can't believe that it has been this long since I updated the website! My eye surgery really threw me for a loop!
We had a great meeting last Thursday. I think we have zeroed in on our core group, the ones that attend regularly and are interested in participating with the blankets, books, etc. We made a joint decision to "clean up" the e-mail list and I will be doing that this week.
We also decided to give the book club a short break. We usually don't read a book in December anyway, so we will talk about it again in January. The comments were:
We don't read books in July and December, so I think these suggestions will probably work. I guess we will find out in January.
Our other topic was the December meeting. We decided to meet at a restaurant instead of a big dinner here. The third Thursday is so close to Christmas that we decided to meet on the second Thursday, December 13. More details on that in the Knots Knews Blog.
Then we watched the movie. We popped popcorn and had freshly roasted pumpkin seeds that Cheri brought. Delicious!! To me, the movie seemed dated. Some movies hold up over time, but I thought this one didn't. Harrison Ford was so monotonous, the courtroom scenes were a little unrealistic (leading the witness), and I did find lots of changes from the book. I also liked the book ending better. That being said, I think it was an OK movie and I am glad that we watched it. It was a fun thing to do. The only problem is that we started it later than planned, and our meeting ended very late. We didn't talk about it too much because everyone was ready to get home. We all remembered parts of the book in different ways. Anyway, I thought it was a fun thing to do.
I am so proud of our group and the fact that we have stayed together this long. I think we will have renewed energy in January and will start the new year ready to make blankets and set our goals for the year. Hopefully we will also have some good book recommendations. See you in December!!
From Publishers Weekly - Chicago defense attorney Turow, formerly a U.S. prosecutor, capitalizes on his intimate knowledge of the courtroom in an impressive first novel that matches Anatomy of a Murder in its intensity and verisimilitude. With the calculating genius of a good lawyer (and writer), Turow, author of the nonfiction One L, draws the reader into a grittily realistic portrait of big city political corruption that climaxes with a dramatic murder trial in which every dark twist of legal statute and human nature is convincingly revealed. The novel's present tense puts the reader firmly in the mind of narrator Rusty Sabich, a married prosecuting attorney whose affair with a colleague comes back to haunt him after she is brutally raped and murdered. Sabich's professional and personal lives begin to mingle painfully when he becomes the accused. His is a gripping and provocative dilemma: "Sitting in court, I actually forget who is on trial at certain moments. . . . And once we get back to the office, I can be a lawyer again, attacking the books, making notes and memos." Turow's ability to forge the reader's identification with the protagonist, his insightful characterizations of Sabich's legal colleagues and the overwhelming sense he conveys of being present in the courtroom are his most brilliant and satisfying contributions to what may become a literary crime classic.
Review "A grabber to the end… a mystery, a law-courtroom drama, a suspense story and more." --Cincinnati Post
"Replac[es] the usual array of cardboard motives with full-blooded, complex passions." --Newsweek
"This one will keep you up at nights, engrossed and charged with adrenaline." --People
From Publishers Weekly
Compellingly original in its conceit, Brennert's sweeping debut novel tracks the grim struggle of a Hawaiian woman who contracts leprosy as a child in Honolulu during the 1890s and is deported to the island of Moloka'i, where she grows to adulthood at the quarantined settlement of Kalaupapa. Rachel Kalama is the plucky, seven-year-old heroine whose family is devastated when first her uncle Pono and then she develop leprous sores and are quarantined with the disease. While Rachel's symptoms remain mild during her youth, she watches others her age dying from the disease in near total isolation from family and friends. Rachel finds happiness when she meets Kenji Utagawa, a fellow leprosy victim whose illness brings shame on his Japanese family. After a tender courtship, Rachel and Kenji marry and have a daughter, but the birth of their healthy baby brings as much grief as joy, when they must give her up for adoption to prevent infection. The couple cope with the loss of their daughter and settle into a productive working life until Kenji tries to stop a quarantined U.S. soldier from beating up his girlfriend and is tragically killed in the subsequent fight. The poignant concluding chapters portray Rachel's final years after sulfa drugs are discovered as a cure, leaving her free to abandon Moloka'i and seek out her family and daughter. Brennert's compassion makes Rachel a memorable character, and his smooth storytelling vividly brings early 20th-century Hawaii to life. Leprosy may seem a macabre subject, but Brennert transforms the material into a touching, lovely account of a woman's journey as she rises above the limitations of a devastating illness. Review “A dazzling historical novel.”--The Washington Post
“Moloka’iis a haunting story of tragedy in a Pacific paradise.”--Robert Morgan, author of Gap Creek“Alan Brennert draws on historical accounts of Kalaupapa and weaves in traditional Hawaiian stories and customs.... Moloka’iis the story of people who had much taken from them but also gained an unexpected new family and community in the process.”--Chicago Tribune
Author information and website:
There are no notes :) No one read the book, and we spent all of our time talking about various trips and activities during the summer.
I think we will probably decide that an August book is not necessary. We all have a lot to catch up on by the time we get together in August.
The book discussion was hilarious!!!! First of all, many people called to say they couldn't come to the meeting. Two people at the meeting didn't read the book, so that left only three of us that read it. We all read it over a month ago and have read other books since then.
Cheri started reading the first question, and it had so many character names in it that I couldn't even remember who was who. Amy must have remembered because she started answering the question. About halfway through, I asked something about who the characters were in the question. We got through that one, but we weren't really sure if we were correct about who was who. By the second question (extremely long, long questions with lots of character names in them) I was lost. We never could figure out who one of the characters in the question was, Cheri kept getting it mixed up with another book that she was reading, Amy couldn't remember who "Aimee" was in the book (neither could we). By this time, the other two - mom and Cindy - were looking at us like they were wondering if we had really read the book. We were laughing so hard that we couldn't talk, and we were each offering suggestions about who we though was who. None of us ever got it settled or ever answered the second question.
If you read the book, you know that there were a lot of characters, and that it switched chapters from who was telling the story to the time it was taking place - back and forth from past to future with some of the same characters in both past and present.
We were all laughing so hard that we never progressed past that point. I wish we had taped it for YouTube. It was VERY funny! Maybe you had to be there . . . but it was VERY funny!!!
Hope everyone has a great summer. We will meet in August on Thursday the 16th. Sounds like most of us will have a trip to share - seems like everyone has been traveling a lot. These are the trips that I know of: Amy went to the Hamptons and New York City, Cheri visited 17 states in 18 days, Sherry J. has been to Ca. and Ga. since we last saw her, Rachael is taking an RV trip to the Grand Canyon, Cindy is attending many weddings all over the country, Tanya went to Italy and Disneyland, Lisa had hip surgery, Diane is going home from rehab, Martha is going with her family on a Carribean cruise, Lisa went to Ca. (although I haven't seen or heard from her in a while) and I am leaving for our river cruise in the south of France in July.
The August book is posted on the website.
Some art projects are posted on Bien Dans Sa Peau Page. I am going to continue taking an art "lesson" from Pinot's probably about once a month. I enjoy it and I am learning more and gaining confidence in painting. They are getting ready to open a Memorial City store on Kingsride. I would love to have someone join me. The next one I am going to try is on Sunday, July 8 during the afternoon. I haven't signed up for it yet because it is the Sunday before we leave on our trip and I want to make sure I am ready for the trip first.
If that one doesn't work for you, there will be other opportunities.
Anyone attending our August meeting will receive a little surprise from France. Hope to see you then!!
I like to think that I can't be described in a short paragraph. Some adjectives: curious, caring, kind, generous, excitable, motivated, emotional, fun, organized. What do you think? Claire