Seniors Book Club June Selection

Women in the castleThe Seniors Book Club will meet at 2:00 pm on Thursday, June 14 (date change!) in the Training Room to discuss The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck.

About the book …

Set at the end of World War II, in a crumbling Bavarian castle that once played host to all of German high society, a powerful and propulsive story of three widows whose lives and fates become intertwined–an affecting, shocking, and ultimately redemptive novel from the author of the New York Times Notable Book The Hazards of Good Breeding. Amid the ashes of Nazi Germany’s defeat, Marianne von Lingenfels returns to the once-grand castle of her husband’s ancestors, an imposing stone fortress now fallen into ruin following years of war. The widow of a resister murdered in the failed July 20, 1944, plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, Marianne plans to uphold the promise she made to her husband’s brave conspirators: to find and protect their wives, her fellow resistance widows. First Marianne rescues six-year-old Martin, the son of her dearest childhood friend, from a Nazi reeducation home. Together, they make their way across the smoldering wreckage of their homeland to Berlin, where Martin’s mother, the beautiful and naive Benita, has fallen into the hands of occupying Red Army soldiers. Then she locates Ania, another resister’s wife, and her two boys, now refugees languishing in one of the many camps that house the millions displaced by the war. As Marianne assembles this makeshift family from the ruins of her husband’s resistance movement, she is certain their shared pain and circumstances will hold them together. But she quickly discovers that the black-and-white, highly principled world of her privileged past has become infinitely more complicated, filled with secrets and dark passions that threaten to tear them apart. Eventually, all three women must come to terms with the choices that have defined their lives before, during, and after the war–each with their own unique share of challenges. (Publisher)

About the author …

Jessica Shattuck lives with her husband and three children in Brookline, MA.

Her fiction has appeared in The New YorkerGlamourOpen City, and The Tampa Review among other publications.

Her nonfiction has appeared in The New York TimesMother JonesWiredThe Believer Magazine, and The Boston Globe.

Her novel, The Women in the Castle is a New York Times Bestseller, and The Hazards of Good Breeding was 
a New York Times Notable Book, a Boston Globe best book of the year, and a finalist for the 2003 PEN/Winship Award. (author website)

Author website

An Indie Next Q&A with Jessica Shattuck

An NPR interview with Jessica Shattuck

An audio interview with the author

The Book on Youtube

Publisher’s Reading Guide

A New York Journal of Books review

A Washington Independent Review of Books review

A Huffington Post article by Jessica Shattuck “On the Anniversary of Kristallnacht”

The July 20, 1944, Plot to Assassinate Adolf Hitler

German Resistance to Hitler

St. Albert Gazette Great Reading

Book picks as published in the June 6, 2018 St. Albert Gazette. For more great reads, check here.

Speak no evilSpeak no evil : a novel

By Uzodinma Iweala

Raised by two attentive parents in Washington, D.C., Niru is a top student and a track star at his prestigious private high school. Bound for Harvard in the fall, his prospects are bright. But Niru has a painful secret: he is queer—an abominable sin to his conservative Nigerian parents. No one knows except Meredith, the one person who seems not to judge him.

  

Heart's invisible furiesThe Heart’s invisible furies : a novel

By John Boyne

Born out of wedlock to a teenage girl cast out from her rural Irish community, and adopted by a well-to-do if eccentric Dublin couple, Cyril is adrift in the world, anchored only tenuously by his heartfelt friendship with the infinitely more glamorous and dangerous Julian Woodbead. At the mercy of fortune and coincidence, he will spend a lifetime coming to know himself.

Monday Evening Book Club June Selection

Last NeanderthalThe Monday Evening Book Club will meet at 7:00 pm on Monday, June 11 in the second floor Training Room to discuss The Last Neanderthal, a novel by Claire Cameron.

About the book…

40,000 years in the past, the last family of Neanderthals roams the earth. After a crushingly hard winter, their numbers are low, but Girl, the oldest daughter, is just coming of age and her family is determined to travel to the annual meeting place and find her a mate. But the unforgiving landscape takes its toll, and Girl is left alone to care for Runt, a foundling of unknown origin. As Girl and Runt face the coming winter storms, Girl realizes she has one final chance to save her people, even if it means sacrificing part of herself. In the modern day, archaeologist Rosamund Gale works well into her pregnancy, racing to excavate newly found Neanderthal artifacts before her baby comes. Linked across the ages by the shared experience of early motherhood, both stories examine the often taboo corners of women’s lives. Haunting, suspenseful, and profoundly moving, THE LAST NEANDERTHAL asks us to reconsider all we think we know about what it means to be human.

Claire Cameron’s website

Author biography

Claire Cameron “On Writing”

Claire Cameron’s essay: Neanderthals were women, too.

Reading Group Guide (includes discussion questions)

A Quill & Quire book review

A National Post book review

The Next Chapter interview with Claire Cameron

Interviews on Youtube

Neanderthal article in Wikipedia

Neanderthals 101 / National Geographic video

National Post article about Neanderthal research

About Neanderthal/human interbreeding

 

 

 

Joanne’s Mystery Picks

A TALENT FOR MURDER by Andrew Wilson

In Decem9781471148224ber of 1926 Agatha Christie went missing from her home in Styles, England.  For eleven days the police scoured the countryside for any clues as to what had befallen her.  Had she committed suicide?  It was well known that since the death of her mother some months previously, Christie had been depressed and had developed writer’s block.   Her depression was further intensified by the marital problems that she was having at the time.  Had she somehow been injured?  Or, most dreadful thought of all, had she been murdered and done away with?

While using the known facts of the case, Wilson has created a story that gives us another possibility for her disappearance.  As Agatha, herself relates the events, we learn that her disappearance was orchestrated by someone wanting her to commit a murder for him.  Who better to do this than the Queen of Crime?  And what was the hold that he had on her in order to coerce her to do this? Blackmail and threats of harm to her family!  So how could she not do what he was forcing her to?  Agatha must use the same ability that creates the clever plots in her mystery stories to make this personal story end well.

Christie never talked about her disappearance and makes no mention of it in her autobiography so we’ll never know what really happened.  To my way of thinking, Wilson’s story is as plausible as any of the other explanations that were bandied about during the winter of 1926.