We had a good size group last month, around 13, who showed up at Jackie’s beautiful home at the Stamford to discuss “Educated” by Tara Westover. In this unbelievable (but true) coming of age memoir Tara tells us about being born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, where she prepares for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeps with her “head-for-the-hills bag”. In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father’s junkyard. It wasn’t until she was 17 until she first set foot in a classroom. During her time growing up she never saw a doctor, as her father forbade hospitals instead Tara and her siblings were treated at home by their mother with herbalism even when they suffered from major burns and explosions. Because her father bullied her into not attending school, Tara self-taught enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University where she studied history and learned for the first time about important world events such as the Holocaust and the civil rights movements. The more Tara learned the bigger the wedge she put between herself and her family and the more she struggled with the grief of leaving behind her family loyalties.
We had a very lively discussion after dinner of Roast beef with all the trimmings when we settled down with dessert. I would say the majority of the group enjoyed the book, there were a few that it just did not appeal to. I found it to be compelling and was amazed at what the human will is capable of. Tara certainly overcame many insurmountable obstacles to become the highly educated woman she is today.
Our next Evening Book Club meeting will be at Yomarie’ s new home on Wednesday 25th September where we will discuss “Family Trust” by Kathy Wang. Sounds like we will be having Chinese takeaway for dinner!
Here is a list of the next 3 books for 2019, as always, you don’t need to read the books to attend.
September (25th) ‘Family Trust’ by Kathy Wang, host Yomarie Eckert
October (30th) ‘The Girl on the Page’ by John Purcell, host Lisa Davis
November (27th) “Drowning Ruth” by Christina Schwartz, host Grace Nisbett
We will continue to have a gold coin collection which will benefit our charity – SPINZS
Morning Book Group meets on the 2nd Monday of the month — 10:15 am for a 10:45am start. Please ring or email the hostess or the supplier of goodies ON OR BEFORE THE FRIDAY BEFORE BOOK GROUP CONVENES. Check your calendar: if the second Monday of the month is open, do consider joining our group. We actually talk about the selected book but also discuss travel, movies and other topics. Haven’t read the book? Don’t let that stop you from attending!
Seven of us met at Christine’s on 9 September to discuss In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson. Thanks to Christine for hosting as well as providing goodies. Larson does extensive research for his books and perhaps could have let some of those details slide…but, it was interesting to see how the naive William Dodd became the ambassador to Germany in 1933 (and actually thought he would have time to finish his beloved books of the antebellum American South!). In addition to his wife, his two adult children (24 and 28) also accompanied Dodd to the posting. Dodd seemed ill suited for the job in many respects and was even admittedly anti-Semitic. “The new ambassador was the fuddy-duddy, the man whose favorite way to end an evening was with a glass of milk, a bowl of stewed peaches and a good book. “I can never adapt myself,” he complained to Carl Sandburg — who was one of Martha’s many gentleman friends, and whose language in writing to her is one of this book’s many unexpected treats — “to the usual habit of eating too much, drinking five varieties of wine and saying nothing, yet talking, for three long hours.” But Dodd was forced to attend, host and pay for such events with his dutiful wife, Mattie. A great deal of the book dealt with Martha, the daughter, who was “an indiscriminate flirt who looked at a stint in Germany as a glamorous lark, and whose own abundant writing fills the book with outre’ remarks.” After he returned to the USA, Dodd did give speeches at various places about the dangers of Germany and Hitler.
We will be going to Lynette’s home on 14 October to discuss Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. Please forward titles and authors to Marjean for consideration for next year’s reading. Remember, you need to have read the book yourself in order to recommend it. We shall be choosing titles in November.
Remainder of the year:
• 14 October @ Lynette’s, goodies by Betsy
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
• 11 November @ Marjean’s, goodies by Judy
(early start to choose 2020 titles)
Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
And looking ahead to 2020:
• 10 February
Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover
Please bring a gold coin or two for SPINZS.