Tuesday, October 2, 2012

So many lovely books - So little time!

Well another month gone by and bookclub come and gone! Another evening of sharing and caring! A love of books unites us but our bookclub has  been together a long time - One member, Judy M, can affirm that Shakespeare's Sisters has been together for over 34 years although she has only been a member for about around 30. On her 25th bookclub anniversary - her membership was celebrated with a Silver Jubilee Bookclub, champagne, a tiara  and a special cake! We do have a sense of royal occasion. Sheila is in second place and I have been a member for 15 years and am considered one of the 'new comers'.
You can't meet monthly for all that time and not feel bonded to the sisterhood! We have been through motherhood (Jacqui's youngest was born while she was a member); marriage (my very first bookclub was a sort of kitchen tea for Marion - who was about to be married and now lives in Hagga Hagga); milestone birthday celebrations; travel experiences; empty nest syndrome as our kids left for varsity and distant shores; menopause and mad husbands (is there a connection?) and the sad loss of parents. All that life has thrown at us has been shared, not in a complaining way but in a caring and supportive way. BookClub is viewed as a 'night off' from family, responsibility and life's lessons and there is an unspoken agreement that moaning is banned.
Sometimes the conversations can be a little strange though and cause much hilarity. I will give you a couple of examples of actual conversation this week:
 "My husband keeps popping out!" "My daughter pops out all the time - she's hyper mobile." 
"My husband is semi retired now - he is making dumb valets for everyone and there is one in every room."
"We were in a restaurant last week and this couple were eating one another - licking one another."
"Did the restaurant have a liquor license then?"
"I am not sure who sent the message - it was either the man who was drunkenly devouring that woman or the hunchback with no neck. I hope it wasn't the hunchback!"
See what I mean????
However we did get around to the topic of books and currently we are enjoying, The Moment by Douglas Kennedy,Thomas Nesbitt is a divorced middle aged, American writer living a very private life in Maine . In touch only with his daughter and still trying to reconcile himself to the end of a long marriage that he knew was flawed from the outset - he finds his solitude disrupted by the arrival, one wintry morning, of a box postmarked Berlin. The return address on the box - Dussmann - unsettles him completely. For it is the name of the woman with whom he had an intense love affair twenty-six years ago in Berlin - at a time when the city was cleaved in two, and personal and political allegiances were haunted by the deep shadows of the Cold War. Readers are enjoying the descriptions of Berlin and Kennedy's masterful story telling.
The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown tells the story of three sisters who return to their home town in the states because their mother is ill with cancer - each sister is concealing a.  secret. I am currently reading this and it is whimsical easy read with delightfully likeable characters. What makes The Weird Sisters unique (to me, at least; I'm sure there are many novels that feature William Shakespeare but this is the first I've read) is the Shakespeare factor. The Andreas family are voracious readers and their dad is a Shakespeare professor, so it rather goes without saying that the girls lives are very much soaked into Shakespeare. They're named after Shakespeare's characters: Cordelia, Rosalind, Bianca. The title of the novel comes from Shakespeare and the girls and their dad consistently quote sentences written by the bard himself.  This all makes for an interesting read.
The PostMistress by Sarah Blake is still in demand and its a beautifully written, thought provoking novel and tells a lovely, moving and beautifully evocative story linking an American journalist  reporting in London during the Blitz and a Postmistress in a small American coastal town. Its unforgettable, insightful and compelling.
I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor's Journey on the Road to Peace and Human Dignity by Izzeldin Abuelaish This humbling true story has been a real hit with bookclub -  written by a Palestinian doctor, born in a refugee camp in Gaza, and who, after his wife died, then lost 3 of his daughters when the Israelis fired into his home in the Gaza strip. His daughters died simply because they had been sleeping against "the wrong wall" that evening. Although angry and deeply grieving the death of his 3 daughters, Dr Abuelaish felt no hatred towards the Israelis who had conducted the unprovoked attacks. His live interview on Israeli television just hours after their deaths captured world attention not just on the plight of the Palestinians living in the Gaza but also astonished by the absence of calls for revenge, a call which many would have expected. Instead, he called for peace and cooperation between the 2 sides, for an understanding and acceptance of each other as individuals deserving of respect.

I will report on the new books for this month in my next post. so many lovely books so little time!!