Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Meeting of January 28th 2008

Thank you to Janet for hosting our meeting. The hors d'oeuvres and blueberry pie were great. Especially appreciated was the service! Maybe your server would like a contract for future meetings Janet??
Linda, Shirley, Joan, Jolene, Michèle and of course Janet attended the meeting.
Each year at the January meeting, the Book Club gives out it's Academy Award to the member who recommended the book read in the previous calendar year that was most enjoyed by the members. City of Joy, recommended by Linda won this year. Congratulations Linda! Jolene bought a book as prize. There was also a runner-up prize but since no other book received more than one vote, we decided to save the runner-up prize for next year.
This meeting's book was Bay of Spirits by Farley Mowat. A Canadian born in Ontario, Mr. Mowat lived many years in the out posts of Newfoundland. He is well known for his books on wildlife and many of his books were written for children. He is a somewhat controversial author because of his views that he has clearly articulated on subjects such as the baby seal hunts or whale hunting in his books and in the press. Many Newfoundlanders are not appreciative of his opinions and have not enjoyed his description of personalities in this particular book and others.
The book Bay of Spirits is focused on life in the out ports. Through accounts of boat trips with Claire, his second wife over several summers and a few years in the 1960's he describes the out ports and their residents in quite colourful detail. His descriptive powers are excellent; we can easily imagine the houses perched on rocks. He is a great storyteller and some of us wondered how accurate his stories were, especially some of the sea escapades on his boat Happy Adventure.
We wondered how generous he was in comparison to how they were with him. Many of the residents in out ports he visited gave him food and help with his boat. He was quite evidently focused on himself and his causes.
Though the book has a subtitle A Love Story, and there is quite a bit about his relationship with Claire that he meets while still married to Frances, the book definitely has a political bent. Awareness of the over fishing and the destruction of the fishery came out in this book as did the baby seal issue and a definite dislike for Premier Joey Smallwood.
Most members enjoyed the book mainly because of Mr. Mowat's easy storytelling style.
We also talked about books we have enjoyed and about other lists of book. We talked about Yan Martel and the books he has been sending to Prime Minister Harper. There is even a website that describes the books and includes the letters Yan Martel has written to Mr. Harper.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Books and Meetings in 2008

January 28-

-discussing Bay of Spirits by Farley Mowat, Janet's choice at Janet's home (

February 25

-Linda's choice, Unbowed by Wangari Maathai at Michèle's home

March 31 -

- (please note--the 4th Monday is Easter Monday so we have moved the club date to March 31) Jolene's choice, Life of Pi by Yann Martel at Beth's home

April 28-

-Beth's choice, The City of Falling Angels by John Berendt at Linda's home

May 26

- Shirley’s choice, Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali at Shirley's home

June 23

- Colette’s choice, Suite Française by Irène Nemirovsky at Jolene’s home

September 29

- The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, Carla's choice at Colette's house

October 27

- discussing the movie (also available as a book), The Last King of Scotland, Linda's choice at Joan's house. (Linda has made the video available for summer viewing)

November 17

- A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, Michèle’s choice at Michèle’s home

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Books read in 2007 - Choose your favorite!

BOOK CLUB - 2007
January – City of Joy by Dominique Lapierre
The story concerns a polish priest living in West Bengal, India, Stephan Kovalski, who is trying to help and understand life in a Howrah slum (across the Hooghly river from Kolkata) called Anandnagar (City of Joy). Among its various protagonists is the rickshaw puller, Hasari Pal who becomes a central figure in the novel. Despite the abject poverty and injustice, the inhabitants of Anandnagar display an inscrutable acceptance and celebration of life - an attitude that humbles fate and dignifies life.
February - Home to Harmony by Philip Gulley
Come home to Harmony, Indiana, a peaceful slice of small-town America, as Sam Gardner, Harmony-born and raised, begins his inaugural year as pastor to a new flock of old friends, family members, and outrageous eccentrics -- in this unforgettable place where earth-shattering events rarely occur, but small life-altering ones happen daily.
March - The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
The book is the story of a 14-year-old girl who is raped and murdered. She tells her story from her personalized Heaven looking down as her family tries to cope with her death and her killer escapes the police.
April – State of Fear by Michael Crichton
State of Fear is a 2004 novel by Michael Crichton published by HarperCollins on December 7, 2004. Like most of his novels it is a techno-thriller, this time concerning eco-terrorists who attempt mass murder to support their views. The book contains many graphs and footnotes as well as two appendices and a twenty page bibliography.
Crichton, who spent 3 years studying the theme, included a statement of his own views on global climate change at the end of the book, saying that the cause, extent, and threat of climate change is largely unknown and unknowable. This has resulted in criticism by scientists as being inaccurate and misleading. He warns both sides of the global warming debate against the politicization of science. He provides an example of the disastrous combination of pseudo-science and good intentions, in the early 20th-century idea of eugenics. He finishes by endorsing the management of wilderness and the continuation of research into all aspects of the Earth's environment.
May - The Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys

