Tuesday, March 18, 2008

April Book Selection

We will be reading Summer People for April. Our next book club meeting is April 14. We will be meeting at a restaurant this month. If you would like to suggest one, please leave it in the comment section!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Here are the books to choose from for our April selection.  Thanks to every one who made a suggestion!  The poll will close Monday at 5:00 PM.

Eat, Pray, Love
At the age of thirty-one, Gilbert moved with her husband to the suburbs of New York and began trying to get pregnant, only to realize that she wanted neither a child nor a husband. Three years later, after a protracted divorce, she embarked on a yearlong trip of recovery, with three main stops: Rome, for pleasure (mostly gustatory, with a special emphasis on gelato); an ashram outside of Mumbai, for spiritual searching; and Bali, for "balancing." These destinations are all on the beaten track, but Gilbert's exuberance and her self-deprecating humor enliven the proceedings: recalling the first time she attempted to speak directly to God, she says, "It was all I could do to stop myself from saying, 'I've always been a big fan of your work.'" 

Gods in Alabama
Arlene Fleet, the refreshingly imperfect heroine of Jackson's frank, appealing debut, launches her story with a list of the title's deities: "high school quarterbacks, trucks, big tits, and also Jesus." The first god, also a date rapist by the name of Jim Beverly, she left dead in her hometown of Possett, Ala., but the last she embraces wholeheartedly when high school graduation allows her to flee the South, the murder and her slutty reputation for a new life in Chicago. Upon leaving home, Arlene makes a bargain with God, promising to forgo sex, lies and a return home if he keeps Jim's body hidden. After nine years in Chicago as a truth-telling celibate, an unexpected visitor from home (in search of Jim Beverly) leads her to believe that God is slipping on his end of the deal. As Arlene heads for the Deep South with her African-American boyfriend, Burr, in tow, her secrets unfold in unsurprising but satisfying flashbacks. Jackson brings levity to familiar themes with a spirited take on the clichés of redneck Southern living: the Wal-Mart culture, the subtle and overt racism and the indignant religion. The novel concludes with a final, dramatic disclosure, though the payoff isn't the plot twist but rather Jackson's genuine affection for the people and places of Dixie.

Meg Powell and Carson McKay grew were raised side by side on their families’ farms, bonded by a love that only deepened. Everyone in their small rural community in northern Florida thought that Meg and Carson would always be together. But at twenty-one, Meg was presented with a marriage proposal she could not refuse, forever changing the course of her life.  Seventeen years later, Meg’s marriage has become routine, and she spends her time juggling the demands of her medical practice, the needs of her widowed father, and the whims of her rebellious teenage daughter, Savannah, who is confronting her burgeoning sexuality in a dangerous manner, and pushing her mother away just when she needs her most. Then, after a long absence, Carson returns home to prepare for his wedding to a younger woman. As Carson struggles to determine where his heart and future lie, Meg makes a shocking discovery that will upset the balance of everyone around her.  Unfolding with warmth and passion, Therese Fowler’s vibrant and moving debut illuminates the possibility of second chances, the naïve choices of youth, the tensions within families, and the wondrous designs of fate. A searing yet redemptive novel, Souvenir is an unforgettable tale about the transforming power of love.

Summer People
Nothing goes right for Nathan--at least not during his summer in old-money Maine. An aspiring graphic novelist, Nathan takes the job of caretaker for Ellen Broderick, a resplendent, delicate widow. Stationed at her vacation estate, Nathan discovers that Ellen's family failed to warn him about her actual situation (dementia?). The cold-shouldering by acquaintances at the local tennis club (Ellen had affairs with at least two prominent men) compounds the fact that no one knows quite how to act toward Nathan: Is he a driver? A nephew? A companion? Throw in a love interest--the Episcopalian priest's nanny--plus a set of local rich kids, and watch the classic tension between the wealthy and the hired help unfold. There is a chill wafting through the floorboards as Nathan realizes that he is the scapegoat of various gaffes. Groh's novel is strong, in spite of verging on inauthenticity, and Nathan's character, like the lead in High Fidelity (1995), ultimately charms.

Tending Roses
Christmas is going to be difficult for Kate Bowman this year. Traveling with her husband and infant to the family farm in Missouri, she has the unpleasant task of convincing her 89-year-old Grandma Rose to move to a nursing home. Kate hasn't been back for six years and is dreading the confrontation with Grandma as well as the first family reunion since the death of her mother. But Grandma Rose makes things easier by leaving her journal out for Kate to read, enabling her granddaughter to realize just how much more there is to Rose than she thought and how very important the farm is to her. This helps Kate find her way through her financial and emotional problems and cues her to what's truly really important in life. Wingate's touching story of love and faith proves the old adage that we should take time to smell the roses and try to put our modern problems in perspective.

