Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver

Thirteen members were a part of the June, 2017 discussion of Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver.  Most loved the book, some said it started out slow, another wondered if it was about this woman and her affair.  Many had read the book before and one person said it was different the second time, one liking the definition of people, and a few had read other books she has written, and of those, said they loved Poisonwood Bible the best.  One member said:  "Reading a book is like looking in a mirror, you see your reflection.  Reading it a second time, the glass stays the same, but the perspective changes." Someone said they would love to have a sequel to find out what happened to Dellarobia.  Another said they would love to put Dellarobia in front of a classroom.

We agreed we liked the descriptions and the writing style of the author and someone mentioned the humor she used. We also noted that the theme used was science vs religion conflict and this had carried from other books some had said.

One member loved the writing when Dellarobia and Dovey took Preston and Cordie to the Thrift Store.  In chapter 11 titled, Community Dynamics,  Barbara Kingsolver writes "An elderly woman pawed through sheets while the little boy at her side yanked down slick bedspreads from a pile, inciting waterfalls of polyester.  The woman crooned in a steady voice without even looking up:  "You're a stinker, Mammaw is going to give you to the froggies.  Mammaw is going to throw you in the garbage can."  Dellarobia pushed Cordie out of earshot, not that she was above such thoughts, but still.  They should be the accent pieces of a parenting style, not wall to wall carpet." 

We felt the title fit both the monarchs and Dellarobia's life -- Flight Behavior. We even discussed, after learning about Hester's secret, that this title would also fit Hester's life.  Dellarobia, wanted a whole different set of circumstances for her life.  She knew she wanted change.  Monarchs have Super generations, the third generation, and Dellarobia was like this.  She changed and for her age, she had to carry on.   Before she was married Dovey and her had some life experiences that showed they wanted some other things.  We knew Dellarobia wanted to leave.

We talked about Hester and Dellarobbia's relationships and talks.  One time Hester even went to Dellarobbia to see if she could get Cubby to help change Bear's idea on the logging.  We also didn't expect that Hester had a secret and that the child she gave up for adoption was Bobby.  We felt all the clues led to that, but we didn't see it!  We wondered whether she enjoyed seeing him all the time or regretted it, but Bobby did come out to the house for dinner to meet with them on the logging issue.  We talked about Dellarobbia's infatuation with men and Ovid, we credited that to getting married in high school.  We liked how Orv comes out of his shell and was on the youtube video!  Dellarobbia had a good effect on him.

Several interesting components were written into the novel.  We read in the back of the novel that the names for the book were family names, starting with Ovid.  The Dellarobia name was interesting.  The artist, Luca Della Robbia made art more accessible to people; the art was enjoyed by more people this way, common people.  In this way, Dellarobia's name fit as she brought the butterflies to the people in her area.    We talked about the names of Burly's, Bear & Cub and how each was a good fit for the characters.  Cut was a good loyal husband.  Hester, greek word for star is "aster", Hester -- fitting as she had a family secret that could destroy her family.  Someone said, when we were discussing this, "that tragic side of the story, we just don't know what other people are dealing with."  Cordelia -- strong willed; defiant.  Preston - scholarly child.  Ovid -- Latin, famous Roman poet, metamorphis.  Ovid was a true scientist.

We loved that Dovey texted signs from churches to Dellarobia "Get Right or Get Left" and Honk if you love Jesus, text while driving if you want to meet up."  Here is a place where you can read some of the interesting quotes from the book form Goodreads, click here.

One person shared this thought, will other readers pick up on the connections in this book years from now?  Will this be understood?  Will there be monarchs around?  We really enjoyed discussing this book and many of us had a passion for monarchs.

The Legend of Sheba by Tosca Lee

May 23, 2017 the Park Grove Library discussed The Legend of Sheba by Tosca Lee.  Thank you to another member for writing this discussion.

We had thirteen book club members in attendance, including a new member, and everyone liked The Legend of Sheba by Tusca Lee.  Some of our member's thoughts were that the writing transported one reader back to 900 BC, along with reminding multiple people of the The Red Tent by Anita Diamant.  Many others compared the account of Solomon and Sheba from the Bible books in First Kings and Song of  Solomon.  One member shared the account of these historical figures from the Quran.  Several readers said it took them 4-5 chapters to get into the story, while others were captivated from the very start.  One member brought a copy of a book, King Solomon's Table, that had recipes and some history.  Another brought a study Bible version of the account of  Sheba's journey to Solomon's court.

We discussed the geography in the travel of the book, liked the maps in the book itself and marveled at the long journey by camel with their entire entourage.  We also talked about the political aspects behind Sheba and Solomon's relationship, the fact that there wasn't even a port in Ethiopia at the time, and the strategy behind Soloman's many marriages.  One member was very amused by the accounts of Solomon juggling to appease his many wives due to their political affiliations  Members expressed a desire to read other books by this author and someone had read Iscariot.

One of the group leader's questions was about our perception of Sheba before and after reading the book.  Most readers thought that she was much more complex after reading and many were not expecting her to have had to fight her step-mom for her own crown.  We did discuss that these accounts are fictional as there is no real historical record regarding her path to the throne.  Our perceptions of Solomon afterwards were less changed, as people were expecting  him to be wise, but also, arrogant and even greedy.  We discussed that greed was Solomon's fatal flaw.  Others were surprised at how mercenary his many marriages were, and not romantic as he was when he wrote as a poet.

We asked in what ways could we identify with Sheba.  People answered that relationships are complicated and there is a question as to whether they are worth the risk.  Members related that she was essentially lonely, had no one to advise her as she was growing up, and no one she could really trust.  One member identified with her sense of freedom when she was "on the road" and had left her castle, traveling to Israel.  Another liked the humanity expressed when Sheba and Solomon snuck out into the city incognito.  One person also liked the scene where Sheba removed her shoes to walk through the pond to approach Solomon.  She thought that Solomon had set this up as a test for her.

We talked about our identity and who we are when names and titles are stripped away.  members talked about fresh starts that they have made in their lives and their spiritual retreats.  Several talked about joining book club as a positive step in developing their own identities, particularly in the wake of a divorce or relationship discord.