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Book Club in a Bag

Fiction

 

Gordon McKenna and his parents must overcome their grief as they deal with the loss of their sister and daughter by devoting themselves to the care of her one-year-old daughter. The decision of who will raise her is far from over.

 

Nao Yasutani is a Japanese schoolgirl who plans to kill herself as a way of escaping her dreary life. First, though, she intends to write in her diary the life story of her great-grandmother Jiko, a Zen Buddhist nun. But Nao actually ends up writing her own life story, and the diary eventually washes up on the shore of Canada's Vancouver Island, where a novelist called Ruth lives. Ruth finds the diary in a freezer bag with some old letters in French and a vintage watch and begins to investigate how the bag traveled from Japan to her island, and why it contains what it does.

 

Earl's all-you-can-eat is home away from home for this inseparable Plainview, Indiana, trio. Dubbed "the Supremes" by high school pals in the tumultuous 1960s, they weather life's storms together for the next four decades. Now, during their most challenging year yet, dutiful, proud, and talented Clarice must struggle to keep up appearances as she deals with her husband's humiliating infidelities. Beautiful, fragile Barbara Jean is rocked by the tragic reverberations of a youthful love affair. And fearless Odette engages in the most terrifying battle of her life while contending with the idea that she has inherited more than her broad frame from her notorious pot-smoking mother, Dora.

 

This anthology published in English brings together 20 stories of extraordinary quality, authored by writers who represent a sample of the best Mexican literature of the first half of the twentieth century. The reader will travel in these paragraphs fantastic unreality , perfectly recognizable landscapes of reality and palpable past history of Mexico ; also will transit between urban reflections of everyday life and the intimate imagination that distinguishes Mexico from other landscapes, other cultures, and other literature.

 

Nearing the end of his life, financier Harry Wainwright journeys to a rustic fishing camp in Maine and leaves a profound legacy for a haunted young man, a Vietnam draft evader, and a spirited young woman who holds a key to the past.

 

Three women who were friends in high school go on a sailboat crossing in the Caribbean when a small mistake leads to a desperate fight for survival.

 

Portrays the closely-intertwined and often troubled lives of residents in the small town as seen through the eyes of Miles Pruitt, a much respected high school teacher.

 

A sweeping story that introduces one of the strongest female characters in recent fiction. Abducted from Africa as a child and enslaved in South Carolina, Aminata Diallo thinks only of freedom--and of the knowledge she needs to get home. Sold to an indigo trader who recognizes her intelligence, Aminata is torn from her husband and child and thrown into the chaos of the Revolutionary War ... In Manhattan, Aminata helps pen the Book of Negroes, a list of blacks rewarded for service to the king with safe passage to Nova Scotia. There Aminata finds a life of hardship and stinging prejudice. When the British abolitionists come looking for "adventurers" to create a new colony in Sierra Leone, Aminata assists in moving 1,200 Nova Scotians to Africa and aiding the abolitionist cause by revealing the realities of slavery to the British public. This captivating story of one woman's remarkable experience spans six decades and three continents and brings to life a crucial chapter in world history.

 

 In the mid 1930's two well-educated sisters from Shanghai go to Los Angeles to become brides of the "Gold Mountain men" when their family is on the verge of bankruptcy. When they get there they are detained, interrogated, and humiliated for months. When one of the sisters becomes pregnant they vow that no one will ever know.

 

In 1930's Brazil, a vigilante gang invades the home of two seamstresses, kidnapping one of them.

Non-Fiction

 

A look at the trials and tribulations of the Astor family captures the story of three generations of a privileged American dynasty, from the storied philanthropist to her grandson, who accused his own father of mistreating and stealing from his grandmother.

 

Examines eating habits in light of contemporary trends toward ultra diet-concsiousness. Presents arguments for more tradition- and ecology-based approaches to eating rather than regarding foods in more scientific or clinical terms.

 

Documents the story of how scientists took cells from an unsuspecting descendant of freed slaves and created a human cell line that has been kept alive indefinitely, enabling discoveries in such areas as cancer research, in vitro fertilization, and gene mapping.

 

Part foreign affairs discourse, part humor, and part twisted self-help guide, this book takes the reader from America to Iceland to India in search of happiness, or, in the crabby author's case, moments of "un-unhappiness."  

 

A narrative of mother-and-son nature outings across the state of Wisconsin. In a style that blends the voices of Janisse Ray and Annie Dillard, a mother and son explore parallels in the world of people and nature. The interconnected chapters stand on their own and build upon each other. These explorations of natural history, flora and fauna, and parenting themes demonstrate that the mythic thread that winds through everything can still be found, even in a world of wounds.

 

In her early thirties, [the author] had everything a modern American woman was supposed to want - husband, country home, successful career - but instead of feeling happy and fulfilled, she felt consumed by panic and confusion. This ... is the story of how she left behind all these outward marks of success, and of what she found in their place.

 

An account of the Chicago World's Fair of 1893 relates the stories of two men who shaped the history of the event--architect Daniel H. Burnham, who coordinated its construction, and serial killer Herman Mudgett.

 

After years of filing dispatches from foreign war zones, Tony Horwitz comes home to the Blue Ridge Mountains only to be awakened by the crackle of musket fire.

 

Thousands of impoverished Northern European immigrants were promised that the prairie offered "land, freedom, and hope." The disastrous blizzard of 1888 revealed that their free homestead was not a paradise but a hard, unforgiving place governed by natural forces they neither understood nor controlled, and America's heartland would never be the same.

 

Isabel Fonseca describes the four years she spent with Gypsies from Albania to Poland.