Reading between the Wines: May 4th, 2017

6:30 pm; Discussion leader—Gloria

The book we will be discussing this month is The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill.

This is the story of an 11-year-old child who is abducted from her village in West Africa and forced to walk for months to the sea in a coffle—a string of slaves. Aminata Diallo is sent to live as a slave in South Carolina. But years later, she forges her way to freedom, serving the British in the Revolutionary War and registering her name in the historic “Book of Negroes.” This book, an actual document, provides a short but immensely revealing record of freed Loyalist slaves who requested permission to leave the US for resettlement in Nova Scotia, only to find that the haven they sought was steeped in an oppression all of its own.

Aminata’s eventual return to Sierra Leone—passing ships carrying thousands of slaves bound for America—is an engrossing account of an obscure but important chapter in history that saw 1,200 former slaves embark on a harrowing back-to-Africa odyssey. The Book of Negroes introduces one of the strongest female characters in recent Canadian fiction.

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Reading between the Wines: April 6, 2017

This evening book club meets on the 1st Thursday evening of every month at 6:30 PM.

This evening’s book is a tender and satisfying novel set in a time and a place lost forever. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet gives us a glimpse of the damage that is caused by war–not the sweeping damage of the battlefield, but the cold, cruel damage to the hearts and humanity of individual people. Especially relevant in today’s world, this is a beautifully written book that will make you think. And, more importantly, it will make you feel.

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Breakfast by the Book: April 21, 2017

The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie King is the selection we will be discussing on April 21st. Among the thousands of Sherlock Holmes novels, sequels, and prequels published in the century or so since Sherlock Holmes first graced the literary stage, only a few stand out. One such adaptation is Laurie R. King’s The Beekeeper’s Apprentice. Originally published in 1994, the story has endured over the past two decades. That popularity culminated in a recently released 20th anniversary edition. This is the first in a series of novels starring Mary Russell, a young woman who comes of age at the turn of the 20th century and becomes Holmes’ student, apprentice, and partner. The tale is a number of things: a sort of bildungsroman that details Mary Russell’s coming of age and coming into her own as a detective, a mystery story, a historical novel, and, above all, the tale of a blossoming relationship and partnership between two similarly peculiar minds.

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Breakfast by the Book: March 17, 2017

Dark Money by Jane Mayer

Why is America living in an age of profound economic inequality? Why, despite the desperate need to address climate change, have even modest environmental efforts

been defeated again and again? Why have protections for employees been decimated? Why do hedge-fund billionaires pay a far lower tax rate than middle-class workers?

The conventional answer is that a popular uprising against “big government” led to the ascendancy of a broad-based conservative movement. But as Jane Mayer shows in this powerful, meticulously reported history, a network of exceedingly wealthy people with extreme libertarian views bankrolled a systematic, step-by-step plan to fundamentally alter the American political system.

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Reading between the Wines: March 2, 2017

This evening book club meets on the 1st Thursday evening of every month at 6:30 PM.

This evening’s book is The Violinist of Venice. Like most 18th century Venetians, Adriana D’Amato adores music—except her strict merchant father has forbidden her to cultivate her gift for the violin. But she refuses to let that stop her from living her dreams and begins sneaking out of her family’s palazzo under the cover of night to take violin lessons from virtuoso violinist and composer Antonio Vivaldi. However, what begins as secret lessons swiftly evolves into a passionate, consuming love affair.

Adriana’s father is intent on seeing her married to a wealthy, prominent member of Venice’s patrician class—and a handsome, charming suitor, whom she knows she could love, only complicates matters—but Vivaldi is a priest, making their relationship forbidden in the eyes of the Church and of society. They both know their affair will end upon Adriana’s marriage, but she cannot anticipate the events that will force Vivaldi to choose between her and his music. The repercussions of his choice—and of Adriana’s own choices—will haunt both of their lives in ways they never imagined.