Monday, March 10, 2008

March Quiz


1. This game show debuted in 1964.
The Gong Show
To Tell The Truth
What’s My Line

2. This movie was not released in 1964.
Mary Poppins
My Fair Lady
Viva Las Vegas
Dr. Zhivago

3. President Johnson declared war in '64. Can you name the enemy?

4. The first major government report saying this was hazardous to health was released in 1964.

5. The Beatles made their American prime time TV debut in '64 on this show.
Saturday Night Live
Tonight Show
The Jack Paar Show
The Today Show

6. A long time before it was oiled by the Exxon Valdez, Valdez, Alaska was shook up by a different tragedy that required the entire town to be moved and rebuilt. What was it?
North Pacific Hurricane
8.6 Earthquake

7. A new coin was issued by the US Mint in 1964. What was it?
Kennedy Half Dollar
Susan B. Anthony Dollar coin
Lincoln Memorial Penny

8. What Act was passed by Congress and signed into law by LBJ following an 83 day filibuster by Southern Congressmen?
Environmental Protection Act
Clean Air Act
Civil Rights Act
Voting Rights Act

9. The Rolling Stones arrived in the U.S. for the first time in June. Where did they play their gig?
Shea Stadium
Yankee Stadium
High School Stadium in MA
Commonwealth Stadium

10. LBJ won his election for the presidency in '64. Who did he pummel in his landslide victory?
Barry Goldwater
Richard Nixon
Bob Dole
Walter Mondale
John Hospers

11. The Verrazano Narrows Bridge, the longest suspension bridge in the world at the time, opened in '64. Where is it located?
San Francisco
The Upper and Lower Peninsula of Michigan
New York City

12. The Stephens family consists of Darrin, Samantha and children Tabitha and Adam. Endora is Sam's mother. Larry Tate is Darrin's boss. What show is this?
Space Ghost
Family Affair
Occasional Wife
Lost in Space

13. David Janssen plays Dr. Richard Kimble who was accused of his wife's murder, but escapes to try and find the real killer. What show is this?
The Prisoner
The Fugitive
It Takes A Thief
Mission Impossible
Route 66

14. This show ran under another name on ABC, but changed its name when it moved to NBC.
General Electric Theater
Walt Disney’s World of Color
NFL on NBC 77
Sunset Strip

15. Chuck Connors as Jason McCord travels in the 1880s trying to prove he's no coward because he was thrown out of the army for cowardice. What show is this?
Peter Gunn
Wagon Train
The Rat Patrol
The Rifleman

16. Herman, Lily, Grandpa, Marilyn and Eddie are a family, but never can figure out why people react so strangely to them. What show is this?
Petticoat Junction
Frankenstein Jr.
The Munsters
The Ghost and Mrs. Muier

17. What soul superstar was killed under mysterious circumstances at the age of 33 in a tragedy that was ruled a justifiable homicide?
Jackie Wilson
Sam Cooke
Frankie Lymon
Otis Day
Otis Redding

18. Legendary comedienne Gracie Allen passed away in 1964 ending one of the great comedy duos in history. Who was her husband and the straight man for her zany antics?
Steve Allen
Groucho Marx
Jack Benny Milton Berle
George Burns

19. What former U.S. President passed away in 1964?
Warren Harding
Herbert Hoover
Harry Truman
Calvin Coolidge

20. Harpo Marx was forever silenced in 1964. What musical instrument was a trademark of his act with the Marx Brothers?

21. Dr. Martin Luther King was honored as the leader of equal rights for black people in America. How was he honored?
Statue erected in Washington D.C.
Won Nobel Peace Prize
Invited to the White House

22. What American novelist and short story writer died after a long battle with lupus?
Erskine Caldwell
Eudora Welty
Harper Lee
Flannery O’Connor

23. 1964 found another war on the horizon. This country was divided into two parts with Red China and the Soviet Union supporting the northern part and the United States supporting the southern part.

24. In world heavyweight boxing, Sonny Liston was defeated in seven rounds. The winner boasted, "I am the greatest!" Who was this boxer?
Floyd Patterson
Muhammad Ali
Rocky Balboa
Cassius Clay
Karl Mildenberger

25. Where were the 1964 Olympics held?
Los Angeles

March Meeting

Book club is TONIGHT at 6:30 at Lynne's house.  We will be discussingThe Memory Keeper's Daughter.  Bring your book and an appetizer to share.  Also, if you have any suggestions for our April selection, please bring them.  See you tonight!