Seniors Book Club April Selection

Clock danceOur Seniors Book Club meeting, originally scheduled for April 8, is being converted to a “virtual” discussion of the book Clock Dance by Anne Tyler via email. Members are being contacted and can participate via email. Non-members are welcome to add their comments to the blog!

About the book

“Willa Drake can count on one hand the defining moments of her life. In 1967, she is a schoolgirl coping with her mother’s sudden disappearance. In 1977, she is a college coed considering a marriage proposal. In 1997, she is a young widow trying to piece her life back together. And in 2017, she yearns to be a grandmother but isn’t sure she ever will be. Then, one day, Willa receives a startling phone call from a stranger. Without fully understanding why, she flies across the country to Baltimore to look after a young woman she’s never met, her nine-year-old daughter, and their dog, Airplane. This impulsive decision will lead Willa into uncharted territory–surrounded by eccentric neighbors who treat each other like family, she finds solace and fulfillment in unexpected places”– Provided by publisher.

About the author

An Interview with the author

Discussion questions

A New York Times book review

A Guardian book review

Seniors Book Club March Selection

THE-STRANGER-IN-THE-WOODSThe Seniors Book Club will meet at 2:00 pm on Wednesday, March 11 in Forsyth Hall to discuss The Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel.

About the book

Many people dream of escaping modern life. Most will never act on it—but in 1986, twenty-year-old Christopher Knight did just that when he left his home in Massachusetts, drove to Maine, and disappeared into the woods. He would not have a conversation with another person for the next twenty-seven years.

Drawing on extensive interviews with Knight himself, journalist Michael Finkel shows how Knight lived in a tent in a secluded encampment, developing ingenious ways to store provisions and stave off frostbite during the winters. A former alarm technician, he stealthily broke into nearby cottages for food, books, and supplies, taking only what he needed but sowing unease in a community plagued by his mysterious burglaries. Since returning to the world, he has faced unique challenges—and compelled us to reexamine our assumptions about what makes a good life. By turns riveting and thought-provoking, The Stranger in the Woods gives us a deeply moving portrait of a man determined to live his own way. (Publisher)

About the author

A hermit’s lonely path: an interview with Michael Finkel

‘There have always existed people who’ve simply wanted to be alone’: an interview with Michael Finkel

Review in The Globe and Mail 

Review in The Guardian

Review in the New York Times

This reclusive life: what I learned about solitude from my time with hermits

Hermitary: hermits around the web

 

Seniors Book Club February Selection

Eleanor Oliphant is completely fineThe Seniors Drop-In Book Club will meet at 2:00 pm on Wednesday, February 12 in the second floor Training Room to discuss the novel Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine by Scottish author Gail Honeyman.

About the book

No one’s ever told Eleanor that life should be better than fine.
Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.

But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.

Soon to be a major motion picture produced by Reese Witherspoon, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is the smart, warm, and uplifting story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey as she realizes. . .
The only way to survive is to open your heart. (Source: Publisher)

About the author

Publisher’s Readers Guide (includes discussion questions)

Discussion questions & hosting tips (BookBub)

A Guardian interview

A Conversation with Gail Honeyman (Penguin Random House)

Video interviews with Gail Honeyman

A Guardian book review

An Irish Times book review

An Independent article on loneliness in young people

A US News article on youth loneliness in the U.S.

Seniors Book Club January Selection

The Seniors Book Club will meet at 2:00 pm on Wednesday, January 8 in Forsyth Hall to discuss Homes: A Refugee Story by Abu Bakr Al Rabeeah with Winnie YeungHomes, a refugee story.

About the book

In 2010, the al Rabeeah family left their home in Iraq in hope of a safer life. They moved to Homs, in Syria – just before the Syrian civil war broke out.

Abu Bakr, one of eight children, was ten years old when the violence began on the streets around him: car bombings, attacks on his mosque and school, firebombs late at night. Homes tells of the strange juxtapositions of growing up in a war zone: horrific, unimaginable events punctuated by normalcy – soccer, cousins, video games, friends.

Homes is the remarkable true story of how a young boy emerged from a war zone with a passion for sharing his story and telling the world what is truly happening in Syria. As told to her by Abu Bakr al Rabeeah, writer Winnie Yeung has crafted a heartbreaking, hopeful, and urgently necessary book that provides a window into understanding Syria. (Amazon)

About Winnie Yeung

Radio interview with Shelagh Rogers

Interview with Chuck Comeau for Canada Reads

Article in The Guardian

Article in the Edmonton Journal

Review in Quill and Quire

Review in Alberta Views

Book backgrounder for teachers

BBC News: Syria: The story of the conflict

Discussion questions

 

Seniors Book Club November Selection

Sofie and CeciliaThe Seniors Book Club will meet at 2:00 pm on Wednesday, November 13 in Forsyth Hall to discuss the novel Sofie & Cecilia by Katherine Ashenburg.

About the book

In Sofie & Cecilia, beloved non-fiction author and journalist Katherine Ashenburg draws upon her formidable skill and maturity as a writer to craft an extraordinary and splendid debut novel. This is the story of a lifelong female friendship, set in the fascinating art world of Sweden between 1900 and 1940, just as modern art and the beginnings of the Scandinavian mid-century modern design movement were inspiring a creative revolution across northern Europe. Loosely based on the lives of celebrated artists Carl Larsson and Anders Zorn (“Nils Olsson” and “Lars Vogt” in the novel), Ashenburg transports us behind both the public and domestic scenes–and canvasses–of these larger-than-life men to reveal the lesser-known but equally astounding and rich stories of the women who married them: restlessly creative artist-in-her-own-right Sofie Olsson, and fiercely private and intelligent curator Cecilia Vogt.
Here is a gorgeous gem of a book: surprising, unique, layered with insight into the nuances of female friendship as it stretches, changes, and deepens in unexpected ways over a lifetime. Woven effortlessly through this tapestry, like a beautiful motif, is absorbing detail about Scandinavian painting, design, and textile work; European history and sexual politics; the country life, city salons, vibrant art, and folklore of Sweden; and the secrets and challenges of bright, talented women juggling marriage, career, individual aspirations, and family life inside an artist’s household in the early twentieth century. (amazon.ca)

About the author

Author website

A CBC radio Next Chapter interview

A Global News interview

A CBC Books interview

Book review in Quill & Quire

Book review by literarytreats.com

Author essay on writing her first novel in her 70’s

Karin Larsson artist biography

Carl Larsson artist biography

Emma Zorn biography

Anders Zorn artist biography