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, 5:30-7:00 pm. Location at the home of Bill Stein, 4308 SE Lexington St in Portland, 503-830-0817. Note the earlier than usual time! This gathering will be a potluck dinner; please bring a dish to share.

Film to follow! In 2012 this 506 page book was turned into a 148 minute movie. After our discussion, all are welcome to stay to view the film, which will end at 9:30 p.m.

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

July 2016 Book Club Selection

Full Tilt
Murphy, Dervla: Full Tilt: Ireland to India with a Bicycle (1965)

Discussion: Tuesday, July 5, 2016, 6:30-8:00 pm. Location at the home of Jackie Spurlock, 4101 SW Hillsdale Ave in Portland, 503-827-4126. Feel free to bring snacks to share.

Review: © Publishers Weekly: Here is the first American appearance of a book by Irish travel writer Murphy. Originally published in 1965, it is the diary of her bicycle trek from Dunkirk, across Europe, through Iran and Afghanistan, over the Himalayas to Pakistan and India. Murphy’s immediate rapport with the people she alights among is vibrant and appealing and makes her travelogue unique. Venturing alone, accompanied only by her bicycle, which she dubs Rozthe indomitable Murphy not only survives daunting physical rigors but gleans considerable enjoyment in getting to know peoples who were then even more remote than they are now.

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

February 2015 Book Club Selection

Behind the Beautiful Forevers
Boo, Katherine: Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity* (2012)

* Winner of 2012 National Book Award for Nonfiction

Our discussion took place: February 2015

Review: © Booklist: While the distance between rich and poor is growing in the U.S., the gap between the haves and have-nots in India is staggering to behold. This first book by a New Yorker staff writer (and Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter for the Washington Post) jolts the reader’s consciousness with the opposing realities of poverty and wealth in a searing visit to the Annawaldi settlement, a flimflam slum that has recently sprung up in the western suburbs of the gigantic city of Mumbai, perched tentatively along the modern highway leading to the airport and almost within a stone’s throw of new, luxurious hotels. We first meet Abdul, whose daily grind is to collect trash and sell it; in doing so, he has “lifted his large family above subsistence.” Boo takes us all around the community, introducing us to a slew of disadvantaged individuals who, nevertheless, draw on their inner strength to not only face the dreary day but also ponder a day to come that will, perhaps, be a little brighter. Sympathetic yet objective and eloquently rendered.

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