May 2018 Book Club Selection

Also note: Our Book Selection Survey for 2019 is open through 8:00 pm on Tuesday, May 15, 2018!

The Brightest Sun
Benson, Adrienne*: The Brightest Sun (2018)

* RPCV Nepal (1992-1994)

Discussion: Thursday, May 17, 2018, 7:00-8:30 pm. Location at the home of Carole Beauclerk, 1500 SW Park Ave in Portland. Participating in our discussion will be Adrienne Benson, the book’s author. 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. Feel free to bring snacks to share.

Synopsis: Leona, an isolated American anthropologist, births a baby girl in a remote Maasai village and must decide how she can be a mother, in spite of her own grim childhood. Jane, a lonely expat wife, follows her husband to the tropics and learns just how fragile life is. Simi, a barren Maasai woman, must confront her infertility in a society in which females are valued by their reproductive roles. In this affecting debut novel, three very different women grapple with motherhood, recalibrate their identities, and confront unforeseen tragedies and triumphs. In beautiful, evocative prose, Adrienne Benson brings to life the striking Kenyan terrain as these women’s lives intertwine in unexpected ways. As they face their own challenges and heartbreaks, they find strength traversing the arid landscapes of tenuous human connection. With gripping poignancy, The Brightest Sun explores the heartbreak of loss, the struggle to find a sense of belonging, and the surprising ways we find our family and home.

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

January 2017 Book Club Selection

Unbowed
Maathai, Wangari*: Unbowed: A Memoir (2006)

* 2004 Nobel Peace Prize

Discussion: Monday, January 16, 2017, 6:30-8:00 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: © Publishers Weekly: Maathai, a 2004 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, presents a matter-of-fact account of her rather exceptional life in Kenya. Born in 1940, Matthai attended primary school at a time when Kenyan girls were not educated; went on to earn a Ph.D. and became head of the Department of Veterinary Anatomy at the University of Nairobi before founding Kenya’s Green Belt Movement in 1977, which mobilized thousands of women to plant trees in an effort to restore the country’s indigenous forests. Because Kenya’s environmental degradation was largely due to the policies of a corrupt government, she then made the Green Belt Movement part of a broader campaign for democracy. Maathai endured personal attacks by the ruling powers-President Moi denounced her as a “wayward” woman-and engaged in political activities that landed her in jail several times. When a new government came into power in 2002, she was elected to Parliament and appointed assistant minister in the Ministry for Environment and Natural Resources. Despite workmanlike prose, this memoir (after The Green Belt Movement) documents the remarkable achievements of an influential environmentalist and activist.

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