Twenty-four years after her first novel, Housekeeping, Marilynne Robinson returns with an intimate tale of three generations from the Civil War to the twentieth century: a story about fathers and sons and the spiritual battles that still rage at America's heart. Writing in the tradition of Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman, Marilynne Robinson's beautiful, spare, and spiritual prose allows "even the faithless reader to feel the possibility of transcendent order" (Slate). In the luminous and unforgettable voice of Congregationalist minister John Ames, Gilead reveals the human condition and the often unbearable beauty of an ordinary life.
May 19, 2018
In 1935, Dottie Krasinsky is the epitome of the modern girl. A bookkeeper in Midtown Manhattan, Dottie steals kisses from her steady beau, meets her girlfriends for drinks, and eyes the latest fashions. Yet at heart, she is a dutiful daughter, living with her Yiddish-speaking parents on the Lower East Side. So when, after a single careless night, she finds herself in a family way by a charismatic but unsuitable man, she is desperate: unwed, unsure, and running out of options.
After the birth of five children—and twenty years as a housewife—Dottie’s immigrant mother, Rose, is itching to return to the social activism she embraced as a young woman. With strikes and breadlines at home and National Socialism rising in Europe, there is much more important work to do than cooking and cleaning. So when she realizes that she, too, is pregnant, she struggles to reconcile her longings with her faith.
As mother and daughter wrestle with unthinkable choices, they are forced to confront their beliefs, the changing world, and the fact that their lives will never again be the same….
A Gentleman in Moscow
April 19, 2018
In 1922 Count Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal. He is sentenced to house arrest in The Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him a doorway into a much larger world of emotional discovery. Brimming with humor, a glittering cast of characters, and one beautifully rendered scene after another, this singular novel casts a spell as it relates the Count’s endeavor to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a man of purpose.
Saints for All Occasions
March 15, 2018
A sweeping, unforgettable novel by J. Courtney Sullivan is about the hope, sacrifice, and love between two sisters and the secret that drives them apart. Nora and Theresa Flynn are twenty-one and seventeen when they leave their small village in Ireland and journey to America. Nora is the responsible sister; she’s shy and serious and engaged to a man she isn’t sure that she loves. Theresa is gregarious; she is thrilled by their new life in Boston and besotted with the fashionable dresses and dance halls on Dudley Street. But when Theresa ends up pregnant, Nora is forced to come up with a plan—a decision with repercussions they are both far too young to understand.
The Other Wes Moore One Name, Two Fates
February 15, 2018
Two kids with the same name were born blocks apart in the same decaying city within a few years of each other. One grew up to be a Rhodes Scholar, army officer, White House Fellow, and business leader. The other is serving a life sentence in prison. Here is the story of two boys and the journey of a generation.
The Handmaid & The Carpenter
In this wonderful novel by Elizabeth Berger, the author transports us to Nazareth in Biblical times to re-imagine the events of the classic Christmas story. We see Mary - young, strong, inquisitive - as she first meets Joseph, a serious-minded young carpenter who is steadfastly devoted to the religious traditions of their people. The two become betrothed, but are soon faced with an unexpected pregnancy. Aided by a great and abiding love, they endure challenges to their relationship as well as threats to their lives as they come to terms with the mysterious circumstances surrounding the birth of their child, Jesus. For Mary, the pregnancy is a divine miracle and a privilege. For Joseph, it is an ongoing test not only of his courage but of his faith-in his wife as well as in his God. This holiday novel is destined to become a classic.
A Thanksgiving Visitor
A Thanksgiving Visitor is a short story by Truman Capote. Buddy and his closest friend, his eccentric, elderly cousin, Miss Sook - the memorable characters from Capote's A Christmas Memory--love preparing their old country house for Thanksgiving. But there's trouble in the air. Odd Henderson, a scrawny, freckled, red-headed bully makes Buddy the target of his relentless torment. But Miss Sook only counsels patience and understanding, "He can't help acting ugly; he doesn't know any different," she says. Filled with emotions that are universal to both young readers and adults, this poignant story brings to life what we all should cherish and be thankful for--the gifts of friendship and love.
