Women’s Book Club

womens book club 700

Women’s Book Club

Meeting are held in the Ministry Center on the 3rd Thursday at 7:00PM unless otherwise indicated. Join us for a lively discussion! Snacks and finishing the book are optional!

Contact Donna Meoli for more information!  eumcyouth@comcast.net

2017 -2018 Schedule

September 14*    A Man Called Ove by Frederick Backman (date change)
October 19           Redemption Road by John Hart
November 16       The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
December 14*     The Ultimate Gift by Jim Stovall – Dinner TBA(date change)
January 18          
 The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht
February 15         Room of Marvels by James Bryan Smith
March 15             The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
April 19                Saints for All Occasions by J. Courtney Sullivan
May 17                 Shoot Like a Girl by Mary Jennings Hegar

 

September 14 – A Man Called Ove by Frederick Backman

Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon—the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him “the bitter neighbor from hell.” But must Ove be bitter just because he doesn’t walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?

Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So 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. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations.
A feel-good story, Fredrik Backman’s novel about the angry old man next door is a thoughtful exploration of the profound impact one life has on countless others.

 

October 19 – Redemption Road by John Hart 

Over 2 million copies of his books in print. The first and only author to win back-to-back Edgars for Best Novel. Every book a New York Times bestseller. Now after five years, John Hart is back with a stunning literary thriller.

Imagine: A boy with a gun waits for the man who killed his mother. A troubled detective confronts her past in the aftermath of a brutal shooting. After thirteen years in prison, a good cop walks free. But for how long? And deep in the forest, on the altar of an abandoned church, the unthinkable has just happened…
This is a town on the brink. This is a road with no mercy.

 

November 16 – The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood’s popular dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale explores a broad range of issues relating to power, gender, and religious politics. Multiple Emmy and Golden Globe award-winner Claire Danes (Temple GrandinHomeland) gives a stirring performance of this classic in speculative fiction, one of the most powerful and widely read novels of our time.

After a staged terrorist attack kills the President and most of Congress, the government is deposed and taken over by the oppressive and all controlling Republic of Gilead. Offred, now a Handmaid serving in the household of the enigmatic Commander and his bitter wife, can remember a time when she lived with her husband and daughter and had a job, before she lost even her own name. Despite the danger, Offred learns to navigate the intimate secrets of those who control her every move, risking her life in breaking the rules in hopes of ending this oppression.

 

December 14 – The Ultimate Gift by Jim Stovall  (Dinner)

 An inspirational story of what truly matters in life.
What would you do to inherit a million dollars? Would you be willing to change your life? Jason Stevens is about to find out in Jim Stovall’s The Ultimate Gift.
Red Stevens has died, and the older members of his family receive their millions with greedy anticipation. But a different fate awaits young Jason, whom Stevens, his great-uncle, believes may be the last vestige of hope in the family.

“Although to date your life seems to be a sorry excuse for anything I would call promising, there does seem to be a spark of something in you that I hope we can fan into a flame. For that reason, I am not making you an instant millionaire.”

What Stevens does give Jason leads to The Ultimate Gift. Young and old will take this timeless motivational story to heart.

 

January 18 – The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht

The Tiger’s Wife is the debut novel of Serbian-American writer Téa Obreht. It was published in 2011 by Weidenfeld & Nicolson, a British imprint of Orion Books, and by Random House in America. The Tiger’s Wife is set in an unnamed Balkan country, spanning the mid 20th-century to the early 21st century. It features a young doctor’s relationship with her grandfather and the stories he tells her, primarily about the ‘deathless man’ who meets him several times in different places and never changes, and a deaf-mute girl from his childhood village who befriends a tiger that has escaped from a zoo.

 

 

February 15 –  Room of Marvels by James Bryan Smith

In one tragic blow after another, accomplished Christian writer Tim Hudson lost his mother, his close friend, and his two-year-old daughter. Now he’s on the brink of losing his faith.

Room of Marvels takes readers on a silent spiritual retreat with Tim where he is swept up in a dream vision of heaven and given a guided tour by those he has lost. Reminiscent of the C. S. Lewis classic, The Great Divorce, the book carries a contemporary voice that made Library Journal declare it “a good companion to Mitch Albom’s The Five People You Meet in Heaven.”

