Thursday, August 15, 2013
Amazon Best Books of the Month, November 2012: In what may be the first novel to realistically imagine the near-term impact of “global weirding,” Barbara Kingsolver sets her latest story in rural Appalachia . In fictional Feathertown, Tennessee, Dellarobia Turnbow--on the run from her stifling life--charges up the mountain above her husband’s family farm and stumbles onto a “valley of fire” filled with millions of monarch butterflies. This vision is deemed miraculous by the town’s parishioners, then the international media. But when Ovid, a scientist who studies monarch behavior, sets up a lab on the Turnbow farm, he learns that the butterflies’ presence signals systemic disorder--and Dellarobia's in-laws’ logging plans won’t help. Readers who bristle at politics made personal may be turned off by the strength of Kingsolver’s convictions, but she never reduces her characters to mouthpieces, giving equal weight to climate science and human need, to forces both biological and biblical. Her concept of family encompasses all living beings, however ephemeral, and Flight Behavior gracefully, urgently contributes to the dialogue of survival on this swiftly tilting planet. --Mari Malcolm --This text refers to the Hardcover edition. Review “Drawing on both her Appalachian roots and her background in biology, Kingsolver delivers a passionate novel on the effects of global warming.” (Booklist, Starred Review) “With her powerful new novel, Kingsolver delivers literary fiction that conveys an urgent social message… a clarion call about climate change, too lucid and vivid for even skeptics to ignore.” (Publishers Weekly, Starred Review) “…Enthralling…Dellarobia is appealingly complex as a smart, curious, warmhearted woman desperate to-no resisting the metaphor here-trade her cocoon for wings.” (Oprah.com) “A dazzling page-turner” (Elle) “Kingsolver has written one of the more thoughtful novels about the scientific, financial and psychological intricacies of climate change. And her ability to put these silent, breathtakingly beautiful butterflies at the center of this calamitous and noisy debate is nothing short of brilliant.” (Ron Charles, Washington Post) “Dellarobia is a smart, fierce, messy woman, and one can’t help rooting for her to find her wings.” (Entertainment Weekly) “Dellarobia is appealingly complex as a smart, curious, warmhearted woman desperate to-no resisting the metaphor here-trade her cocoon for wings.” (O, the Oprah Magazine) “One of the gifts of a Kingsolver novel is the resplendence of her prose. She takes palpable pleasure in the craft of writing, creating images that stay with the reader long after her story is done…(a) majestic and brave new novel.” (New York Times Book Review) “Kingsolver has constructed a deeply affecting microcosm of a phenomenon that is manifesting in many different tragic ways, in communities and ecosystems all around the globe. This is a fine and complex novel.” (Seattle Times) “So captivating is this grand, suspenseful plot and the many subplots rising and falling beneath it that it takes some time before we realize what this story is really about -- climate change.” (Minneapolis Star Tribune) “Spirituality, a troubled marriage, global warming…Kingsolver’s latest is a bold mélange, but it works.” (People) “Kingsolver is a storyteller first and foremost, as sensitive to human interactions and family dynamics as she is to ecological ones.” (NPR) “a delicate symbiosis between the sacred and the scientific in this richly rewarding novel that will both entertain and incite its readers.” (BookPage) “FLIGHT BEHAVIOR is a book worth reading twice? first for the intricacies of character, second for the dense, beautiful language Kingsolver puts on the page. She’s a keen observer of the messiness and unexpected beauty of the quotidian.” (Cleveland Plain Dealer) “By the end of FLIGHT BEHAVIOR, it’s clear that Kingsolver’s passionate voice and her ability to portray the fragility of the natural world, and why we should care about it, are as strong as ever.” (San Francisco Chronicle) “Novelists like Kingsolver have a particular knack for making us empathize with lives that may bear little resemblance to our own…What lifts FLIGHT BEHAVIOR…is not just Kingsolver’s nuanced and funny prose; it’s Dellarobia’s awakening to the possibilities around her.” (Julia Ingalls, Salon) “FLIGHT BEHAVIOR is a terrifically entertaining read about a spirited young woman you’ll miss the minute you reach the last page.” (USA Today) “Marvelous…This is fiction rich in empathy, wit and science. Like the butterflies that astonish Feathertown, Kingsolvian gifts are ‘fierce and wondrous,’ ‘colors moving around like fire.’” (New York Times) “[Kingsolver’s] keen grasp of delicate ecosystems-both social and natural-keeps the story convincing and compelling.” (The New Yorker)
We had a full compliment plus the return of Maura Baptist, a former member and dear friend to many of us! Many Congratulations to Jim, Candace, Lori and especially Julie & Midge! I wish we had more time to talk about everyone's accomplishments and milestones but, hey, we will have plenty of time at the next bookclub! We will be returning to a fun retreat at Hill's Resort way up on Priest Lake in North Idaho. It will be a blast! Julie is checking into getting another Murder Mystery game and I am sure other people will come up with fun ideas or activities. It was a great discussion about our two not-dissimilar books about our human societies reactions to the end of technology as we know it! Nothing too scary next time... Great dessert again Jim; many thanks!
