Saturday, April 4, 2015

4.14.15 Book Club Special Edition with Lorna Landvik at Park Grove Library

Lorna Landvik gave the Park Grove Library Book Club a special treat, so we shared treats with others that came to visit and hear her speak.  It was fun, it was entertaining and we learned a secret which we vowed not to share.  We laughed, we were entertained, we reminisced about characters in the book Patty Jane's House of  Curl and we asked questions we were wondering about when we had discussed the book last month.

Two things we have learned from our recent Book Club Special Editions (this one and one late last year with William Kent Krueger):  you have to have perseverance.  Lorna said she had 30 rejections of her first book, this one, and took her three years to get published.

She shared her life journey with us, including going to California to be a stand-up comic which is in her book "BEST TO LAUGH."

She shared with us that when she was in 1st grade--yes, 1st grade, she knew what she wanted to do.  She read Dick & Jane & Spot "I do see spot jump" and knew she wanted to write.  She had an influential 6th grade teacher who would play the piano everyday (inspirational and creative).  She wrote a poem about snow in 6th grade and shared that with us.  It was wonderful.

 Here is the article written in Goodreads:  "How can you compensate those who excite, inspire, build confidence and open doors you didn’t know existed? If it were up to me, the base salary of public school teachers would start at $100,000, with frequent opportunities for advancement. (And cappuccino machines in every teachers’ lounge, on-site masseuses . . . or at the very least a full stock of supplies they didn't have to pay for). 
I have often spoken of Mr. Spaeth, my sixth grade teacher/renaissance man who taught us everything from fractions to presidential history to pirate songs (in a lovely tenor voice). At recess, he was not a teacher to stand back, but a full participant in our games of Bombardment and Kick Ball and catching one of his powerfully-thrown fly balls or tagging him out was a giddy triumph. 
He read to us daily and his encouragement and belief in my own writing, made me believe in it. His inscription, ‘Best of luck for a fine literary career’ was not just written in my autograph book, but in my heart. 
In his class, we listened to a radio program called, ‘Let’s Write’ to which teachers submitted their students’ work. Twice my poems were read over the air and hearing my words coming over the crackly P.A. system absolutely thrilled me (even as my built-in Norwegian-Lutheran modesty propelled me to lean over my desk, cradling my head in my arms). 
Here’s the poem:

I love the feeling of icy snow,
The tingling coldness, the peppermint glow
The skies are dull with a hint of blue
Then down come the snowflakes crisp and new
They drift and float and come a’dancing
I almost hear Rudolph’s swift legs a’ prancing!
But the feel of the flakes is the best of all
Touch me, touch me, they seem to call."

She shared her life journey with us, including going to California to be a stand-up comic which is in her book "BEST TO LAUGH."

Sharing her process of writing "Patty Jane's House of Curl" was so interesting.  She had Patty Jane and Harriet in her head before she had started the story-line.  We asked questions and received many fun answers about her writing and the book.

When introduced, one of book club members shared that Lorna Landvik was the most read author during our almost 100 books read at Park Grove Library Book Club.  We have read Tall Pines Polka, Angry Housewives eating BonBons and this last one, Patty Jane's House of Curl.  We have enjoyed her fun style of writing and that she is a local author.

It was a treat to have her join us for our Book Club Special Edition and thanks are to be given to the Park Grove Branch Library for allowing us to have this event and to the Washington County Library System.

Patty Jane's House of Curl by Lorna Landvik

Eight members of the book club were able to share their thoughts on this month's selection and "like" was what most felt about it, with one saying they loved it.  Some had never read her books before, some had read some of her books before and one person had read this book before!  One member said it was "fun to read," another said "it was light hearted," and one person said "it was interesting, provocative."  One member said that it took her 30-40 pages before she could get into the book.

One member said that she could connect with the location of the storyline. We loved that it was in the area, I think a lot of us could see the big house at the end of the story.  We had a good discussion on where women meet to talk, do we even do that anymore?  Where do we connect with other women and meet others?  The beauty shop isn't what it use to be.  We discussed about one aunt's beauty shop in a small town. Community Centers, like the one in Inver Grove or Cottage Grove Senior Center or coffee shops are places now where we meet others -- or Book Clubs!

We had a discussion about Thor leaving (one person found it frustrating and she said "I don't get the Crazy Lady who kidnapped Thor) and about Avel's death (one member said I lost my husband suddenly and I cried throughout).  We talked about Nora saying "until I can handle things, I'll pretend I can handle things" and how we do that in our own life at times.

We were enjoyed the "uffda" and Ione in the story.  We were so glad she was able to travel and see the world.  One member said "Ione reminded me of my mother-in-law" with the way she was more 'closed' until later in life she opened up more.

We found some parts of the book interesting. Someone liked in Ch 14 Inky suggestions box note about subscribing to better magazines "True Confessions is cheaper than National Geographic."  One member said "As a young teen we would sneak into my friends moms bedroom and read those."  Another liked the "Bills Hardware Calendar" as that was important to communities many years ago and some people still want them, have to have them!  Those who are from out of state loved that Lorna Landvik in the novel, just referred to the University of MN as the "U."  Why of course we Minnesota born and bred didn't even think about it.  We all refer to it as the "U" but those from out of state have a "U" where they were from.

We liked the part of Harriet's singing voice and we talked about how Harriet "faced her ghost" and almost cost her her own life.  Patty Jane was close to losing it, but Clyde Chuka saved her.  What causes one person do do one thing but not another we discussed.  How resilient are you?  In Ch 13 we liked the part where Clyde Chuka says:  "We're allotted one great love--and some of us are lucky enough to find it.  That love is sort of our pilot light and when it goes out...then it's out for good."  But when Patty Jane and Clyde Chuka finally connect and she finds Thor Clyde asks "So would you have turned off your pilot light?" Patty Jane smoothed the lines etched into Clyde's forehead "I would  have told him I'd switched to electric." (Ch23).

We have some questions to ask when Lorna Landvik visits our library soon (we are all so excited) and one we wrote "Did she know when she started the book, that Avel was going to die?"  So looking forward to our visit!