June title

 

Our next book is A Thousand Ships: A Novel by Natalie Haynes; the Trojan War from the point of view of the silenced women! Lots of options for accessing this title: we will have print copies (here by Wednesday 6/1), an audio CD edition, hoopla audiobook, Overdrive/Libby audiobook and ebook.  We'll meet in person and via zoom on Wednesday June 29th at 1pm. 

 

 

Broadcaster and classicist Natalie Haynes amplifies the muted voices of women in her all-female retelling of the Trojan War. From slaves to queens to muses to deities, she takes the scraps of women Homer offers us in THE ILIAD and THE ODYSSEY and patches them into full characters with powerful stories.

In A THOUSAND SHIPS, Homer is writing yet another epic. Desperate for inspiration, he beseeches Calliope, the muse of epic poetry and the novel’s sporadic narrator, to lend him her song once more. She obliges, albeit reluctantly, intent on two objectives: teaching Homer the true meaning of war and memorializing the women left unsung.

"[T]he novel draws cohesion from the fragmented voices of women. In presenting her audience with so many voices, Haynes could have written a cacophony. Instead, she has conducted a choir."

What follows is a series of primarily self-contained chapters tackling not only the Trojan War but also its long and drawn-out aftermath. For the most part, each chapter is its own entity and does not follow a linear timeline. Creusa runs through a smoke-choked city in search of her husband. Briseis is enslaved by her family’s murderer. Laodamia laments the death of her king. A rejected Oenone raises her son as a single mother atop Mount Ida.

While these stories give A THOUSAND SHIPS the feel of a series of thematically connected vignettes, the book is lent narrative scaffolding by the Trojan women and Penelope's letters to her husband, Odysseus, transforming it into something between a collection and a novel.

Nestled between stories of goddesses arguing over golden apples and wives offering prophetic warnings to their husbands, the Trojan women are living in the direct aftermath of the war. Their stories converge in these chapters as they huddle together on a beach at the outskirts of the Greek encampment. Their fates hang in a precarious balance. They are held captive by the Greeks and are waiting to be divided as spoils of war among the men who have slaughtered their loved ones and laid waste to their homes. Still, they continue to hope --- for those who made it out of Troy and for one another --- and, in doing so, exhibit bravery even in the depths of loss and despair.

Penelope’s letters, on the other hand, offer a witty respite from the traumatic stories of other women as she awaits her husband’s return in a quiet rage. She listens as the bard sings songs of his exploits across the seas and grows more cross by the year as she imagines Odysseus getting sidetracked from his destination (her) by an endless parade of monsters, cannibals and enchantresses.

Even as the tone of the chapters sways from daunted to desperate to downright ruthless, the novel draws cohesion from the fragmented voices of women. In presenting her audience with so many voices, Haynes could have written a cacophony. Instead, she has conducted a choir.

If THE ILIAD is an ode to the actors, then A THOUSAND SHIPS commemorates those acted upon: “victims of men, slaves of men, survivors of men.” With the wisdom of Athena and a pinch of humor, Haynes considers the many ways in which women exhibit strength, even in situations of relative powerlessness.

Reviewed by Kayla Provencher on January 29, 2021

From BookReporter.com

 


May title


 Our May title is The Seed Keeper by Diane Wilson. The group will meet on Wednesday May 25th at 1pm at the library in the Local History Room and on zoom. There are copies of the book to check out here at the library as well as a hoopla ebook edition and audiobook edition (if you have any questions about using hoopla just let us know!). We'll also have a CD audiobook available if you would like that format.

Rosalie Iron Wing has grown up in the woods with her father, Ray, a former science teacher who tells her stories of plants, of the stars, of the origins of the Dakota people. Until, one morning, Ray doesn’t return from checking his traps. Told she has no family, Rosalie is sent to live with a foster family in nearby Mankato—where the reserved, bookish teenager meets rebellious Gaby Makespeace, in a friendship that transcends the damaged legacies they’ve inherited.

On a winter’s day many years later, Rosalie returns to her childhood home. A widow and mother, she has spent the previous two decades on her white husband’s farm, finding solace in her garden even as the farm is threatened first by drought and then by a predatory chemical company. Now, grieving, Rosalie begins to confront the past, on a search for family, identity, and a community where she can finally belong. In the process, she learns what it means to be descended from women with souls of iron—women who have protected their families, their traditions, and a precious cache of seeds through generations of hardship and loss, through war and the insidious trauma of boarding schools.

Weaving together the voices of four indelible women, The Seed Keeper is a beautifully told story of reawakening, of remembering our original relationship to the seeds and, through them, to our ancestors.                             ---https://milkweed.org/book/the-seed-keeper

April title


Our title for April is The Woman They Could Not Silence; One Woman, Her Incredible Fight for Freedom, and the Men Who Tried to Make Her Disappear by Kate Moore. Pick up a print copy (starting on March 30th) or access online via hoopla (ebook) or Overdrive/Libby (audiobook) (ebook). We will also have this title available in Large Print and audio CD format. The book group will meet in the Local History Room at the library on Wednesday April 27th at 1pm. There will also be a zoom option.

From the New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Radium Girls comes another dark and dramatic but ultimately uplifting tale of a forgotten woman whose inspirational journey sparked lasting change for women’s rights and exposed injustices that still resonate today.

1860: As the clash between the states rolls slowly to a boil, Elizabeth Packard, housewife and mother of six, is facing her own battle. The enemy sits across the table and sleeps in the next room. Her husband of twenty-one years is plotting against her because he feels increasingly threatened – by Elizabeth’s intellect, independence, and unwillingness to stifle her own thoughts. So Theophilus makes a plan to put his wife back in her place. One summer morning, he has her committed to an insane asylum.