In 1940, Iris James is the postmistress in coastal Franklin, Massachusetts. Iris knows more about the townspeople than she will ever say, and believes her job is to deliver secrets. Yet one day she does the unthinkable: slips a letter into her pocket, reads it, and doesn't deliver it. Meanwhile, Frankie Bard broadcasts from overseas with Edward R. Murrow. Her dispatches beg listeners to pay heed as the Nazis bomb London nightly. Most of the townspeople of Franklin think the war can't touch them. But both Iris and Frankie know better...
The Postmistress is a tale of two worlds-one shattered by violence, the other willfully naïve-and of two women whose job is to deliver the news, yet who find themselves unable to do so. Through their eyes, and the eyes of everyday people caught in history's tide, it examines how stories are told, and how the fact of war is borne even through everyday life.
The Dry Grass of August
In this beautifully written debut, Anna Jean Mayhew offers a riveting depiction of Southern life in the throes of segregation and what it will mean for a young girl on her way to adulthood and for the woman who means the world to her.
On a scorching day in August 1954, thirteen-year-old Jubie Watts leaves Charlotte, North Carolina, with her family for a Florida vacation. Crammed into the Packard along with Jubie are her three siblings, her mother, and the family's black maid, Mary Luther. For as long as Jubie can remember, Mary has been there cooking, cleaning, compensating for her father's rages and her mother's benign neglect, and loving Jubie unconditionally.
Bright and curious, Jubie takes note of the anti-integration signs they pass and of the racial tension that builds as they journey further south. But she could never have predicted the shocking turn their trip will take. Now, in the wake of tragedy, Jubie must confront her parents failings and limitations, decide where her own convictions lie, and make the tumultuous leap to independence.
"A Spool of Blue Thread"
July 27, 2017* DATE CHANGE
A freshly observed, joyful and wrenching, funny and true new novel from Anne Tyler
"It was a beautiful, breezy, yellow-and-green afternoon." This is how Abby Whitshank always begins the story of how she fell in love with Red that day in July 1959. The Whitshanks are one of those families that radiate togetherness: an indefinable, enviable kind of specialness. But they are also like all families, in that the stories they tell themselves reveal only part of the picture. Abby and Red and their four grown children have accumulated not only tender moments, laughter, and celebrations, but also jealousies, disappointments, and carefully guarded secrets. from Red's father and mother, newly-arrived in Baltimore in the 1920s, to Abby and Red's grandchildren carrying the family legacy boisterously into the twenty-first century, here are four generations of Whitshanks, their lives unfolding in and around the sprawling, lovingly worn Baltimore house that has always been their anchor. Brimming with all the insight, humor, and generosity of spirit that are the hallmarks of Anne Tyler's work, A Spool of Blue Thread tells a poignant yet unsentimental story in praise of family in all its emotional complexity. It is a novel to cherish.
June 15, 7 pm
America's First Daughter
by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie
In a compelling, richly researched novel that draws from thousands of letters and original sources, bestselling authors Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie tell the fascinating, untold story of Thomas Jefferson's eldest daughter, Martha "Patsy" Jefferson Randolph--a woman who kept the secrets of our most enigmatic founding father and shaped an American legacy.
From her earliest days, Patsy Jefferson knows that though her father loves his family dearly, his devotion to his country runs deeper still. As Thomas Jefferson's oldest daughter, she becomes his helpmate, protector, and constant companion in the wake of her mother's death, traveling with him when he becomes American minister to France.
It is in Paris, at the glittering court and among the first tumultuous days of revolution, that fifteen-year-old Patsy learns about her father's troubling liaison with Sally Hemings, a slave girl her own age. Meanwhile, Patsy has fallen in love--with her father's protégé William Short, a staunch abolitionist and ambitious diplomat. Torn between love, principles, and the bonds of family, Patsy questions whether she can choose a life as William's wife and still be a devoted daughter.