Wide Sargasso Sea is a 1966 postcolonial parallel novel by Caribbean-born author Jean Rhys. After many years of living in obscurity since her last work, Good Morning, Midnight, was published in 1939, Wide Sargasso Sea put Rhys into the limelight once more and became her most successful novel.
The novel acts as a prequel to Charlotte Brontë's famous 1847 novel Jane Eyre. It is the story of the first Mrs Rochester, Antoinette (Bertha) Mason, a white Creole heiress, from the time of her youth in the Caribbean to her unhappy marriage and relocation to England. Caught in an oppressive patriarchal society in which she belongs neither to the white Europeans nor the black Jamaicans, Rhys' novel re-imagines Brontë's devilish madwoman in the attic. As with many postcolonial works, the novel deals largely with the themes of racial inequality and the harshness of displacement and assimilation.
June - Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures by Vincent  Lam
Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures welcomes readers into a world where the most mundane events can quickly become life or death. By following four young medical students and physicians – Ming, Fitz, Sri and Chen – this debut collection from 2006 Scotiabank Giller Prize winner Vincent Lam is a riveting, eye-opening account of what it means to be a doctor. Deftly navigating his way through 12 interwoven short stories, the author explores the characters’ relationships with each other, their patients, and their careers. Lam draws on his own experience as an emergency room physician and shares an insider’s perspective on the fears, frustrations, and responsibilities linked with one of society’s most highly regarded occupations.
September – The Memory Keepers daughter by Kim Edwards
Award-winning writer Kim Edwards's The Memory Keeper's Daughter is a brilliantly crafted family drama that explores every mother's silent fear: what would happen if you lost your child and she grew up without you?
On a winter night in 1964, Dr. David Henry is forced by a blizzard to deliver his own twins. His son, born first, is perfectly healthy. Yet when his daughter is born, he sees immediately that she has Down's syndrome. Rationalizing it as a need to protect Norah, his wife, he makes a split second decision that will alter all of their lives forever. He asks his nurse to take the baby away to an institution and never to reveal the secret. But Caroline, the nurse, cannot leave the infant. Instead, she disappears into another city to raise the child herself. So begins this beautifully told story that unfolds over a quarter of a century in which these two families, ignorant of each other, are yet bound by David Henry's fateful decision that long-ago winter night.
October - Perfume--the Story of a Murderer by Patrick Suskind,
An international bestseller, set in 18th century France, Perfume relates the story of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, "one of the most gifted and abominable personages in an era that knew no lack of gifted and abominable personages".
Born lacking a personal odour (a fact other people find disquieting) but endowed with an incomparable sense of smell, he apprentices himself to a perfumer and becomes obsessed with procuring the perfect scent that will make him fully human. In the process, he creates perfumes—presumably based on pheromones—that powerfully manipulate human emotions, murdering 25 girls to take their scent.
The book features detailed descriptions of the techniques of scent extraction such as maceration and enfleurage.
November - Charles the Bold: the Dog Years by Yves Beauchemin,
Charles the Bold: The Dog Years is the first in a series of four novels that chronicle the life of Charles Thibodeau, a youngster from Montreal’s notorious east end. In this first volume, Yves Beauchemin takes us from Charles’ premature birth in October 1966 to his first term in secondary school. In the first pages the reader realizes that Charles is a special child and that his life is going to be far from ordinary. Although he is “born with a natural gift for happiness,” Charles’ childhood is overshadowed by tragic events. His mother never fully recovers from the birth of his younger sister Madeleine and both sister and mother die before Charles reaches the age of four. Left with his alcoholic father, Charles suffers from the domestic violence Wilfrid Thibodeau repeatedly inflicts upon him. One night the carpenter even attempts to murder his son, who then seeks refuge with the Fafard family.


List of Books read since 1999

This blog or electronic journal has been created to allow a web record of the activities of this Book Club situated in Ottawa beginning with the 2008 season. This lists the books that were read by its members since 1999.

