Sunday, July 27, 2014

Tuesday, August 26 Potluck Gathering and Book Selection

At our household, we squeeze so much into the last few days of summer, trips to the MN State Fair, The Minnesota Renaissance Festival and Prescott Muddy Waters to hear the Scottie Miller Band, including a Tuesday night with the Park Grove Book Club selecting books for the upcoming 2 YEARS!  After helping our two college bound daughters settle into their apartments we now will look forward to reading some books, my hubby on his kindle and me the ones selected by book club!

Our Book Club Selection for September and August have been changed.

Tuesday, Sept 23  Maya's Notebook by Isabelle Allende
Tuesday, Oct 28   Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

Rachel Joyce's novel The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry was liked by all 12 members attending our July, 2014 meeting.

The people Harold Fry met on his journey were "ordinary people, doing ordinary things" someone commented and another "the journey is the point of the book."  Another stated it was a "slow start but enjoyed it and the many facets of his walk.  I am a walker and I'm like that, the part of the places it takes you in your mind."

One person said they kept re-thinking parts.  "Harold had a purpose to redeem himself, the book was slow going, but people who he met seemed to have it together and weren't perfect" another member mentioned.  "Cried at the end" another said.

Being from Ireland, one member commented she could easily visualize all these details, "so enjoyed every moment."

Harold Fry wasn't on a religious quest.  He traveled 87 days, 627 miles.  Someone mentioned he was empty inside, he needed to go to his "well."  We discussed would we do what Harold Fry did -- go just like that on a snap decision?  We are ordinary, someone mentioned, but yet are all extra-ordinary.  Aspects of our character maybe extra-ordinary at one point, at one time in our life.  He met people that shared that quality.

Not all of us, but most of us liked Maureen and her story.   She finally saw that Harold wasn't the only one that made mistakes in their family.  Felt as a young child David was very disrespectful and rude.  We have a level of respect demanded by us and Harold/Maureen didn't demand it.  Maureen allowed David to be nasty to Harold.  We also liked that absence makes the heart grow fonder, which it did for both Harold and Maureen.  When we read later in the book, that David had died by suicide we were shocked.  Another "I literally cried when I read his son died of suicide, it explains so much."  Only one person had that part of the storyline figured out.

In the end of the book, through Harold's long journey some were a little "let-down" and sad with the ending.  Someone mentioned, though, that Queenie couldn't comment, yet we know that the pink quartz that Harold brought her, gave her "happiness."  We were frustrated by the lack of story behind Queenie, but excited to hear there is a book coming out in October by Rachel Joyce "The Love Song of Miss  Queenie Hennessy.  Click here to go to the author's web page and the information of this story.

One member shared this favorite part of the book:  "Harold passed office workers, dog walkers, shoppers, children going to school, mothers and buggies, and hikers like himself, as well as several tourist parties.  He met a tax inspector who was a Druid and had not worn a pair of shoes for ten years.  He talked with a young woman on the trail of her real father, a priest who confessed to  tweeting during mass, as well as several people in training for a marathon, and an Italian man with a singing parrot.  He spent an afternoon with a white witch from Glastonbury, four bikers looking for the M5, and a mother of six who confided she had no idea life could be so solitary.  Harold walked with these strangers and listened.  He judged no one, although as the days wore on, and time and places began to melt, he couldn't remember if the tax inspector wore no shoes or had a parrot on his shoulder.  It no longer mattered.  He had learned that it was the smallness of people that filled him with wonder and tenderness, and the loneliness of that too.  The world was made up of people putting one foot in front of the other; and a life might appear ordinary simple because the person living it had been so doing so for a long time.  Harold could no longer pass a stranger without acknowleding the truth that everyone was the same, and also unique; and that this was the dilemma of being human."  Quoted from Chapter 15 Harold and the New Beginning

August 26
Book Selection for following year
September 23
Ordinary Grace by William Kent Kruger
October 28
Maya’s Notebook by Isabelle Allende
November (to be determined)
Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

Of the thirteen members at Book Club in June, twelve liked the book.  One person said they didn't like it, but they felt they knew more about Afghanistan and its people from the book.

We talked about the title of the book and it's meaning.  Most agreed that the book portrays what a family is and there were many examples of family {consider non-related as family as well} and the echo is that it affects the whole family.  What one person may do has consequences down the line and affect us for generations.  The moral complexity of each person affects a whole family.  Another thought on the title was that it was calling out and seeing it reflected in various things.

The book has so many characters; each chapter was a new story with new characters, "I liked that." someone stated.  Someone wished there had been more of Abdullah's storyline through-out to the very end, including how he met his wife or how he came to America.  That part was "so central to the beginning" of the story someone commented.  One person said "excellent storytelling" and another said it was "disjointed and frustrating, figuring out who was talking."  Another agreed and said it was hard to also figure out what their relationship to others was.

One person said they "Didn't find it an emotional book, it was good book, but I wasn't immersed in it."  Another person said they "felt emotion" and related to what was happening to the women and children and what is going to happen. "Felt a lot of empathy" was one comment.  One person stated they were crying in different parts of the book.

We felt there was a lot of caregiving going on:  Abdullah/Pari; Parwana/Masooma; Nabi/Mr. Wahdati; Pari/her mother Nila and several more.  We felt so bad at the end that Pari didn't get to say what she really wanted to say to Abdullah.  He did hum a song that she knew but it was still sad that he didn't know her because of his condition.  He did keep the feathers, although she didn't remember them, she knew that HE remembered HER all those years and saved them for her.

We like the story with Pari, Abdullah's daughter and that finally she connected with other family, her aunt and cousins.

We also noted that in this book and the past few books, we have read about Rumi.  Who, according to Wikipedia was born in 1207 and died in 127.  He was a 13-century Persian poet, jurist, theologian and Sufi mystic.

Most people stated they liked the book, but liked his other books better.  We agreed he is a very talented writer!