Her choice will follow her in the years to come, to Virginia farmland, Monticello, and even the White House. And as scandal, tragedy, and poverty threaten her family, Patsy must decide how much she will sacrifice to protect her father's reputation, in the process defining not just his political legacy, but that of the nation he founded.
May 18, 2017
A Man Called Ove
by Fredrik Backman
Meet Ove. He's a curmudgeon - the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him "the bitter neighbor from hell." But must Ove be bitter just because he doesn't walk around with a smile on his face all the time?
Beneath the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two young daughters move in next store and accidentally flatten Ove's mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and local residents' association to their very foundations. Fredrik Backman's novel "A Man Called Ove" is a thoughtful exploration of the profound impact one life has on countless others.
April 20, 2017
Peaches for Father Francis
by Joanne Harris
The tantalizing sequel to the blockbuster New York Times bestseller Chocolat
Even before it was adapted into the Oscar-nominated film starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp, Joanne Harris’s Chocolat entranced readers with its mix of hedonism, whimsy, and, of course, chocolate. Now, at last, Chocolat’s heroine returns to the beautiful French village of Lansquenet in another, equally beguiling tale.
When Vianne Rocher receives a letter from beyond the grave, she has no choice but to return to Lansquenet, where she once owned a chocolate shop and learned the meaning of home. But returning to one’s past can be a dangerous pursuit, and Vianne and her daughters find the beautiful French village changed in unexpected ways: women veiled in black, the scent of spices in the air, and—facing the church—a minaret. Most surprising of all, her old nemesis, Francis Reynaud, desperately needs her help. Can Vianne work her magic once again?
"I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban"
by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb.
When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education. On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school and few expected her to survive. Instead, Malala's miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. At sixteen, she became a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest winner ever for the Nobel Peace Prize. I AM MALALA is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls' education, of a father who, himself a school owner, championed and encouraged his daughter to write and attend school, and of brave parents who have a fierce love for their daughter in a society that prizes sons. I AM MALALA will make you believe in the power of one person's voice to inspire change in the world.
February 16, 2017
Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
Before John Glenn orbited the Earth or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of professionals worked as "Human Computers," calculating the flight paths that would enable these historic achievements. Among these were a coterie of bright, talented African-American women. Segregated from their white counterparts by Jim Crow laws, these "colored computers," as they were known, used slide rules, adding machines, and pencil and paper to support America's fledgling aeronautics industry, and helped write the equations that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space.Set against the backdrop of the the civil rights movement, the never-before-told true story of NASA's African-American female mathematicians who played a crucial role in America's space program-and whose contributions have been unheralded, until now.
January 19, 2017
"Can't Wait to Get to Heaven" by Fannie Flagg
Combining southern warmth with unabashed emotion and side-splitting hilarity, Fannie Flagg takes readers back to Elmwood Springs, Missouri, where the most unlikely and surprising experiences of a high-spirited octogenarian inspire a town to ponder the age-old question: Why are we here?
Life is the strangest thing. One minute, Mrs. Elner Shimfissle is up in her tree, picking figs, and the next thing she knows, she is off on an adventure she never dreamed of, running into people she never in a million years expected to meet. Meanwhile, back home, Elner’s nervous, high-strung niece Norma faints and winds up in bed with a cold rag on her head; Elner’s neighbor Verbena rushes immediately to the Bible; her truck driver friend, Luther Griggs, runs his eighteen-wheeler into a ditch–and the entire town is thrown for a loop and left wondering, “What is life all about, anyway?” Except for Tot Whooten, who owns Tot’s Tell It Like It Is Beauty Shop. Her main concern is that the end of the world might come before she can collect her social security.
In this comedy-mystery, those near and dear to Elner discover something wonderful: Heaven is actually right here, right now, with people you love, neighbors you help, friendships you keep. Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven is proof once more that Fannie Flagg “was put on this earth to write” (Southern Living), spinning tales as sweet and refreshing as iced tea on a summer day, with a little extra kick thrown in.