The Stars are Fire by Anita Shreve. Michèle, Colette hosted.
On the Up by Shilo Jones. Janet, Janet hosted.
The Plum Tree by Ellen Marie Wiseman. Betty, Colette hosted.
If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin. Beth, Jane hosted.
Lands of Lost Borders by Kate Harris. Carla, Betty hosted.
Requiem by Frances Itani. Linda, Michèle hosted.
The Maltese Falcon by Dashielle Hammett. Colette, Linda hosted.
Starlight by Richard Wagamese. Jane, Shirley hosted
A Brightness Long Ago - Guy Gavriel Kay. Shirley, Beth hosted.

Still Life - Louise Penny. Janet, Colette hosted
The Nightingale  - Kristin Hannah. Carla, Janet hosted
The Piano Maker - Kurt Palka. Betty, Carla hosted
Kamouraska - Anne Hébert. Michèle, Jane hosted
Flee, Fly, Flown - Janet Hepburn. Linda, Shirley hosted
Brooklyn - Colm Tóibín. Beth, Linda hosted
They Left Us Everything - Plum Johnson. Colette, Michèle hosted
The Music Shop - Rachel Joyce. Jane, Betty hosted
Gentleman in Moscow - Amor Towles. Shirley, Beth hosted

Commonwealth - Ann Patchett. Janet, Colette hosted
The Wonder - Emma Donoghue. Carla, Janet hosted
The Mockingbird Next Door, Life with Harper Lee - Marja Milles. Jolene, Carla hosted
Maman's Homesick Pie - Donia Bijan. Michèle, Jane hosted
Matrons and Madams - Her Excellency Sharon Johnston. Linda, Linda hosted
Do Not Say We have Nothing - Madeleine Thien. Beth, Jolene hosted
The Shipping News - Annie Proulx. Colette, Michèle hosted
The Chilbury Ladies' Choir  - Jennifer Ryan. Jane, Shirley hosted
Home Front  - Kristin Hannah. Shirley, Beth hosted

One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez - Janet, Betty hosted
A Man Called Ove - Fredrik Backman - Carla, Janet hosted
The Rosie Effect - Graeme Simsion - Jolene, Carla hosted
The Memory Chalet - Tony Judt - Michèle, Janet hosted
No Relation - Terry Fallis - Linda, Michèle hosted 
A House in the Sky - A Memoir - Amanda Lindhout - Betty, Linda hosted
The High Mountains of Portugal - Yann Martel - Colette, Jolene hosted
The Reason You Walk - Wab Kinew - Jane, Shirley hosted
The Orphan Train - Kristina Baker Kline - Shirley, Beth hosted

The Light Between Oceans - M.L. Stedman -Betty, Colette hosted
The Pearl that Broke its Shell - Nadia Hashimi - Carla, Janet hosted
An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for AnythingChris Hatfield, - Jolene, Carla hosted
Ru - Kim Thùy - Michèle, Colette hosted
Tell - Frances Itani - Linda, Michèle hosted
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie - Muriel Spark - Beth, Linda hosted
Us Conductors - Sean Michaels - Colette, Jolene hosted
All the Light We Cannot See - Anthony Doerr. - Jane, Colette hosted
The Lotus Eaters - Tatjana Soli - Shirley, Beth hosted

The Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas - Janet, Betty hosted
Discussing the author Alice Munro - Michèle, Jane hosted
Longbourn - Jo Baker - Jolene, Jolene hosted
The Rosie Project - Graeme Simsion - Beth, Janet hosted
Call the Midwife - Jennifer Worth - Betty, Shirley hosted
A Man Called Intrepid - William Stevenson - Linda, Linda hosted
The Orenda - Joseph Boyden - Colette, Jolene hosted
Medicine Walk - Richard Wagamese - Jane, Colette hosted
Annabel - Kathleen Winter - Louise, Beth hosted

Still Alice - Lisa Genova - Betty, Janet hosted
Alone in the Classroom - Elizabeth Hay - Janet, Betty hosted
The Help - Kathryn Stockett - Jolene, Carla hosted
Rules of Civility - Amor Towles - Michèle, Jane hosted
No Time to Wave Goodbye - Jacquelyn Mitchard - Linda, Michèle hosted
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry - Rachel Joyce - Beth, Linda hosted
Deafening - Frances Itani - Shirley, Janet hosted
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress - Dai Sijie - Jane, Michèle hosted
Little Bee - Chris Cleave - Carla, Beth posted

