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Ron and Jeff will be your host and between them they have secured 40 FREE tickets for our group. THANK YOU RON & JEFF!! Members only! Please RSVP if you are committed to this date. You MUST bring your ID. You MUST arrive no later than 6:15 to enter as a group at 6:30 PM and to be seated with the group and to get your FREE ticket. Doors & Bar open @ 6:00 PM. but you must enter as a group so you MUST ARRIVE BY 6:30 PM. Ron's cell is[masked]. We usually have dinner at the Funny Bone to support them and thank them for always stepping up with FREE TICKETS. In order to THANK the Funny Bone for offering us FREE TICKETS I ask that if you plan on having dinner.......................please have dinner at the Club. The food is pretty good and the prices aren't bad. Everyone will receive a separate check for dinner and drinks. DO NOT post any pre-arranged dinner arrangements elsewhere.
We will meet at the covered bridge in the main parking lot, hike up to the waterfalls, then over to the Devi'ls oven. This is a moderate hike with ups and downs, so please be prepared. Hiking shoes with ankle support are always best. Hiking poles, if you so choose, to keep your balance. Devil's Hopyard Directions From CT Route 9: take Exit 7, then a left at the end of the exit ramp onto CT Route 82 east/154 north. Take a right at the first traffic light following CT Route 82 east and follow the signs. From Interstate 395: take Exit 80 west. Take a right onto CT Route 82 west. Take a right onto Hopyard Road and follow signs. From I-91S: take Exit 22 for Route 9 South, Exit 7. Take a left at the end of the exit ramp onto CT Route 82 east/154 north. Take a right at the first traffic light following CT Route 82 east and follow the signs. There are no parking fees at Devil's Hopyard State Park. The Damned Story: In one of the more pretty parts of Connecticut is the 860 acres of a state park known as Devil's Hopyard, a parcel of land with a possibly damned history, including being one of the many hangouts of . . . perhaps . . . maybe . . .SATAN! The early Puritan settlers of Connecticut were inordinately obsessed with the Devil -- maybe because they truly believed Satan was hiding behind each tree waiting to claim their souls. According to author David Phillips (of Legendary Connecticut), as a result, there are some 34 places whose names were inspired by the Adversary, including five Devil's Dens, four Backbones, two Kitchens and a Dripping Pan, as well as a Hell Hole, a Tophet Ravine and two Satan's Kingdoms. Although any one of the aforementioned locations could be Hell on Earth, the one that seems to come up the most when talking about where the Evil One may be laying in wait is Devil's Hopyard in East Haddam. As with many of Connecticut's state parks, the Hopyard is steeped in natural beauty, from its picturesque forest to the steady Eight Mile River, which bisects the park. One of the draws to the Hopyard is Chapman Falls (as seen above), a 60-foot cascade of water over multiple ledges; legend has it that the Prince of Darkness himself has been seen sitting atop a huge boulder near the top of the falls, playing a violin (or fiddle) while his minions stirred nefarious brews in the naturally formed cauldron-like potholes at the bottom of the falls. (The potholes have also been thought to be the marks burned in the rocks by the Devil's hooves.) Native Americans may have used the area for rituals, further spooking the locals and adding to the mythos. Over the decades, dark shadows and phantoms have been purportedly seen moving around the woodland. In more recent times, people have allegedly experienced spirit orbs and mists, as well as strong feelings of foreboding. Others have heard demonic voices and inexplicable laughing. EVPs have also been supposedly recorded. And yes, there's evidence that in the 18th century there was a malt house near one of the tributaries of the Eight Mile River, near which hops were grown. Hence, the "hopyard." To read more about the history of Devil's Hopyard, as well as other Satan in Connecticut legends, check out Legendary Connecticut. Our Damned Experience: We haven't been to the Hopyard recently, but we're hoping to hop on over soon. More info to to DEEP CT.Gov web site https://www.ct.gov/deep/cwp/view.asp?a=2716&q=325188
