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November book poll and Wednesday meeting location

From: Karen D
Sent on: Monday, September 20, 2010 12:23 PM
Hi book groupies,

FYI, I've listed the correct Da Mikelle restaurant (there are several) for Wednesday's meeting; it is Da Mikelle Palace at[masked] Queens Blvd.

And I?ve just posted the poll for our November selection (thanks to those who sent in suggestions):

Please vote this week and the winner will be announced next Monday morning. Our October book will be Persuasion by Jane Austen.

Below are brief descriptions of the November book choices, which can also be found in the Files section of the web site.


Henderson the Rain King by Saul Bellow (368 pages)
Bellow's classic novel of a dissatisfied middle-aged American millionaire finding himself in Africa is the ebullient tale of the irresistible eccentric Eugene Henderson, best characterized by his primal mantra "I want! I want!". In this seriocomic tale Henderson flees workaday American anomie for the freeing chaos of Africa. Beneath the novel's comic surface lies an affecting parable of one man's quest to know himself and come to terms with morality; like Don Quixote, Henderson is, as Bellow later described him, "an absurd seeker of high qualities." The novel was ranked 21 on the Modern Library?s list of the 100 Best Novels, and its blend of philosophical discourse and comic adventure has helped make it one of Bellow's most enduringly popular works.

The Awakening by Kate Chopin (168 pages)
Chopin?s most famous work, inspired by a real-life New Orleans woman who committed adultery, was published in 1899. The book explores the social and psychological consequences of a woman caught in an unhappy marriage in 19th century America and caused such an uproar that Chopin almost entirely gave up writing. It tells the story of one woman's emergence from the conventional Victorian role of wife and mother to face the social consequences of seeking personal fulfillment. More than a mere argument in support of freedom and equality for women, it is a compelling depiction of the subtle burdens that had been traditionally borne by women and the awareness that perhaps there are options.

Life is So Good by George Dawson (260 pages)
Dawson, born in 1898 in Marshall, Texas, provides a retrospective on black American history from the personal vantage point of the grandson of slaves. Dawson grew up in the rural South and learned to read at the age of 98. In early chapters, he celebrates his carefree pleasures of youth; then he was introduced to the harsh realities of racism, when he witnessed the hanging of a black youth falsely accused of raping a white woman. Dawson recalls a life of hard work and no time for education as he helped support his family. Glaubman asks questions and uses newspaper accounts to provide context and provoke Dawson's memories of historic events, such as the advent of the world wars, Jackie Robinson's baseball career, the civil rights movement in the 1960s, and the press coverage of Dawson's late-life enrollment in a literacy program. Dawson exhibits enduring optimism and determination throughout.

The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory (672 pages)
Before Henry VIII ever considered making Anne Boleyn his wife, her older sister, Mary, was his mistress. Historical novelist Gregory uses the perspective of this "other Boleyn girl" to reveal the rivalries and intrigues swirling through England. The sisters and their brother George were raised with one goal: to advance the Howard family's interests, especially against the Seymours. So when Mary catches the king's fancy, her family orders her to abandon the husband they had chosen. She bears Henry two children, including a son, but Anne's desire to be queen drives her with ruthless intensity, alienating family and foes. As Henry grows more desperate for a legitimate son and Anne strives to replace Catherine as queen, the social fabric weakens. Gregory captures not only the dalliances of court but the panorama of political and religious clashes throughout Europe. She controls a complicated narrative and dozens of characters without faltering.

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