addressalign-toparrow-leftarrow-rightbackbellblockcalendarcameraccwchatcheckchevron-downchevron-leftchevron-rightchevron-small-downchevron-small-leftchevron-small-rightchevron-small-upchevron-upcircle-with-checkcircle-with-crosscircle-with-pluscrossdots-three-verticaleditemptyheartexporteye-with-lineeyefacebookfolderfullheartglobegmailgoogleimageimagesinstagramlinklocation-pinmagnifying-glassmailminusmoremuplabelShape 3 + Rectangle 1outlookpersonplusprice-ribbonImported LayersImported LayersImported Layersshieldstartickettrashtriangle-downtriangle-uptwitteruseryahoo

April Book Club Meeting

Wine, women, song and tears; these are the ingredients of our April book. Let's read a classic! Please join us for a book discussion. The April book is Tortilla Flat by John Steinbeck.

 

Published in 1935, Tortilla Flat was Steinbeck’s first major critical success. It tells the story of Danny and his friends, a bunch of Monterey “paisanos”, following their mischiefs over a period of a few months. The paisanos are basically jobless bums of mixed Spanish-Indian descent, who spend their days either stealing food or working in odd one-time jobs, and their nights drinking wine, singing and fighting.

 

In the past, people have frequently been disappointed because they had read the book but "LIFE" interrupted their plans to attend the Thursday night discussion. For April we will try offering 2 discussions on the book: 1 discussion at the normal time on Thursday, April 18 and 1 discussion on Saturday, April 27. Choose the date/time that best fits your schedule: attend one or attend both.

 

Since our discussion is held at the Nordstrom Market Cafe, I plan on enjoying dinner during our discussion. Eating or drinking is optional but I certainly plan on enjoying something to eat and drink during our discussion. The Nordstrom Market Cafe is located on the second floor of Norstroms in the Columbia Mall.

 

Synopsis

 

Adopting the structure and themes of the Arthurian legend, Steinbeck created a "Camelot" on a shabby hillside above Monterey on the California coast and peopled it with a colorful band of knights. As Steinbeck chronicles their thoughts and emotions, temptations and lusts, he spins a compelling tale which is ultimately touched by sorrow.

 

In the town of Tortilla Flat above beautiful Monterey lived a group of men called the paisanos. They were drunkards, thieves, ruffians, and vagabonds, but they were also surprisingly good at heart; requiring little more from life than friendship and a little wine. One of the famous quotes from Tortilla Flat describes the paisanos' relationship with wine:


Two gallons is a great deal of wine, even for two paisanos. Spiritually the jugs may be graduated thus: Just below the shoulder of the first bottle, serious and concentrated conversation. Two inches farther down, sweetly sad memory. Three includes more, thoughts of old and satisfactory loves. An inch, thoughts of bitter loves. Bottom of the first jug, general and undirected sadness. Shoulder of the second jug, black, unholy despondency. Two fingers down a song of death or longing. A thumb, every other song each one knows. The graduations stop here, for the trail splits and there is no certainty. From this point on anything can happen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Availability at the Howard Count Public Library

 

Tortilla Flat is available for checkout at the Howard County Public Library. The Howard County Public Library has 19 copies of the book.

 

I have put in a request to have 5 copies of the book reserved for our book club. These 5 copies should be available for checkout starting March 28. The books will be held at the Central Branch and are available for checkout on a first come, first serve basis. They are at the fiction help desk on the first floor of the Library and are held under the book club name "Meetup." Tell the Librarian that you are a member of the "Meetup" book club and you can check the book out using your Library card. The address and hours for the Central Branch are:

 

Howard County Library Central Branch

10375 Little Patuxent Pkwy

Columbia, MD 21044

(410)[masked]

 

Branch Hours

Mon. - Thurs. 10 am - 9 pm

Fri. - Sat. 10 am - 6 pm

Sun. 1 pm - 5 pm

Join or login to comment.

  • marilyn s.

    Fine with me. Good choice.

    April 24, 2013

  • marilyn s.

    Wayne, which book are you choosing?

    1 · April 23, 2013

    • Wayne M.

      Marilyn, our May book is A Mercy by Toni Morrison. I just posted the announcement for this meeting. I would also like to thank Liz Campbell for suggesting that we use Meetup's poll so that people could vote on what the May book would be.

      April 24, 2013

  • Sharon C.

    So sorry to miss this month. Hope to see everyone next month.

    April 19, 2013

  • Nicole H.

    we had a lot of fun, and really did see Steinbecks book in another way after we left.

    1 · April 19, 2013

  • Wayne M.

