August Read - The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Please note the change in week. This is earlier in the month than usual because I'm not free during the 4th week of August. From Wikipedia,
"Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is historical fiction. It is a bestselling novel (2009) by Jamie Ford about the love and friendship between Henry Lee, a Chinese American boy, and Keiko Okabe, a Japanese American girl, during the internment in World War II.

Henry meets a girl named Keiko. Soon, Henry and Keiko bond. The two become very close friends, even though both are bullied due to race. Henry feels a sense of filial piety to his parents. Although kind, Henry sneaks out one night and Keiko gives him her family pictures. Henry must protect these, before they are taken.

Henry finds her, first at local Camp Harmony. After failing to make his feelings known at Camp Harmony, he follows her with his friend, a local Jazz musician named Sheldon, to Minidoka, Idaho. Upon finding her there, he promises to wait for her. They decide to write each other letters until the war is over, and Henry returns to Seattle.

He religiously mails Keiko letters, but receives very few in return. His father is intent on sending him to China, now that the Japanese are being pushed back, to finish his education traditionally. Henry arrives home one day to find a ticket to China in his name. He agrees to go on the condition that his father (as part of an association of elders) saves the Panama Hotel from being sold. The Panama Hotel is where Keiko's family stored the larger part of their belongings when they were shipped to the internment camps. Many families stored their possessions in the basement of the Hotel.

He then meets the woman he ended up marrying, Ethel, who worked at the post office and became casual friends with him. He did end up meeting Keiko again, though their postal contact was severed by Henry's father, who was stopping the letters in transit. With the help of Henry's son he finds Keiko in New York after she sent a package to Sheldon's funeral. He goes to see her and they have casual conversation, until Keiko begins a Japanese compliment that Henry had spoken to her in during their childhood, which Henry finishes."

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  • Beth R.

    So sorry for the late notice - but my project that will not die continues. We implement on Sept2nd so next month will be free and clear. The book was excellent. I am so sorry to miss the discussion.

    August 18, 2014

  • Marissa T.

    I was hoping to be able to come tonight, but with today being the first day back to school for students, as a classroom teacher, I can not run off anywhere else today other than home :). Enjoy!

    August 18, 2014

  • Rachel

    Sorry- I didn't get the book read either- see you guys next month!

    August 18, 2014

    • Bethany

      Sorry we'll be missing you this month! Rachel, remind me to ask you how Quandary went the next time I see you - I completely forgot to ask last time!

      August 18, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Damnit, a week away and I haven't started the book. This month has been really challenging for me. But I'll try to get started on Midnight's Children for next month!

    August 11, 2014

    • Bethany

      We'll see you next month!

      August 18, 2014

  • Ben T

    Once again, I wish I could go. I even got the book! My work schedule just changed so I'm not free Monday nights :(

    August 4, 2014

    • Bethany

      Sorry about that Ben! All of our books are on Monday nights, but our hikes vary month to month depending on the full moon and my personal schedule.

      August 5, 2014

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We just grab a coffee and speak French. Some people have been coming every week for months... it creates a kind of warmth to the group.

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