Circle of Friends Book Club meeting summary for November 2019

November 13, 2019

Book club for November was a small group due to weather. All members present read the same book: The Monk of Mokha by Dave Eggers. This nonfiction book follows Mokhtar Alkahanshali, the founder of the Port of Mokha coffee company. In addition to the story of the founder and the coffee company, the book introduces the reader to the history of coffee in Yemen, basic information on coffee processing and quality control, and the role of coffee in society.

The author focuses on Mokhtar’s biography as an American of Yemeni descent, and weaves biography, history, general information on coffee, and current events into an engaging story, by turns humorous, harrowing, and heartening. Mokhtar begins as a sort of “lost soul” in America, but finds a work ethic in adolescence mostly in Yemen, and utilizes his natural ability as a businessman in developing and running a successful international company. He appears motivated by ambition, but also by the desire to assist Yemeni farmers, to foster general economic development, and to show Yemen as representative of something good in the face of its ongoing wars and civil strife. Book club members found it an enjoyable and educational read.

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