Sunday, August 24, 2014

September 2014: The Rent Collector

We will now be traveling to Cambodia to discuss the book "The Rent Collector" by Camron Wright. 

Here's a Book Summary:

Survival for Ki Lim and Sang Ly is a daily battle at Stung Meanchey, the largest municipal waste dump in all of Cambodia. They make their living scavenging recyclables from the trash. Life would be hard enough without the worry for their chronically ill child, Nisay, and the added expense of medicines that are not working. Just when things seem worst, Sang Ly learns a secret about the bad-tempered rent collector who comes demanding money - a secret that sets in motion a tide that will change the life of everyone it sweeps past. The Rent Collector is a story of hope, of one woman's journey to save her son and another woman's chance at redemption.

http://www.therentcollectorbook.com/about.htm
 
We will be meeting at Mojo Bicycle Cafe in NOPA neighborhood on Sunday September 14th at 2pm, cross street is Fulton. 

http://www.punchbowl.com/parties/c0d51ea80ce4013b25a1

Next books to read:

October - Americanah - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

August 2014: Ghana Must Go

***Apologies for not posting this on the blog on time****


We will focusing August on reading and discussing the book "Ghana Must Go" by Taiye Selasi, released in 2013.
Here's a Book Summary:

Kweku Sai is dead. A renowned surgeon and failed husband, he succumbs suddenly at dawn outside his home in suburban Accra. The news of Kweku’s death sends a ripple around the world, bringing together the family he abandoned years before. Ghana Must Go is their story. Electric, exhilarating, beautifully crafted, Ghana Must Go is a testament to the transformative power of unconditional love, from a debut novelist of extraordinary talent.

Moving with great elegance through time and place, Ghana Must Go charts the Sais’ circuitous journey to one another. In the wake of Kweku’s death, his children gather in Ghana at their enigmatic mother’s new home. The eldest son and his wife; the mysterious, beautiful twins; the baby sister, now a young woman: each carries secrets of his own. What is revealed in their coming together is the story of how they came apart: the hearts broken, the lies told, the crimes committed in the name of love. Splintered, alone, each navigates his pain, believing that what has been lost can never be recovered—until, in Ghana, a new way forward, a new family, begins to emerge.

Ghana Must Go is at once a portrait of a modern family, and an exploration of the importance of where we come from to who we are. In a sweeping narrative that takes us from Accra to Lagos to London to New York, Ghana Must Go teaches that the truths we speak can heal the wounds we hide.
We will be meeting in the Mission neighborhood at the Atlas Cafe (between Alabama and Florida Street) on 20th Street. 

Next Books to Read:
September - The Rent Collector by Camron Wright
October - Americanah - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Thursday, July 3, 2014

July 2014 - Across Many Mountains by Yangzom Brauen

We are now heading over to Tibet in the month of July with a discussion of "Across Many Mountains: A Tibetan Family's Epic Journey from Oppression to Freedom" by Yangzom Brauen. 

Here's a Book Summary:
A powerful, emotional memoir and an extraordinary portrait of three generations of Tibetan women whose lives are forever changed when Chairman Mao’s Red Army crushes Tibetan independence, sending a young mother and her six-year-old daughter on a treacherous journey across the snowy Himalayas toward freedom.

Kunsang thought she would never leave Tibet. One of the country's youngest Buddhist nuns, she grew up in a remote mountain village where, as a teenager, she entered the local nunnery. Though simple, Kunsang's life gave her all she needed: a oneness with nature and a sense of the spiritual in all things. She married a monk, had two children, and lived in peace and prayer. But not for long. The Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1950 changed everything. When soldiers arrived at her mountain monastery, destroying everything in their path, Kunsang and her family fled across the Himalayas only to spend years in Indian refugee camps. She lost both her husband and her youngest child on that journey, but the future held an extraordinary turn of events that would forever change her life--the arrival in the refugee camps of a cultured young Swiss man long fascinated with Tibet. Martin Brauen will fall instantly in love with Kunsang's young daughter, Sonam, eventually winning her heart and hand, and taking mother and daughter with him to Switzerland, where Yangzom will be born.

Many stories lie hidden until the right person arrives to tell them. In rescuing the story of her now 90-year-old inspirational grandmother and her mother, Yangzom Brauen has given us a book full of love, courage, and triumph, as well as allowing us a rare and vivid glimpse of life in rural Tibet before the arrival of the Chinese. Most importantly, though, ACROSS MANY MOUNTAINS is a testament to three strong, determined women who are linked by an unbreakable family bond.


