LOCATION AND BOOK SELECTION DISCUSSION: Since we've had difficulty with this Barnes and Noble forgetting to add us to the calendar or have a table ready, let's have a quick discussion during this meeting about potential alternative locations. Also, we'll be choosing book selections for the summer months, so come prepared with your ideas!
Summer reading selections were discussed at our April meeting. So we are fairly set through the summer. Since I am such a procrastinator and an unorganized Organizer, I only have the June posting ready to go. Accordingly, there is room for additional selections if you want to make a pitch for a book you have been eager to read.
In May we will be reading three selections that fit the theme “A Stranger in Your Own Land”: Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by, Katherine Boo, A Country Doctor’s Notebook by, Mikhail Bulgakov (Also Translated as A Young Doctor’s Notebook), and What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank, by Nathan Englander.
Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by, Katherine Boo.
Next to Mumbai's bustling international airport, a boy picks through refuse, looking for pieces he can recycle and sell to support his family of 11. He is a resident of Annawadi, a slum built on a patch of reclaimed swampland — now fringed by luxury hotels.
As economists and activists fret over increasing income inequality in America, scenes like this one from journalist Katherine Boo's new book, Behind the Beautiful Forevers, are a forceful reminder of the extreme disparity of wealth that exist all over the world — and what people must do to survive.
Boo, a Pulitzer Prize-winner who earned acclaim for her pieces on poverty in America, became a regular visitor to Mumbai after she married a man from India. http://www.npr.org/2012/02/06/146463567/mumbai-slum-exists-behind-the-beautiful-forevers
A Country Doctor’s Notebook by, Mikhail Bulgakov. (Also Translated as A Young Doctor’s Notebook)
With the ink still wet on his diploma, the twenty-five-year-old Dr. Mikhail Bulgakov was flung into the depths of rural Russia which, in[masked], was still largely unaffected by such novelties as the motor car, the telephone or electric light. How his alter-ego copes (or fails to cope) with the new and often appalling responsibilities of a lone doctor in a vast country practice — on the eve of Revolution — is described in Bulgakov's delightful blend of candid realism and imaginative exuberance.
This novel was also recently adapted into a miniseries starring Daniel Radcliffe and Jon Hamm:
What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank, by Nathan Englander
These eight new stories from the celebrated novelist and short-story writer Nathan Englander display a gifted young author grappling with the great questions of modern life, with a command of language and the imagination that place Englander at the very forefront of contemporary American fiction. The title story, inspired by Raymond Carver’s masterpiece, is a provocative portrait of two marriages in which the Holocaust is played out as a devastating parlor game. In the outlandishly dark “Camp Sundown” vigilante justice is undertaken by a group of geriatric campers in a bucolic summer enclave. “Free Fruit for Young Widows” is a small, sharp study in evil, lovingly told by a father to a son. “Sister Hills” chronicles the history of Israel’s settlements from the eve of the Yom Kippur War through the present, a political fable constructed around the tale of two mothers who strike a terrible bargain to save a child. Marking a return to two of Englander’s classic themes, “Peep Show” and “How We Avenged the Blums” wrestle with sexual longing and ingenuity in the face of adversity and peril. And “Everything I Know About My Family on My Mother’s Side” is suffused with an intimacy and tenderness that break new ground for a writer who seems constantly to be expanding the parameters of what he can achieve in the short form. Beautiful and courageous, funny and achingly sad, Englander’s work is a revelation.
- - - - - - - - -
Reminder: We usually choose 2-3 books per month. You're welcome at our meeting whether you read all or none of the books. We read fiction, nonfiction, and plays, and usually try to cover 1 piece of classic literature monthly. We read books reviewed or mentioned on NPR, and try to mirror NPR's tone at our meetings: thoughtful, polite discussion & commentary, with no arguing or posturing, and no sacred cows or unmentioned elephants in the room.
Suggested Donation: $1, at the meeting. If you are able to make a $1 donation at the meeting, this is appreciated as it helps defray the monthly charge that Meetup.com applies to the group Organizer.