Baked and Be Blessed
by Dominic Garramone
Join our book club on Thursday, Dec. 15 at 7 pm when they discuss the book Baked and Be Blessed by Dominic Garramone. Fr. Dominic Garramone, is a Benedictine monk of St. Bede Abbey in Illinois and offers reflections on how one simple activity -- baking bread -- can teach us to grow spiritually and live more meaningfully. Gain insight from everyday activities and live fully through meditation and prayer. With five new recipes, including Ice Cream Muffins and Oatmeal Cookies (with a very special story).
The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
In this epic, beautifully written masterwork, Pulitzer Prize—winning author Isabel Wilkerson chronicles one of the great untold stories of American history: the decades-long migration of black citizens who fled the South for northern and western cities, in search of a better life. From 1915 to 1970, this exodus of almost six million people changed the face of America. Wilkerson compares this epic migration to the migrations of other peoples in history. She interviewed more than a thousand people, and gained access to new data and official records, to write this definitive and vividly dramatic account of how these American journeys unfolded, altering our cities, our country, and ourselves.
With stunning historical detail, Wilkerson tells this story through the lives of three unique individuals: Ida Mae Gladney, who in 1937 left sharecropping and prejudice in Mississippi for Chicago, where she achieved quiet blue-collar success and, in old age, voted for Barack Obama when he ran for an Illinois Senate seat; sharp and quick-tempered George Starling, who in 1945 fled Florida for Harlem, where he endangered his job fighting for civil rights, saw his family fall, and finally found peace in God; and Robert Foster, who left Louisiana in 1953 to pursue a medical career, the personal physician to Ray Charles as part of a glitteringly successful medical career, which allowed him to purchase a grand home where he often threw exuberant parties.
Wilkerson brilliantly captures their first treacherous and exhausting cross-country trips by car and train and their new lives in colonies that grew into ghettos, as well as how they changed these cities with southern food, faith, and culture and improved them with discipline, drive, and hard work. Both a riveting microcosm and a major assessment, The Warmth of Other Suns is a bold, remarkable, and riveting work, a superb account of an “unrecognized immigration” within our own land. Through the breadth of its narrative, the beauty of the writing, the depth of its research, and the fullness of the people and lives portrayed herein, this book is destined to become a classic.
Life in a Jar - The Courageous Story of Irena Sendler by Jack Mayer
During World War II, Irena Sendler, a Polish Catholic social worker, organized a rescue network of fellow social workers to save 2,500 Jewish children from certain death in the Warsaw ghetto. Incredibly, after the war her heroism, like that of many others, was suppressed by communist Poland and remained virtually unknown for 60 years. Unknown, that is, until three high school girls from an economically depressed, rural school district in southeast Kansas stumbled upon a tantalizing reference to Sendler's rescues, which they fashioned into a history project, a play they called Life in a Jar. Their innocent drama was first seen in Kansas, then the Midwest, then New York, Los Angeles, Montreal, and finally Poland, where they elevated Irena Sendler to a national hero, championing her legacy of tolerance and respect for all people. Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project is a Holocaust history and more. It is the inspirational story of Protestant students from Kansas, each carrying her own painful burden, each called in her own complex way to the history of a Catholic woman who knocked on Jewish doors in the Warsaw ghetto and, in Sendler's own words, "tried to talk the mothers out of their children." Inspired by Irena Sendler, they are living examples of the power of one person to change the world and models for young people everywhere.
Tortilla Curtain by T. C. Boyle
Topanga Canyon is home to two couples on a collision course. Los Angeles liberals Delaney and Kyra Mossbacher lead an ordered sushi-and-recycling existence in a newly gated hilltop community: he a sensitive nature writer, she an obsessive realtor. Mexican illegals Candido and America Rincon desperately cling to their vision of the American Dream as they fight off starvation in a makeshift camp deep in the ravine. And from the moment a freak accident brings Candido and Delaney into intimate contact, these four and their opposing worlds gradually intersect in what becomes a tragicomedy of error and misunderstanding. In 1997 it was awarded the French Prix Médicis Étranger prize for best foreign novel.
