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.

The next book was Oliver Sacks’ The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat. This book presents individual case studies of a variety of neurological conditions that Dr. Sacks consulted on as part of his practice. Conditions involved both disease and injury, and their resulting difficulties. Dr. Sacks’ strong empathy for his patients and the human condition makes this book special in both the interest it arouses and in our own understanding of ourselves and how we function.

Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver was the next selection. This novel tells the story of a young women’s return to her hometown in Arizona after an extended absence. The writer explores the main character’s history, as well as her relationships with members of her family and others she needs to reacquaint herself with on her return. It is written with humor and compassion that demonstrate the writer’s abilities with both plot and characterization, as well as many deft turns of phrase that leave the reader smiling in admiration.

The last selection was a book entitled $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America by Kathryn J. Edin and Luke Shaefer. This nonfiction book describes the little-known economy brought about by welfare reform in America, in which people survive on $2.00 or less a day. According to the book, this now includes 1.5 million households, with 3.5 million children. The book club discussion centered mainly on the public’s lack of awareness of this group, learning how this is possible in our society, and specifically how people actually get by with so little material means.

All of the selections this month appeared to inspire members to pursue reading the selections that were new to them, and the discussion was lively and interesting. Please feel free to come and join the group!

About the Book Club