June 2018 Book Club Selection

The Grass is Singing
Lessing, Doris*: The Grass is Singing (1950)

* 2007 Nobel Literature Prize

Discussion: Monday, June 4, 2018, 6:30-8:00 pm. Location at the home of Peggy McClure, 5450 SW 18th Dr in Portland, 503-453-2089. Feel free to bring snacks to share.

Synopsis: Set in Southern Rhodesia under white rule, Doris Lessing’s first novel is at once a riveting chronicle of human disintegration, a beautifully understated social critique, and a brilliant depiction of the quiet horror of one woman’s struggle against a ruthless fate. Mary Turner is a self-confident, independent young woman who becomes the depressed, frustrated wife of an ineffectual, unsuccessful farmer. Little by little the ennui of years on the farm works its slow poison. Mary’s despair progresses until the fateful arrival of Moses, an enigmatic, virile black servant. Locked in anguish, Mary and Moses–master and slave–are trapped in a web of mounting attraction and repulsion, until their psychic tension explodes with devastating consequences.

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

October 2016 Book Club Selection

The Drums of Africa
Schell, Tim*: The Drums of Africa (2007)

* RPCV Central African Republic (1978-1979)

Discussion: Friday, October 14, 2016, 6:30-8:00 pm. Location at the home of Teri Kaliher, 4841 SW Richardson Dr in Portland. in Portland, 971-302-0691. Participating in our discussion–-in person-–will be Tim Schell, the book’s author! Feel free to bring snacks to share.

Please note the change of date and venue for this event. The change was made to accommodate the author’s availability.

Synopsis: Tim Schell’s first novel, THE DRUMS OF AFRICA, is a gripping and timely tale of two young Americans, Val and Glen, arriving in Africa as Peace Corps volunteers in the 1970s, filled with altruism, naivete and a thirst for adventure. As the line between adventure and catastrophe narrows, Schell masterfully creates a mosaic of cultural perspectives and ethical tensions between faith and its lack, politics and revolutionary coups, lust and love set against an exotic backdrop rife with sorcerers, priests, corrupt politicians, poachers, coffee farmers, Peace Corps workers and prostitutes, a place leading each character inward to unexpected self-revelation and self-sacrifice. A richly panoplied novel, alive with sensuous detail and compelling narrative, THE DRUMS OF AFRICA is both an adventure tale and a philosophical rumination on the power of crisis and contradiction to test and ultimately transform ideals, laws, ancient instincts, faith and the challenges presented by human love met by human courage.

Where to find it:
Vendor: Amazon

May 2016 Book Club Selection


Urbani, Ellen*: Landfall (2015)

* RPCV Guatemala (1991-1993)

Discussion: Tuesday, May 3, 2016, 6:30-8:00 pm. Location at the home of Ellen Urbani in West Linn. Participating in our discussion–in person–will be CRPCA’s Ellen Urbani, the book’s author! Contact bookclub AT crpca.org for directions to the venue. Feel free to bring snacks to share.

Synopsis: Two mothers and their teenage daughters, whose lives collide in a fatal car crash, take turns narrating Ellen Urbani’s breathtaking novel, Landfall, set in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Eighteen-year-olds Rose and Rosebud have never met but they share a birth year, a name, and a bloody pair of sneakers. Rose’s quest to atone for the accident that kills Rosebud, a young woman so much like herself but for the color of her skin, unfolds alongside Rosebud’s battle to survive the devastating flooding in the Lower Ninth Ward and to find help for her unstable mother. These unforgettable characters give voice to the dead of the storm and, in a stunning twist, demonstrate how what we think we know can make us blind to what matters most.

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