Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Nevermore: Kendi, Thibodeau, Troost, Murakami, Hannah, Jackson

Reported by Kristin

Nevermore began with a highly recommended narrative, Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi, New York Times bestseller and winner of the National Book Award. Historian Kendi examines how racist thoughts and actions exist today, whether overtly or subconsciously. Our reader insisted that this volume is an extremely important book to have on an anti-racism reading list.

Another book club member picked up A Place Called Waco: A Survivor’s Story by David Thibodeau, a book which has been making the rounds. This reader found it very interesting that there were so many Branch Davidians who were connected to the Seventh Day Adventists, and remarked upon the great charisma had by David Koresh. She was still reading, but was getting a very different view than what was portrayed in the media at the time of the siege on the Waco compound.

Our next reader proclaimed, “Well, I read funny books!” The first was The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific by J. Maarten Troost. At age twenty-six, Troost changed his life from academic pursuits to move to Tarawa, a tiny island in the South Pacific. What could go wrong, right? (Cue the Gilligan’s Island music.) Deadly fish, all kinds of diseases, incompetent government, terrible food, the only music playing was The Macarena…that last alone should have been a clue. Troost and his girlfriend had the adventure of a lifetime and shared it with others through his funny travelogue. Our reader said this was an awesome and most interesting book and she cannot recommend it enough.

Another off-the-wall and enjoyable book was After Dark by Haruki Murakami. When a young woman has a chance encounter in a Tokyo Denny’s restaurant with a musician, she finds that he knows her sister. The characters are beautifully drawn, with a touch of the surrealism for which Murakami is known.

Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah made another appearance, as our reader thoroughly enjoyed the tale of two very different sisters who came back to their mother’s bedside to hear the story of her long life, from Soviet Russia to the wilds of Alaska. Nina and Meredith learn more than they ever knew about their mother as she tells a fairytale-like story of the girl she used to be.

A Shirley Jackson short story, “The Possibility of Evil,” entertained another reader within the volume Dark Tales which she downloaded from READs. Miss Strangeworth is well known in town for her beautiful rose garden. However, she has a secret. She writes letters, and not very nice letters at that. Our reader claimed this was very good writing, and in fact reminded her of the more recent An Elderly Lady is Up to No Good by Helene Tursten. The story is included in other Jackson collections, such as Just an Ordinary Day.

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