Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Mother-Daughter Book Club

Starting in the fourth grade, here's the list of books our wonderful group of six girls (and their moms) has read so far:

1) The Star Fisher
2) Ella Enchanted
3) Danny the Champion of the World
4) The Road to Home
5) Which Witch?
6) Millicent Min: Girl Genius
7) Esperanza Rising
8) Island of the Blue Dolphins
9) Out of the Dust
10) Summer of the Monkeys
11) The Witch of Blackbird Pond
12) White Star: A Dog on the Titanic
13) The Devil's Arithmetic
14) Ginger Pye
15) The Giver
16) Are you there, God? It's Me, Margaret
17) So B. It
18) Witness
19) The Truth About Forever
20) A Northern Light
21) Megan Meade's Guide to the McGowan Boys
22) The Last Safe Place
23) Hope Was Here
24) Backwater
25) Things Not Seen
26) Lush
27) Elsewhere
28) Lily Dale: Awakening
29) Turnabout
30) The Book Thief
31) Monique and the Mango Rains
32) Chicken Soup for the Soul
33) Firefly Lane
34) My Sister’s Keeper
35) The Only Alien on the Planet
36) Paternity
37) The Wednesday Sisters
38) The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
39) The Burn Journals
40) The Choice
41) Greyhound
42) The Secret Life of Bees
43) A Soft Place to Land
44) Nineteen Minutes
45) Water for Elephants
46) The Help
47) One Day
48) Girl With The Pearl Earring
49) Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
50) Crank

Gladbook Club Reading List

In September of 2000, our dear friend Martha Kelly asked me to be her partner in establishing a neighborhood women's book club. Sadly, Martha is no longer with us (nor Caroline) but the book club is still going strong. Here is the list of books we've read over the years. I've emboldened my own personal favorites.

