June 2015 Book Club Choice

This month we have decided to read a classic The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
Here is an overview and what critics have said about this novel...

The Maltese FalconA treasure worth killing for. Sam Spade, a slightly shopworn private eye with his own solitary code of ethics. A perfumed grafter named Joel Cairo, a fat man name Gutman, and Brigid O’Shaughnessy, a beautiful and treacherous woman whose loyalties shift at the drop of a dime. These are the ingredients of Dashiell Hammett’s coolly glittering gem of detective fiction, a novel that has haunted three generations of readers.
From the Publisher
“Dashiell Hammett . . . is a master of the detective novel, yes, but also one hell of a writer.” –The Boston Globe
The Maltese Falcon is not only probably the best detective story we have ever read, it is an exceedingly well written novel.” –The Times Literary Supplement(London)
“Hammett’s prose [is] clean and entirely unique. His characters [are] as sharply and economically defined as any in American fiction.” –The New York Times
New York Times Book Review
If the locution 'hard-boiled' had not already been coined it would be necessary to coin it now to describe the characters of Dashiell Hammett's latest detective story. . . there is plenty of excitement. -- Books of the Century; New York Times review, February 1930

Book Club Dinner

Deborah hosted our early spring book club dinner at her classic high water Victorian. Lots of lively conversation and tasty foods, the group was small but the spirit was big!

March April Book Choice

Our March April Book Choice is the first novel my author Antony Marra, " A Constellation of Vital Phenomena" 
Overview Washington Post Ron Charles-

The book begins with a sentence that forecasts both the horror and the whimsy ahead: “On the morning after the Feds burned down her house and took her father, Havaa woke from dreams of sea anemones.” Havaa, we learn, is 8 and now almost certainly orphaned. “She had the pale, waxen skin of an unripe pear,” Marra writes. Her father, who nurtured her curiosity with extravagant affection, was an arborist who had lost his fingers in a previous encounter with the Feds and a pair of bolt cutters. When he was gagged with duct tape and bundled away for good, Havaa avoided assassination by sneaking out of the house and hiding in the snow. But those thugs will be back, fulfilling a new order to murder the family members of anyone suspected of sympathizing with rebel forces.

The complicated moral hero of this tale is an incompetent peasant doctor named Akhmed, who lives across the street. More comfortable drawing portraits than blood, he is determined to save his old friend’s daughter, though “she seemed an immense and overwhelming creature whom he was destined to fail.” His only choice is to spirit Havaa out of the village, where the sole remaining career choices are running guns for the rebels or informing for the Russians. Acting on a rumor from a refugee who passed through months earlier, he takes Havaa to an all-but-abandoned hospital in a nearby town that looks “like a city made of shoeboxes and stamped into the ground by a petulant child.”

February March Book Club Dinner

Molly hosted our March gathering at her lovely villa, with lots of spice and candle light to ward away the rain. We all admitted to knowing very little about this president and or the situation that lead to his death. Lots of history twists and turns, plus great food and fellowship.

February March Book Choice

Our February March book choice is Destiny of the Republic...a tale of madness, medicine and murder of a President by Candice Millard. Here is an overview of the book:
James A. Garfield was one of the most extraordinary men ever elected president. Born into abject poverty, he rose to become a wunderkind scholar, a Civil War hero, and a renowned and admired reformist congressman. Nominated for president against his will, he engaged in a fierce battle with the corrupt political establishment. But four months after his inauguration, a deranged office seeker tracked Garfield down and shot him in the back. 

But the shot didn’t kill Garfield. The drama of what hap­pened subsequently is a powerful story of a nation in tur­moil. The unhinged assassin’s half-delivered strike shattered the fragile national mood of a country so recently fractured by civil war, and left the wounded president as the object of a bitter behind-the-scenes struggle for power—over his administration, over the nation’s future, and, hauntingly, over his medical care. A team of physicians administered shockingly archaic treatments, to disastrous effect. As his con­dition worsened, Garfield received help: Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, worked around the clock to invent a new device capable of finding the bullet. 

Meticulously researched, epic in scope, and pulsating with an intimate human focus and high-velocity narrative drive, The Destiny of the Republic will stand alongside The Devil in the White City and The Professor and the Madman as a classic of narrative history.

Doubleday book site 

January Book Club Dinner 2015

Jane hosted the first meeting of the New Year at her arty Elmhurst cottage. Interesting discussion on the lessons of life and the choices we make based on love, survival, lust and security . Lots of meaty food choices, sweets and belly laughs.