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.

Waterlily by Ella Cara DeLoria was also inspiring to those who read it. Although it is a novel, the basis for Waterlily is a series of interviews conducted by the author from 1927-37 (the book was completed in 1947) with elders of the American Indian tribes. The book uses the information gathered to portray Plains Indian life in the American west through the story of three generations of women. The author’s goal was to bridge the lack of understanding between whites and American Indians, and per discussion she appears to have met this goal. In addition, the club members who read the book felt the story was engrossing, the characters well-delineated, and they found much to respect in the way of life portrayed. They appreciated the female perspective of the book, and felt that the cultural context and emotional connections made by the story lent themselves to increased understanding of such cultural ideas as the philosophy of child-rearing and other issues of daily life.

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