Remarkably, Room of Marvels mirrors author James Bryan Smith’s own heart-wrenching season of loss when his mother (Wanda), close friend (“Awesome God” singer Rich Mullins), and two-year-old daughter (Madeline) passed away within months of each other.

Updated with a new cover design and epilogue by Smith, the 2007 edition of Room of Marvels will continue to comfort those touched by grief and stir the hunger for heaven in every reader.

 

March 15 – The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

For readers of Unbroken, out of the depths of the Depression comes an irresistible story about beating the odds and finding hope in the most desperate of times—the improbable, intimate account of how nine working-class boys from the American West showed the world at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin what true grit really meant.

It was an unlikely quest from the start. With a team composed of the sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the University of Washington’s eight-oar crew team was never expected to defeat the elite teams of the East Coast and Great Britain, yet they did, going on to shock the world by defeating the German team rowing for Adolf Hitler. The emotional heart of the tale lies with Joe Rantz, a teenager without family or prospects, who rows not only to regain his shattered self-regard but also to find a real place for himself in the world. Drawing on the boys’ own journals and vivid memories of a once-in-a-lifetime shared dream, Brown has created an unforgettable portrait of an era, a celebration of a remarkable achievement, and a chronicle of one extraordinary young man’s personal quest.

 

April 19 – Saints for All Occasions by J. Courtney Sullivan

Nora and Theresa Flynn are twenty-one and seventeen when they leave their small village in Ireland and journey to America. Nora is the responsible sister; she’s shy and serious and engaged to a man she isn’t sure that she loves. Theresa is gregarious; she is thrilled by their new life in Boston and besotted with the fashionable dresses and dance halls on Dudley Street. But when Theresa ends up pregnant, Nora is forced to come up with a plan—a decision with repercussions they are both far too young to understand. Fifty years later, Nora is the matriarch of a big Catholic family with four grown children: John, a successful, if opportunistic, political consultant; Bridget, quietly preparing to have a baby with her girlfriend; Brian, at loose ends after a failed baseball career; and Patrick, Nora’s favorite, the beautiful boy who gives her no end of heartache. Estranged from her sister, Theresa is a cloistered nun, living in an abbey in rural Vermont. Until, after decades of silence, a sudden death forces Nora and Theresa to confront the choices they made so long ago. A graceful, supremely moving novel from one of our most beloved writers, Saints for All Occasions explores the fascinating, funny, and sometimes achingly sad ways a secret at the heart of one family both breaks them and binds them together.

 

May 17 –  Shoot Like a Girl by Mary Jennings Hegar


On July 29, 2009, Air National Guard major Mary Jennings “MJ” Hegar was shot down while on a Medevac mission on her third tour in Afghanistan. Despite being wounded, she fought the enemy and saved the lives of her crew and their patients. But soon she would face a new battle: to give women who serve on the front lines the credit they deserve…

After being commissioned into the U.S. Air Force, MJ Hegar was selected for pilot training by the Air National Guard, finished at the top of her class, then served three tours in Afghanistan, flying combat search-and-rescue missions, culminating in a harrowing rescue attempt that would earn MJ the Purple Heart as well as the Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor Device.

But it was on American soil that Hegar would embark on her greatest challenge—to eliminate the military’s Ground Combat Exclusion Policy, which kept female armed service members from officially serving in combat roles despite their long-standing record of doing so with honor.

In Shoot Like a Girl, MJ takes the reader on a dramatic journey through her military career: an inspiring, humorous, and thrilling true story of a brave, high-spirited, and unforgettable woman who has spent much of her life ready to sacrifice everything for her country, her fellow man, and her sense of justice.

