Circle of Friends Book Club meeting summary for April 2017

April 12, 2017

The theme for this meeting was women. Members had a choice of two books to read: Waterlily by Ella DeLoria, or My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor. Since at least two members had read each book, both were discussed.

My Beloved World is the autobiography of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. It tells the story of her life from early childhood to the beginning of her service on the Supreme Court. Ms. Sotomayor describes in detail her early family life, her Puerto Rican culture, and her development as a seeker of knowledge and wisdom. She also talks about her education, marriage, career decisions and growth. Ms. Sotomayor goes beyond mere reporting to let the reader see her feelings, reactions, and both successes and failures as her life unfolds. She also gives enough depth to the people in her life that the reader feels acquainted with her family, friends and co-workers as well as with the writer herself. Her determination in the face of difficulty, her ability to combine logic and passion about issues in American life, and her reasoned judgment have obviously served her well, but she also displays humility and empathy for others. Bookclub members saw My Beloved World as an inspiring read.

Read More

Circle of Friends Book Club meeting summary for March 2017

March 8, 2017

The theme for the March meeting was books about/by women. Three books were presented by club members and discussed. The first was Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly. This book tells the true story of a group of talented African-American women who worked at NASA as “human computers” when the Space Race was young. The book is the basis for the popular movie, and one of the heroines profiled, Katherine Johnson, was feted at this year’s Academy Awards. Discussion of this book centered on Katherine Johnson, and her ability to perform high-demand mathematical work in her indispensable role in spite of facing Jim Crow laws and restrictions placed on female talent.

Read More

Circle of Friends Book Club meeting summary for February 2017

February 8, 2017

Last month’s meeting on February 8, 2017, was devoted to a reflection and consultation about our book club and a discussion of ideas and suggestions for how we should proceed in the coming months. We shared thoughts about what is currently working well, and what new ideas we can implement in the coming months. Suggestions were made about how best to structure our meetings and how we can invite new friends (both Baha’i and non-Baha’i) into our reading circle. Most members felt the quality of our discussions has continued to improve, and to encourage more depth, we decided to begin using themes so that the discussion can be more centered.

Read More

Circle of Friends Book Club meeting summary for January 2017

January 11, 2017

Last month’s meeting consisted of discussions of several books brought by individual members. Book selections were widely varied by topic and type. The first selection was The Third Reconstruction by Reverend Dr. William Barber II, Protestant minister and political leader in North Carolina. The author may be familiar due to his leadership in the Moral Mondays movement and his oratory at the Democratic National Convention last summer. Dr Barber’s book details the emergence of what he labels the “Third Reconstruction” (following the Civil War Reconstruction in the late 1800s and the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s-60s). The book is both a description of the new movement and a handbook for those seeking to find direction in implementing a program with moral and ethical methods to bring people together for change. The bookclub discussed the 14 point plan from the book to aid in the infusion of morality into groups attempting to better their communities, with particular emphasis on racial healing and voting rights.

Read More

Circle of Friends Book Club meeting summary for December 2016

November 9, 2016

The bookclub met last month on November 9 and discussed several items presented by individual members. First up was a New York Times article written by Harry Belafonte about what was at stake in the election from his perspective. He made use of a poem by Langston Hughes about how people of color, specifically African-Americans, relate to America as a country and an ideal not yet realized (“Let America Be America Again”). Members shared the poem and their responses to it, information about Harry Belafonte and his obvious talents as a writer, and a discussion of his ideas as presented in the article.

Read More

Circle of Friends Book Club meeting summary for November 2016

November 9, 2016

The bookclub met last month on November 9 and discussed several items presented by individual members. First up was a New York Times article written by Harry Belafonte about what was at stake in the election from his perspective. He made use of a poem by Langston Hughes about how people of color, specifically African-Americans, relate to America as a country and an ideal not yet realized (“Let America Be America Again”). Members shared the poem and their responses to it, information about Harry Belafonte and his obvious talents as a writer, and a discussion of his ideas as presented in the article.

Read More

Circle of Friends Book Club meeting summary for October 2016

October 12, 2016

At last month’s meeting on October 12, 2016, members discussed the book 1491 by Charles C. Mann. The book is a detailed exploration of the Americas before Europeans came on the scene, from both anthropological and archeological perspectives. Response to the book was overwhelmingly positive, although some members had not yet completed reading it. Several members mentioned that the depth of information presented required time to reflect on and process, especially as it was often quite different from history as presented in the typical American education experienced by many of those present. The general consensus was that although information was presented in almost a textbook format, the author was able to maintain interest and provide interesting as well as informative detail. The writer also presented various controversies and/or possible alternative explanations for data and discoveries that have been made up to the time of the book’s publication, and group members felt in general that this approach seemed fair and even-handed. The author seems to embody the best qualities of a teacher/writer, presenting information that is interesting and including scholarly detail, yet maintaining accessibility and providing appropriate context and explanations as needed. The overall discussion also included many individual observations of striking or unusual details noted by different members.

About the Book Club

Circle of Friends Book Club meeting summary for September 2016

September 14, 2016

Last month’s meeting on September 14, 2016, included engaging discussions of four books presented by individual members. The first book presented was Egypt in Africa by Theodore Celenko. It explores the nature of Egyptian art as it relates to the rest of the African continent, and draws parallels between the history of art in Egypt and that of other nations throughout Africa. Although art is the focus in this extensively illustrated book, it also explores connections through the views of many individual contributors with specialties in a variety of areas including physical anthropology, archeology, cultural studies, as well as art history.

Read More

Circle of Friends Book Club meeting summary for August 2016

August 10, 2016

Last month’s meeting on August 10, 2016, was devoted to a reflection about how the book club has progressed, and a discussion of ideas and suggestions for how we should proceed in the coming months. We talked about the books we have read, and exciting books yet to be discovered and shared with the group. Participants shared thoughts and ideas about book discussions, how best to structure our meetings, and how to invite new friends (both Baha’i and non-Baha’i) into our reading circle.

Read More

Circle of Friends Book Club meeting summary for July 2016

July 13, 2016

Individual members shared information on books they are currently reading. Books were varied in subject matter and diverse in times and places they portrayed. Some past book club meetings included the following titles (In no particular chronological order):

King Peggy by Peggielene Bartels
Hitler’s Black Victims by Clarence Lusane
Together Tea by Marjan Kamali
The Lemon Tree by Sandy Tolan
Ahab’s Wife by Sena Jeter-Naslund
Racial Healing: A Safe Place to Talk About Race by Sharon E. Davis
Aimless Love by Billy Collins
It Ain’t So Awful Falafel by Firoozeh Dumas
The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom
The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois
Being Mortal by Atul Gawande
Geography of a Life by Martin Bernal
The Story of Owen: Dragonslayer of Trandheim by E. K. Johnston
The Women of Evin Ward 209 by Jila Baniyaghoob
Still Life (The Armand Gamache Mystery Series) by Louise Penny
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Love of Math: The Heart of Hidden Reality by Edward Frenkel

Read More
Page 4 of 512345