Each chapter of screenwriter Esquivel's utterly charming interpretation of life in turn-of-the-century Mexico begins with a recipe--not surprisingly, since so much of the action of this exquisite first novel (a bestseller in Mexico) centers around the kitchen, the heart and soul of a traditional Mexican family. The youngest daughter of a well-born rancher, Tita has always known her destiny: to remain single and care for her aging mother. When she falls in love, her mother quickly scotches the liaison and tyrannically dictates that Tita's sister Rosaura must marry the luckless suitor, Pedro, in her place. But Tita has one weapon left--her cooking. Esquivel mischievously appropriates the techniques of magical realism to make Tita's contact with food sensual, instinctual and often explosive. Forced to make the cake for her sister's wedding, Tita pours her emotions into the task; each guest who samples a piece bursts into tears. Esquivel does a splendid job of describing the frustration, love and hope expressed through the most domestic and feminine of arts, family cooking, suggesting by implication the limited options available to Mexican women of this period. Tita's unrequited love for Pedro survives the Mexican Revolution the births of Rosaura and Pedro's children, even a proposal of marriage from an eligible doctor. In a poignant conclusion, Tita manages to break the bonds of tradition, if not for herself, then for future generations.
Our March pick is The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightime by Mark Haddon. Join us March 21st at 7pm. Click here to reserve your chair and see what the next reads are as well when you join our book club group.
This is a great read and should open up a nice discussion.
a review about the book sums it up.
"Mark Haddon's bitterly funny debut novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, is a murder mystery of sorts--one told by an autistic version of Adrian Mole. Fifteen-year-old Christopher John Francis Boone is mathematically gifted and socially hopeless, raised in a working-class home by parents who can barely cope with their child's quirks. He takes everything that he sees (or is told) at face value, and is unable to sort out the strange behavior of his elders and peers.
Late one night, Christopher comes across his neighbor's poodle, Wellington, impaled on a garden fork. Wellington's owner finds him cradling her dead dog in his arms, and has him arrested. After spending a night in jail, Christopher resolves--against the objection of his father and neighbors--to discover just who has murdered Wellington. He is encouraged by Siobhan, a social worker at his school, to write a book about his investigations, and the result--quirkily illustrated, with each chapter given its own prime number--is The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.
Haddon's novel is a startling performance. This is the sort of book that could turn condescending, or exploitative, or overly sentimental, or grossly tasteless very easily, but Haddon navigates those dangers with a sureness of touch that is extremely rare among first-time novelists. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is original, clever, and genuinely moving: this one is a must-read. --Jack Illingworth"
One Thousand White Women by Jim Fergus
An American western with a most unusual twist, this is an imaginative fictional account of the participation of May Dodd and others in the controversial "Brides for Indians" program, a clandestine U.S. government^-sponsored program intended to instruct "savages" in the ways of civilization and to assimilate the Indians into white culture through the offspring of these unions. May's personal journals, loaded with humor and intelligent reflection, describe the adventures of some very colorful white brides (including one black one), their marriages to Cheyenne warriors, and the natural abundance of life on the prairie before the final press of the white man's civilization. Fergus is gifted in his ability to portray the perceptions and emotions of women. He writes with tremendous insight and sensitivity about the individual community and the political and religious issues of the time, many of which are still relevant today. This book is artistically rendered with meticulous attention to small details that bring to life the daily concerns of a group of hardy souls at a pivotal time in U.S. history.
Some of the 2016 club picks.November's Pick
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of peculiar photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its decaying bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that Miss Peregrine’s children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.
Tuesday, November 15, 2016 @ 7:00 PM - Please RSVP. Copies available at The Book Worm!
Serafina and The Twisted Staff by Robert Beatty is the pick for January 10th's meeting.
About the book:
The brave and unusual Serafina lives in the magnificent Biltmore Estate in the opulence of the Gilded Age and the rugged beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains. But she's caught between two worlds: she's too wild for Biltmore's beautifully dressed ladies and formal customs, and too human to fully join her forest kin.
Filled with history, mystery, and magic for both adults and young readers (8+), this Disney-Hyperion thriller debuted as a #1 New York Times Best Seller, earned the prestigious "Starred Review" from Kirkus Reviews, and is now being taught in over a thousand classrooms nationwide. Be sure to watch the exciting book trailer in the media section below.
Late one night while prowling through the forest, Serafina encounters a strange and terrifying figure, and then she's attacked by the vicious wolfhounds under his control. Even worse, she's convinced that the stranger is not alone, that he has sent his accomplice into Biltmore in disguise.
A mysterious series of attacks test Serafina's role as Biltmore's protector, culminating in a tragedy that tears Serafina's best friend, Braeden Vanderbilt, from her side. Heartbroken, she flees.
Deep in the forest, she comes face-to-face with the evil infecting Biltmore--and discovers its reach is far greater than she'd ever imagined. All the humans and animals of the Blue Ridge Mountains are in terrible danger. For Serafina to defeat this new evil before it engulfs her beloved home, she must search deep inside herself and embrace the destiny that has always awaited her.