 

 

2016 -2017 Schedule

August 25*            All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
September 15       The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katrina Bivald
October 20            What Was Mine by Helen Klein Ross
November 17        Tattoos on the Heart by Gregory Boyle
Tues, Dec 15         Date & Location Change – Rams Head Tavern
                            The Gift Counselor by Sheila Cronin
January 19           The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon
February 16          The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks
March 16              Rise of the Rocket Girls by Nathalia Holt
April 20                Little Bee  by Chris Cleave
May 18                 The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
June 15                My Father’s Tears and Other Stories by John Updike

*one week later than normal

all the lightAugust 25 – All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the beautiful, stunningly ambitious instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.

Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.

broken wheelSeptember 15 – The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katrina Bivald

Broken Wheel, Iowa, has never seen anyone like Sara, who traveled all the way from Sweden just to meet her pen pal, Amy. When she arrives, however, she finds that Amy’s funeral has just ended. Luckily, the townspeople are happy to look after their bewildered tourist–even if they don’t understand her peculiar need for books. Marooned in a farm town that’s almost beyond repair, Sara starts a bookstore in honor of her friend’s memory. All she wants is to share the books she loves with thecitizens of Broken Wheel and to convince them that reading is one of the great joysof life. But she makes some unconventional choices that could force a lot of secrets into the open and change things for everyone in town.

 

what was mineOctober 20 – What Was Mine by Helen Klein Ross

Simply told but deeply affecting, this urgent novel unravels the heartrending yet unsentimental tale of a woman who kidnaps a baby in a superstore–and gets away with it for twenty-one years. Lucy Wakefield is a seemingly ordinary woman who does something extraordinary in a desperate moment: she takes a baby girl from a shopping cart and raises her as her own. It’s a secret she manages to keep for over two decades–from her daughter, the babysitter who helped raise her, family, coworkers, and friends. When Lucy’s now-grown daughter Mia discovers the devastating truth of her origins, she is overwhelmed by confusion and anger and determines not to speak again to the mother who raised her. She reaches out to her birth mother for a tearful reunion, and Lucy is forced to flee to China to avoid prosecution. What follows is a ripple effect that alters the lives of many and challenges our understanding of the very meaning of motherhood. Author Helen Klein Ross,  weaves a powerful story of upheaval and resilience told from the alternating perspectives of Lucy, Mia, Mia’s birth mother, and others intimately involved in the kidnapping. What WasMine is a compelling tale of motherhood and loss, of grief and hope, and the life-shattering effects of a single, irrevocable moment”


tattoos on heart

November 17 – Tattoos on the Heart by Gregory Boyle

For twenty years, Gregory Boyle has run Homeboy Industries, a gang-intervention program located in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles, the gang capital of the world. InTattoos on the Heart, he distills his experience working in the ghetto into a breathtaking series of parables inspired by faith.

Arranged by theme and filled with sparkling humor and glowing generosity, these essays offer a stirring look at how full our lives could be if we could find the joy in loving others and in being loved unconditionally. From giant, tattooed Cesar, shopping at JCPenney fresh out of prison, we learn how to feel worthy of God’s love. From ten-year-old Lula we learn the importance of being known and acknowledged. From Pedro we understand the kind of patience necessary to rescue someone from the darkness. In each chapter we benefit from Boyle’s gentle, hard-earned wisdom.

These essays about universal kinship and redemption are moving examples of the power of unconditional love and the importance of fighting despair. Gorgeous and uplifting, Tattoos on the Heart reminds us that no life is less valuable than another.

gift counselorDate and Location Change – Tuesday, December 13 – Rams Head Tavern
The Gift Counselor by Sheila Cronin

Do all gifts have strings attached? Yes, believes pert, inquisitive Jonquil Bloom as she sets out to counsel gift givers at a local department store. A single mom and UCLA graduate student in psychology, gifts fascinate Jonquil. When are they sincere? When are they not? Skilled at helping customers choose the ideal gift for any occasion, she soon discovers that her elegant theory doesn’t apply to every situation, leaving her to wonder: what are true gifts? Ten-year-old Billy Bloom is the center of her life. Billy yearns to have a dog but his mom has told him repeatedly that she is allergic to them. Instead, his bedroom is crammed full of toy animals, each demonstrating her misguided attempts to distract him. Billy, a generous and hopeful boy, refuses to give up.Into their lives enters Claude Chappel, a native French Canadian and general contractor. Claude, eager to settle down, is instantly captivated by Jonquil. Past traumatic losses make her wary of him. Still, his charms are irresistible, if impetuous. After a bumpy start they begin seeing each other. Yet, Claude cannot help but notice that the gift counselor has denied her own son what he most wants. This troubling paradox spurs him to action. A romantic and touching story filled with humor, insight and drama,.

