June 2019 Book Club Selection

Mating
Rush, Norman*: Mating** (1991)

* Peace Corps Director, Botswana 1978-1983

** 1991 National Book Award for Fiction, 1992 Maria Thomas Fiction Award

Discussion: Wednesday, June 12, 2019, 6:30-8:00 pm. Location at the home of Ann and Roger Crockett, 1922 NE 12th Ave in Portland, 801-388-8235. Feel free to bring snacks to share.

Review: © Library Journal: As in Whites, Rush’s first collection of stories, this novel juxtaposes the relationship of two white Americans in Botswana against village life in that country. A woman anthropologist narrates her pursuit of and life with Nelson Denoon, a utopian socialist who set up an experimental matriarchal culture among poor African women in a remote area. Having met Denoon at a party, the anthropologist undertakes a dangerous trek alone through the Kalahari to Tsau, the site. After she gains the acceptance of the women, she is permitted to join Denoon, and their love story develops, interspersed with incidents in the village. Though there is plenty of action and interaction among the characters, this is largely a novel of ideas and anthropological information. The humor is at a sophisticated level, as is the vocabulary.

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

January 2012 Book Club Selection

Guns, Germs, and Steel
Diamond, Jared: Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies (2005)

Our discussion took place: January 2012

Review: © Amazon: Jared Diamond presents the biologist’s answer: geography, demography, and ecological happenstance. Diamond evenhandedly reviews human history on every continent since the Ice Age at a rate that emphasizes only the broadest movements of peoples and ideas. Yet his survey is binocular: one eye has the rather distant vision of the evolutionary biologist, while the other eye–and his heart–belongs to the people of New Guinea, where he has done field work for more than 30 years.

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

December 2011 Book Club Selection

Bury Me Standing
Fonseca, Isabel: Bury Me Standing: The Gypsies and Their Journey (1996)

Our discussion took place: December 2011

Review: © Library Journal: Traveling as a journalist, Fonseca stayed with a number of Gypsy families in Eastern Europe between 1991 and 1995. Through her experiences with them, study of the scholarship about them, and interviews with leading figures, she has produced a contemporary account of their status, incorporating details of their society, culture, and history. Her work portrays their commitment to tribal traditions and adherence to ritual and offers good insights, particularly into women’s lives. The author regards Gypsies as “an ancient scapegoat” who survive through their traditions and a collective denial of their mistreatment by outsiders, including the Germans during World War II. The author details the discrimination that has kept the Gypsies, now often called Roma, from development of an identity and acceptance by the international community.

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