We started the book club in June of 2014 and have come a long way. Thanks to all those who are avid participants and those that join us from time to time. August 7, 2018 starts our 4th year of Fiction Addiction. NEW LOCATION First Tuesday of each month @ Baci Grill, 134 Berlin Rd, Cromwell, CT 06416 unless scheduled at The Victorian House, 226 Maple Ave, Cheshire, CT 06410 . Watch for updates! We've chosen our books for the next 12 months and once again they all seem interesting and engaging. Some are fiction.................some are non-fiction. Regardless, they will each feed our FICTION ADDICTION. Below are the DISCUSSION/MEETING dates at The Victorian House or Baci Grill beginning in March. *********** August 7, 2018 "Hillbilly Elegy" by J.D. Vance Moderator, Douglas Losty From a former marine and Yale Law School graduate, a probing look at the struggles of America’s white working class through the author’s own story of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town. Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of poor, white Americans. The disintegration of this group, a process that has been slowly occurring now for over forty years, has been reported with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. In HillbillyElegy, J.D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hanging around your neck. The Vance family story began with hope in postwar America. J.D.’s grandparents were “dirt poor and in love” and moved north from Kentucky’s Appalachia region to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. They raised a middle-class family, and eventually one of their grandchildren would graduate from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of success in achieving generational upward mobility. But as the family saga of Hillbilly Elegy plays out, we learn that J.D.’s grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most of all, his mother struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life, never fully escaping the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma so characteristic of their part of America. With piercing honesty, Vance shows how he himself still carries around the demons of his chaotic family history. A deeply moving memoir, with its share of humor and vividly colorful figures, Hillbilly Elegy is the story of how upward mobility really feels. And it is an urgent and troubling meditation on the loss of the American dream for a large segment of this country. ***** September 11, 2018 "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng Moderator, Ann Meacham From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules. Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother – who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community. When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town--and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia's past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs. Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, and the ferocious pull of motherhood – and the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster. ***** October 2, 2018 "The Sweetness of Forgetting" by Kristin Harmel Moderator, Kathy C. A baker in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, must travel to Paris to uncover a family secret for her dying grandmother—and what she learns may change everything. The Sweetness of Forgetting is the book that made Kristin Harmel an international bestseller. At thirty-six, Hope McKenna-Smith is no stranger to bad news. She lost her mother to cancer, her husband left her for a twenty-two year old, and her bank account is nearly depleted. Her own dreams of becoming a lawyer long gone, she’s running a failing family bakery on Cape Cod and raising a troubled preteen. Now, Hope’s beloved French-born grandmother Mamie, who wowed the Cape with her fabulous pastries for more than fifty years, is drifting away into a haze of Alzheimer’s. But in a rare moment of clarity, Mamie realizes that unless she tells Hope about the past, the secrets she has held on to for so many years will soon be lost forever. Tantalizingly, she reveals mysterious snippets of a tragic history in Paris. And then, arming her with a scrawled list of names, she sends Hope to France to uncover a seventy-year-old mystery. Hope’s emotional journey takes her through the bakeries of Paris and three religious traditions, all guided by Mamie’s fairy tales and the sweet tastes of home. As Hope pieces together her family’s history, she finds horrific Holocaust stories mixed with powerful testimonies of her family’s will to survive in a world gone mad. And to reunite two lovers torn apart by terror, all she’ll need is a dash of courage, and the belief that God exists everywhere, even in cake... ***** November 6, 2018 "The Alice Network" By Kate Quinn Moderator, Sue Thomas 1947. In the chaotic aftermath of World War II, American college girl Charlie St. Clair is pregnant, unmarried, and on the verge of being thrown out of her very proper family. She’s also nursing a desperate hope that her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, might still be alive. So when Charlie’s parents banish her to Europe to have her “little problem” taken care of, Charlie breaks free and heads to London, determined to find out what happened to the cousin she loves like a sister. 