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How many of us would be writers if we weren’t also readers? How many of us learned most of what we know about writing through the books that we read rather than the teachers we had to learn English or creative writing from? How many of us love bookstores or libraries and finding that next good book, the one that just might make us go ‘Wow!’ all over again? Does that sound like you? Then join us for Portland Aspiring Writers Group book club.
Each month we’ll read the selected book, hopefully fairly short but not always guaranteed to be so, and we’ll gather to discuss its relative merits, where it might have come up short, what it made us think about, how it made us feel. If you have a suggestion for a book, please forward it on to the host and we’ll vote on it somewhere near year’s end as a possible book club selection for 2014.
And if you’re buying the books for this book club, please consider supporting your local independent bookstores as your circumstances merit. They can often order a book for you if they don’t already have it in stock and this helps your local bookseller offer other programs that lend vibrancy to the community, such as author readings, talks and book signings.
This month’s selection will be: Home by Toni Morrison
In Morrison’s immaculate new novel, Frank Money returns from the horrors of the Korean War to an America that’s just as poor and just as racist as the country he fled. Frank’s only remaining connection to home is his troubled younger sister, Cee, “the first person [he] ever took responsibility for,” but he doesn’t know where she is. In the opening pages of the book, he receives a letter from a friend of Cee’s stating, “Come fast. She be dead if you tarry.” Thus begins his quest to save his sister—and to find peace in a town he loathed as a child: Lotus, Ga., the “worst place in the world, worse than any battlefield.” Told in alternating third- and first-person narration, with Frank advising and, from time to time, correcting the person writing down his life story, the novel’s opening scene describes horses mating, “[t]heir raised hooves crashing and striking, their manes tossing back from wild white eyes,” as one field over, the bodies of African-American men who were forced to fight to the death are buried: “...whatever you think and whatever you write down, know this: I really forgot about the burial. I only remembered the horses. They were so beautiful. So brutal.” Beautiful, brutal, as is Morrison’s perfect prose.
Refunds are not offered for this Meetup.