Meet My Book Club: The 95er’s!

Hello everyone! I mentioned a few weeks back about how great being part of a book club was and so I felt it was necessary to introduce you to mine! We are a small bunch for the time being but we may slowly be starting to grow as the months pass. Here is a picture of us from last night’s meeting:

 

(Front Left to right: Rhedd, Me, Claire, Henri, and Em. Yomi is the one taking the picture, he will be in the next photo)

I have to admit that we are a bit happy due to the wine we were drinking beforehand, or it could be we were just so excited about the books; no, I am pretty sure it was the wine. Our book club is mainly a bunch of foodies, wine lovers and lovers of novels who got together to create our book club. I am sure you are curious about our name and its meaning; it is a rather funny, embarrassing story involving me but that can wait for another post. So anyways here are the notes and the book we chatted about last night:

The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver about Mexican-American writer Harrison Shepherd and the trials he faced growing up in Mexico and becoming an adult in America. Shepherd, in his younger years, works in a household of famous individuals from muralist Diego Rivera to Bolshevik leader in exile Lev Trotsky, as a cook and secretary to the two men. But it is not the men who have had much of an effect on his life and his writing but the friendship he forms with Diego’s wife Frida. With this friendship blossoms his self-confidence and allows him to become the man he should be. Shepherd eventually moves to America and becomes a famous writer with his adventure, historical novels about Mexican events. This is during the time of MacArthur, the Communist scare and with those times comes the allegations that Shepherd was a Communist. Shepherd must struggle with the many identities that face his life whether it’s it Mexican, American, sexual, political or culture identity all are at risk to him in some form and fashion. We are able to witness this novel through Shepherd journals that he writes giving the reader a firsthand account of his life story.

Here are some key points we touched on during the decision:

–        Difficult to get into, very dry and hard to follow, but it eventually opens up and becomes very interesting

–        Very visual descriptions about his surroundings and the experiences he goes through

–        How Shepherd is an introverted person and tends to keep things to himself

–        The persona that we have; our image we show to others vs. who we are in the privacy of our own homes

–        How his sexuality wasn’t really an issue, we figured it would be but it was never developed and only kept an underlining meaning to the story

–        The Media role: how much of an effect the media have on a situation and how quickly they can turn it

–        Political contrasts of American and Mexico during the 1950’s and 60’s

–        His relationships with the female characters of the novel and how each one is different; they affect his life in different ways

–        The pace of the novel when it goes from slow to fast then back to slow. How it changes when he changes locations

–        The right of privacy and how much does the public have the right to know what is going on in other’s lives

–        Communism; how it was perceived in Mexico as well as America

–        Growing up too quickly; how one can lose their childhood so quickly and jump straight into adulthood

We all agreed how much we enjoyed the novel, some of us finished it faster than others but we all came to the conclusion that the novel is a beautiful piece of fiction. The visual descriptions and prose throughout the novel are memorable, and you feel a connection with Shepherd since we have all felt like an outsider at some point in our lives. We could recommend this book! Just forewarning those who want to read this book, it’s a BIG book. It’s around 700 pages, gasp, I know! Even if the book is long, it is great read and would be great for an international flight! Here are some other photos from last night:

 

Here is our little dinner set up before we began the book decision. We also had some pesto pasta, which is not on the table for the picture. We tended to chat more about other things like wine and food then the actual book. But we managed to do so with cups of tea and dessert which I made. I made Coconut Chocolate Madeleine’s and they were a great success, here is a photo of them:

Book for next meeting, which is in about 6 weeks time is A Many-Splendored Thing by Han Suyin. This book is a bit difficult to find, but you can buy it on eBay or Amazon. I hope everyone has a good weekend!

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