Navonod Book Club

Let's start a Navonod book club.  If you want to join in, please send Monica Donovan an email (magdonovan@hotmail.com).  The goal of this group is to spread the word on good reads.  Please send any your recent reads and reviews to Monica.

Wild Life by Molly Gloss.  Read the club's review.

Recent Reads Currently Reading
Double Fold by Nicholson Baker The Archivist by Martha Cooley
A Star Called Henry by Roddy Doyle

The Royal Physicians Visit by Per Olov Enquist

Midnight Champagne by A. Manette Ansay  
Passion of Artemesia by Susan Vreeland Coming Soon
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein City of Dreams by Beverly Swerling
Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner Sons of the Profits by William C. Speidel

Straight Man by Richard Russo

The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen

Anthony Blunt: His Lives by Miranda Carter

 

Fast Food Nation by Eric Scholsser

 

Reviews

Wild Life by Molly Gloss: "Set in southwest Washington State in the early 1900s, Wild Life is the story of Charlotte Bridger Drummond, a single mother who supports her five irrepressible sons by writing popular women's adventure tales. When a young girl goes missing from a logging camp near Mount St. Helens, Charlotte joins in the search for her - setting off unknowingly on an adventure both like and unlike any that she had ever imagined in her own fiction." After my dismal failure to get anyone to read The Sparrow, I hesitate to recommend a book which may or may not include Big Foot. I read this book because it was the first book chosen for the newly formed book club at my library. We chose it because it is the book chosen for "If All of Seattle Read the Same Book" and the author is coming at the end of March to speak. Aside from all that, I haven't read many books about the pioneer days of the Pacific Northwest (my new home), especially not with female heroines. The book takes the form of Charlotte's journal, with her writings and quotations from other writers interspersed. She explores themes of motherhood vs. being an artist and civilization vs. nature. Charlotte is an original, and makes for entertaining reading. There is a lot of "white space" in this book: questions about what really happened between the words on the page (for example, are Charlotte's adventures to be taken literally or as allegory?). So while I did have some problems with the denouement, I see how with a different reading, it would make much more sense. I look forward to hearing what my book club thinks...and what you think!  Monica Donovan

Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner.  "Another GREAT book about the west..." Lisa Donovan  "I agree!  But my wife, a westerner, does not." - Simon Donovan

Straight Man by Richard Russo

Hilarious! Another book group choice, but I am so glad I read it.  The author just won the Pulitzer for his most recent novel, Empire Falls.  This one takes place at a second or third rate college in rural Pennsylvania and concerns the temporary head of the English department whose life has gone pretty well and who delights in being as big a pain as possible to those around him (especially his colleagues).  Now he's middle aged and heading for a breakdown...or is he?  Not a lot of plot, but fabulous scenes, great dialogue, and interesting characters.  Plus a very comical insiders view of academia. 

Fast Food Nation by Eric Scholsser

I was afraid that after reading this I'd never be able to eat at McDonald's again, and I was partially right, but not for the reasons I thought.  While there are fairly vivid descriptions of how the animals that become our dinners are treated (not nicely, obviously), it is not just a PETA-rant book. Most of the book discusses the effect of fast food on humans: the workers in the franchises and in the factories, the farmers that supply the food, kids that succumb to the intense marketing campaign aimed directly at them, principals that do marketing deals for school funds & then have to sell so many sodas or give the money back, the lobbying groups that prevent real government control of the food we eat.  It's definitely food for thought.

Anthony Blunt: His Lives by Miranda Carter

Anthony Blunt was a Cambridge graduate who changed, almost created, the study of art history in Britain.  He was in charge of the Royal Family's art collection for 30 years.  He worked for British intelligence during WWII.  And he was part of a Soviet spy ring from 1937 to 1951.  His friends suspected nothing.  The government eventually discovered him but kept quiet for its own reasons, until he was unmasked in Parliament in 1979.  His last 4 years were spent hiding from the public and press. This recent biography uses new information from Russian archives and acquaintances who have finally spoken out to examine the hows and whys of the many faces of Anthony Blunt.

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