Newcomers Book Club

The Newcomers Book Club meets at Women’s Resource Center from 1:30 – 3:00 pm on the following dates:

2017 Book List

Jan. 25:  Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter, by Kate Clifford Larson. This absorbing biography details the horror that happened to Rosemary, the third child of Joseph and Rose Kennedy, as she struggled to be born; her parents’ constant search for a remedy for her intellectual disability; and the secret surgery – a horribly botched lobotomy – that her father arranged when she was 23. Once stunningly beautiful, Rosemary lived for 10 years, pathetically disabled, in an institution in Wisconsin before her brother, John Kennedy, visited. Only then did Rosemary’s siblings understand what had happened and begin to welcome their sister home for family visits. Rosemary’s plight inspired the younger Kennedys to direct their attention to the disabled. Quite a contrast to the elder Kennedys, who insisted on protecting their reputation at the high cost of their daughter’s well-being.  (led by Karen Schafer)

March 22:  A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman.  Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon—the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him “the bitter neighbor from hell.” But must Ove be bitter just because he doesn’t walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time? (led by Suzie Matthews)

May 24: The Boys in the Boat is a non-fiction book written by Daniel James Brown and published on June 4, 2013.  Out of the depths of the Depression comes a story about beating the odds and finding hope in the most desperate of times—the improbable, intimate account of how nine working-class boys from the American West showed the world at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin what true grit really meant.  With a team composed of the sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the University of Washington’s eight-oar crew team was never expected to defeat the elite teams of the East Coast and Great Britain, yet they did, going on to shock the world by defeating the German team rowing for Adolf Hitler. The emotional heart of the tale lies with Joe Rantz, a teenager without family or prospects, who rows not only to regain his shattered self-regard but also to find a real place for himself in the world. Drawing on the boys’ own journals and vivid memories of a once-in-a-lifetime shared dream, Brown has created an unforgettable portrait of an era, a celebration of a remarkable achievement, and a chronicle of one extraordinary young man’s personal quest.  (led by Ginny Koch)
July 26:  With love from the inside, a novel by Angel Pisel who is from Hickory and this is her first novel.  It’s about a woman on death row for the murder of her infant son. She and her daughter get back in touch with each other as the woman’s death becomes more eminent.  So it’s a story about the mother/daughter relationship, family secrets, and what it’s like for woman on death row.  It’s fiction, but Angela did a lot of research about woman on death row when writing the book.  Angela came to another book club I’m in as we discussed the book and it was very insightful to hear her process about writing the book and getting it published.   I’d be happy to invite her to our book club if we choose to read this book.  (led by Beth Osbahr)

 Sept. 27:  Carolina Gold, by Dorothy Love.  When Charlotte Frasier returns to rebuild her family’s rice plantation after the devastation of the Civil War, she finds it in ruins.  Her former slaves have been freed and she has very little money.  While this can be classified as a love story it does paint a vivid picture of the difficulties experienced in the south as they tried to rebuild.  (led by Betty Schwartz) 

Nov. 15:  The Taming of the Queen by Philippa Gregory.  A novel of passion and power at the court of a medieval killer, a riveting Tudor tale featuring King Henry VIII’s sixth wife Kateryn Parr. Kateryn Parr, a thirty-year-old widow in a secret affair with a new lover, has no choice when a man old enough to be her father who has buried four wives-King Henry VIII-commands her to marry him. Kateryn has no doubt about the danger she faces: the previous queen lasted sixteen months, the one before barely half a year. But Henry adores his new bride and Kateryn’s trust in him grows as she unites the royal family, creates a radical study circle at the heart of the court, and rules the kingdom as Regent. But is this enough to keep her safe?  (led by Joyce Dennis)

Additional Suggested Books:

“Children of Italy”, by local (Marion) author Chris Simolke, is the story of an Italian immigrant family in the mid-1920/s based on her grandmother’s coming to America story.  Author would be willing to visit book club.

“A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” by Betty Smith.  A well known, very successful 1943 novel about a second-generation Irish-American family in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY during the first two decades of the 20th century.

“The House at Sugar Beach: In Search of a Lost African Childhood” by Helene Cooper.  This memoir by a foreign correspondent tells the story of her family’s experiences from being descendants of Liberian’s most prominent settlers to their harrowing narrow flight from the country during a coup.

“Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania” by Erik Larson.  Larson crafted a historical narrative leading up to the sinking of the Lusitania by a German U-boat by focusing on the politics of WWI, on nautical craftsmanship and strategy and on key players.  Larson will be at L-R for the Visiting Writers’ series in March.

“The Wright Brothers” by David McCullough.  Although Wilbur was unquestionably a genius and Orville had mechanical ingenuity few had ever seen, they had no more than a public high school education.  McCullough “shows as never before how two Ohio boys from a remarkable family taught the world to fly” (The Washington Post) and “captures the marvel of what the Wrights accomplished. 

“The Bad Girls at Samarcand: Sexuality and Sterilization in a Southern Juvenile Reformatory” by Karin Zips.  Book won this year’s Ragan Old North State Award Cup for non-fiction.  It is about a reform school in Moore County, NC. and the misguided ideas of racism, sexism, religion, and science that used to govern punishment, reform, redemption, and progressive activists in the early part of the 1900’s. 

“Knight Road” by Kristin Hanna.

“The Black Count”, author not given, but won the Pulitzer three years ago for biography.     General Alex Dumas, is a man almost unknown today, yet his story is strikingly familiar because his son, the novelist Alexandre Dumas, used his larger-than-life feats as inspiration for such classics as The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers.  Hidden behind General Dumas’s swashbuckling adventures was an even more incredible secret: he was the son of a black slavewho rose higher in the white world than any man of his race would before our own time. 
Born in Saint-Domingue (now Haiti), Alex Dumas made his way to Paris, where he rose to command armies at the height of the Revolutionuntil he met an implacable enemy he could not defeat.

TIME magazine called The Black Count “one of those quintessentially human stories of strength and courage that sheds light on the historical moment that made it possible.” It is also a heartbreaking story of the enduring bonds of love between a father and son.   

“In Pursuit of Kate Corbet” by Anne Loughnane.   It is a fictional but fact-based account of an Irishwoman’s journey from “a comfortable and prosperous home in Victorian Dublin to the wild and lawless reaches of Wyoming”.  The Western Piedmont Symphony will be presenting the world premier of “In Pursuit” – a Celtic harp concerto written by lever/Celtic harpist, Maeve Gilchrist (Loughnane’s mother) and local composer and LRU professor, Luke Benton based on the story of the book. The premier will be part of our Masterworks IV concert, which is March 18th, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. in P.E. Monroe Auditorium. There will be an event with a reading, a Q&A and then a book signing at the Hickory Museum of Art on Thursday, March 16th. Which will tie into a wonderful exhibition with women artists there.





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