The horrific conditions inside the Illinois State Hospital in Jacksonville, Illinois, are overseen by Dr. Andrew McFarland, a man who will prove to be even more dangerous to Elizabeth than her traitorous husband. But most disturbing is that Elizabeth is not the only sane woman confined to the institution. There are many rational women on her ward who tell the same story: they've been committed not because they need medical treatment, but to keep them in line – conveniently labeled “crazy” so their voices are ignored.

No one is willing to fight for their freedom and, disenfranchised both by gender and the stigma of their supposed madness, they cannot possibly fight for themselves. But Elizabeth is about to discover that the merit of losing everything is that you then have nothing to lose...

Bestselling author Kate Moore brings her sparkling narrative voice to The Woman They Could Not Silence, an unputdownable story of the forgotten woman who courageously fought for her own freedom – and in so doing freed millions more.

 

Elizabeth’s refusal to be silenced and her ceaseless quest for justice not only challenged the medical science of the day, and led to a giant leap forward in human rights, it also showcased the most salutary lesson: sometimes, the greatest heroes we have are those inside ourselves.              --from the author's website

 

March title

     You probably read this one in high school so it's time to revisit it!  Our title for March (which happens to be Women's History Month) is The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. Pick up a copy at the library or access online (see below).  We will meet at the the library and via zoom on Wednesday March 23rd at 1pm.   

 There are several editions of both the ebook and the audiobook in hoopla It's also available in Overdrive/Libby. The print copy we are reading is called the "definitive" edition.


Hope to see you there!




Meeting options for February meeting

The library book group will meet this Wednesday February 23rd at 1pm in the Local History Room at the library.  If you can’t make it in person but would like to join via zoom the link is below.

Enjoy your week!

 

Topic: February Book Group

Time: Feb 23, 2022 01:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

 

Join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83121721518?pwd=ZFVpTmVxVkRPNlFBL3Mzb1ozZmxpZz09

 

Meeting ID: 831 2172 1518

Passcode: 394958

 

February title

 


Our February book title is The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett.  We'll meet in person and on zoom on Wednesday February 23rd at 1pm.

Copies of the book are available at the library.  Regular print, large print, cd audiobook and Overdrive/Libby ebook and audiobook editions are available for this title.

 

The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Many years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters’ storylines intersect?

Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett produces a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passing. Looking well beyond issues of race, The Vanishing Half considers the lasting influence of the past as it shapes a person’s decisions, desires, and expectations, and explores some of the multiple reasons and realms in which people sometimes feel pulled to live as something other than their origins.

As with her New York Times-bestselling debut The Mothers, Brit Bennett offers an engrossing page-turner about family and relationships that is immersive and provocative, compassionate and wise.       ---www.penguinrandomhouse.com

 

 

 

American Dirt

 We’ll be meeting to discuss American Dirt on Wednesday January 26th at 1pm here at the library (in the Local History Room).  We are also offering the option of participating via zoom.  The link to the zoom meeting is below.  Just click on the first link in the invitation and it should get you into the zoom ‘waiting room’ and I will let you into the meeting.  (The information below the first link is how to connect via telephone, so you can ignore that part unless that’s the only way you have of joining in). Let me know if you have any questions about how to join.

 

Topic: January Book Group

Time: Jan 26, 2022 01:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

 

Join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83730297155?pwd=bTVVMGJhOFJCK214azhZcmZ5cGp0UT09

 

Meeting ID: 837 3029 7155

Passcode: 024130

One tap mobile

+13126266799,,83730297155#,,,,*024130# US (Chicago)

+19292056099,,83730297155#,,,,*024130# US (New York)

 

Dial by your location

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Meeting ID: 837 3029 7155

Passcode: 024130

Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kcx2VPkjZL

 

January title

January book discussion

American Dirt

by Jeanine Cummins

Wednesday January 26th at 1pm

Type of meeting to be determined
(in-person, zoom or a hybrid)

Copies of the book (including regular and large print editions and audiobook on CD) are available for checkout at the library.

Also available as a hoopla audiobook, Overdrive/Libby ebook and Overdrive/Libby audiobook.

Let us know if you have any questions about accessing our online versions!

 

 

Lydia Quixano PĂ©rez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She runs a bookstore. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. And while there are cracks beginning to show in Acapulco because of the drug cartels, her life is, by and large, fairly comfortable.

Even though she knows they'll never sell, Lydia stocks some of her all-time favorite books in her store. And then one day a man enters the shop to browse and comes up to the register with a few books he would like to buy—two of them her favorites. Javier is erudite. He is charming. And, unbeknownst to Lydia, he is the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city. When Lydia's husband's tell-all profile of Javier is published, none of their lives will ever be the same.

Forced to flee, Lydia and eight-year-old Luca soon find themselves miles and worlds away from their comfortable middle-class existence. Instantly transformed into migrants, Lydia and Luca ride la bestia—trains that make their way north toward the United States, which is the only place Javier's reach doesn't extend. As they join the countless people trying to reach el norte, Lydia soon sees that everyone is running from something. But what exactly are they running to?

American Dirt will leave readers utterly changed. It is a literary achievement filled with poignancy, drama, and humanity on every page. It is one of the most important books for our times.

Already being hailed as "a Grapes of Wrath for our times" and "a new American classic," Jeanine Cummins's American Dirt is a rare exploration into the inner hearts of people willing to sacrifice everything for a glimmer of hope.  ----Publisher's website