Book Discussion Group

 

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.” – Rainer Maria Rilke

The book discussion group has been in our line-up of interest groups since 1991. Stimulating discussions are the norm, whether it be on a historic novel, biography, socially critical book, mystery, play, poetry or any other genre. We have looked at what children are reading – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – and have combined the reading of a play with a theater excursion to see that play in production —The Importance of Being Earnest, The Seagull. We have done an entire year with a focus on China and we have chosen our favorite poems to bring and share during National Poetry Month. We are eclectic as well as classic, and enjoy diversity in our selections.

The group meets on the second Monday of the month, at 1 p.m., at members’ homes, unless otherwise noted.

This is a total participation group: members recommend titles for the group to read and vote on the recommendations; they are asked to read each month’s selection; members are asked to volunteer to take turns leading the discussion and in hosting the group. Our chairperson coordinates the efforts and represents the group on the branch board of directors.

Come and try us out! Contact our chairperson, Donna Hamilton  to let her know if you would like to attend.

For a complete list of books read during the 26-year history of the group, click Book-List-1991-2020 to open/ download it in a pdf format. For additional reading, we recommend AAUW’s ADELANTE BOOK LIST, monthly selections that stress AAUW’s commitment to diversity.

Author Attends February Meeting, Paula Banks

Last month, the Book Group met to discuss the biography Keep on Fighting: the Life and Civil Rights Legacy of Marian A. Spencer, by Dorothy H. Christenson. Marian A. Spencer was the granddaughter of a former slave and was the first African American woman elected to Cincinnati City Council. She was the first female president of the Cincinnati NAACP. She fought to desegregate schools and end discrimination. We were fortunate to have the author with us to discuss her friendship and personal knowledge of Marian.

At first, the book was a project for Dorothy and Marian. Both women had served on a variety of boards together and had known one another for many years. Marian and Dot (as she likes to be called) had both been recently widowed and enjoyed spending time together. Marian recorded her stories and Dorothy transcribed the tapes for Marian’s family. They met weekly to work on the year-long project.

They copied the “book” for the family and close friends and sent it to the Ohio University Press. The publisher recommended editing. Dot worked on add- ing content and editing out the personal. When Marian was in a care facility, Dot acted as her caregiver and was able to secure the rights to tell Marian’s story. Marian died last year at age 99; her twin sister is still living and resides in Washington D.C.

Last year, Dot kicked off the drive to raise funds for a tribute statue of Marian to be placed in the park in front of the Cincinnati Freedom Center. It is scheduled to be dedicated this June on what would have been Marian’s 100th birthday.

We enjoyed Dot’s presence and really appreciated her driving from Cincinnati to Medina for our discussion. Arrangements were made by Nancy Sprowls, who is a friend of the author and whose niece is married to Dot’s son Dave.

READING LIST FOR 2019-2020:

September: Alexander Hamilton, by Ron Chernow
October: Where the Crawdads Sing, Delia Owens
November: Dreamland by Sam Quinones led by Pat Chaloupek, at the home of Donna  Hamilton
December: Faith Club by Ranya Idiby
January: Commonwealth by Ann Patchett, at the home of Judy Smith
February: Keep on Fighting: The Life and Civil Rights Legacy of Marian A. Spencer by Dorothy H.                   Christenson
March: The Muralist by Barbara Shapiro, at the home of Pat Chaloupek
CANCELLED – April: Poetry selections
May: The Testaments by Margaret Atwood, at the home of Nancy Sprowls

READING LIST FOR 2018-2019:

The Seventh Most Important Thing by Shelley Pearsall
The Secret Chord
by Gwendolyn Brooks
Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis
by J.D. Vance
The Secret Gift
by Ted Gup
Educated: A Memoir
by Tara Westfield
Salvage the Bones
by Jesmyn Ward
Showdown: Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court Nomination That Changed America
by Wil Haygood
Bury Your Dead
by Louise Penny

READING LIST FOR 2017-2018:

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Jumped Out the Window and Disappeared, by Jonas Jonasson
Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald. We selected this Jazz Age novel to partner with an AAUW visit to the Cleveland Art Museum which was hosting a Jazz Age exhibit.
Last Days of Night by Graham Moore
No Pretty Pictures: A Child of War by Anita Lobel
The Secret Wife by Gill Paul
Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement by John Lewis
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

READING LIST 2016-2017:

All the Way, by Robert Schenkken
Madame DeStael: the First Modern Woman, by Francine DuPlessix Gray
Luncheon of the Boating Party, by Susan Vreeland
The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore
My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem
A Thread of Grace by Mary Doria Russell

READING LIST 2015-2016:

The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt
The American Empress: The Life and Times of Marjorie Merriweather Post by Nancy Rubin Stuart
A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler
The Secret Garden by Frances Burnett
How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accent by Julia Alvarez
Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian
My Brilliant Friend, by Elena Ferrante

READING LIST 2014-2015:

The Little Foxes, a play by Lillian Hellman at the Medina County District Library in Medina: a collaborative evening with artistic personnel from the Cleveland Playhouse.
Boys in the Boat — Daniel James Brown
Flight Behavior — Barbara Kingsolver
The Giver Lois Lowry
Jayber Crow — Wendell Berry
Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker — Jennifer Chiaverini
The Hare With the Amber Eyes — Edmund de Waal
All the Light We Cannot See — Anthony Doerr

READING LIST 2013-2014:

Cloudsplitter – Russel Banks
The Group
 – Mary McCarthy
Dear Life
 – Alice Munro
The Little Prince
– Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Enrique’s Story
 – Sonia Nazario
Things Fall Apart
– Chinua Achebe
The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit
 – Lucette Lagnado
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry – Rachel Joyce

READING LIST 2012-2013:

Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman, by Robert K. Massie
The History of the World in Six Glasses by Tom Standage
The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prarie by Wendy McClure
Julie and the Wolves, by Jean Craighead George
The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman
The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
Destiny of the Republic by Candace Millard
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Last Runaway, by Tracy Chevalier (for Project LEARN’s Reading Rally on the Square)

READING LIST, 2011-2012:

One Man Great Enough – John C. Waugh
The Paris Wife
– Paula McClain
The Slave Across the Street
– Theresa Flores and Peggy Sue Wells
Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland
– Lewis Carroll
Thinking in Pictures: My Life with Autism
– Temple Grandin
Wench
– Dolen Perkins-Valdez
The Importance of Being Earnest
(play) – Oscar Wilde
Maisie Dobbs
– Jacqueline Winspear
Four Quartets
(poetry) – T.S. Eliot