curious dogJanuary 19 – The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon

Despite his overwhelming fear of interacting with people, Christopher, a mathematically-gifted, autistic fifteen-year-old boy, decides to investigate the murder of a neighbor’s dog and uncovers secret information about his mother.
secret chordFebruary 16 – The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks

Peeling away the myth to bring the Old Testament’s King David to life in Second Iron Age Israel, Brooks traces the arc of his journey from obscurity to fame, from shepherd to soldier, from hero to traitor, from beloved king to murderous despot and into his remorseful and diminished dotage.

The Secret Chord provides new context for some of the best-known episodes of David’s life while also focusing on others, even more remarkable and emotionally intense, that have been neglected.  We see David through the eyes of those who love him or fear him—from the prophet Natan, voice of his conscience, to his wives Mikhal, Avigail, and Batsheva, and finally to Solomon, the late-born son who redeems his Lear-like old age. Brooks has an uncanny ability to hear and transform characters from history, and this beautifully written, unvarnished saga of faith, desire, family, ambition, betrayal, and power will enthrall her many fans.

rocket girlsMarch 16 Rise of the Rocket Girls by Nathalia Holt
In the 1940s and 50s, when the newly minted Jet Propulsion Laboratory needed quick-thinking mathematicians to calculate velocities and plot trajectories, they didn’t turn to male graduates. Rather, they recruited an elite group of young women who, with only pencil, paper, and mathematical prowess, transformed rocket design, helped bring about the first American satellites, and made the exploration of the solar system possible.

For the first time, Rise of the Rocket Girls tells the stories of these women–known as “human computers”–who broke the boundaries of both gender and science. Based on extensive research and interviews with all the living members of the team, Rise of the Rocket Girls offers a unique perspective on the role of women in science: both where we’ve been, and the far reaches of space to which we’re heading.

little beeApril 20 Little Bee by Chris Cleave

A haunting novel about the tenuous friendship that blooms between two disparate strangers–one an illegal Nigerian refugee, the other a recent widow from suburban London.

 

 

 

 

 

red tentMay 18 The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

Her name is Dinah. In the Bible, her life is only hinted at in a brief and violent detour within the more familiar chapters of the Book of Genesis that are about her father, Jacob, and his dozen sons.

Told in Dinah’s voice, this novel reveals the traditions and turmoils of ancient womanhood-the world of the red tent. It begins with the story of her mothers-Leah, Rachel, Zilpah, and Bilhah-the four wives of Jacob. They love Dinah and give her gifts that are to sustain her through a damaged youth, a calling to midwifery, and a new home in a foreign land. Dinah’s story reaches out from a remarkable period of early history and creates an intimate, immediate connection.

Deeply affecting, The Red Tent combines rich storytelling with a valuable achievement in modern fiction: a new view of Biblical women’s society.

john updikeJune 15 My Father’s Tears and Other Stories – John Updike
John Updike’s first collection of new short fiction since the year 2000, My Father’s Tears finds the author in a valedictory mood as he mingles narratives of his native Pennsylvania with stories of New England suburbia and of foreign travel.

“Drinking a toast to the visible world, his impending disappearance from it be damned.” That’s how John Updike describes one of his elderly protagonists in this, his final collection of short stories. He might have been writing about himself. In My Father’s Tears, the author revisits his signature characters, places, and themes—Americans in suburbs, cities, and small towns grappling with faith and infidelity—in a gallery of portraits of his aging generation, men and women for whom making peace with the past is now paramount. The Seattle Times called My Father’s Tears “a haunting collection” that “echoes the melancholy of Chekhov, the romanticism of Wordsworth and the mournful spirit of Yeats.”

Questions?? Contact Donna Meoli eumcyouth@comcast.net or donnameoli@verizon.net