Friday, September 14, 2012

September Book Club Selection

Tuesday, Sept 25 we will meet at the Park Grove Branch library from 6:30-8:00 p.m. to discuss Anne Tyler's book Saint Maybe  (click on this link to go to Amazon).  Monica made this book her suggestion, saying that it was "one of about 3 or 4 novels that I come back to again and again."  Nothing is better than losing yourself in a good novel, and I think as much as I have read of this book, I might be agreeing with Monica! 

If you have any questions regarding our Book Club, please see one of the librarians at the Park Grove Branch.  Read the book and join us.

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

Where is the Hiding Place that Corrie Ten Boom speaks?  There were several thoughts about where we found "hiding places" through out this book.  Corrie Ten Boom shares with us her view as she, a single 50 year old woman, started hiding people in her family's home, people who were being persecuted by the Nazi's as they invaded The Netherlands.  The book goes forward, to Corrie's 10 months of her own "capture," then to the years following the war, and to a rehab center that Corrie opened, as Betsie, Corrie's sister, had seen in her visions while at Ravensbruck Concentration Camp.

One hiding place was in the Ravensbruck Concentration Camp as the women were not bothered in their barracks by workers who thought the residents had "fleas."  Betsie and Corrie were able to read and share God's word because of this.  The hiding place was prominent in Corrie's family's home.  A room only 2 1/2 feet wide was created within Corrie's small bedroom, and was host to many, including six people that were left behind after Corrie & her family were taken away by the Nazi. They were safe, as Corrie found out later.  Another thought was that Jesus was hiding in their heart.  By hiding in Jesus, through His Word, through His inspiration, they were able to survive the concentration camp, the horrors that they experienced, felt and saw.

What did we think as we talked about this book?  Most of us loved the book and thanked Freda for picking this book for us to read.  A few found it difficult to read, knowing that it was a true story, the subject matter was hard to avoid, and the horror of it.

Corrie's father tells her that he pities the Nazi's: "They have touched the apple of God's eye."  What did this mean to us?  Our discussion:  "The Jewish people were God's eye, his chosen people.  Nazi's were going against God's eye.  He loved the Jewish people, his first people" we agreed.  We saw that Corrie's father, Casper, was well loved in Harlem, and respected all people and loved all people, had a love for God, and knew that the Jewish people were God's first chosen people.

Another question had us discuss what we felt the kind of woman Corrie ten Boom and her sister Betsie were. What sustained them during their ordeal in the concentration camps? To what do you attribute Corrie's courage and survival in the face of so much death and hardship?  We felt that Betsie was perfect or at least perfect in Corrie's memory.  She found the good in others and prayed for others that Corrie would have never thought of.  Betsie said "pray every day that love is greater." What sustained them?  Reading the Bible every night, their upbringing, they could recall verses.  They also had learned from their dad.  We also agreed that Corrie was strong, hopping on her bike to deliver and get news and items needed, when there were many dire situations.  We agreed there were lots of miracles through out this book. 

We also found it interesting of Betsie's vision materialized for Corrie to help with rehabilitation after the war.  Betsie said "have to forgive to go on."

How is Corrie like her fathers clocks?  We answered with "reliable, fine tuned, adjustable like the pendulum, precious, tending to it, and taking care of it at all times."  We talked about why Corrie chose to start the book much earlier then the war years.  We felt it helped lay down about the family, about their belief and was needed in this book.

We discussed how hard it was for Corrie to get back to Harlem after being released from Ravensbruck.  We were amazed that she was able to get some of her items back, the good booking that were kept on these prisoners.

We had some discussion of WWII and Hitler's affect on the German people.  We also discussed that Corrie ten Boom went out to share her story of Hope and Forgiveness world wide.  As a teen I remember reading this book, and hearing Corrie ten Boom speak.

Feel free to add more thoughts to this discussion, your own, or those that we discussed the night of book club!  Thanks again, to Diane for opening her home for this special evening, Freda for leading the discussion and the group for bringing the eats!

Corrie ten Boom's web site has a great page of History.  Click on the word History to read more.

The Healing by Jonathan Odell

All loved the novel.  Someone said "If I can see it as a movie, it must be well written."   We had also read, as a book club, Someone Knows My Name, which we felt shared a different aspect of the slavery issue, maybe more actual accounts?

We talked about the healing, healing out of slavery, which was more then just papers.  We thought there would be confusion about what freedom really was.  We agreed there were isolation aspects because slaves didn't move in and out of this plantation, like other plantations in the south.  Polly Shine, as a healer was $5,000 back in those days.  This was a big plantation back in 1847.  Polly treat causes, not just the symptoms.  Polly would whisper hope in the ear of the one she worked on healing.  We felt Polly worked with body, mind and soul.  We were reminded that the white doctors back then wouldn't treat the southern black.  Polly recognized in Granada the same gifts.

Granada was taken under Polly's wing, finally found the respect for Polly.  When Granada spoke to Violet, she questioned whether she had made the right choice, not leaving with Polly.  She said some of us picked wrong. 

We talked about the characters, the monkey Daniel Webster, the snack, the part Silas played in the plantation and with Polly, and Charity's granddaughter Violet helping to finish the journey.

We acknowledged in the book the "tangled web" that was spoken and weaved through out the book. In Chapter 43, Polly says: "She say, the difference in weavers is, some see the tangle and others see the weave. The ones that can't take their eyes off the tangle, they never rise above it." "It's the weave you got to remember, Granada. It's bigger than you and me leave this place and go to wherever it is Rubina is waiting. Just a tangle, Granada. The next chapter talks about Granada thinking "about the threads that stitch folks together. About daughters and mothers and mother's mothers touching through time."

There is so much more to discuss in this book, many aspects that we did touch on.  I hope that anyone that was involved in the discussion or if you have further discussion, please share your thoughts.

I will add that we would agree on one thing. "If I can see it as a movie, it must be well written."  It was.

Behind the Beautiful Forever by Katherine Boo

Will update soon!