Catching up – 5 Book update

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I need to apologize for my lack of post over the past several months. Time seemed to get away from me. Just to catch up here are the books we read and discussed.

February: Big Little Liars by Liane Moriarty  Big Little Lies discussion

We very much enjoyed it and had fun discussing it, We related it to our real lives in terms of all the characters of the book. We also liked how it unfolded.

March: Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline  Orphan Train Discussion Guide

This book gave us a great discussion about the history of the Orphan Train.

May – June: 11/22/1963 by Stephen King 11/22/63 discussion guide

The biggest book ever! Many of us who are not regular Stephen King fans enjoyed this historical sci-fi novel. Plus we were quite proud when we  actually finished it.

July : Where’d You Go Bernadette? by Maria Semple   Bernadette Discussion guide

Some of us didn’t care for this read as much as others did. But It succeeded in keeping it light for the summer.

August : Stella Bain by Anita Shreve

Once again we found a book that gave us a history lesson along with it. We discussed our lack of information about World War 1 history.

So now we are caught up. Again I apologize about the time passing without posts.

1st of January – Unbroken

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This is a perfect book for the new year. If we ever need inspiration this little known (to me) story can do that.  Louie’s journey is nothing short of incredible.  I very much look forward to discussing it. Author, Laura Hillenbrand has a wonderful site with information about her subjects. Discussion questions for this book can be found at this link: http://laurahillenbrandbooks.com/discussion-questions/

On of our members also found this interesting interview with Ms. Hillenbrand where she speaks about both Seabiscuit (past book club book) and Unbroken.http://www.biography.com/news/laura-hillenbrand-unbroken-interview

Finally, here is a segment about Louis Zamperini.

2015 Book Club List

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Here is our list for this year

January Unbroken (528 pgs) Laura Hillenbrand
February Big Little Lies (480 pgs) Liane Moriarty
March Orphan Train (278 pgs) Christina Baker Kline
April The Invisible Man (581 pgs Classic) Ralph Ellison
May –June 11/22/63: A Novel (880 pgs) Stephen King
July Where’d You Go, Bernadette (352 pgs) Maria Semple
August Stella Bain (288 pgs) Anita Shreve
September A Call to Action, Women, Religion, Violence, and Power (224pgs Non Fiction) Jimmy Carter
October Night Circus (516 pgs) Erin Morgenstern

Nov/Dec

The Light Between Oceans(352 pgs) M.L. Stedman

November-December Book Club

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Our read this gathering is A VOICE IN THE WIND by Francine Rivers

I enjoyed reading this book for its historical references. In a general way it reminded me of one of our favorite reads, THE RED TENT  by Anita Diamant ( which by the way is to be a lifetime movie in December, starring Minnie Driver, check out the trailer) The book is in its 20th anniversary edition and is the first in a trilogy, the Mark of the Lion series.  Here are discussion questions for the book from the author’s website:

Discussion Guide

1. In the opening chapter, Hadassah’s father disappears while preaching to the crowds in Jerusalem. Why do the authorities consider him a threat?

2. Why are the Romans so hostile toward the Jews? Why is it even more dangerous to be a Christian in that culture?

3. Why do you think Hadassah’s life is spared by the soldiers? In your opinion, which would have been the preferable fate: to be killed quickly, or to be taken to Rome and sold into slavery? Why?

4. As the sole survivor of her family, and throughout her story of hardship, how is Hadassah able to continually give thanks to God? How can she remain so sure that God has not abandoned her? How do you think you might have reacted if you were in her sandals?

5. Why does Enoch purchase Hadassah as a slave for the Valerian household? Have you ever responded to “a still, small voice” by doing something you might not otherwise have done?

6. Patrobus calls the Christians “cowardly” for dying in the arena without defending themselves (page 54). Do you agree that not fighting back is a sign of cowardice? Why or why not?

7. On the ship bound for Rome, Hadassah befriends a woman, but the woman rejects her friendship. What does the woman find repulsive about Hadassah? Have you ever felt rejected because of your faith?

8. Decimus and Marcus disagree about many things, including politics and Marcus’s live-for-today lifestyle. What are some issues that spark arguments between parents and grown children today?

9. Hadassah tells Marcus, “We all serve something or someone, my lord” (page 124). Who or what does Marcus serve?

10. In Hadassah’s view, the Valerian family “had so much and yet so little” (page 142). Can you see ways in which wealth and comfort could be a curse? Have you ever tried to share the gospel with someone who thought he or she had no need of Jesus?

11. Discuss Julia and her three husbands: Claudius, Caius, and Primus. Who do you think was the best husband for her, and why? Would Julia agree with your choice? How do you think each of the men would rate Julia as a wife?