Tuesday, July 2, 2013
"It was a warm and sultry evening on 21st Avenue...." We were at Julie's for last night's discussion about Canada by Richard Ford. I can't comment much because I didn't read it. It was a good discussion none-the-less. Perhaps I will listen to the audio version someday. Julie made banana splits; YUMMY! So, for next time I proposed a novel idea. I had recommended a 'fun' apocalyptic novel entitled 'Dies the Fire'. I say fun because it isn't nearly as dark as 'The Road' by Cormac McCarthy that we read a few years back. Last night Rhonda suggested "One Second After" with a similar theme. I suggested that we split into two groups with each group reading one or the other. We can compare and contrast this genre; let's boldly go where this bookclub has never gone before! If you think of interesting questions to pose for the discussion write them down and bring them to the next meeting at Jim's house on August 14th!
Saturday, June 1, 2013
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
The only writer ever to win both the Pulitzer Prize and Pen/Faulkner Award for a single novel (Independence Day) Richard Ford follows the completion of his acclaimed Bascombe trilogy with Canada. After a five-year hiatus, an undisputed American master delivers a haunting and elemental novel about the cataclysm that undoes one teenage boy’s family, and the stark and unforgiving landscape in which he attempts to find grace. A powerful and unforgettable tale of the violence lurking at the heart of the world, Richard Ford’s Canada will resonate long and loud for readers of stark and sweeping novels of American life, from the novels of Cheever and Carver to the works of Philip Roth, Charles Frazier, Richard Russo, and Jonathan Franzen.
Friday, April 19, 2013
Book Description Release date: May 10, 2011 In the tradition of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, a stunningly vivid historical account of the forty-year battle between Comanche Indians and white settlers for control of the American West, centering on Quanah, the greatest Comanche chief of them all. S. C. Gwynne’s Empire of the Summer Moon spans two astonishing stories. The first traces the rise and fall of the Comanches, the most powerful Indian tribe in American history. The second entails one of the most remarkable narratives ever to come out of the Old West: the epic saga of the pioneer woman Cynthia Ann Parker and her mixed-blood son Quanah, who became the last and greatest chief of the Comanches. Although readers may be more familiar with the tribal names Apache and Sioux, it was in fact the legendary fighting ability of the Comanches that determined just how and when the American West opened up. Comanche boys became adept bareback riders by age six; full Comanche braves were considered the best horsemen who ever rode. They were so masterful at war and so skillful with their arrows and lances that they stopped the northern drive of colonial Spain from Mexico and halted the French expansion westward from Louisiana. White settlers arriving in Texas from the eastern United States were surprised to find the frontier being rolled backward by Comanches incensed by the invasion of their tribal lands. So effective were the Comanches that they forced the creation of the Texas Rangers and account for the advent of the new weapon specifically designed to fight them: the six-gun. The war with the Comanches lasted four decades, in effect holding up the development of the new American nation. Gwynne’s exhilarating account delivers a sweeping narrative that encompasses Spanish colonialism, the Civil War, the destruction of the buffalo herds, and the arrival of the railroads—a historical feast for anyone interested in how the United States came into being. Against this backdrop Gwynne presents the compelling drama of Cynthia Ann Parker, a lovely nine-year-old girl with cornflower-blue eyes who was kidnapped by Comanches from the far Texas frontier in 1836. She grew to love her captors and became infamous as the "White Squaw" who refused to return until her tragic capture by Texas Rangers in 1860. More famous still was her son Quanah, a warrior who was never defeated and whose guerrilla wars in the Texas Panhandle made him a legend. S. C. Gwynne’s account of these events is meticulously researched, intellectually provocative, and, above all, thrillingly told. Empire of the Summer Moon announces him as a major new writer of American history.
Friday, April 5, 2013
Dateline: April 4, 2013. Location: Wills Household. Attendance: All accounted for and present during roll call. Conditions: Rainy so the meeting had to be held indoors. Candace and Julie arrived early enough to help with the cheese grating and lettuce chopping while I was chopping onions and heating up the sauces for the enchiladas. The green chile sauce I made with my own Sandia Chiles that I grew in one of my 16' X 4' raised beds out back. The Enchiladas met with general acclaim but unfortunately the boys arrived too late to take part (and there wasn't enough sauce left for them any way). The discussion of Blind Your Ponies by Stanley Gordon West was well rounded and Joe reminded us that the author went around the west selling his book out of the trunk of his car. Jim and Lori had suggested this wonderful tale of a small town in Montana trying to hold on their basketball team and the good fortune and drive that allows it to unfold in the story. It was generally agreed that the characters personality, each with their own tragedy or sad story as a backdrop, where what made the story great. That was where the surprise and wonder came from in the story and gave them the strength to persevere. The basketball part of the story was more predictable. I found myself skimming most to the playoff game descriptions except for the ways the two coaches motivated the players each time and, of course, the final scores and the celebrations afterwards. Jim pointed out the Author's Note in the back of the book so I read it aloud then Julie read the newer updated one from the back of her copy. That was interesting because we found out that the town of Willow Springs actually does exist and they have been trying to hang on to their team! The restaurant does exist and so does the bicycle built for two!! He told the story of how he came to the town and how the mystery of how the people carried on there attracted him thereby seeding the story for him. Great stuff! I baked the Cheney Band Apple Pie and served it a la mode and that was really good too. Luckily the enchiladas weren't too hot!