Friday, April 6, 2012

Book Club Selection -- Moving Forward

This next month has us looking at our future book club selections.  We have used a system in the past that has worked well for us.  We individually chose  2 or 3 books that we would like to recommend to the book club.  We could find books through different reviews, Best Seller lists, Book Store lists, recommendations from friends, what other book clubs are reading (look at the Washington County Library Book Club site to other clubs) or if you were in our club, books we didn't choose in years past.  The books we've read are on the left of this blog.  You don't have to, and it might be better not to have read this book ahead of time.  Read it with the group.  WE WILL EMAIL THE LIST TO DIANE by April 17, with a summary that Diane will forward to the rest of the group.  When we come to the Book Club meeting Tuesday, April 24, we will discuss which book we would like to read.  We vary with our selection, mystery, fiction, or non-fiction, maybe a memoir.  We also will read a book suggested by WCL for the County Selection.  We are flexible with this, as we don't know as of yet, when or what book will be selected.  If you are interested in joining the discussion for the upcoming year selection and haven't yet connected with the Book Club, please contact Carol Warner (click Carol's name) at the Park Grove Library.  She will forward the info to Diane, our leader!  All are welcome to share in the love of books and discussion.

Ava's Man by Rick Bragg

At our March discussion, there were eight of us that said they liked the book, one person shared that she thought it was ok, but wouldn't recommend it.  Rick Braggs won a Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing in 1996 for his work at The New York Times.  We agreed his use of description in this book was outstanding.  You could even smell daily life, and clearly see  the visual images he brought forth.  He describes well the slice of life they used to survive the depression.  His phrases were well used to describe the scenes.  One participant said that he is vernacular in his language, writes it the way people speak it.  We all agreed he knows how to describe a scene so we could use our senses to see it as he would see it.

Rick Braggs brings a book to life describing his Grandparents and their family.  His first book All Over But the Shouting was about his home life, his mother, his alcoholic father and his work towards becoming a journalist.  This second book, goes further back into his heritage, which I believe, many of us would like to do more research on if we could.  We were introduced to Ava and her man, Charlie Bundrum in the early 30's and read about their adventure as they raised a family and tried to keep their family feed through those lean years.  We have a description of Charlie as a "rail thin" man, but one who was very strong.  (Picture in front of our book shows Charlie with a big fish!)  They didn't have much to eat, and we noted, that Ava & Charle would make sure the children would be fed before they ate. 

Charlie moved the family around, renting houses, finding work doing roofing jobs, trying to keep the family happy.  We acknowledged that Charlie's family was most important to him, he had sense of love and obligation to his own kids, even with flaws in his character.  He wasn't a waffler.  He did like his likker, which he made and shared (I think that he kept a pint for each gallon of likker he sold).  This was one of several reasons that lead to Charlie moving Ava, the family (including Hooter) around to different parts of Alabama & Georgia, renting houses as they went.  The law would try to find that likker!  Charlie was a talker.  At one point in the book, Ava said any woman can appreciate a pretty man, but not every woman can appreciate a talking one. Ava liked that about him but we felt she probably wasn't very happy with his likker dealings.  We talked about back then, women didn't get a divorce or leave their marriage (at least very much).  But Charlie loved his family and loved Ava, protecting them against all evils in their journey together.  Charlie died at 50, and years later when grand kids asked Ava about getting a new man, she said "No, hon, I ain't gonna get me no man, I had me one."

Some of us cried, in fact one participant said it brought her to tears when Charlie died, and she is one hard nut to crack on those tears!  Another said she didn't like Charlie, didn't cry at all.  I think most of us saw Charlie as a man who would do anything to protect and provide for his family, during a time of living in the "hard" south.  They had their joys and their sorrows, and Rick Bragg brought us along with the journey. 

***If you would like to add any comments about your thoughts of this book, please share!  I didn't post all of our discussion in this book, but some of the highlights.  I wasn't able to finish until a bit after our discussion, but I wanted to finish before I wrote this blog.  I've recommended it for another book club that I am involved in, as I enjoyed it immensely.  We had quite a few thoughts and enjoyed the discussion.