1915. A year into the Great War, Eve Gardiner burns to join the fight against the Germans and unexpectedly gets her chance when she’s recruited to work as a spy. Sent into enemy-occupied France, she’s trained by the mesmerizing Lili, code name Alice, the “queen of spies,” who manages a vast network of secret agents right under the enemy’s nose. Thirty years later, haunted by the betrayal that ultimately tore apart the Alice Network, Eve spends her days drunk and secluded in her crumbling London house. That is until a young American barges in uttering a name Eve hasn’t heard in decades, and launches them both on a mission to find the truth . . . no matter where it leads. ***** December 4, 2018 "Born a Crime" by Trevor Noah Moderator, Diane Henry “A compelling new memoir . . . by turns alarming, sad and funny, Trevor Noah’s book provides a harrowing look, through the prism of Mr. Noah’s family, at life in South Africa under apartheid. . . . In the end, Born a Crime is not just an unnerving account of growing up in South Africa under apartheid, but a love letter to the author’s remarkable mother.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times “You’d be hard-pressed to find a comic’s origin story better than the one Trevor Noah serves up in Born a Crime. . . . [He] developed his aptitude for witty truth telling [and]…every hardscrabble memory of helping his mother scrape together money for food, gas, school fees, and rent, or barely surviving the temper of his stepfather, Abel, reveals the anxious wellsprings of the comedian’s ambition and success. If there is harvest in spite of blight, the saying goes, one does not credit the blight-but Noah does manage to wring brilliant comedy from it.”—O: The Oprah Magazine “What makes Born a Crime such a soul-nourishing pleasure, even with all its darker edges and perilous turns, is reading Noah recount in brisk, warmly conversational prose how he learned to negotiate his way through the bullying and ostracism. . . . What also helped was having a mother like Patricia Nombuyiselo Noah. . . . Consider Born a Crime another such gift to her—and an enormous gift to the rest of us.”—USA Today ***** January 8, 2019 "The Gilly Salt Sisters" by Tiffany Baker Moderator, Douglas Losty The author of the New York Times bestselling The Little Giant of Aberdeen County returns with a magic-tinged tale of dreams, family secrets, and betrayals on a New England salt farm. In the isolated Cape Cod village of Prospect, the Gilly sisters are as different as can be. Jo, a fierce and quiet loner, is devoted to the mysteries of her family's salt farm, while Claire is popular, pretty, and yearns to flee the salt at any cost. But the Gilly land hides a dark legacy that proves impossible to escape. Although the community half-suspects the Gilly sisters might be witches, it doesn't stop Whit Turner, the town's wealthiest bachelor, from forcing his way into their lives. It's Jo who first steals Whit's heart, but it is Claire--heartbroken over her high school sweetheart--who marries him. Years later, estranged from her family, Claire finds herself thrust back onto the farm with the last person she would have chosen: her husband's pregnant mistress. Suddenly, alliances change, old loves return, and new battle lines are drawn. What the Gilly sisters learn about each other, the land around them, and the power of the salt, will not only change each of their lives forever, it will also alter Gilly history for good. ***** February 5, 2019 "Beneath a Scarlet Sky" by Mark Sullivan Moderator, Kathy C. Pino Lella wants nothing to do with the war or the Nazis. He’s a normal Italian teenager—obsessed with music, food, and girls—but his days of innocence are numbered. When his family home in Milan is destroyed by Allied bombs, Pino joins an underground railroad helping Jews escape over the Alps, and falls for Anna, a beautiful widow six years his senior. In an attempt to protect him, Pino’s parents force him to enlist as a German soldier—a move they think will keep him out of combat. But after Pino is injured, he is recruited at the tender age of eighteen to become the personal driver for Adolf Hitler’s left hand in Italy, General Hans Leyers, one of the Third Reich’s most mysterious and powerful commanders. Now, with the opportunity to spy for the Allies inside the German High Command, Pino endures the horrors of the war and the Nazi occupation by fighting in secret, his courage bolstered by his love for Anna and for the life he dreams they will one day share. Fans of All the Light We Cannot See, The Nightingale, and Unbroken will enjoy this riveting saga of history, suspense, and love. ***** March 5, 2019 "Table Comes First" by Adam Gopnik Moderator, Mark From the author of Paris to the Moon, a beguiling tour of the morals and manners of our present food mania, in search of