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East Bay Book Club Message Board › Meeting Recap: September 2013 Contemporary Book Discussion (Braving Home by

Meeting Recap: September 2013 Contemporary Book Discussion (Braving Home by Jake Halpern)

Group Organizer
Union City, CA
Post #: 43
So this meeting was the first official meeting at the new Emeryville location (the last one was considered a trial meeting at the new location). As expected, everyone loved the quietness of the place. And it's also the very first time that meeting attendees sat on a couch rather than at a table. Woohoo! :-D

So the meeting began with a presentation of the author's brief biography and updated information on the people and places in the book. Most notably, the house in Hawaii standing near lava has finally been destroyed by lava in 2010, and Santini in Grand Isle, Louisiana, passed away sometime after publication of the book. In addition, Princeville, North Carolina, is doing well and even has a website up.

So here's a sample of the things that were said during the meeting (there wasn't a discussion question volunteer):
- Home is about living with adversity, not avoiding it altogether.
- The five people in the book are comfortable with solitary existence.
- People in general are extremely adaptable.
- If you were forced to live in one of the five places in the book which would you choose? 3 would choose the house near lava in Hawaii, 2 would live in Whittier, Alaska (including me, because I don't mind long periods of being indoors for a whole winter, as long as there are things to do, like what the 14-story building offers), 1 would stay in wildfire-prone Malibu, 1 would stay in Princeville, and nobody picked hurricane-prone Grand Isle.
- Thad Knight in Princeville was brave to go back to a disaster area knowing he would be alone. It's as if he has a Robinson Crusoe spirit, willing to do things all by himself.
- The discussion included a few accounts of homes in extreme locations, such as raised homes in flood regions.
- Why did the author choose to write about the five places? Personality of the inhabitants, to see how they live
- Which of the five characters resonates you the most? Jack in Hawaii, who is grumpy but well-rounded. The Deckers in Malibu are confident traditionalists.
- Global warming might lead to more homes in extreme places.
- The strength of humanity is definitely evident in this book, because the characters took a chance while not in control of the elements.
- The characters were not interested in living as long as possible.
- One club member told a story about someone who dropped out of college to move to Prague and explore other things, including farming
- Sometimes breaking from tradition can lead to greater things.
- One club member will be going on an extended trip to Africa to do non-profit work. The high crime areas expected will make it a home in an extreme location.
- When people connect with land, and vice versa, there is a connection with the place.

In the end, all attendees enjoyed the book, for reasons that included the writing, the memorable characters, and the idea of going against the majority. All in all, the turnout for the meeting was smaller than usual, but the discussion was still fun. :-)
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