Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Moss Bluff Book Chat: February 15, 2011

Below are a couple books readers discussed at the February 15th meeting.

The Red Garden by Alice Hoffman

Alice Hoffman’s latest novel The Red Garden follows the lives of various characters over 200 years in the town of Blackwell, Massachusetts. Hoffman skillfully creates connections among them and their stories. Longtime fans will not be disappointed with Hoffman’s newest winner.

Find it at your library!

The Sigma Protocol by Robert Ludlum

The Sigma Protocol is a solid thriller from author Robert Ludlum, known for penning the Bourne series. The novel sees Ben Hartman, an investment banker, teaming up with Agent Anna Navarro to investigate murders of old men across the globe, who all have CIA files containing the cryptic word “SIGMA.” The Sigma Protocol is a quick read and a satisfying thriller.

Find it at your library!

Do you have any favorite Alice Hoffman or Robert Ludlum novels? Feel free to share them in the comments!

Reminder: Our “Book of the Month” is Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman, which we’ll discuss at our March 1st meeting. For more information, please contact the Moss Bluff branch.

(Images from:
http://www.randomhouse.com/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9780307393876; http://www.randomhouse.com/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9780307393876)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Moss Bluff Book Chat: February 1, 2011

Below is a summary of our discussion on our first “Book of the Month:” The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards.

The novel follows the troubles Dr. David Henry's family suffers after he decides to give up his daughter born with Down syndrome in 1964 only to lie to his wife, saying the little girl died at birth.

Reactions to the novel ran the gamut among our group: one member truly loved it, a few didn’t care for it at all, and the rest had more mixed reactions. All agreed that the novel was rather complex with several different plots running parallel to each other, only on occasion intertwining. The complexity was engaging to one member, but many others found it unnecessary and confusing at times.

Edwards has a distinct, poetic style to her writing. Her descriptions, while vivid, sometimes bury the plot -- which bothered a few members. Members also critiqued the characterizations in the novel, which many found inconsistent and frustrating.

If you’ve already read The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, feel free to share your thoughts on the novel in the comments. Agree or disagree with the Book Club? Let us know!

If you'd like to join us, our next "Book of the Month" will be Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman, which we will discuss on March 1st. For more information, please contact the Moss Bluff branch.

(Image from: http://us.penguingroup.com/nf/Book/BookDisplay/0,,9780670034161,00.html?The_Memory_Keeper's_Daughter_Kim_Edwards#)

Monday, February 7, 2011

National Black History Month

February is National Black History month and the founders, The Association for the Study of African American Life and History have named this year's theme: African Americans and the Civil War. From the ASALH website:

In 1861, as the United States stood at the brink of Civil War, people of African
descent, both enslaved and free persons, waited with a watchful eye. They
understood that a war between the North and the South might bring about
jubilee--the destruction of slavery and universal freedom. When the
Confederacy fired upon Fort Sumter and war ensued, President Abraham
Lincoln maintained that the paramount cause was to preserve the Union, not
end slavery. Frederick Douglass, the most prominent black leader, opined that
regardless of intentions, the war would bring an end to slavery, America’s
“peculiar institution.”

Over the course of the war, the four million people of African descent in the
United States proved Douglass right. Free and enslaved blacks rallied around
the Union flag in the cause of freedom. From the cotton and tobacco fields of
the South to the small towns and big cities of the North, nearly 200,000 joined
the Grand Army of the Republic and took up arms to destroy the Confederacy.
They served as recruiters, soldiers, nurses, and spies, and endured unequal
treatment, massacres, and riots as they pursued their quest for freedom and
equality. Their record of service speaks for itself, and Americans have never
fully realized how their efforts saved the Union.

Below are a few book selections from your library to begin reading up on African American history and the Civil war. You can also visit our website (www.calcasieulibrary.org/resources) to use our new resource "African American Heritage." This resource is dedicated to helping African Americans conduct genealogical research.

David Ruggles : a radical black abolitionist and the Underground Railroad in New York City
by Graham Russell Hodges.
Publisher: University of North Carolina Press,
Pub date: 2010.
Pages: 266 p.
ISBN: 9780807833261

Firebrand of liberty : the story of two Black regiments that changed the course of the Civil War
by Stephen V. Ash.
Publisher: W.W. Norton & Co.,
Pub date: 2008.
Pages: 282 p.
ISBN: 9780393065862

Eagles on their buttons : a Black infantry regiment in the Civil War
by Versalle F.Washington
Publisher: University of Missouri Press
Pub date: 1999.
Pages: 113 p.
ISBN: 0826212344


Black Soldiers American Civil War.jpg was taken from: http://www.footnote.com/document/233639695/
Quoted text from: http://www.asalh.org/Annual_National_Black_History_Theme.html