Book Club

CRPCA’s Book Club gatherings are open to all who have read that month’s book. Typically we start out discussing the book, and inevitably someone relates a theme in the book to their own experiences or other readings, so the conversation takes an interesting turn. Our Book Club discusses books of broad interest set in parts of the world in which Peace Corps Volunteers have served, or books which were authored by Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs). We discuss fiction and nonfiction works by authors from around the world, and we love author appearances! Between 2010 and 2016, we hosted 24 different authors – in person, by phone, or via Skype.


Here are our next three book discussions:

April 2017 Book Club Selection

Phobos & Deimos
Moehl, John*: Phobos & Deimos: Two Moons, Two Worlds (2016)

* RPCV Cameroon (1974-1980)

Discussion: Thursday, April 6, 2017, 7:00-8:30 pm. Location at the home of Carole Beauclerk, 1500 SW Park Ave in Portland. On-street parking in downtown Portland is free beginning at 7:00 pm. Upon arrival, call 503-780-2722 to be buzzed in, then turn right into the building’s lobby and then take an immediate left into the community room. Participating in our discussion–in person–will be John Moehl, the book’s author! Feel free to bring snacks to share.

Synopsis: Many of us live dual lives, as though we live in two worlds. This divergence is perhaps greatest for those embedded in what may be called “multiculturalism.” Multicultural people, with their unique life experiences, are migrating around the globe, carrying their own baggage while they face the demands of living in new and strange lands. The short stories in this collection look at the daily tests facing people, frequently in Africa, as they struggle to survive, often in a rapidly changing world. These observations are made through the lens of an outsider–someone from a different culture, with different habits, seeing and learning how these trials are met–seeing and learning that people, regardless of ethnicity, share a common humanity that makes taking these tests poignant and, at times, a true reflection of the human condition. The stories focus on farmers and families, business and traditional leaders, the poor and the rich as they move through life’s pathways, not knowing the changes in store for tomorrow. The stories tell tales of sadness and success, while underscoring the common denominators we all share. The stories may be seen as representing a different world, but they most likely represent the whole world.

Where to find it:
Vendors: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Powell’s


May 2017 Book Club Selection

Slithering South
Van Beek, Steve*: Slithering South (2002)

* RPCV Nepal 1966-1969

Discussion: Saturday, May 6, 2017, 7:00-8:30 pm. Location at the home of Carole Beauclerk, 1500 SW Park Ave in Portland. On-street parking in downtown Portland is free beginning at 7:00 pm. Upon arrival, call 503-780-2722 to be buzzed in, then turn right into the building’s lobby and then take an immediate left into the community room. Participating in our discussion–in person–will be Steve Van Beek, the book’s author! Feel free to bring snacks to share.

Synopsis: A wild, often hilarious, ride down Thailand’s longest river. A tiny teak boat set in the Ping River deep in the Golden Triangle takes the author on a 58-day voyage of discovery through Thailand’s heart. Along the way, he meets Sin the Buffalo Man, the Cowboys of Tha Sala, Jamrat and the “Boom Boom Girl”, and dozens of other intriguing characters. One dark night, poachers prey on him; on another, he is a murder suspect, as he learns far more about rural Thailand – and himself – than he bargained for.

Where to find it:
Loaners: The author’s copies of this book will be circulating between CRPCA Book Club participants at our early 2017 discussions.
Vendor: Amazon

June 2017 Book Club Selection

Midnight's Children
Rushdie, Salman: Midnight’s Children* (1980)

* 1981 Man Booker Prize, 2008 Best of the Bookers

Discussion: Monday, June 5, 2017, 6:30-8:00 pm. Location at the home of Bill Stein, 4308 SE Lexington St in Portland, 503-830-0817. Feel free to bring snacks to share.

Teaser: Saleem Sinai is born at the stroke of midnight on August 15, 1947, the very moment of India’s independence. Greeted by fireworks displays, cheering crowds, and Prime Minister Nehru himself, Saleem grows up to learn the ominous consequences of this coincidence. His every act is mirrored and magnified in events that sway the course of national affairs; his health and well-being are inextricably bound to those of his nation; his life is inseparable, at times indistinguishable, from the history of his country. Perhaps most remarkable are the telepathic powers linking him with India’s 1,000 other “midnight’s children,” all born in that initial hour and endowed with magical gifts.

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

Most of our books are selected by an annual survey; the last one was conducted in November 2016. We schedule additional books when an author offers to meet with us. If you are interested in learning more about CRPCA’s Book Club, please contact Bill Stein, at 503-830-0817 or bookclub AT crpca.org.