Welcome to the blog page for our Book Club! Here you will find updates on our latest reads and upcoming events. We hope you will decide to read with us!
Set in 1918 in the farm country at the heart of America, The Meaning of Names is the story of an ordinary woman trying to raise a family during extraordinary times. Estranged from her parents because she married against their will, confronted with violence and prejudice against her people, and caught up in the midst of the worst plague the world has ever seen, Gerda Vogel, an American of German descent, must find the strength to keep her family safe from the effects of a war that threatened to consume the whole world. The Meaning of Names re-creates a world gone by that speaks eloquently to modern day issues.
Meeting: Monday, July 8, @ 5:30 pm
When George Hodgman leaves Manhattan for his hometown of Paris, Missouri, he finds himself—an unlikely caretaker and near-lethal cook—in a head-on collision with his aging mother, Betty, a woman of wit and will. Will George lure her into assisted living? When hell freezes over. He can’t bring himself to force her from the home both treasure—the place where his father’s voice lingers, the scene of shared jokes, skirmishes, and, behind the dusty antiques, a rarely acknowledged conflict: Betty, who speaks her mind but cannot quite reveal her heart, has never really accepted the fact that her son is gay.
As these two unforgettable characters try to bring their different worlds together, Hodgman reveals the challenges of Betty’s life and his own struggle for self-respect, moving readers from their small town—crumbling but still colorful—to the star-studded corridors of Vanity Fair. Evocative of The End of Your Life Book Club and The Tender Bar, Hodgman’s New York Times bestselling debut is both an indelible portrait of a family and an exquisitely told tale of a prodigal son’s return.
Meeting: January 24 at 6:00 pm
Exit West By: Mohsin Hamid
In a country teetering on the brink of civil war, two young people meet—sensual, fiercely independent Nadia and gentle, restrained Saeed. They embark on a furtive love affair, and are soon cloistered in a premature intimacy by the unrest roiling their city. When it explodes, turning familiar streets into a patchwork of checkpoints and bomb blasts, they begin to hear whispers about doors—doors that can whisk people far away, if perilously and for a price. As the violence escalates, Nadia and Saeed decide that they no longer have a choice. Leaving their homeland and their old lives behind, they find a door and step through. . . .
Exit West follows these remarkable characters as they emerge into an alien and uncertain future, struggling to hold on to each other, to their past, to the very sense of who they are. Profoundly intimate and powerfully inventive, it tells an unforgettable story of love, loyalty, and courage that is both completely of our time and for all time.
In her most accomplished novel, Barbara Kingsolver takes us on an epic journey from the Mexico City of artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo to the America of Pearl Harbor, FDR, and J. Edgar Hoover. The Lacuna is a poignant story of a man pulled between two nations as they invent their modern identities.
Born in the United States, reared in a series of provisional households in Mexico—from a coastal island jungle to 1930s Mexico City—Harrison Shepherd finds precarious shelter but no sense of home on his thrilling odyssey. Life is whatever he learns from housekeepers who put him to work in the kitchen, errands he runs in the streets, and one fateful day, by mixing plaster for famed Mexican muralist Diego Rivera. He discovers a passion for Aztec history and meets the exotic, imperious artist Frida Kahlo, who will become his lifelong friend. When he goes to work for Lev Trotsky, an exiled political leader fighting for his life, Shepherd inadvertently casts his lot with art and revolution, newspaper headlines and howling gossip, and a risk of terrible violence.
Meanwhile, to the north, the United States will soon be caught up in the internationalist goodwill of World War II. There in the land of his birth, Shepherd believes he might remake himself in America's hopeful image and claim a voice of his own. He finds support from an unlikely kindred soul, his stenographer, Mrs. Brown, who will be far more valuable to her employer than he could ever know. Through darkening years, political winds continue to toss him between north and south in a plot that turns many times on the unspeakable breach—the lacuna—between truth and public presumption.
With deeply compelling characters, a vivid sense of place, and a clear grasp of how history and public opinion can shape a life, Barbara Kingsolver has created an unforgettable portrait of the artist—and of art itself. The Lacuna is a rich and daring work of literature, establishing its author as one of the most provocative and important of her time.
It’s so easy to think we’re alone in the world, that few if any others share our thoughts, enjoy what we enjoy, or even want to spend time with us.
The Odell Nebraska Public Library Book Club is proof that we need to run the other way when we start to think like this -- preferably to the Library to check out great books and to take part in a book club.
Our book club has brought together a group of people (to date all the people are women, but that might change in time) who wouldn’t normally get together for all the reasons that people don’t get together: tight schedules, differences in age, varied church/religious affiliations, unshared political views, closed social circles, and reading tastes that are all over the map. We have jumped all those hurdles! Good for us.
The group is the beneficiary of a local effort to establish a library, as well as as living in a state that has a strong library system that provides us with multiple copies of books, not to mention suggested discussion questions. How many people don’t have theses advantages? A lot! And we don’t take these gifts for granted. Nor do we take each other for granted and we celebrate everyone’s willingness to share time, thoughts, and all the great food and beverages that we share when we meet to discuss our books.
A story comes to mind which reminds us why book clubs work or don’t work. During a long plane trip, a woman was overheard to say that she had belonged to several book clubs but found over time that she didn’t like the books that the clubs were reading so she just decided not to belong anymore. Nooooooooo! We all want to be grabbed and wrapped up tightly in each book for we spend precious time to turn pages. Not going to happen! We have the choice of deciding “to read or not to read.” And even if we have opted out of any particular book club selection, we still have the option to get together, enjoy each other’s company and to choose being open to all the other joys of people of good will getting together, and perhaps finding out that saying “No” to a particular book is not a choice written in stone and that we can circle back around and take another look.
Good for us!
We dithered a little about choosing this book, but in the spirit of “broadening our horizons”, we plunged in.
We can guarantee everyone that author Mary Roach covers a great deal of territory about cadavers that many of us never thought existed.
Readers are presented with cadaver history, cadaver uses, and the ultimate questions that revolve around human mortality.
Chapter titles such as “A Head is a Terrible Thing to Waste”, “Dead Man Driving”, and “Out of the Fire, Into the Compost Bin” both give the reader pause and a wider view of science, religion, culture and emotions in relation to our bodies.
Maybe not anyone’s favorite book of the the past year’s reading, but certainly thought-provoking.
Although written in 2008, this journalistic treatment of the World War II Canteen at North Platte, Nebraska, is worth the time and a tribute to what a small town (although really not small by Nebraska standards) can do when people are motivated, caring, energetic and committed.
Readers will be astounded by the amounts of food and love gathered, prepared and given to the soldiers who came through North Platte on trains bound for the points that would take them to the war all over the world. Frightened, homesick soldiers who 50 years after the end of the war fight back tears when recalling those few minutes at the Canteen.
George Dawson, U.S. Army Air Corps, drafted in 1943, student at City College of New York, one of the six million soldiers greeted with food and good will at the North Platte Canteen wrote many years later: “Who were we on that train? We were the hope of the world at that moment. We were all the same. We all wore the same uniform. We were ‘our boys.’ We were their boys.”
How to Join...
To join our book club, just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click the button below to read about why we started this book club and what we hope to provide members.