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new book poll up; December meeting open

From: Karen D
Sent on: Tuesday, November 23, 2010 4:14 PM
Hi book groupies,
Earlier today I posted the poll for our January book. The result will be announced Dec. 1. Vote here:

Info on books is pasted below and can also be found here, under "January 2011 book choices":


That same link will also take you to the discussion questions for "The Awakening," which we discussed last night.


Finally, RSVPs are open for our December 15 meeting, to discuss Henderson the Rain King by Saul Bellow:


Happy Thanksgiving, and don't forget to vote in the poll.



organizer, Forest Hills Book Group



I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced by Nujood Ali and Delphine Minoui (188 pages)

Chosen by Glamour magazine as a Woman of the Year in 2008, Nujood Ali of Yemen has become an international hero for her astonishingly brave resistance to child marriage. Sold off by her impoverished family at age 10, continually raped by her husband before she even reached puberty, Nujood found the courage to run away, and with the help of an activist lawyer, sympathetic judges, and the international press, she divorced her husband and returned home. Her clear, first-person narrative is spellbinding: the horror of her parents��� betrayal and her mother-in-law���s connivance, the adults who send the child from classroom and toys to nightmare abuse. She never denies the poverty that drives her parents and oppresses her brothers, even as she reveals their cruelty. Unlike her passive mother, she is an activist, thrilled to return to school, determined to save others, including her little sister. Readers will find it incredible that such unbelievable abuse and such courageous resistance are happening now.


Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee (224 pages)

An uninspired, twice-divorced university professor, 52-year-old David Lurie sees himself as an aged Lothario; he is disappointed in the academy and he cannot locate the notes for his opera, Byron in Italy. When he is fired his after his seduction of a student is discovered, he joins his daughter, Lucy, on the Eastern Cape, where she manages a dog kennel and works her smallholding. There, he is flummoxed to discover an unfamiliar Lucy: principled, land-devoted, with a heroic resignation to the social and political developments of modern South Africa. He also encounters Petrus, Lucy's ambitious colored neighbor, who embodies the shifting, tangled new national schematic and forces David to relate to the broad segment of society previously shrouded by his self-absorption. A violent attack on the estate alters how he perceives his daughter, the rights of South Africa's grossly aggrieved majority, the souls of the dogs he helps put down at the Animal Welfare League and Lord Byron's mistress (the heroine of his opera). Coetzee earned a second Booker Prize for this searing evocation of post-apartheid South Africa.


Crazy Horse: a Life by Larry McMurtry (160 pages)

In writing his superb life of Crazy Horse, McMurtry faced the same obstacle as previous biographers of the Oglala Sioux icon: a notable paucity of facts. This shortage of documentation actually works to the reader's advantage: unencumbered by reams of scholarly detail, the book is elegant, admirably scrupulous portrait. Crazy Horse was born around 1840 in what is now South Dakota. Already the arrival of white settlers--who brought with them such mixed blessings as metal tools, firearms, and smallpox--had begun to transform the culture of the Plains Indians. But soon a more ominous note crept into the relationship: As whites sought to remove these impediments with increasing brutality, Crazy Horse led his people in a sporadic and ultimately doomed resistance, which peaked at the Battle of Little Bighorn in 1876. Within a year the young warrior (and occasional visionary) had surrendered to the United States Army. Four months later he was dead, stabbed in a highly suspicious scuffle with white and Indian policemen, and the Sioux resistance died with its legendary leader.


Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout (304 pages)

Thirteen linked tales from Strout present a heart-wrenching, penetrating portrait of ordinary coastal Mainers living lives of quiet grief intermingled with flashes of human connection. The opening story focuses on terse, dry junior high-school teacher Olive Kitteridge and her gregarious pharmacist husband, Henry, both of whom have survived the loss of a psychologically damaged parent, and both of whom suffer painful attractions to co-workers. Their son, Christopher, takes center stage in ���A Little Burst,��� which describes his wedding in humorous, somewhat disturbing detail, and in ���Security,��� where Olive, in her 70s, visits Christopher and his family in New York. Strout's fiction showcases her ability to reveal the seeds of tragedy through familiar details���the mother-of-the-groom's wedding dress, a grandmother's disapproving observations of how her grandchildren are raised. Themes of suicide, depression, bad communication, aging and love run through these stories. The collection is easy to read and impossible to forget. Its literary craft and emotional power will surprise readers unfamiliar with Strout, who won the Pulitzer Prize for this collection.


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