All book reviews posted on this page are taken from book reviews posted on Amazon.
See above for time and location of meetings.
The WIN Book Club Selections for 2020
February 24, 2020, Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owen. a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.
March 23, 2020, The Library Book, by Susan Orlean. On the morning of April 29, 1986, a fire alarm sounded in the Los Angeles Public Library. As the moments passed, the patrons and staff who had been cleared out of the building realized this was not the usual fire alarm. Orlean delivers a mesmerizing and uniquely compelling book that manages to tell the broader story of libraries and librarians in a way that has never been done before.
April 27, 2020, Small Great Things: A Novel, by Jodi Picoult. Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years’ experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she’s been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don’t want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene?
WIN BOOK GROUPS
The WIN Book Club (books of general interest) meets at the North County Library, 2801 Newtown Blvd., Sarasota on the 4th Monday of each month from 10:30 am-noon . (MAP) See list in box directly below this one. We discuss the book of the month and then share books we've recently read and enjoyed. I’ve tried to alternate fiction with non-fiction. If you haven't read the book of the month, no problem. The main thing is to come, meet the group, and participate in the discussion.
The Women of Faith Book Group (books of a religious or spiritual nature) meets each month at 10:30am at the home of a group member to discuss the selected book. Participants are asked to attend each meeting if possible to build the sense of community and the deepening of trust among group members. See list in 2nd box below. Contact Jeanette Sherrill at email@example.com for more information.
The Women of Faith Book Group (WOF):
We are a diverse group of WIN women who deepen our own spiritual connections as we explore the interconnectedness of the different spiritual paths we encounter through our readings. Here is what we will be reading for the fall.
Interested? Contact Jeanette Sherrill for more information. firstname.lastname@example.org or 941-747-7271.
WOF Book Selections for 2020
The Case for God by Karen Armstrong. Karen Armstrong writes a nuanced exploration of the role that religion plays in human life, drawing on insights of the past in order to build a faith that speaks to the needs of our dangerously polarized age. We will read Part II, The Modern God (1500 CE to the present).
The Universal Christ by Richard Rohr. Richard Rohr is a globally recognized ecumenical teacher whose work is grounded in Christian mysticism. In this book, Rohr explores the question of Who was Christ. Too often our understandings have been limited by culture, religious debate and the human tendency to put ourselves at the center. The Universal Christ is thought provoking, practical, and full of deep hope and vision.
The Sabbath by Abraham Joshua Heschel. Elegant, passionate, and filled with the love of God’s creation, Heschel’s The Sabbath has been hailed as a classic of Jewish spirituality ever since its original publication. In this brief yet profound meditation on the Seventh Day, Heschel introduced the idea of an “architecture of holiness” that appears not in space but in time.
On the Brink of Everything by Parker J. Palmer. Looking back on eight decades of life, he meditates on the meanings of life, past, present, and future. “The laws of nature that dictate sundown dictate our demise. But how we travel the arc toward the sunset of our lives is ours to choose: will it be denial, defiance, or collaboration?”
WOF Past Selections
Holy Envy: Finding God in the Faith of Others by Barbara Brown Taylor. Taylor, a Christian Minister, shares her personal journey of teaching a college course on Religions of the World. As soon as she recovered from the shock of meeting God in many new hats, she fell for every religion she taught. We will share the “holy envy” we have discovered in our own lives.
Why Religion? A Personal Story by Elaine Pagels. Known for her scholarship through books such as The Gnostic Gospels, questions of the meaning of religion take on new urgency for Pagels as she comes to terms with the loss of her young son and then her husband.
The Art of Living by Thich Nhat Hanh. In troubled times, there is an urgency to understand ourselves and our world. We have so many questions. Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh, one the most revered spiritual leaders in the world, reveals an art of living in mindfulness that helps us answer life’s deepest questions.
The Bhagavad Gita by Eknath Easwaran.The Bhagavad Gita is a 700-verse Sanskrit scripture that is part of the Hindu epic Mahabharata. The Gita is set in a narrative framework of a dialogue between Pandava prince Arjuna and his guide and charioteer Krishna. Wikipedia.
