February 2020 Book Club Selection

The Other Side of Paradise
Cooke, Julia: The Other Side of Paradise: Life in the New Cuba (2014)

Discussion: Tuesday, February 11, 2020, 7:00-8:30 pm. Location at the home of Paul and Susie Robillard, 5405 NW Deerfield Way in Portland, 503-430-1776. Feel free to bring snacks to share.

Review: © Booklist: As the title suggests, this is a rather dreary portrait of post-Fidel Cuba. Cooke is a journalist and teacher at the New School in New York. Her observations are the result of living in Cuba and interacting with a variety of ordinary Cuban citizens over a five-year period. Her account is absorbing, touching, but certainly depressing. As described here, Cuba is a postrevolutionary culture in which the fires of revolution have burned out. So largely gone is the optimism, the spirit of community and self-sacrifice, and the belief in the creation of “the new socialist man.” What remains, unfortunately, is the political repression, stifling bureaucracy, and material deprivation. Cooke’s narrative includes wonderful vignettes covering the daily lives of Cubans in which their hopes, dreams, and frustrations are revealed. Lucia, a well-educated and relatively privileged young woman, sees little future for herself in Cuba and hopes to emigrate. So does Sandra, a street-smart prostitute who refutes government claims to have ended “exploitation.” But there are snippets of optimism, as citizens bravely and brazenly complain about their government.

Where to find it:
Libraries: Clackamas Co | Ft Vancouver | Multnomah Co | Washington Co
Vendors: Powell’s | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Join us for “A Towering Task” Screening!

Come join us THIS SUNDAY, December 15, at the Clinton Street Theater for this sneak peak documentary about the Peace Corps, its origins and how it impacts our world.

We’re also looking for Greeters at the screening, please contact
phyllisshelton@cs.com if you are interested.

Where:
CLINTON STREET THEATER
2522 SE Clinton Street
Portland, OR
(503) 897-0744
https://cstpdx.com/

When:
Sunday, December 15th, 2019
Doors open 2:30 pm
Film begins: 2:45 pm

How:
Tickets below
https://cstpdx-com.seatengine.com/shows/116073
$10 (at door $12)

January 2020 Book Club Selection

Timbuktu
de Villiers, Marq, and Sheila Hirtle: Timbuktu: The Sahara’s Fabled City of Gold (2007)

Discussion: Tuesday, January 14, 2020, 6:30-8:00 pm. Location at the home of Carol McCormac Wild, 7865 SW Parrway Dr in Portland, 503-292-3385. Feel free to bring snacks to share.

Review: © Booklist: Timbuktu is a city in central Mali near the Niger River. Founded in the eleventh century by the Tuareg, it became a major trading center primarily for gold and silver by the fourteenth century. It was invaded by a Moroccan army in 1590 and later was seized by Tuareg nomads. In their copiously researched book, the authors write of the city’s origins, its relation to the Niger River, its first and second golden ages, the coming of the Moroccans, and its long decline. De Villiers and Hirtle are co-authors of Sahara: The Extraordinary History of the World’s Largest Desert (2002) and Sable Island (2004), and this book, with maps and 12 black-and-white photographs, is a work of large scope, absorbing in its detail.

Where to find it:
Libraries: Clackamas Co | Ft Vancouver | Multnomah Co | Washington Co
Vendors: Powell’s | Amazon | Barnes & Noble