    "Sweet Tooth" by Ian McEwan is 304 pages, available at the Library and was listed as one of the best books of 2012. Here is the synopsis: In this stunning new novel, Ian McEwan’s first female protagonist since Atonement is about to learn that espionage is the ultimate seduction.

    Cambridge student Serena Frome’s beauty and intelligence make her the ideal recruit for MI5. The year is 1972. The Cold War is far from over. England’s legendary intelligence agency is determined to manipulate the cultural conversation by funding writers whose politics align with those of the government. The operation is code named “Sweet Tooth.”

    April 18, 2013

    • Wayne M.

      Serena, a compulsive reader of novels, is the perfect candidate to infiltrate the literary circle of a promising young writer named Tom Haley. At first, she loves his stories. Then she begins to love the man. How long can she conceal her undercover life? To answer that question, Serena must abandon the first rule of espionage: trust no one. Once again, Ian McEwan’s mastery dazzles us in this superbly deft and witty story of betrayal and intrigue, love and the invented self.

      April 18, 2013

  • Wayne M.

    "A Mercy" by Toni Morrison is 167 pages, available at the Library and was suggested by one of our book club members. Here is the synopsis: In the 1680s the slave trade in the Americas is still in its infancy. Jacob Vaark is an Anglo-Dutch trader and adventurer, with a small holding in the harsh North. Despite his distaste for dealing in “flesh,” he takes a small slave girl in part payment for a bad debt from a plantation owner in Catholic Maryland. This is Florens, who can read and write and might be useful on his farm. Rejected by her mother, Florens looks for love, first from Lina, an older servant woman at her new master's house, and later from the handsome blacksmith, an African, never enslaved, who comes riding into their lives.

    April 18, 2013

    • Wayne M.

      A Mercy reveals what lies beneath the surface of slavery. But at its heart, like Beloved, it is the ambivalent, disturbing story of a mother and a daughter-a mother who casts off her daughter in order to save her, and a daughter who may never exorcise that abandonment.

      April 18, 2013

  • Wayne M.

    As we discussed at our meeting tonight, I'm looking for a book suggestion for May. The 2 books that I'm thinking of are "A Mercy" by Toni Morrison and "Sweet Tooth" by Ian McEwan. I have set up a Poll so that you can vote for the one you want. The Poll is in the "More" pull down menu on our Meetup WEB site. I will post a summary of both books in a minute. I also noticed that Kimberly suggested 2 books but I haven't had time to review them. I would like to make a decision on our May book and post the announcement on Sunday when I return from my campout at Assateague Island.

    April 18, 2013

  • Benita K.

    Sorry I won't be able to attend my babysitter just canceled. See you next month.

    April 18, 2013

  • Joanne

    I can't believe I have to cancel again! Will try to make the alternate group.

    April 17, 2013

  • Grant

    Hello again. I just wanted to put one more question out there before Thursday's meeting. I considered Chapter XII to be the quintessential of the novel. It is entitled: "How Danny's Friends assisted the Pirate to Keep a vow, and how as a reward for merit the Pirate's dogs saw a holy vision" and is also depicted in the book cover image above. I will enjoy discussing how this one chapter is a microcosm of the whole novel. Did you find a certain chapter quintessential?

    April 17, 2013

  • Grant

    Hi everyone! I'm very excited to discuss the book with you. If you haven't read it yet, there is still plenty of time - it's short! One of the questions we can start preparing in our minds is about the Arthurian legend. The connection is not only in the synopsis above, but also in plenty of commentaries and even directly stated in the book itself. What are the similarities and differences between this troupe and Arthur's? Are the main characters really heroes? If not, then what are they?

    1 · April 11, 2013

  • Nicole H.

    Hi Wayne, I am confused to you meet on the 18th and also on the 27 to discuss the book?

    April 3, 2013

    • Wayne M.

      Hi Nicole, The Thursday (4/18) and Saturday (4/27) meetings are similar discussions which both discuss the same book. Our standard meeting is at 6:30 pm on the 3rd Thursday of each month however some people are unable to attend the Thursday discussion so there is a second discussion on Saturday. Both meetings discuss the same book, it's your decision as to which discussion fits better into your schedule.

      April 3, 2013

  • Sandra T.

    This will be my first book club meeting. I am looking forward to it.

    March 29, 2013

  • Joanne

    Love Steinbeck, and this is one of the few books of his that I haven't read.

    1 · March 24, 2013

15 went

People in this
Meetup are also in:

Sign up

Meetup members, Log in

By clicking "Sign up" or "Sign up using Facebook", you confirm that you accept our Terms of Service & Privacy Policy