The Mark of the Angel - Nancy Huston Michèle, Michèle hosted
The Book Thief - Markus Zusak - Betty, Betty hosted
Death Comes to Pemberley - P.D. James - Colette, Carla hosted
Cry, the Beloved Country - Alan Paton - Janet, Jane hosted
The Best Laid Plans - Terry Fallis - Linda, Colette hosted
Vaclav and Lena - Haley Tanner - Beth, Linda hosted
Left Neglected - Lisa Genova - Shirley, Jolene hosted
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand - Helen Simonsson - Jane, Shirley hosted
Unorthodox, The Scandalous Rejection of my Hasidic Roots - Deborah Feldman - Carla, Beth hosted

Where the River Ends - Charles Martin - Betty, Michèle hosted
Half of a Yellow Sun - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - Michèle, Betty hosted
Notes from a Small Island - Bill Bryson - Colette, Carla hosted
In the Skin of a Lion - Michael Ondaatje - Janet, Jane hosted
The Forgotten Garden - Kate Morton  - Jolene, Jolene hosted
Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro - Beth, Linda hosted
Secret Daughter - Shilpa Soraya Gowda - Shirley, Colette hosted
Sanctuary Line - Jane Urquhart - Jane, Shirley hosted
Year of Wonders - Geraldine Brooks - Carla, Beth hosted

Five Quarters of the Orange - Joanne Harris -  Michèle, Michèle hosted
The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins - Colette, Betty hosted
Reading by Lightning - Joan Thomas - Janet, Carla hosted
La's Orchestra Saves the World - Alexander McCall Smith - Jolene, Jolene hosted
Far from the Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy - Beth, Linda hosted

The Book of Negroes - Lawrence Hill - Shirley, Colette hosted
The Boy in the Moon - Ian Brown - Jane, Shirley hosted
Collaborator of Bethlehem - Matt Renon Rees - Carla, Colette hosted

Sarah's Key - Tatiana de Rosnay - Linda, Beth hosted

The Other Side of the Bridge - Mary Lawson - Joan, Betty hosted
Stanley Park - Timothy Taylor - Janet, Carla hosted
Mr. Darcy Presents His Bride: A sequel to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice - Helen Halstead - Jolene, Janet hosted
Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont - Elizabeth Taylor - Beth, Jolene hosted
Those Who Save Us - Jenna Blum - Shirley, Linda hosted
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows - Colette, Shirley hosted
Snowflower and the Secret Fan - Lisa See - Carla, Colette hosted
The Hatbox Letters - Beth Downing - Linda, Beth hosted
Three Cups of Tea - Greg Mortenson & David Oliver Relin - Betty, Janet hosted

Bay of Spirits -Farley Mowat  - Janet, Janet hosted
Unbowed - Wangari Maathai - Linda, Michèle hosted
Life of Pi - Yann Martel - Jolene, Beth hosted
City of Fallen Angels - John Berendt Beth, Linda hosted
Infidel - Ayaan Hirsi Ali -Shirley, Shirley hosted
Suite française - Irène Nemirovsky - Colette, Jolene hosted
The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger - Carla, Colette hosted
The Last King of Scotland (movie) - Linda, Joan hosted
A Thousand Splendid Suns - Khaled Hosseini -Michèle, Michèle hosted

Charles the Bold: The Dog Years - Yves Beauchemin -
Perfume – Patrick Suskind
The Memory Keeper’s Daughter – Kim Edwards
Blood Letting and Miraculous Cures – Vincent Lam
Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
State of Fear – Michael Crichton
The Wide Sargasso Sea - Jean Rhys
Home to Harmony – Philip Gully
City of Joy – Dominique Lapierre

A Million Little Pieces - James Frey - Anna, Jolene hosted
Letters from Wingfield Farm - Dan Needles - Jolene, Beth hosted
The Black Bonspiel of Willie MacCrimmon - W.O. Mitchell - Marilyn, Linda hosted
Mansfield Park - Jane Austen - Beth, Shirley hosted 
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Brontë - Colette, Carla hosted
Light from Heaven - Jan Karon - Betty, Jolene hosted
My Sister's Keeper - Jodi Picoult - Shirley, Colette hosted
The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini -
Joanne, Jolene hosted
The Stone Carvers - Jane Urquhart - Michèle, Betty hosted

Rush Home Road - Lori Lansens - Betty, Jolene hosted
The Ginger Tree - Oswald Wynd - Beth, Beth hosted
The Robbie Burns Revival - Cecilia Kennedy - Marilyn, Linda hosted
Two Solitudes -Hugh MacLennan - Colette, Shirley hosted
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency - Alexander Mccall Smith - Jolene, Carla hosted
Bel Canto - Ann Patchet - Shirley, Marilyn hosted
Such a Long Journey - Rohinton Mistry - Joanne, Colette hosted
A Boy of Good Breeding - Miriam Toews - Linda, Anna hosted
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time - Mark Haddon - Carla, Betty hosted

