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.



  1. Though Perfume was not liked as a read by the majority of members of the club, it is still my choice because in all the books I have read as an adult, it is among the top ten that had a significant emotional impact on me.


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