eating’s deeper truths. Never before have we cared so much about food. It preoccupies our popular culture, our fantasies, and even our moralizing. With our top chefs as deities and finest restaurants as places of pilgrimage, we have made food the stuff of secular seeking and transcendence, finding heaven in a mouthful. But have we come any closer to discovering the true meaning of food in our lives? With inimitable charm and learning, Adam Gopnik takes us on a beguiling journey in search of that meaning as he charts America’s recent and rapid evolution from commendably aware eaters to manic, compulsive gastronomes. April 2, 2019 "A Thousand Splendid Suns" by Khaled Hosseini Moderator Laurie. Propelled by the same superb instinct for storytelling that made The Kite Runner a beloved classic, A Thousand Splendid Suns is at once an incredible chronicle of thirty years of Afghan history and a deeply moving story of family, friendship, faith, and the salvation to be found in love. It is a beautiful, riveting, and haunting novel that confirms Hosseini's place as one of the most important literary writers today. Born a generation apart and with very different ideas about love and family, Mariam and Laila are two women brought jarringly together by war, by loss and by fate. As they endure the ever escalating dangers around them-in their home as well as in the streets of Kabul-they come to form a bond that makes them both sisters and mother-daughter to each other, and that will ultimately alter the course not just of their own lives but of the next generation. With heart-wrenching power and suspense, Hosseini shows how a woman's love for her family can move her to shocking and heroic acts of self-sacrifice, and that in the end it is love, or even the memory of love, that is often the key to survival. A stunning accomplishment, A Thousand Splendid Suns is a haunting, heartbreaking, compelling story of an unforgiving time, an unlikely friendship, and an indestructible love. ***** May 7, 2019 "Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje Moderator, Linda H. In a narrative as mysterious as memory itself – at once both shadowed and luminous – Warlight is a vivid, thrilling novel of violence and love, intrigue and desire. It is 1945, and London is still reeling from the Blitz and years of war. 14-year-old Nathaniel and his sister, Rachel, are apparently abandoned by their parents, left in the care of an enigmatic figure named The Moth. They suspect he might be a criminal, and grow both more convinced and less concerned as they get to know his eccentric crew of friends: men and women with a shared history, all of whom seem determined now to protect, and educate (in rather unusual ways) Rachel and Nathaniel. But are they really what and who they claim to be? A dozen years later, Nathaniel begins to uncover all he didn’t know or understand in that time, and it is this journey – through reality, recollection, and imagination – that is told in this magnificent novel. ***** June 4, 2019 "Girl In Translation" by Jean Kwok Moderator, Diane Henry Introducing a fresh, exciting new voice, an inspiring debut about a Chinese immigrant girl forced to choose between two worlds and two futures. When Kimberly Chang and her mother emigrate from Hong Kong to Brooklyn squalor, she quickly begins a secret double life: exceptional schoolgirl during the day, Chinatown sweatshop worker in the evenings. Disguising the more difficult truths of her life-like the staggering degree of her poverty, the weight of her family's future resting on her shoulders, or her secret love for a factory boy who shares none of her talent ***** July 9, 2019 "The Last Days of Night" by Graham Moore Moderator, Doug Losty This best selling author brings a thrilling novel based on actual events—about the nature of genius, the cost of ambition, and the battle to electrify America. New York, 1888. Gas lamps still flicker in the city streets, but the miracle of electric light is in its infancy. The person who controls the means to turn night into day will make history—and a vast fortune. A young untested lawyer named Paul Cravath, fresh out of Columbia Law School, takes a case that seems impossible to win. Paul’s client, George Westinghouse, has been sued by Thomas Edison over a billion-dollar question: Who invented the light bulb and holds the right to power the country? The case affords Paul entry to the heady world of high society—the glittering parties in Gramercy Park mansions, and the more insidious dealings done behind closed doors. The task facing him is beyond daunting. Edison is a wily, dangerous opponent with vast resources at his disposal—private spies, newspapers in his pocket, and the backing of J. P. Morgan himself. Yet this unknown lawyer shares with his famous adversary a compulsion to win at all costs. How will he do it?