Semicolon Book Club: Off to a Slow but Steady Start

I’ve been trying to get a book club going, both online and in person, for a couple of years now. Last year I got people committed and chose books for each month, and then stuff happened. January and February went fairly well, and then March got crazy, and in April my dad died. Then sometime in May or June I lost all of the information on my computer, and when I got it back, it didn’t include the email addresses and the list of book club participants. And things went downhill from there.

However, although I may not be consistent, I am persistent. So I’m ready to start over again. If you would like to participate in the Semicolon Book Club, here are the possibilities for 2010. We’ll be discussing the books here at the blog Semicolon on the dates indicated. We also may meet at my house for tea and discussion, if I get any takers who live here in Houston. If you want to read with us, email me (sherryDOTearlyATgmailDOTcom) with your choices for books in the months that have more than one book listed. I’ll tabulate the votes, and get back to you with the final list based on what people choose.

Then, on the dates indicated, I’ll have a post (with Linky) where you can leave comments and links to your thoughts, and where you can read what I have to say about the book of the month. I’m looking forward to it.

January: Nonfictional inspirational
Discussion date: Saturday, January 30, 2010
Esther by Chuck Swindoll. Everyone loves a transforming story. Rags to riches. Plain to beautiful. Weak to strong. Esther’s story is that, and much more. It is a thought-provoking study of God’s invisible hand, writing silently across the pages of human history. Perhaps most of all, it is an account of a godly woman with the courage, wisdom, and strength to block an evil plot, overthrow an arrogant killer, and replace tragedy with joy in thousands of Jewish homes. Through Esther’s courageous struggle to help her people, Swindoll explains the power of divine providence in volume 2 of the best-selling “Great Lives” series. (Publisher’s blurb)

February: Christian classic novels
Discussion date: February 27, 2010
The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene. Graham Greene explores corruption and atonement through a priest and the people he encounters. In the 1930s one Mexican state has outlawed the Church, naming it a source of greed and debauchery. The priests have been rounded up and shot by firing squad–save one, the whisky priest. On the run, and in a blur of alcohol and fear, this outlaw meets a dentist, a banana farmer, and a village woman he knew six years earlier. Always, an adamant lieutenant is only a few hours behind, determined to liberate his country from the evils of the church.
Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis. This tale of two princesses – one beautiful and one unattractive – and of the struggle between sacred and profane love is Lewis’s reworking of the myth of Cupid and Psyche and one of his most enduring works.

March: Biography/History
Discussion date: March 27, 2010
Mornings on Horseback by David McCullough. A biography of Teddy Roosevelt.
The Raven by Marquis James. A biography of Sam Houston.
Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women by Harriet Reisen.

April: Poetry Month
All poems are about God, love or depression. ~Susan Wise Bauer in The Well-Educated Mind.
Discussion date: May 1, 2010
Paradise Lost by John Milton. “Recommended edition: The Signet Classic paperback, Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained, edited by Christopher Ricks. (New York: Signet Books, 1968, $7.95) This edition has explanatory footnotes at the bottom of each page. These are extremely helpful since Milton uses archaic expressions and hundreds of obscure classical references.” (SWB, The Well-Trained Mind) Paradise Lost is Milton’s retelling of the story in Genesis 1-3 of the Creation and the Fall.
(We were supposed to read this poem in 2009, but I didn’t do it. This year I am determined.)

May: YA or Children’s award winner
Discussion date: May 29, 2010
Wait and see what books win the Newbery and Printz awards and honor books this year. Announcement is January 18th.

June: Chunky Classics
Discussion date: June 26, 2010
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe. “The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe of York, Mariner: Who lived Eight and Twenty Years, all alone in an un-inhabited Island on the coast of America, near the Mouth of the Great River of Oroonoque; Having been cast on Shore by Shipwreck, where-in all the Men perished but himself. With An Account how he was at last as strangely deliver’d by Pyrates. Written by Himself.”
The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo. Though he was gentle and kind, it was Quasimodo’s crime to have been born hideously deformed. But one day his heart would prove to be a thing of rare beauty. His inspiration was Esmerelda. The victim of a coward’s jealous rage, she is unjustly convicted of a crime she didn’t commit. Her sentence is death by hanging. Only one man can save her–Quasimodo.

July: Just for Fun and Adventure
Discussion date: July 31, 2010
Goodbye Mr. Chips by James Hilton. The novel tells the story of a schoolteacher and his long tenure at Brookfield, a fictional boys’ public boarding school. Mr. Chipping eventually conquers his inability to connect with his students, as well as his initial shyness and becomes an inspirational and much-beloved teacher.
Miss Buncle’s Book by D. E. Stevenson. Barbara Buncle, a spinster in her mid 30s lives in the small and close-knit English village of Silverstream. Finding herself in need of a new source of income, Miss Buncle, passes over the idea of raising chickens or taking in borders and instead writes a novel.

August: Shakespeare play
Discussion date: August 28, 2010
Twelfth Night. (comedy) To be performed at Shakespeare at Winedale in August 2010.
Hamlet (tragedy that we were supposed to read in 2009, but didn’t)

September: Prize winning adult novels
Discussion date: October 2, 2010
Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner. Lyman Ward, a retired history professor and writer, returns to his grandparent’s home in Grass Valley, California – wheelchair bound and facing a progressive, crippling bone disease. His intent is to research his grandmother’s life through the news clippings and letters of her past. To write her story, Ward must fill in gaps, imagine conversations, and uncover the truths which lie hidden in Susan Burling Ward’s history. During this one hot, dry summer in a quest to know his grandmother, he will discover the meaning beneath the shadows of his own life.
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner. The book is told in stream of consciousness writing style by 15 different narrators in 59 chapters. It is the story of the death of Addie Bundren and her family’s quest—noble or selfish—to honor her wish to be buried in the town of Jefferson.

October: Love to Laugh
Discussion date: October 30, 2010
Scoop by Evelyn Waugh. Scoop is a comedy of England’s newspaper business of the 1930s and the story of William Boot, a innocent hick from the country who writes careful essays about the habits of the badger. Through a series of accidents and mistaken identity, Boot is hired as a war correspondent for a Fleet Street newspaper. The uncomprehending Boot is sent to the fictional African country of Ishmaelia to cover an expected revolution. Although he has no idea what he is doing and he can’t understand the incomprehensible telegrams from his London editors, Boot eventually gets the big story.
(Supposed to have been read in October 2009)

November: Love to Think
Discussion date: November 27, 2010
Home Economics by Wendell Berry – A warning against the biases of free market capitalism and an exhortation to home economy.
The Great Emergence: How Christianity Is Changing and Why by Phyllis Tickle. “’The Great Emergence’ refers to a monumental phenomenon in our world, and this book asks three questions about it. Or looked at the other way around, this book is about a monumental phenomenon considered from the perspective of three very basic questions: What is this thing? How did it come to be? Where is it going?”
Mudhouse Sabbath by Lauren Winner. Winner, who wrote about her conversion to Christianity in 2002’s acclaimed memoir Girl Meets God, draws on the Orthodox Jewish rituals that shaped her young adult life to rediscover the richness of those customs in her life as a Christian today. Through her personal reflections on 11 spiritual practices, including keeping the Sabbath, prayer, fasting and candle-lighting, Winner illuminates the profound cultural and religious significance of each practice within the Jewish community and modifies those practices to enrich the lives of Christians

2 thoughts on “Semicolon Book Club: Off to a Slow but Steady Start

  1. Have you decided on the books for this year yet? I’m ready to get reading!

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