Perennial Wisdom for the Spiritually Independent by Rami Shapiro. The spiritual teachings of many faith traditions can help you step beyond the limits of any one tradition to the reality that can't be named.
Order of the Sacred Earth by Matthew Fox and Others. Provides a new vision, one deeply rooted in Western, Eastern, and Indigenous histories: a new spiritual Order that affirms all spiritual traditions and practices that sustain life.
The Sacred Art of Loving Kindness by Rabbi Rami Shapiro.
"The question at the heart of this book is this: Will you engage this moment with kindness or with cruelty, with love or with fear, with generosity or scarcity, with a joyous heart or an embittered one? This is your choice and no one can make it for you…. Heaven and hell are both inside of you. It is your choice that determines just where you reside.”
Books Discussed in the Past
Night Train to Lisbon, by Emily Grayson. A riveting page-turner, Night Train to Lisbon travels back to the days when war loomed, the Mitford sisters dazzled, and night trains brimmed with romance and intrigue, delivering a mesmerizing novel of a love that must truly conquer all in order to survive.
Pachinko, by Min Jin Lee. Lee's complex and passionate characters--strong, stubborn women, devoted sisters and sons, fathers shaken by moral crisis--survive and thrive against the indifferent arc of history.
Born Survivors: Three Young Mothers and Their Extraordinary Story of Courage, Defiance, and Hope by Wendy Holden. The Nazis murdered their husbands but concentration camp prisoners Priska, Rachel, and Anka would not let evil take their unborn children too—a remarkable true story.
Educated: A Memoir, by Tara Westover. An unforgettable memoir about a young girl who, kept out of school, leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University.
The Weight of Ink, by Rachel Kadish. Set in London of the 1660s and of the early twenty-first century,
The Weight of Ink is the interwoven tale of two women of remarkable intellect: Ester Velasquez, an emigrant from Amsterdam who is permitted to scribe for a blind rabbi, just before the plague hits the city; and Helen Watt, an ailing historian with a love of Jewish history.
Sisters in Law: How Sandra Day O'Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg Went to the Supreme Court and Changed the World, by Linda Hirshman. The relationship between Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg—Republican and Democrat, Christian and Jew, western rancher’s daughter and Brooklyn girl—transcends party, religion, region, and culture. Strengthened by each other’s presence, these groundbreaking judges, the first and second to serve on the highest court in the land, have transformed the Constitution and America itself, making it a more equal place for all women.
The Gentleman in Moscow, by Armor Towles
The book is like a salve. I think the world feels disordered right now. The count’s refinement and genteel nature are exactly what we’re longing for.” – Ann Patchett
Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Sanders
Winner of the 2017 Man Booker Prize. The long-awaited first novel from the author of Tenth of December: a moving and original father-son story featuring none other than Abraham Lincoln, as well as an unforgettable cast of supporting characters
Stolen Child, by Keith Donohue
Seven-year-old Henry Day is kidnapped by fairy changelings living in the dark forest near his home - ageless beings whose secret community is threatened by encroaching modern life. They give Henry a new name, Aniday, and the gift of agelessness.
The Happiness Curve. Why Life Gets Better After 50, by Jonathan Rauch
In this warm, wise, and witty overview, Jonathan Rauch combines evidence and experience to show his fellow adults that the best is yet to come.
Stoner, by John Williams
William Stoner is born at the end of the nineteenth century into a dirt-poor Missouri farming family. Sent to a university to study agronomy, he instead falls in love with English literature and embraces a scholar's life. As the years pass, Stoner encounters a series of disappointments
Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Hailed by Toni Morrison as "required reading", a bold and personal literary exploration of America's racial history by "the single best writer on the subject of race in the United States"
A Man Called Ove, by Frederik Backmant
When one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door 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.
