The story of the strong women presented in Cane River was one that resonates through the centuries of survivors in the face of terrible odds. Whether from slaves in Louisiana or Native Americans trying to survive reservation life we can really take great messages of hope and history. Sorry you missed it. We also had more to say about The Goldfinch which was our book in July – it’s wonderful when a great book like this keeps coming back with more messages to be heard!!
Now – since we are headed for banned book week we will do our traditional offering on September 25 in the Morse Conference Room – bring your favorite banned book and tell us when and where it was banned and the message you found in it that makes it a favorite!!
Then, on November 6 at 6:30 in the library conference room we will hear about Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian. Reviews about the author and book follow:
“Over the course of his career, New York Times bestselling novelist Chris Bohjalian has taken readers on a spectacular array of journeys. Midwives brought us to an isolated Vermont farmhouse on an icy winter’s night and a home birth gone tragically wrong. The Double Bind perfectly conjured the Roaring Twenties on Long Island—and a young social worker’s descent into madness. And Skeletons at the Feast chronicled the last six months of World War Two in Poland and Germany with nail-biting authenticity. As The Washington Post Book World has noted, Bohjalian writes “the sorts of books people stay awake all night to finish.”
In his fifteenth book, The Sandcastle Girls, he brings us on a very different kind of journey. This spellbinding tale travels between Aleppo, Syria, in 1915 and Bronxville, New York, in 2012—a sweeping historical love story steeped in the author’s Armenian heritage, making it his most personal novel to date.”
The author uses his personal Armenian heritage to remind us of a genocide that the world has mostly forgotten and the millions of people whose lives were destroyed. It has been said it is a “slaughter about which we know hardly anything.”
It’s wrapped up in a love story that will keep you going from page to page.
On December 4 we will visit Larry McMurtry and his lively band of characters in Walter Benjamin at the Dairy Queen. McMurtry has given us a great ride along the trail in his assemblage of books and Walter Benjamin is his latest addition.
McMurtry’s tentative, poignant new book, subtitled ‘’Reflections at Sixty and Beyond,’’ begins in the summer of 1980 with the author reading Benjamin’s 1936 essay ‘’The Storyteller’’ in the Dairy Queen in Archer City, Tex. — the town long since made famous as Thalia to readers of McMurtry’s novels. The Dairy Queens of West Texas, he declares, ‘’by providing a comfortable setting that made possible hundreds of small, informal local forums, revived, for a time, the potential for storytelling of the sort Walter Benjamin favored.’’ McMurtry then reflects, glancingly, on ‘’the resilience of a story’’ in an age when ‘’we are all so oversupplied with information’’ that human memory seems almost unnecessary. Benjamin was writing his essay, McMurtry reminds us, at the ‘’sunset’’ of his life. McMurtry’s book also has a sunset feeling, as the author begins a ‘’long descent toward the country we won’t be back from.’’ It’s a peculiar effort — part memoir, part commonplace book, part tour de force. McMurtry tries, for example, while considering ‘’the distance that separated me from the European writers and historians I have spent so much of my life reading,’’ to compare the overcivilized, neurasthenic Europe before World War I with the ‘’prairie derangement’’ suffered by lonely settlers of his own locale: ‘’How much easier was it to be mad in London, rather than Archer County?’’
If you’ve never read a McMurtry book I invite you to do so – I remember laughing so hard in his book Texasville that tears ran down my cheeks. How many times has that happened? The Last Picture Show I remember as being one of those stories that raised so many Texas issues when most were memories more like Giant!!
So – you’ve plenty of notice – get out those reading glasses and join us for a wonderful fall of celebration of books. A couple of other books that were discussed were Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond and Unbroken the story of Olympic runner Louis Zamparini who was taken prisoner by the Japanese during World War II and written by Laura Hillenbrand. And if you haven’t read the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon you should add it to the list of things to keep you busy! And then you could tackle When Women Were Birds by Terry Temple Williams – this one will make you think down a different track!