Monday, September 3, 2018

Sep 2018: My Beloved World

My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor via Penguin Random House:

"Here is the story of a precarious childhood, with an alcoholic father (who would die when she was nine) and a devoted but overburdened mother, and of the refuge a little girl took from the turmoil at home with her passionately spirited paternal grandmother. But it was when she was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes that the precocious Sonia recognized she must ultimately depend on herself. She would learn to give herself the insulin shots she needed to survive and soon imagined a path to a different life. With only television characters for her professional role models, and little understanding of what was involved, she determined to become a lawyer, a dream that would sustain her on an unlikely course, from valedictorian of her high school class to the highest honors at Princeton, Yale Law School, the New York County District Attorney’s office, private practice, and appointment to the Federal District Court before the age of forty. Along the way we see how she was shaped by her invaluable mentors, a failed marriage, and the modern version of extended family she has created from cherished friends and their children. Through her still-astonished eyes, America’s infinite possibilities are envisioned anew in this warm and honest book, destined to become a classic of self-invention and self-discovery."

(No author site links)

We'll meet to discuss My Beloved World on Thursday, September 27, at 7pm. Location: Community Room of the Atlantic Highlands branch of the Monmouth County Library, 100 First Avenue, inside Borough Hall in downtown Atlantic Highlands. Books are available at the Library Desk.

Friday, August 3, 2018

The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate, Discoveries From a Secret World by Peter Wohlleben, Jane Billinghurst Translator via Goodreads:

"Peter Wohlleben shares his deep love of woods and forests and explains the amazing processes of life, death, and regeneration he has observed in the woodland and the amazing scientific processes behind the wonders of which we are blissfully unaware. Much like human families, tree parents live together with their children, communicate with them, and support them as they grow, sharing nutrients with those who are sick or struggling and creating an ecosystem that mitigates the impact of extremes of heat and cold for the whole group. As a result of such interactions, trees in a family or community are protected and can live to be very old. In contrast, solitary trees, like street kids, have a tough time of it and in most cases die much earlier than those in a group.

Drawing on groundbreaking new discoveries, Wohlleben presents the science behind the secret and previously unknown life of trees and their communication abilities; he describes how these discoveries have informed his own practices in the forest around him."

Author Website: Click here. (Spoilers possible)
The Man Who Thinks Trees Talk To Each Other (article): Click here. (Spoilers possible)
Author on Scandinavian TV (interview): Click here. (Spoilers possible)

We'll meet to discuss The Hidden Life of Trees on Thursday, Aug 30, at 7pm. Location: Community Room of the Atlantic Highlands branch of the Monmouth County Library, 100 First Avenue, inside Borough Hall in downtown Atlantic Highlands. Books are available at the Library Desk.

Please note: This title wasn't available via the Monmouth County Library Bookclub List and quantity is limited!

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

July 2018: The House On Mango Street

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros via LitCharts:

"The House on Mango Street is a bildungsroman (coming-of-age story) of a young Chicana (Mexican-American) girl named Esperanza Cordero. The book is told in small vignettes which act as both chapters of a novel and independent short stories or prose poems. The story encompasses a year in Esperanza’s life, as she moves to a house on Mango Street in a barrio (Latino neighborhood) of Chicago, Illinois. The house on Mango Street is an improvement over Esperanza’s previous residences, but it is still not the house she or her family dreams of, and throughout the book Esperanza feels that she doesn’t belong there.

Over the course of the year Esperanza grows emotionally, artistically, and sexually, and the novel meanders through her experiences with her neighbors and classmates. Esperanza makes friends with two other Chicana girls of Mango Street, Rachel and Lucy. These three, along with Esperanza’s little sister Nenny, have many small adventures in the first part of the book, including searching through a labyrinthine junk store and learning from an older girl named Marin. While exploring her world, Esperanza experiences the shame of poverty, the unfairness of racism, and the beauty of poetry and music."

Author Website: Click here. (Spoilers possible)
Books As Medicine - A Conversation With Sandra Cisneros (article): Click here. (Spoilers possible)

We'll meet to discuss The House on Mango Street On Thursday, July 26, at 7pm. Location: Community Room of the Atlantic Highlands branch of the Monmouth County Library, 100 First Avenue, inside Borough Hall in downtown Atlantic Highlands. Books are available at the Library Desk.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

June 2018: Claire Of The Sea Light

Claire of the Sea Light by Edwidge Danticat via Goodreads:

"Claire Limyè Lanmè - Claire of the Sea Light - is an enchanting child born into love and tragedy in Ville Rose, Haiti. Claire's mother died in childbirth, and on each of her birthdays Claire is taken by her father, Nozias, to visit her mother's grave. Nozias wonders if he should give away his young daughter to a local shopkeeper, who lost a child of her own, so that Claire can have a better life.