11/22/63, by Steven King
On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy died, and the world changed. What if you could change it back? A heart-stoppingly dramatic new novel is about a man who travels back in time to prevent the JFK assassination
Levi’s Will, by Doyle Cramer
Will flees his Old Order community at the age of 19, leaving behind a pregnant girlfriend and all things Amish. He begins a new life, joining the army and later marrying and having two sons of his own. But his life and his new family are tainted by the hidden sins of his past.
Angle of Repose, by Wallace Stegner
A Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of personal, historical, and geographic discovery. Confined to a wheelchair, retired historian Lyman Ward sets out to write his grandparents' remarkable story. But his research reveals even more about his own life than he's willing to admit.
The Bad Ass Librarians of Timbuktu, by Joshua Hammer
In the 1980s, a young adventurer and collector for a government library, Abdel Kader Haidara, journeyed across the Sahara Desert and along the Niger River, tracking down and salvaging tens of thousands of ancient manuscripts that had fallen into obscurity. This book tells the incredible story of how Haidara, a mild-mannered archivist and historian from Timbuktu, later became one of the world's most brazen smugglers.
Rocket Boys, by Homer Hickman
Best-selling memoir that inspired the film October Sky, Rocket Boys is a uniquely American memoir - a powerful, luminous story of coming of age at the dawn of the 1960s, of a mother's love and a father's fears, of a group of young men who dreamed of launching rockets into outer space... and who made those dreams come true.
The Untethered Soul, by Michael Singer
What would it be like to free yourself from limitations and soar beyond your boundaries? What can you do each day to discover inner peace and serenity? The Untethered Soul offers simple yet profound answers to these questions.
Second Glance by Jodi Picoult
Thisbegins in current-day Vermont, where an old man puts a piece of land up for sale and unintentionally raises protest from the local Abenaki Indian tribe, who insist it's a burial ground. When odd, supernatural events plague the town of Comtosook, a ghost hunter is hired by the developer to help convince the residents that there's nothing spiritual about the property.
Hillbilly Elegy, by J.D. Vance
Bestseller, named by the times as one of "6 books to help understand trump's win" and soon to be a major-motion picture directed by Ron Howard
The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel Brown
The #1 New York Times-bestselling story about American Olympic triumph in Nazi Germany, the inspiration for the PBS documentary The Boys of '36, broadcast to coincide with the 2016 Summer Olympics and the 80th anniversary of the boys' gold medal race.
Plainsong, by Kurt Haruf
A high school history teacher in a small Colorado town, Guthrie is raising his two young sons alone. Thoughtful and honest, he is guiding them through a world that is not always kind. Victoria, one of his students, is pregnant, homeless, and vulnerable to the scorn of the town.
The Hare with Amber Eyes, by Edmund De Waal
The Ephrussis were a grand banking family, as rich and respected as the Rothschilds, who "burned like a comet" in 19th-century Paris and Vienna society. Yet by the end of World War II, almost the only thing remaining of their vast empire was a collection of 264 wood and ivory carvings, none of them larger than a matchbox.
The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah
Author Kristin Hannah captures the epic panorama of World War II and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women's war. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance.
The Wright Brothers, by David McCullough
On December 17, 1903, at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, Wilbur and Orville Wright's Wright Flyer became the first powered, heavier-than-air machine to achieve controlled, sustained flight with a pilot aboard. The Age of Flight had begun. How did they do it? And why? David McCullough tells the extraordinary and truly American story of the two brothers who changed the world.
A God in Ruins, by Kate Atkinson
"He had been reconciled to death during the war and then suddenly the war was over and there was a next day and a next day. Part of him never adjusted to having a future.
The Scent of Scandal, by Craig Pittman
After its Peruvian discovery in 2002, Phragmipedium kovachii became the rarest and most sought-after orchid in the world. Prices soared to $10,000 on the black market. Then one showed up at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, where every year more than 100,000 people visit.
The New Jim Crow, by Michelle Alexander
In the era of colorblindness, it is no longer socially permissible to use race, explicitly, as a justification for discrimination, exclusion, and social contempt. Yet, as legal star Michelle Alexander reveals, today it is perfectly legal to discriminate against convicted criminals in nearly all the ways that it was once legal to discriminate against African Americans. Once you're labeled a felon, the old forms of discrimination - employment discrimination, housing discrimination, denial of the right to vote, denial of educational opportunity, denial of food stamps and other public benefits, and exclusion from jury service - are suddenly legal.
Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo. A bewildering age of global change and inequality is made human through the dramatic story of families striving toward a better life in Annawadi, a makeshift settlement in the shadow of luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport. As India starts to prosper, the residents of Annawadi are electric with hope. Abdul, an enterprising teenager, sees “a fortune beyond counting” in the recyclable garbage that richer people throw away. (Amazon.Com book review)
Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. In 1956, toward the end of Reverend John Ames's life, he begins a letter to his young son, an account of himself and his forebears. Ames is the son of an Iowan preacher and the grandson of a minister who, as a young man in Maine, saw a vision of Christ bound in chains and came west to Kansas to fight for abolition. (
The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe. This is the inspiring true story of a son and his mother, who start a “book club” that brings them together as her life comes to a close.
The Paris Apartment by Michelle Gable. When April Vogt's boss tells her about an apartment in the ninth arrondissement that has been discovered after being shuttered for the past seventy years, the Sotheby's continental furniture specialist does not hear the words "dust" or "rats" or "decrepit." She hears Paris. She hears escape. (Amazon.Com book review)
Reading Lolita in Tehran: a Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi. For two years before she left Iran in 1997, Nafisi gathered seven young women at her house every Thursday morning to read and discuss forbidden works of Western literature. They were all former students whom she had taught at university. (Amazon.Com book review)
At Home in Mitford: by Jan Karon. Father Tim's heart does get filled. First with a gangly stray dog, later with a seemingly stray boy, and finally with the realization that he is stumbling into love with his independent and Christian-wise next-door neighbor. Much more than a gentle love story, this is a homespun tale about a town of endearing characters-- including a mysterious jewel thief--who are as quirky and popular as those of Mayberry, R.F.D. -- (Gail Hudson from Amazon)
Spiral Staircase: by Karen Armstrong. In 1962, at age seventeen, Karen Armstrong entered a convent, eager to meet God. After seven brutally unhappy years as a nun, she left her order to pursue English literature at Oxford. But convent life had profoundly altered her, and coping with the outside world and her expiring faith proved to be excruciating. (Amazon.Com book review)
Any book by Ken Follett.
Hour of Peril the Secret Plot to Murder Abraham Lincoln Before the Civil War by Daniel Stashower. Daniel Stashower, the two-time Edgar award-winning author of The Beautiful Cigar Girl, uncovers the riveting true story of the "Baltimore Plot," an audacious conspiracy to assassinate Abraham Lincoln on the eve of the Civil War. (Amazon.Com book review)
My Last Year In Vienna by Ernie Kent. Ernie, a Sarasotan, has written five short documentary chapters of her experiences from November 1938 until June of 1941. They begin with My Last Year in Vienna and end with We Sail to America. It is suggested that members read-up on Kristallnacht for a broader understanding of Ernie’s experience. The five chapters will be sent to the book club members.
Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty . Imagine that your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret—something with the potential to destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others as well. (Amazon.Com book review)
All of the above book descriptions are taken from Amazon.Coms reviews of the books.
JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters by James Douglass
Population 485 Meeting Your Neighbors One Siren at a Time by Michael Perry
In One Person by John Irving
Red Azalea by Anchee Min
The Submission by Amy Waldman
The Power of One by Bruce Courtney
The Round House by Louise Erdrich
Behind the Kitchen Door by Sarumathi Jayaraman
The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson
Sonia Sotomayor by Antonia Felix
Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
American Dervish by Ayad Aktar
Bliss: A Novel by Ronit Matalon
The Good News Club by Katherine Stewart
The Color of Water by James McBride
Global Girlfriends by Stacey Edgar
Buddah in the Attic by Julie Otsuka
The Great Mortality by John Kelly
Have a Little Faith by Mitch Albom
Katherine the Queen by Linda Porter
In the Land of Invisible Women by Qanta Ahmed
Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann