Thursday, January 30, 2014

PBR Book Club Is Mad Organized

What, we have a schedule this year?

Thanks to everyone who called dibs on a month in 2014 to pick what we're reading and figure out meeting details for that month.  Here's what we got (3 books are about the sea!*):

  • February: Nate & Rose, Transcendence by Chris McKitterick
  • March: Erin, The Circle by Dave Eggers
  • April: Beth, The Guest Cat by Takashi Hiraide
  • May: Allison, On Such a Full Sea by Chang-rae Lee Silence Once Begun by Jesse Ball
  • June: Rachel, Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • July: Jon
  • August: Laura
  • September: Richard
  • October: Emily Jane & Carrie, The Sea, The Sea by Iris Murdoch Lindsey, The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
  • November: Steve
*edit: Disappointingly, only 2 books are about the sea. Someone else pick a book about the sea!

painting by Zaria Forman

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Good Lord Bird

James McBride is better known for his "The Color of Water" but I was thoroughly delighted in his humorous and ultimately poignant telling of historical events of the Free Stater and Abolitionist John Brown and his climactic raid on Harper's Ferry, considered one of the key precursors that helped ignite the War Between the States here in America in the mid 1800's.

It helps that I'm familiar with many of the areas in the parts of the story that occur around home here: rivers, towns, townships, and ghost towns. I could picture the terrain and the times and people. It was consistently funny and historically informing, right down to the meeting with Harriet Tubman in Canada.

Only occasionally did I get a sense of the author struggling to cover historical ground quickly and maintain the facade of spinning an old West yarn, with one too many a "I done heard tell that ... " or similar. But most of the time I did not feel like pulling back the curtain other than to Wiki or Google historical incidents or to look at a map of the east coast story locations I am less familiar with.

I highly recommend this wonderful and fast moving read, but then I've been studying the Bleeding Kansas period with a focus on Lawrence and surrounding areas the past two years and so this work was right in my wheelhouse. And the underlying issues it addresses through humor and hyperbole are a critical foundation to understanding where we came from as a culture and are still highly relevant in putting into context varying widespread racial attitudes in my lifetime, including even today.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

2014: Booze Cruise or Bust

Hi, you beautiful book nerds,

It's 2014! I can't believe PBR Book Club started in 2011, and that it's still going strong.  Soon we're going to have start renting out a venue and talking about the book speed-dating style.

Our next meeting to discuss The Good Lord Bird is Tuesday, January 28 at the Taproom.  Let's also take care of some housekeeping at that meeting and talk about what we want for the rest of the year.  Now that there are 20+ sometimes book clubbers, things have gotten a little more complex.

Here's one idea to marinate on for the next two weeks:  everyone who wants to pick a book this year could stake out their month when we meet on January 28.  When your month is coming up, post here (or contact me or Nog) to let us know what book we're reading and where you want to meet.  I'm in favor of keeping the meeting time on the last Tuesday of the month.

Let's discuss on the 28th and see what y'all think of that plan.  (There's also been a rumor that 2014 will be the year of the PBR Book Club Booze Cruise on Clinton Lake...[!] )  See you all soon!

With love,
Your co-chief, Bananasuit