Spanning more than 30 years of Adriana’s life, Alyssa Palombo’s The Violinist of Venice is a story of passion, music, ambition, and finding the strength to both fall in love and to carry on when it ends.

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Reading Between the Wines: February 2nd, 2017

This evening book club meets on the 1st Thursday evening of every month at 6:30 PM.

This evening’s book is The Violinist of Venice. Like most 18th century Venetians, Adriana d’Amato adores music—except her strict merchant father has forbidden her to cultivate her gift for the violin. But she refuses to let that stop her from living her dreams and begins sneaking out of her family’s palazzo under the cover of night to take violin lessons from virtuoso violinist and composer Antonio Vivaldi. However, what begins as secret lessons swiftly evolves into a passionate, consuming love affair.

Adriana’s father is intent on seeing her married to a wealthy, prominent member of Venice’s patrician class—and a handsome, charming suitor, whom she knows she could love, only complicates matters—but Vivaldi is a priest, making their relationship forbidden in the eyes of the Church and of society. They both know their affair will end upon Adriana’s marriage, but she cannot anticipate the events that will force Vivaldi to choose between her and his music. The repercussions of his choice—and of Adriana’s own choices—will haunt both of their lives in ways they never imagined.

Spanning more than 30 years of Adriana’s life, Alyssa Palombo’s The Violinist of Venice is a story of passion, music, ambition, and finding the strength to both fall in love and to carry on when it ends.

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Breakfast by the Book: February 17th, 2017

The story of the muralist is the tale of a young French-American artist, Alizee Benoit, involved in the Abstract Impressionism movement in New York. She’s gaining recognition as an artist and works and lives with other artists. Her lover is Mark Rothko and her closest friend is Lee Krasner. (B.A. Shapiro combines both real and fictional characters in her book). But Alizee is also trying to get her Jewish relatives from France and Germany. A subplot is the voyage of the refugee ship St Louis which was turned away from docking in Cuba and the United States and the on-going anti-Jewish policies of the Roosevelt administration. But she has a friend in First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, an admirer of her art work. Then Alizee disappears, never to be seen again. Leader – Bonnie Botsford: Refreshments – Beth Kauffman

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Reading Between the Wines – Thursday, January 5th, 2017

A Fatal Grace by Louise Penney.

Welcome to winter in Three Pines, a picturesque village in Quebec, where the villagers are preparing for a traditional country Christmas, and someone is preparing for murder. No one liked CC de Poitiers. Not her quiet husband, not her spineless lover, not her pathetic daughter—and certainly none of the residents of Three Pines. CC de Poitiers managed to alienate everyone, right up until the moment of her death. When Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, of the Sûreté du Québec, is called to investigate, he quickly realizes he’s dealing with someone quite extraordinary. CC de Poitiers was electrocuted in the middle of a frozen lake, in front of the entire village, as she watched the annual curling tournament. And yet no one saw anything. Who could have been insane enough to try such a macabre method of murder—or brilliant enough to succeed?

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Breakfast by the Book – Friday, January 20th

The December selection may seem familiar. That’s because the book club discussion schedules in December was cancelled. So, The Nightingale by Kristen Hanna. Was carried forward to January. This book is about two sisters struggling to survive during World War II in France. One sister is rebellious and intent on fighting for France while the other simply wants to survive the war with her family intact. Both sisters learn who they are and what they are capable of as the war wages on. The Nightingale begins at the Oregon Coast in 1995 with an elderly woman who is dying of cancer. Her son is helping her to move to a retirement home. Her identity is not revealed. As her son is helping her, he sees a photo of a woman named Juliette Gervaise and asks his mother who she is. The elderly woman begins to remember the story of Vianne and Isabelle.

Marsha is the discussion leader and Delight Dann is the hostess. Social hour with coffee and goodies begins at 9:30 AM. If you are signed up and you cannot make it, please call Delight Dann. Book discussion will begin at 10:00 AM. All are welcome!

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