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Christine O.
user 13546112
Petaluma, CA
Post #: 2
At our (wonderful!) Sunday gathering to discuss Middlesex, Joan asked us to submit ideas for new books to consider for our future gatherings. Here are a few ideas from my bookshelf:

Gold Boy, Emerald Girl by Yiyun Li

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

Saturday by Ian McEwan

The Story of Forgetting by Stefan Merrill Block

The Other Side of You by Salley Vickers

Old Filth by Jane Gardam

The History of Love by Nicole Krauss

A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell

I really enjoy this wonderful group of book lovers; thank you all for making time to gather and exchange our opinions!



Laura Maslin B.
Sebastopol, CA
Post #: 6
I loved I am the Messenger, by the same author who wrote The Book Thief (Markus Zusak).

Wyatt B.
user 13465438
Santa Rosa, CA
Post #: 2
I loved "The Book Thief," so another Zusack book is definitely welcome!
A former member
Post #: 3
I have had Still Alice recommended to me a number of times and would also like to read Rohinton Mistry's A Fine Balance. I loved reading Book Thief, but would prefer to read different authors and then come back to Mark Zuckas in the future.
Great Suggestions,
Joan P.
Group Organizer
Sebastopol, CA
Post #: 31
Here are some books that you recommended enthusiastically at our last meeting and earlier:

State of Wonder - Ann Patchett

Turn of Mind - Alice LaPlante

History of Love - Nicole Krauss

Secret History

The Messenger

Elegance of the Hedgehog

The Illumination

An easy way to learn more about any of these books is to search for the title on Amazon, and you'll get the book description and, often, many reader reviews. For example, State of Wonder (­) has an author interview and 280 customer reviews!
Joan P.
Group Organizer
Sebastopol, CA
Post #: 35
I'm reading The Story of Beautiful Girl, and it's a compelling, beautifully written novel. I'd like to recommend it as the March book, if you agree.

It's available as hardcover and ebook now, and the paperback will be out mid-February. I'll ask you at the next meeting if you'd like to schedule it for March.

Here's the summary from Amazon:

It is 1968. Lynnie, a young white woman with a developmental disability, and Homan, an African American deaf man, are locked away in an institution, the School for the Incurable and Feebleminded, and have been left to languish, forgotten. Deeply in love, they escape, and find refuge in the farmhouse of Martha, a retired schoolteacher and widow. But the couple is not alone-Lynnie has just given birth to a baby girl. When the authorities catch up to them that same night, Homan escapes into the darkness, and Lynnie is caught. But before she is forced back into the institution, she whispers two words to Martha: "Hide her." And so begins the 40-year epic journey of Lynnie, Homan, Martha, and baby Julia-lives divided by seemingly insurmountable obstacles, yet drawn together by a secret pact and extraordinary love.

and from Publishers Weekly:

In this enthralling love story, Lynnie, a young white developmentally disabled woman with limited speech, and Homan, a deaf African-American man, meet at the Pennsylvania State School for the Incurable and Feebleminded in the late 1960s. Despite strict rules, poor conditions, an abusive staff, and the couple's lack of language, Lynnie and Homan share tender moments. After their escape, a few days of freedom not only enables the secretly pregnant Lynnie to give birth outside the walls of the corrupt institution, it also secures the couple's admiration for one another. Fears of discovery force them to leave the baby in the hands of a nurturing widow, Martha Zimmer. Soon after, the school's staff apprehend Lynnie, while Homan flees. Although their stories diverge and unfold independently of one another, memories of their short time together sustain them for more than 40 years as they develop the confidence to eventually parent, learn to sign and speak, and finally, reunite. Simon (Riding the Bus with My Sister) who grew up with a developmentally disabled sister, has written an enormously affecting read, and provided sensitive insight into a complex world often dismissed by the "abled."

- Joan
Joan P.
Group Organizer
Sebastopol, CA
Post #: 36
Several of you have recommended Still Alice. From the Amazon page:

STILL ALICE debuted at #5 on the New York Times Bestseller list and has spent 36 weeks on that list. It won the 2008 Bronte Prize and the 2011 Bexley Book of the Year, and it was nominated for the 2010 Indies Choice Debut Book of the Year by the American Booksellers Association. It was the #6 Top Book Group Favorite of 2009 by Reading Group Choices, a 2009 Barnes & Noble Discover Pick, a 2009 Indie Next pick, a 2009 Borders Book Club Pick, and a 2009 Target Book Club pick. There are over a million copies in print, and it has been translated into 25 languages.

Still Alice is a compelling debut novel about a 50-year-old woman's sudden descent into early onset Alzheimer's disease, written by first-time author Lisa Genova, who holds a Ph. D in neuroscience from Harvard University.
Alice Howland, happily married with three grown children and a house on the Cape, is a celebrated Harvard professor at the height of her career when she notices a forgetfulness creeping into her life. As confusion starts to cloud her thinking and her memory begins to fail her, she receives a devastating diagnosis: early onset Alzheimer's disease. Fiercely independent, Alice struggles to maintain her lifestyle and live in the moment, even as her sense of self is being stripped away. In turns heartbreaking, inspiring and terrifying, Still Alice captures in remarkable detail what's it's like to literally lose your mind...

Reminiscent of A Beautiful Mind, Ordinary People and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, Still Alice packs a powerful emotional punch and marks the arrival of a strong new voice in fiction.

I think this book would give us plenty to discuss -- what do you think?

Yes, it's available in paperback.

- Joan
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