Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Nevermore: LaPlante, Liberty's Blueprint, Kalanithi, Ghosted, Sedaris, Lyon, 90% of Everything

Reported by Kristin

Nevermore kicked off the weekly book club meeting with a new novel:  Half Moon Bay by Alice LaPlante.  Jane, a single mother, left Berkeley after her teenage daughter was killed in a car accident.  Moving to Half Moon Bay, Jane hopes to begin a new life where no one knows her past.  When local children begin to disappear, the newcomer is accused, and Jane remains haunted by her past.  Our reader said that the plot kept her reading and she found it short, fast, and well worth the read.

Our next reader turned to non-fiction, with Liberty’s Blueprint:  How Madison and Hamilton Wrote the Federalist Papers, Defined the Constitution, and Made Democracy Safe for the World by Michael Meyerson.  Although written a decade ago, this work of political theory resonates with current events, and our reader found it very timely.  She said that the founding fathers had so much contention while drafting the Federalist Papers and the Constitution that it is amazing that these crucial documents were ever completed.

Another reader was fascinated by the complexities of how goods are shipped around the world, as described in Ninety Percent of Everything: Inside Shipping, the Invisible Industry That Puts Clothes on Your Back, Gas in Your Car, and Food on Your Plate by Rose George.  Imagine a floating behemoth as long as three football fields, loaded with more than 6000 twenty foot containers, all of which must be loaded, unloaded, and weight balanced.  The author researched this book by journeying on a container ship along a major shipping route.  Our reader found this very interesting and did not want the book to end.

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi was found to be an uplifting book about finding the meaning of life while in the process of dying.  As a young neurosurgeon, the author suddenly found himself diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer, and was forced to examine his life and career as he fought to stay alive.  Our reader found many beautiful and meaningful insights in Kalanithi’s journey.

Another reader picked up a new novel:  Ghosted by Rose Walsh.  Sarah and Eddie meet and fall in love, but suddenly Eddie disappears.  Sarah doesn’t think he has just dumped her; she is very worried that something bad has happened to Eddie.  Weeks pass and Sarah’s friends urge her to move on, but the uncertainty tugs at her.  Our reader said that it was an okay book, but that the ending tied things up in a bundle that was just a little too neat.

The same reader moved on to a classic David Sedaris book:  Me Talk Pretty One Day.  She found his writing wonderfully engaging and really connected to this memoir of a young gay man growing up in 1960s and 1970s North Carolina.  Sedaris uses self-deprecating humor in his writing, comedy, and radio work.  Our reader thoroughly enjoyed the volume, and hopes to read more of his work.

Finally, Self-Portrait with Boy by Rachel Lyon caught another reader’s attention.  Lu Rile is a photographer whose life changes drastically as she is taking a self-portrait one day.  In the background of her image, she somehow captures a boy falling outside her window.  The tragedy both divides and unites the novel’s characters.  Our reader found the story sad, but well written.

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