Book Club Selections for Spring 2018

IMG_3027At the last meeting of our book club at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church, we selected the books that we plan to read in Spring 2018. We meet monthly on the 2nd Wednesday for a brown-bag lunch followed by what is always a lively discussion. We are usually about 15 to 20 women, more when the snowbirds have all arrived. You may have read some of these.

January 10

Boyle, Gregory. Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion. Free Press, 2011.

For twenty years, Gregory Boyle has run Homeboy Industries, a gang-intervention program located in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles, the gang capital of the world. In Tattoos on the Heart, he distills his experience working in the ghetto into a breathtaking series of parables inspired by faith. Arranged by theme and filled with sparkling humor and glowing generosity, these essays offer a stirring look at how full our lives could be if we could find the joy in loving others and in being loved unconditionally.

February 14

Setterfield, Diane. The Thirteenth Tale, 2006.

Reclusive author Vida Winter, famous for her collection of twelve enchanting stories, has spent the past six decades penning a series of alternate lives for herself. Now old and ailing, she is ready to reveal the truth about her extraordinary existence and the violent and tragic past she has kept secret for so long. Calling on Margaret Lea, a young biographer troubled by her own painful history, Vida disinters the life she meant to bury for good.

March 14

Truax, Laura Sumner and Amalya Campbell. Love Let Go: Radical Generosity for the Real World. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2017.

When LaSalle Street Church in Chicago received an unexpected windfall, its leaders made the wild, counterintuitive decision to give it away. Each church member received a check for $500 with the instruction to go out and do good in God’s world. In Love Let Go readers witness how a church community was transformed by the startling truth that money can buy happiness—when we give it away.

April 11

Markey, Eileen. A Radical Faith: The Assassination of Sister Maura. Nation Books, 2016.

On a hot and dusty December day in 1980, the bodies of four American women-three of them Catholic nuns-were pulled from a hastily dug grave in a field outside San Salvador. They had been murdered two nights before by the US-trained El Salvadoran military. News of the killing shocked the American public and set off a decade of debate over Cold War policy in Latin America. The women themselves became symbols and martyrs, shorn of context and background. In A Radical Faith, journalist Eileen Markey breathes life back into one of these women, Sister Maura Clarke. At its heart, A Radical Faith is an intimate portrait of one woman’s spiritual and political transformation and her courageous devotion to justice.

May 9

McDermott, Alice. The Ninth Hour. Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux, 2017.

On a dim winter afternoon, a young Irish immigrant opens the gas taps in his Brooklyn tenement. He is determined to prove—to the subway bosses who have recently fired him, to his badgering, pregnant wife—“that the hours of his life belong to himself alone.” In the aftermath of the fire that follows, Sister St. Savior, an aging nun, appears, unbidden, to direct the way forward for his widow and his unborn child.
The characters we meet, from Sally, the unborn baby at the beginning of the novel, who becomes the center of the story, to the nuns whose personalities we come to know and love, to the neighborhood families with whose lives they are entwined, are all rendered with extraordinary sympathy and McDermott’s trademark lucidity and intelligence.

June 13 or September 12 or Back-up

Zusak, Markus. The Book Thief. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005.

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still. Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.

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