But on the night of Claire's seventh birthday, when at last he makes the wrenching decision to do so, she disappears. As Nozias and others look for her, painful secrets, haunting memories, and startling truths are unearthed among the community of men and women whose individual stories connect to Claire, to her parents, and to the town itself."

Author Website: Click here. (Spoilers possible)
Author facebook: Click here. (Spoilers possible)
Author TED Talk: Click here. (Spoilers possible)

We'll meet to discuss Claire of the Sea Light On Thursday, June 28, at 7pm. Location: Community Room of the Atlantic Highlands branch of the Monmouth County Library, 100 First Avenue, inside Borough Hall in downtown Atlantic Highlands. Books are available at the Library Desk.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

May 2018: The Story Of A New Name

The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante (Anna Goldstein translator) via Goodreads:

"In 2012, Elena Ferrante's My Brilliant Friend introduced readers to the unforgettable Elena and Lila, whose lifelong friendship provides the backbone for the Neapolitan Novels. The Story of a New Name is the second book in this series. With these books, which the New Yorker's James Wood described as "large, captivating, amiably peopled ... a beautiful and delicate tale of confluence and reversal," Ferrante proves herself to be one of Italy's most accomplished storytellers. She writes vividly about a specific neighborhood of Naples from the late-1950s through to the current day and about two remarkable young women who are very much the products of that place and time. Yet in doing so she has created a world in which readers will recognize themselves and has drawn a marvelously nuanced portrait of friendship.

In The Story of a New Name, Lila has recently married and made her entrée into the family business; Elena, meanwhile, continues her studies and her exploration of the world beyond the neighborhood that she so often finds stifling. Love, jealousy, family, freedom, commitment, and above all friendship: these are signs under which both women live out this phase in their stories. Marriage appears to have imprisoned Lila, and the pressure to excel is at times too much for Elena. Yet the two young women share a complex and evolving bond that is central to their emotional lives and is a source of strength in the face of life's challenges. In these Neapolitan Novels, Elena Ferrante, the acclaimed author of The Days of Abandonment, gives readers a poignant and universal story about friendship and belonging."

Author Website: Click here. (Spoilers possible)

We'll meet to discuss The Story of a New Name On Thursday, May 31, at 7pm. Location: Community Room of the Atlantic Highlands branch of the Monmouth County Library, 100 First Avenue, inside Borough Hall in downtown Atlantic Highlands. Books are available at the Library Desk.

Please note: This title wasn't available via the Monmouth County Library Bookclub List and quantity is limited!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

April 2018: The Mayor Of Casterbridge

The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy via Goodreads:

"In a fit of drunken anger, Michael Henchard sells his wife and baby daughter for five guineas at a country fair. Over the course of the following years, he manages to establish himself as a respected and prosperous pillar of the community of Casterbridge, but behind his success there always lurk the shameful secret of his past and a personality prone to self-destructive pride and temper."

Thomas Hardy biography via Encyclopedia Britannica: Click here.

We'll meet to discuss The Mayor of Casterbridge On Thursday, April 26, at 7pm. Location: Community Room of the Atlantic Highlands branch of the Monmouth County Library, 100 First Avenue, inside Borough Hall in downtown Atlantic Highlands. Books are available at the Library Desk.

Please note: This title wasn't available via the Monmouth County Library Bookclub List and quantity is limited!

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Mar 2018: The Signature Of All Things

The Signature Of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert via Goodreads:

"Spanning much of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the novel follows the fortunes of the extraordinary Whittaker family as led by the enterprising Henry Whittaker—a poor-born Englishman who makes a great fortune in the South American quinine trade, eventually becoming the richest man in Philadelphia. Born in 1800, Henry’s brilliant daughter, Alma (who inherits both her father’s money and his mind), ultimately becomes a botanist of considerable gifts herself. 

As Alma’s research takes her deeper into the mysteries of evolution, she falls in love with a man named Ambrose Pike who makes incomparable paintings of orchids and who draws her in the exact opposite direction—into the realm of the spiritual, the divine, and the magical. Alma is a clear-minded scientist; Ambrose a Utopian artist—but what unites this unlikely couple is a desperate need to understand the workings of this world and the mechanisms behind all life.

It is the story of Alma Whittaker, who—born in the Age of Enlightenment, but living well into the Industrial Revolution—bears witness to that extraordinary moment in human history when all the old assumptions about science, religion, commerce, and class were exploding into dangerous new ideas."

Author Website: Click here. (spoilers possible)
Book Trailer: Click here. (spoilers possible) video
Elizabeth Gilbert on The Signature Of All Things: Click here. (spoilers possible) video


We'll meet to discuss The Signature Of All Things on Thursday, March 29, at 7pm. Location: Community Room of the Atlantic Highlands branch of the Monmouth County Library, 100 First Avenue, inside Borough Hall in downtown Atlantic Highlands. Books are available at the Library Desk.

Please note: This title wasn't available via the Monmouth County Library Bookclub List and quantity is limited!