'Light Between Oceans,' by M.L. Stedman
After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day's journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season and shore leaves are granted every other year at best, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby's cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby.
Tom, whose records as a lighthouse keeper are meticulous and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel has taken the tiny baby to her breast. Against Tom's judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.
M. L. Stedman's mesmerizing, beautifully written novel seduces us into accommodating Isabel's decision to keep this "gift from God." And we are swept into a story about extraordinarily compelling characters seeking to find their North Star in a world where there is no right answer, where justice for one person is another's tragic loss.
The Light Between Oceans is exquisite and unforgettable, a deeply moving novel.
Tuesday, July 5
George Washington's Secret Six: The Spy Ring That Saved the American Revolution by Brian Kilmeade
When General George Washington beat a hasty retreat from New York City in August 1776, many thought the American Revolution might soon be over. Instead, Washington rallied--thanks in large part to a little-known, top-secret group called the Culper Spy Ring. Washington realized that he couldn't beat the British with military might, so he recruited a sophisticated and deeply secretive intelligence network to infiltrate New York. So carefully guarded were the members' identities that one spy's name was not uncovered until the twentieth century, and one remains unknown today. But by now, historians have discovered enough information about the ring's activities to piece together evidence that these six individuals turned the tide of the war. Here, these spies finally take their place among the pantheon of heroes of the American Revolution
Grandmothers Counsel the World
by Carole Schaeffer
In some Native American societies, tribal leaders consulted a council of grandmothers before making any major decisions that would affect the whole community. What if we consulted our wise women elders about the problems facing our global community today? This book presents the insights and guidance of thirteen indigenous grandmothers from five continents, many of whom are living legends among their own peoples. The Grandmothers offer wisdom on such timely issues as nurturing our families; cultivating physical and mental health; and confronting violence, war, and poverty. Also included are the reflections of Western women elders, including Alice Walker, Gloria Steinem, Helena Norberg-Hodge, and Carol Moseley Brown.
by Martin Makary and Ellen Vaughn
From marketing maven to angle of the garbage district-the inspiring authorized biography of Maggie Gobran, the "Mother Teresa of Egypt." Since 1997 Maggie Gobran and her organization Stephen's Children have been changing lives in Cairo's notorious zabala or garbage slums. Her innovative, transformational work has garnered worldwide fame and multiple Nobel Prize nominations, but her full story has remained untold until now.
Best selling authors Martin Makary and Ellen Vaughn chronicle Mama Maggie's surprising pilgrimage from privileged child to stylish businesswoman to college professor pondering God's call to change. She answered that call by becoming the modest figure in white who daily navigates piles of stinking trash, bringing hope to the poorest of the poor.
A Good and Perfect Gift
by Amy Julia Becker
Amy Julia Becker, a Princeton University and Princeton Theological Seminary graduate, knows how to grab a reader's heartstrings as she writes about her journey as a new mom to Penny, her first child, who has Down syndrome. The author keeps a journal in her early days as a mother, a time when her faith, her expectations, and her fears ran a gamut. Becker tells how impressed she has always been with intelligence, and how her little girl will lack this gift so important to Becker. Or would she? This beautifully written text explores how Becker and her husband deal with the news of having a disability and the transformation they undergo as time passes. Each journal entry opens a new chapter of Penny's growth, and with every change in Penny comes a corresponding response of grateful joy in everyone else. The book is an honest and hopeful look at unexpected challenges.