1) Plain Song – Kent Haruf (Martha, Sept. 2000)
2) Girl with the Pearl Earring – Tracy Chevalier (Ann, Oct. 2000)
3) Waiting – Ha Jin (Sue, Nov. 2000)
4) Christmas Letters – Lee Smith (Ann, Dec. 2000)
5) Girl in Hyacinth Blue – Susan Vreeland (Caroline, Jan. 2001)
6) A Lesson Before Dying – Earnest Gaines (Mary Helen, Feb. 2001)
7) House of Sand and Fog – Andre Dubus (Margaret, Mar. 2001)
8) Stones from the River – Ursula Hegi (Margaret, Apr. 2001)
9) Prodigal Summer – Barbara Kingsolver (Ann, May 2001)
10) The Bonesetter’s Daughter – Amy Tan (Marj, June 2001)
11) The Red Tent – Anita Diamant (Sue, Sept. 2001)
12) How the Irish Saved Civilization – Thomas Cahill (Margaret, Oct. 2001)
13) On the Occasion of my Last Afternoon – Kaye Gibbons (Marj, Nov. 2001)
14) Christmas in Plains – Jimmy Carter (Caroline, Dec. 2001)
15) The Waves – Virginia Woolf (Sue, Jan. 2002)
16) Jayber Crow – Wendell Berry (Martha, Feb. 2002)
17) Crossing to Safety – Wallace Stegner (Mary Helen, Mar. 2002)
18) A Painted House – John Grisham (Marj, Apr. 2002)
19) Slaughterhouse Five – Kurt Vonnegut (Margaret, May 2002)
20) Daughter of Fortune – Isabel Allende (Ann, June 2002)
21) In Sunlight, In a Beautiful Garden – Kathleen Cambor (Marcie, July 2002)
22) A Walk in the Woods – Bill Bryson (Martha, Sept. 2002)
23) The Man Who Was Thursday – D.K. Chesterton (Caroline, Oct. 2002)
24) Leo Africanus – Amin Maalouf (Sue, Nov. 2002)
25) The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold (Edna, Dec. 2002)
26) The Samurai’s Garden – Gail Tsukiyama (Mary Helen, Jan. 2003)
27) Einstein’s Dream – Alan Lightman (Margaret, Feb. 2003)
28) Nickel and Dimed – Barbar Ehrenreich (Martha, Mar. 2003)
29) Kindred – Octavia Butler (Ann, Apr. 2003)
30) Enduring Love – Ian McEwan (Marcie, May 2003)
31) Small Wonder – Barbara Kingsolver (Sue, June 2003)
32) East of Eden – John Steinbeck (Edna, Sept. 2003)
33) The Secret Life of Bees – Sue Monk Kidd (Mary Helen, Oct. 2003)
34) Unless – Carol Shields (Anne B., Nov. 2003)
35) Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress – Dai Sijie (Margaret, Dec. 2003)
36) Tepper Isn’t Going Out – Calvin Trillin (Ann D., Jan. 2004)
37) Bel Canto – Ann Patchett (Julie, Feb. 2004)
38) Peace Like a River – Leif Enger (all, Mar. 2004)
39) A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry (Marcie, Apr. 2004)
40) Founding Sisters and the Nineteenth Amendment (Martha, May 2004)
41) The Pickup – Nadine Gordimer (Sue, Aug. 2004)
42) The Great Fire – Shirley Hazzard (Mary Helen, Sept. 2004)
43) Behind the Scenes at the Museum – Kate Atkinson (Edna, Oct. 2004)
44) The Transit of Venus – Shirley Hazzard (Margaret, Nov. 2004)
45) Greenwillow – B.J. Chute (Margaret, Dec. 2004)
46) Madam Secretary – Madeleine Albright (Ann, Jan. 2005)
47) The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini (Martha, Feb. 2005)
48) Metro Stop Dostoevsky – Ingrid Bengis (Marcie, Mar. 2005)
49) The Reader – Bernhard Schlink (Linda, Apr. 2005)
50) Servants of the Map – Andrea Barrett (Edna, May 2005)
51) The Namesake – Jhumpa Lahiri (Sue, June 2005)
52) Uncle Tom’s Cabin – Harriet Beecher Stowe (Margaret, Oct. 2005)
53) Saturday – Ian McEwan (Ann, Nov. 2005)
54) Pomegranate Soup – Marsha Mehran (Marcie, Dec. 2005 / Jan. 2006)
55) Name All the Animals – Allison Smith (Mary Helen, Feb. 2006)
56) The Final Solution – Michael Chabon (Edna, Mar. 2006)
57) Silas Marner – George Eliot (Linda, Apr. 2006)
58) Madame Dread – Kathie Klarreich (Sue, May 2006)
59) Snow Flower and the Secret Fan – Lisa See (Ann, June 2006)
60) All the King's Men – Robert Penn Warren (Margaret, Sept. 2006)
61) Emma's War – Deborah Scroggins (Nancy, Oct. 2006)
62) The News from Paraguay – Lily Tuck (Marcie, Nov. 2006)
63) Sailing Alone Around the Room - Billy Collins (Mary Helen, Dec. 2006)
64) The Music Lesson – Katherine Weber (Marj, Jan. 2007)
65) Life of Pi – Yann Martel (Debbie, Feb. 2007)
66) The Memory Keeper's Daughter - Kim Edwards (Edna, Mar. 2007)
67) Water for Elephants – Sara Gruen ( Sue, Apr. 2007)
68) The Buffalo Soldier - Chris Bohjalian (Ann, May, 2007)
69) Gilead – Marilynne Robinson (Margaret, June 2007)
70) The Fountain Overflows – Rebecca West (Kathleen, Sept. 2007)
71) The Echo Maker – Richard Powers (Marcie, Oct. 2007)
72) One Thousand White Women – Jim Fergus (Edna, Nov. 2007)
73) The Locket – Richard Paul Evans (Debbie, Dec. 2007)
74) Intuition – Allegra Goodman (Sue, Jan. 2008)
75) A Thousand Splendid Suns - Khaled Hosseini (Mary Helen, Feb. 2008)
76) Devil in the White City – Erik Larson (Margaret, Mar. 2008)
77) The Glass Castle – Jeanette Walls (Louise, Apr. 2008)
78) Loving Frank – Nancy Horan (Ann, May 2008)
79) Abeng – Michelle Cliff (Kathleen, June 2008)
80) The Book Thief – Markus Zusak (Edna, Sept. 2008)
81) My Antonia – Willa Cather (Margaret, Oct. 2008)
82) The Tea-Olive Bird Watching Society - (Nancy, Nov. 2008)
83) Letter to My Daughter – Maya Angelou (Marcie, Dec. 2008)
84) Memoirs of a Geisha - Golden (Debbie, Jan. 2009)
85) The Ministry of Special Cases – Nathan Englander (Sue, Feb. 2009)
86) The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows (Mary Helen, Mar. 2009)
87) Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World – Vicki Myron (Ann, Apr. 2009)
88) Run – Ann Patchett (Louise, May 2009)
89) For Your Eyes Only – Ian Fleming (group, June 2009)
90) The Photograph by Penelope Lively (Sept. 21, 2009, Edna)
91) Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson and Anne Born (Oct. 19, 2009, Margaret)
92) Complications by Atul Gawande (Nov. 16, 2009, Karin)
93) Olive Kitterige by Elizabeth Strout (Dec. 21, 2009, Ann)
94) Three Cups of Tea by G. Mortenson and D. Relin (Jan. 18, 2010, Nancy)
95) The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton (Feb. 22, 2010, Lisa)
96) Gourmet Rhapsody by Muriel Barbery and Alison Anderson (March 15, 2010, Marcie)
97) The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery and Alison Anderson (April 19, 2010, Sue)
98) Home by Marilynne Robinson (May 17, 2010, Louise)
99) Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay (June 21, 2010, Mary Helen)
100) Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford (Sept. 20, 2010, Edna)
101) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (Oct. 18, 2010, Margaret)
102) The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton (Nov. 15, 2010, Louise)
103) A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel (Dec. 20, 2010, Sue)
104) The Help by Kathryn Stockett (Jan. 17, 2011, Kristin)
105) Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann (Feb. 28, 2011, Lisa)
106) My Reading Life by Pat Conroy (Apr. 11, 2011, Marcie)
107) Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese (May 16, 2011, Mary Helen)
108) A Death in the Family by James Agee (June 20, 2011, Ann)
White Noise by Don Delillo (Sept. 19, 2011, Louise)
110) Someone Knows my Name by Lawrence Hill (Oct. 17, 2011, Sue)