The Language of Sisters - Amy Yurk - Marilyn, Jolene hosted
Crow Lake - Mary Lawson - Joanne,  Beth hosted
Barometer Rising - Hugh McLennan - Beth, Linda hosted
Pigs in Heaven - Barbara Kingsolver - Colette, Shirley hosted
Sons of Fortune - Jeffrey Archer - Jolene, Carla hosted
Waiting - Ha Jin - Shirley, Marilyn hosted
5 People You Meet in Heaven - Mitch Albom - Linda, Colette hosted
Secret Life of Bees - Sue Kidd - Carla, Anna hosted
Under the Tuscan Sun - Frances Mayes - Anna, Betty hosted 

Nanny Diaries - Emma McLaughlin - Beth, Jolene hosted
The Chosen - Chaim Potok - Colette, Marilyn hosted
Voyage of the Northern Magic -Diane Stuemer - Marilyn, Linda hosted
Rebecca's Tale -Sally Beauman - Linda, Shirley hosted
A Year in Provence - Peter Mayle - Shirley, Carol hosted
Stories from the Vinyl Cafe - Stuart McLean - Jolene, Betty hosted
Bee Season - Myla Goldberg - Betty, Anna hosted
The Bean Tree - Barbara Kingsolver, Carla, Colette hosted
The Rabbit-Proof Fence - Doris Pilkington - Anna, Carla hosted

Rebecca - Daphne DuMaurier - Beth, Joanne hosted
Skipping Christmas - John Grisham - Linda, Colette hosted
A Man for All Seasons - Robert Bolt - Jolene, Anna hosted
Mysterious Affair at Styles - Agatha Christie - Colette, Shirley hosted
La Prisonniere - Malika Oufkir - Carol, Jolene hosted
The Pilot's Wife - Anita Shreve - Joanne, Carol hosted
Clara Callan - Richard Bruce Wright - Marilyn, Linda hosted
Family Matters - Rohinton Mistry - Anna, Marilyn hosted
A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute - Betty, Carla hosted
Divine Secrets of the YaYa Sisterhood - Rebecca Wells - Carla, Anna hosted
The Red Tent - Anita Diament - Carol, Colette hosted

No Great Mischief - Alistair MacLeod - Marilyn, Joanne hosted
The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver - Joanne, Joanne hosted
A Good House - Bonnie Burnard - Beth, Jolene hosted
Random Passage - Bernice Morgan - Shirley, Shirley hosted
The Man who Listens to Horses - Monty Roberts - Jolene, Colette hosted
Waiting for Time - Bernice Morgan - Betty, Linda hosted
A Painted House - John Grisham - Marilyn, Marilyn hosted
Out of Africa - Isak Dinesen - Anna, Anna hosted
Whelan - Eugene Whalen - Linda, Carla hosted
Mercy Among the Children -David Adams Richards - Carla, Joanne hosted
Chocolat - Joanne Harris - Joanne, Marilyn hosted

Fifth Business - Robertson Davies - Marilyn, Debbie hosted
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil - John Berendt - Debbie, Anna hosted
Alias Grace - Margaret Atwood - Anna, Linda hosted
Tuesdays with Morrie - Mitch Albom - Linda
The Making of an American Quilt (video) - Yolande, Yolande hosted
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - J.K. Rowling -Joanne, Marilyn hosted
The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz - Mordecai Richler - Marilyn, Jolene hosted
A Light in the Window - Jan Karon - Jolene, Linda hosted
12 Golden Threads -Aliske Webb - Linda, Colette hosted
Anne of Green Gables - Lucy Maud Montgomery - Colette, Jolene hosted
Davita's Harp - Chaim Potok - Jolene, Marilyn hosted

A Recipe for Bees - Gail Andeerson-Dargatz
Snow Falling on Cedars - David Guterson - Marilyn, Debbie hosted
Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden - Debbie, Val hosted
The Tao of Pooh - Benjamin Hoff - Val
A Map of the World - Jane Hamilton - Susan hosted
Summer Sisters - Judy Blume - Susan, Jolene hosted
The Testament - John Grisham - Jolene
Angela's Ashes - Frank McCourt - Joanne hosted
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee -Joanne, Yolande hosted
Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus - John Gray - Yolande, Jolene hosted
At Home in Mitford - Jan Karon - Jolene, Marilyn hosted

A Widow for One Year - John Irving