Someone Knows My Name
by Lawrence Hill
Winner of the Commonwealth Writers' Prize. "Wonderfully written...populated by vivid characters and rendered in fascinating detail." - Nancy Kline, New York Times Book Review
Kidnapped from Africa as a child, Aminata Diallo is enslaved in South Carolina but escapes during the chaos of the Revolutionary War. In Manhattan she becomes a scribe for the British, recording the names of blacks who have served the King and earned their freedom in Nova Scotia. But the hardship and prejudice of the new colony prompt her to follow her heart back to Africa, then on to London, where she bears witness to the injustices of slavery and its toll on her life and a whole people. It is a story that no listener, and no reader, will ever forget.
"God Is Red: A Native View of Religion"
by Vine Deloria Jr.
In God is Red, Chinese dissident journalist and poet Liao Yiwu once lauded, later imprisoned, and now celebrated author, profiles the extraordinary lives of dozens of Chinese Christians, providing a rare glimpse into the underworld of belief that is taking hold within the officially athesitic state of Communist China. Liao felt a kinship with Chinese Christians in their unwavering commitment to the freedom of expression and to finding meaning in a tumultous society, even though he is not a Christian himself. This is a fascinating tale of otherwise unknown personalities thriving against all odds. God is Red remains the seminal work on Native religious views, asking new questions about our species and ouir ultimate fate. What we believe about religion is a personal matter.
Have a Little Faith
by Mitch Albom
In this book Mitch Albom offers a beautifully written story of a remarkable eight-year journey between two worlds, two men, two faiths, two communities that will inspire readers everywhere. "Have a Little Faith" is a book about a life's purpose: about losing belief and finding it again; about the divine spark inside us all. It's one man's journey, but it is everyone's story.
will find the group discussing A Red Bird Christmasby Fannie Flagg.
With the same incomparable style and warm, inviting voice that have made her beloved by millions of readers far and wide, New York Times bestselling author Fannie Flagg has written an enchanting Christmas story of faith and hope for all ages that is sure to become a classic.
Deep in the southernmost part of Alabama, along the banks of a lazy winding river, lies the sleepy little community known as Lost River, a place that time itself seems to have forgotten. After a startling diagnosis from his doctor, Oswald T. Campbell leaves behind the cold and damp of the oncoming Chicago winter to spend what he believes will be his last Christmas in the warm and welcoming town of Lost River.
There he meets the postman who delivers mail by boat, the store owner who nurses a broken heart, the ladies of the Mystic Order of the Royal Polka Dots Secret Society, who do clandestine good works. And he meets a little redbird named Jack, who is at the center of this tale of a magical Christmas when something so amazing happened that those who witnessed it have never forgotten it.
We hope you'll join us for a warm discussion that will put you in the spirit of the season!
November will find us discussing Still Alice by Lisa Genova. In her extraordinary New York Tims bestselling novel, an accomplished professor diagnosed with Alzheimers's disease learns that her worth is comprised of more than her ability to remember. Alice Howland is proud of the life she worked so hard to build. At fifty years old, she's a cognitive psychology professor at Harvard and a world-renowned expert in linguistics with a successful husband and three grown children. When she becomes increasingly disoriented and forgetful, a tragic diagnosis changes her life and her relationship with her family and the world forever.
At once beautiful and terrifying, Still Alice is a moving and vivid depiction of life with early-onset Alzheimer's disease that is as compelling as A Beautiful Mind and as unforgettable as Ordinary People. You will gain an understanding of those affected by early onset Alzheimer's and remain moved and inspired long after you have put it down.
Our October selection will be Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas. As Adolf Hitler and the Nazis seduced a nation, bullied a continent and attempted to exterminate the Jews of Europe, a small number of dissidents and sabateurs worked to dismantle the Third Reich from the inside. One of these was Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a pastor and author, known as much for such spiritual classics as The Cost of Discipleship and Life Together, as for his 1945 execution in a concentration camp for his part in the plot to assassinate Hitler.
Join us in the Parish Hall as we discuss the best selling Pat Conroy memoir, The Water is Wide.