12. What is the true basis of Claudius’s attraction to Hadassah? Compare Julia’s personal qualities to those of Hadassah. Who would make a better partner for a lifetime? Why?

13. Compare Roman marriage customs to marriage customs today. Do you think it’s a good idea for parents to be involved in their child’s choice of a mate? Why or why not?

14. Discuss the character of Calabah. How does she draw Julia into her destructive web? Why do you think Calabah exerts a stronger influence over Julia’s beliefs and behavior than Hadassah does?

15. Are any of Calabah’s beliefs and attitudes alive and well in our culture today? Which ones? How do modern-day Calabahs affect the choices of women and girls?

16. What personal qualities does Atretes have that set him apart from the other slaves and gladiators-in-training?

17. At the height of his popularity as a gladiator, Atretes is treated like a Roman-era rock star, handled by managers and followed everywhere by clamoring fans. Explain how fame and public adulation can be a form of prison.

18. Atretes’ worship at the Roman temple and his relationship with Julia both leave him feeling empty and dissatisfied. Have you ever experienced something that the world promised would bring satisfaction or joy, and it left you feeling hollow? Where does true satisfaction come from?

19. How do you think Hadassah feels when she meets Trophimus and starts meeting in secret with other Christians? What risks does she take in joining them? There are areas of the world today where Christians are punished for practicing their faith. Pray for all persecuted Christians.

20. What is the difference between obedience and service? Which word better describes the attitude Hadassah displays in her life as a slave to the Valerians? Give some examples.

21. How is it possible for Hadassah to continue to show love to people who treat her with contempt and cruelty? Discuss the effect her attitude has on the various members of the household: Decimus, Phoebe, Marcus, Julia, the other slaves. Have you ever been able to love a difficult person in spite of his or her attitude toward you?

22. Discuss Marcus’s and Hadassah’s attraction for each other. What is the initial impediment to their relationship? When Hadassah is offered her freedom, what remains an obstacle? Explain the difference between Marcus’s and Hadassah’s views of love.

23. How does Hadassah stay true to her faith right up until the end?

24. Did you enjoy reading A Voice in the Wind? What part of the story had the greatest impact on you? Why?

Be sure to read Echo in the Darkness, where the fascinating story continues.

September: No One Writes The Colonel by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

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I really can’t say anything about these stories because my mother taught me that if I can’t say anything nice I shouldn’t say anything at all.

But…here are the questions to discuss.

CHAPTER I

  1. What does the month of October represent for the colonel?
  2. 
The second paragraph of this novel describes the colonel’s “attitude of confident and innocent expectation.” How do you interpret this initial description of the colonel and its possible relation with the plot of the novel.
  3. Mention some indications of the political tension.
  4.  Describe the economic situation in which the colonel and his wife find themselves.

CHAPTER 2

  1. Describe the doctor’s and colonel’s sense of humor.
  2. Describe the importance of his wife in the colonel’s life. Compare and contrast their personal traits.
  3. What do you understand about the political situation in the country based on the characters’ comments?

CHAPTER 3 

  1. Discuss the role played by governmental bureaurocracy in the colonel’s life.
  2. What additional details are indicative of the colonel’s poverty..
  3.  Discuss parallels between the characters in The colonel ... and those in “Balthazar’s Wonderful Afternoon”

CHAPTER 4 

  1. Comment on the role played by the colonel’s pride in this novel.
  2. What importance does the rooster acquire after the colonel’s visit to the tailor’s
  3. Compare don Sabas and the colonel.
  4. What does the colonel think of don Sabas wealth?
  5. Comente: “You can’t eat illusions, but they nourish you.”

CHAPTER 6

  1. Discuss the doctor’s comments regarding don Sabas character.
  2. Explain the patriotic pact entered into by don Sabas and the mayor.
  3. What do we learn about the colonel’s character in the scene that takes place in the pool hall?

CHAPTER 7

  1. What transformation takes place in the colonel throughout this story that culminates at the end?
  2. What does the rooster represent for the colonel and for the town?
  3. What do we learn from this novel about the social and political reality of Colombia at the time it was written?

The Dinner by Herman Koch

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I can’t wait to discuss this novel. It made me think about so many things for a long time. Just what a good book should do. Discussion questions are in the back of each book so I won’t re print them here. But I did want to add this link to a New York Times review

Nasty Bits

‘The Dinner,’ by Herman Koch

 

This has been my favorite read this summer. I am looking forward to reading his latest book, Summer House with Swimming Pool. I hope it makes me think as much as this one.