___________________________________________________________________________________________________October's Pick with author attendance!!
We love having our authors attend our book club night! Our next read is newly released Sleeping Above Chaos: A Black Mountain Novel, by local Georgia author, Ann Hite. We can't wait for you to read and discuss her newest book with her. We meet at 7pm on October 11th. Space is limited so please rsvp;o)
About the book:
Imagine the relationship triangle from "East of Eden" and set it deep in the Appalachian Mountains. Add a couple of ghosts, a good measure of dysfunction, and a whole lot of twists and turns, and you have Ann Hite's new Black Mountain novel, SLEEPING ABOVE CHAOS. Hite's fourth novel returns to Swannanoa Gap, a small town at the foot of Black Mountain, and introduces new characters while revisiting some favorites from her previous novels. Buster and Lee Wright are the sons of Swannanoa Gap's sheriff. Their personalities couldn't be more opposite and these differences bring conflicts that may not be resolved. Ella Ruth Allen was born on Black Mountain. Her mama, a city girl, runs off with another man, leaving the two-year-old Ella Ruth behind with Paul Allen, her father. He in turn promptly dumps poor Ella Ruth on her grandparents' farm to be raised by Grandmother Allen, a woman who has an extreme dislike for her wild, runaway daughter-in-law. Hite weaves a ghost story throughout each of her novels and this one is no different. Ella Ruth follows a haint into the woods near the farm and stumbles onto her family history. When her life crosses paths with Buster and Lee Wright, fireworks explode. The reader will travel to a ranch in Montana, to Pearl Harbor, and to the beaches of Normandy on D-Day, while watching the cast of characters struggle through World War II, emerging into adulthoods which would weigh heavy on anyone's shoulders. The story ends as the Civil Rights Movement ignites.
About the Author Ann Hite is the author of two novels and a novella. Her debut novel, GHOST ON BLACK MOUNTAIN, became a Townsend Prize Finalist and won Georgia Author of the Year in 2012. She is an active board member of the Georgia Writers Association. Hite lives in Marietta, Georgia.
___________________________________________________________________________________________________ September's pick:
Our next Book Club read for September 13th at 7pm is Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty- we are having a drawing for a SIGNED copy for anyone that buys the new sequel so you can continue the saga!
Our Book Club meets on the 2nd Tuesday of the month and we would love to have you join. Books are available, as always at a good discount, at the register while they last! Please RSVP with a call to the store (770-439-2029) if you need a copy of this or the newest book so we have enough copies. We do have limited room and appreciate the heads up!
We found this review summed it all up for our readers... "LOVED this book. Where should I start? Serafina catapulted me into that rare surreal distracted state when you have fallen headlong into a read. If you have a block of time to finish it cover-to-cover in a sitting or two, you will. When I closed it up I thought, now wait, what kind of book was this, anyway? I considered Neil Gaiman, Roald Dahl, Lemony Snicket, and Harry Potter. A dash of Downton Abbey? It’s a young adult book, but I loved it for myself (a woman of a certain age.)
I came to young adult books like many people after reading to my kids and encouraging them to read over the years. (They are now 13, 17 and 20). All of us loved mysteries and scary stories, but for mom, the historical fiction part was a big plus. I never understood why people wouldn’t like this genre, unless the storytelling is bad. Serafina is a great read but also provides an infusion of knowledge about life at the Biltmore Estate circa 1899. I have a friend who argues, “but I would just rather read the history book.” I say with historical fiction that you and your kids are officially in the know about a new topic, enriched and smarter for it. It can be a starting point for further books and film and even a field trip. (In this case the Biltmore Estate.)
Serafina the heroine is a teen-age girl struggling with her identity and place in the world. Her journey reflects universal feelings of angst we all have – in middle school and beyond. They are timeless struggles. The villain is the wonderfully bone-chilling and “Neil Gaimanish” man in the black cloak. It is definitely creepy, but awesomely creepy. Serafina’s character was so darn likeable and tenacious that it added a dimension of warmth and light that diffused the scary part sufficiently.
I loved it for several other reasons: for starters, Beatty’s descriptive language. He creates metaphor, simile and tone that are uncomplicated but spot on for poignancy. That is always my favorite part of a book – when a writer can do that well. I also found that even though Serafina has a sprinkling of Gaiman/Snicket/Dahl, Beatty has created something incredibly unique in the Internet Age: a tale that feels different and all its own.
Why Downton Abbey? Because that series could essentially have been filmed at the Biltmore Estate. Serafina doesn’t just live in the basement with her Pa. She’s a fearless explorer that goes upstairs and beyond for a spectator view of the lavish Vanderbilt/Downton Abbey life. I loved the contrast in setting between the drama unfolding in the mechanical boiler-room basement and the posh tapestry-walled grand upstairs.
Since Disney published this book, and it is inherently movie worthy with its setting and characters – I predict filming to follow soon. Hope so. Will be unique experience for my kids and me to have been with this special book since the beginning." ....mountainmom