Haiku for Janet

Rainy summer day
Renewing girlhood friendship --
The bay refilling.


Our shadow’s roundness,
Larger than the brightness
Onto which it’s cast,
Creeps toward the rim
Till all is dim.


The brightness emerges,
As its blanket passes
Into nothingness,
And then disappears
For many years.


Even in your sleep,
What little sleep there is,
you labor to keep each aloft,
though one may feel prickly
and one weepy.
Tomorrow one will be jittery
or unpredictable.
Your singular goal is
never let them

You are weary and
sometimes terrified,
but never bored.

At times you envy
the childless woman who
dines in symphonic elegance
across from the well-dressed man,
leisurely selecting
a perfect wine. Thoughtfully
discussing world affairs.
Completing one elaborate sentence
after another. You see her
at the supermarket, spending
countless minutes, teasing out
the choicest green beans,
as you race
to beat the school bus

You are a mother, a juggler
by trade. You pray
that every ball tossed
will come back,
for you to do it again.
While she toils each day,
just to create
something to toss up.
Something to fill
her spacious sky.

Remembering in Color

but not Santa Claus red,
with a tinge of orange,
like the shade of lipstick
Caroline sometimes wore
to our book club meetings.
That's the red of the quilt
my mother is sewing,
from fabric that once belonged
to Caroline,
who, only months ago,
while describing a young and
carefree female character
in one of our books,
actually uttered the word,
with a girlish smile
on those reddish lips.

is the color
of the frog pin
that I brought her
for luck,
and for her collection
of frog things,
when I found out
about her tumor.
Emerald green
like the color of
her lush front yard
where she used to
wave to me
on her way
to the mailbox.

Reflections of a Wicked Stepmother

There’s a body on the sofa
And a book is in its hand.
It eats chips and cheesecake pudding
And wants me to understand.

It wears clothes but can’t do laundry,
Rides my bike with tires flat,
Leaves its shoes for me to trip on
‘Cause it didn’t think of that.

Frozen waffles on the counter,
Empty bags back on the shelf.
Standing water in the bathtub
It thinks only of itself.

Now and then I catch a glimmer
Of humanity inside.
Can I help? I hear a voice say.
It’s a person, I decide.

What a welcome revelation,
I am truly gratified.
After all of our frustration,
All the tears that have been cried.

There’s just one more little problem,
One more thing that I must do.
I must now somehow convince her
That I’m a person too.