The moving story of a young teacher's experience on an island forgotten by the world. Though the children of Yamacraw Isalnd live less than two miles from the coast of South Carolina they can't name the president or the ocean that surrounds them. Many can't sign their names. Most can't read or write - they're unable to reach their potential to grow and learn because they have been failed by their school district and handicapped by their poverty and isolation. But with arrival of an eager young teacher, their prosepects begin to brighten. Based on Pat Conroy's experiences teaching elementary school for a year on South Carolina's Daufuskie Island, TheWater is Wide is a revealing portrait of the inequalities of the American education system and a powerful story of the group of children that changed one man's life forever.
Just in time to help celebrate the 4th of July, we'll be discussing Founding Mothers by Cokie Roberts. Her book brings us women who fought the Revolution as valiantly as men, often defending their very doorsteps. Drawing upon personal correspondence, private journals, and even favored recipes, Roberts reveals the often surprising stories of these fascinating women, bringing to life the everyday trials and extraordinary triumphs of individuals like Abigail Adams, Mercy Otis Wilson, Deborah Reed Franklin, Eliza Pinckney, Catherine Littlefield Green, Esther DeBergdt Reed and Martha Washington proving that without our exemplary women, the new country might have never survived.
Our May selection, an international best seller is, "The Chalice and the Blade: Our History, Our Future by Raine Eisler. The author draws us back in time, when women were the equal of men. Religion celebrated life and nature, with the Goddess (symbolized by the chalice) being the primary figure of worship. Minoan Crete marks the last instance of this social and religious organizational pattern. Conquering peripheral tribes, such as the Hebrews, introduced a patriarchal, death-centered system (symbolized by the blade) that valued aggression and dominance and denigrated earlier faith in the Goddess. Such views, expressed in the Old Testament as well as in the Gospels, continue to influence the direction of Western culture to the present day. Some books are like revelations, they open the spirit to unimaginable possibilities. With the most passionate eloquence, Raine Eisler proves that the dream of peace is not an impossible utopia.
As we finish our journey through Lent we will begin "traveling" with author Anne Lamott on her journey as she became a believer. This is a chronicle of faith and spirituality that is at once touch, personal, affectionate, wise and very funny. With an exuberant mix of passion, insight, and humor, Anne Lamott takes us on a journey through her often troubled past to illuminate her devout but quirky walk of faith. In a narrative spiced with stories and scripture, with diatribes, laughter and tears, Lamott tells how, against all odds, she came to believe in God and then, even more miraculously, in herself. She shows us the myriad of ways in which this sustains and guides her, shining the light of faith on the darkest part of ordinary life and exposing surprising pockets of meaning and hope. Whether writing about her family or her dreadlocks, sick children or old friends, the most religious women of her church or the men she's dated, Lamott reveals the hard-won wisdom gathered along her path to connectedness and liberation.
Journey through Lent with the Little Home Church book club, A Book & A Prayer, as we read the historical novel "When Jesus Wept" by Bodie and Brock Thoene. The book covers the time period from when John baptized Jesus through the time when Jesus rode on a donkey as he enters Jerusalem. These encounters are told by Lazarus as he witnesses them during Christ's journey to the cross.
For our February meeting we will be reading "Hot Dogs and Hamburgers: Unlocking Life's Potential by Inspiring Literacy at Any Age" by Rob Shindler. Rob was inspired as he chronicled his journey to help his son overcome a major reading deficiency through volunteering at Literacy Chicago. Here Rob learned the common misconceptions that come hand in hand with adult illiteracy and developed unconventional teaching methods to help his classes learn to read.
We are delighted to have the author attend this month's meeting! We will start at 6 pm with a potluck supper and then begin our discussion on the great book! Bring a dish to share!
January will find us reading and discussing "The Pilgrim's Progress," an oldie but a goodie and a nice challenge to start off the New Year. The Pilgrim's Progress is a Christian allegory written by John Bunyan first published in February, 1678. It is regarded as one of the most significant works of religious English literature. It has been translated into more than 200 languages, and has never been out of print. An enormously influential 17th century classic, universally known for its simplicity, vigor, and beauty of language, The Pilgrim's Progress remains one of the most widely read books in the English language. Let's follow Christian, as he journeys to the Celestial City, together.
We will end the year witha family appropriate story AND movie!
This is a story for the entire family. We will discuss The Story of the Other Wise Man which is a short novella by Henry Van Dyke, initially published in 1895. Henry Van Dyke was a preacher, university professor, diplomat, poet, translator and author of many inspirational writings. As a Christmas bonus we'll watch the black and white movie The Story of the OtherWise Man presented by GE Theater and introduced by Ronald Reagan and family. (aired on Christmas Night, 1960)
Monday, October 27
We'll be discussing The Hidding Place by Corrie ten Boom. Corrie was a Dutch watchmaker who became a heroine of the Resistance, a survivor of Hitler's concentration camps, and one of the most remarkable evangelists of the 20th century. In World War II she and her family risked their lives to help Jews and underground workers escape from the Nazi's and for their work they were tested in the infamous Nazi death camps. Only Corrie among her whole family survived to tell the story of how faith ultimately triumphs over evil.
All are welcome. Bring a friend!
Our next book sounds amazing! Join us on September 22 as we discuss "Desire of the Everlasting Hills: The WorldBefore and After Jesus" by Thomas Cahill.
This historical narrative ponders how an obscure rabbi from a backwater of the Roman Empire come to be the central figure in Western Civilization? Did his influence in fact change teh world? These are the questions the author addresses in his subtle and engaging investigation into the life and times of Jesus.
Heaven is for Real is a New York Times bestseller and a major motion picture. It is the story of four year old Colton Burpo who makes it through an emergency appendectomy and his family is overjoyed at his survival. What they weren't expecting, though, was the story that emerged in the following months - a story as beautiful as extraordinary, detailing their little boy's trip to heaven and back.
We'll be discussing The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis. The Great Divorce arose out of Lewis' interest in the nature of spiritual choices. The idea for allowing damned spirits a "holiday" in Heaven, the ancient Catholic notion of Refrigerium - that the damned are given occasional repose from the torments of Hell by being granted "days off" in other places. This is a dazzling allegory about Heaven and Hell and the chasm fixed between them is one of Lewis' most brilliantly imaginative tales, where we discover the gates of Hell are locked from the inside. In a dream, the narrator boards a bus on a drizzly afternoon in Hell and embarks on an incredible voyage to Heaven. Anyone in Hell is invited on board, and anyone may remain in Heaven if he or she so chooses. But do we really want to live in Heaven? Please join us and bring a friend for this "dazzling" read!
Another historical fiction book recommended to us by author, Jane Kirkpatrick. English Creek by Ivan Doig, creates a rich and varied tapestry of northern Montana and of our country that was still innocent before the Second World War. It is the summer of 1939, and our hero discovers his own connection to the land, to history and to family. We'll discuss how religion, faith and spirituality play into all of this.
Our April read will be on The Shape of Mercy by Susan Meissner. This book won the Christian Book Award in 2009 in the fiction category. Here is one review on the book: "It is the kind of inspirational fiction that prompts readers to call up old friends, lost loves or fallen-away family members to tell them that all is forgiven and that life is too short for holding grudges. Achingly romantic, the novel features the legacy of Mercy Heyworth-a young woman convicted during the Salem witch trials-whose words reach out from the past to forever transform the lives of two present-day women. These book lovers-Abigail Boyles, elderly, bitter and frail, and Lauren Lars Durough, wealthy, earnest and young-become unlikely friends, drawn together over the untimely death of Mercy, whose precious diary is all that remains of her too short life. And what a diary! Mercy's words not only beguile but help Abigail and Lauren together face life's hardest struggles about where true meaning is found, which dreams are worth chasing and which only lead to emptiness, and why faith and hope are essential to life's difficult path. This is a novel to be shared by friends."