We will be meeting in the Hayes Valley neighborhood at the Arlequin Cafe on Sunday July 20 at 2pm.

Next Books to Read:

August - Ghana must Go by Taiye Selasi

September - The Rent Collector by Camron Wright

Thursday, May 29, 2014

June 2014: Mayada, Daughter of Iraq

Hi everyone!
Let's travel to Iraq and discuss the book "Mayada, Daughter of Iraq: One Woman's Survival under Saddam Hussein" by Jean Sasson.
Here's a book summary:
A member of one of the most distinguished and honored families in Iraq, Mayada grew up surrounded by wealth and royalty. But when Saddam Hussein’s regime took power, she was thrown into cell 52 in the infamous Baladiyat prison with seventeen other nameless, faceless women from all walks of life. To ease their suffering, these “shadow women” passed each day by sharing their life stories.
Now, through Jean Sasson, Mayada is finally able to tell her story—and theirs—to the world.
We will be discussing this book on Sunday June 22 at 2pm in the Castro neighborhood.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

May 2014 WOW Book Club: The Memory of Love

Hi everyone!

We are now traveling to Freetown, Sierra Leone through the book "The Memory of Love" by Aminatta Forna.

Here's a Book Summary:

Since its publication in hardcover, Aminatta Forna’s The Memory of Love has been hailed as a book of rare beauty and importance, and has been shortlisted for the 2011 Orange Prize for Fiction and selected for the January 2011 Indie Next List. With astounding depth and elegance, it takes the reader through the haunting atmosphere of a country at war, delicately intertwining the powerful stories of two generations.

In contemporary Freetown, a devastating civil war has left an entire populace with secrets to keep. In the capital hospital Kai, a gifted young surgeon is plagued by demons that are beginning to threaten his livelihood. Elsewhere in the hospital lies Elias Cole, a man who has stories to tell from the country’s turbulent postcolonial years that are far from heroic. As past and present intersect, Kai and Elias are drawn unwittingly closer by Adrian, a British psychiatrist with good intentions, and into the path of one woman at the center of their stories.

We will be meeting in the SoMA area, near Market street at The Roastery on Saturday May 10 at 1pm (DATE AND TIME DIFFERS FROM USUAL TIME).

Next Book to Read:
June - Mayada, Daughter of Iraq by Jean Sasson

Sunday, March 16, 2014

April 2014: Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo

Hi everyone!
 
Due to Easter holidays, our next book club discussion will be Sunday April 13, and we'll be sharing perspectives on "Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity" by Katherine Boo

Here's a Book Summary:

From Pulitzer Prize-winner Katherine Boo, a landmark work of narrative nonfiction that tells the dramatic and sometimes heartbreaking story of families striving toward a better life in one of the twenty-first century’s great, unequal cities.

Annawadi is a makeshift settlement in the shadow of luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport, and as India starts to prosper, Annawadians are electric with hope. Abdul, a reflective and enterprising Muslim teenager, sees “a fortune beyond counting“ in the recyclable garbage that richer people throw away. Asha, a woman of formidable wit and deep scars from a childhood in rural poverty, has identified an alternate route to the middle class: political corruption. With a little luck, her sensitive, beautiful daughter—Annawadi’s “most-everything girl“—will soon become its first female college graduate. 

Please join us on Sunday April 13 at 2pm, in the Financial District of San Francisco at the Station SF coffee shop.

Next Books to Read:
May: The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna
June: Mayada, Daughter of Iraq by Jean Sasson

Saturday, February 8, 2014

March 2014: The Siege by Helen Dunmore

Hi everyone!
Apologies for having to skip February!
Nevertheless, we will meet on Sunday March 9th to read our next book "The Siege" by Helen Dumnore, about Leningrad.

Here's a Book Summary:

The Siege is Helen Dunmore's masterpiece. Her canvas is monumental -- the Nazis' 1941 winter siege on Leningrad that killed six hundred thousand -- but her focus is heartrendingly intimate. One family, the Levins, fights to stay alive in their small apartment, held together by the unlikely courage and resourcefulness of twenty-two-year-old Anna. Though she dreams of an artist's life, she must instead forage for food in the ever more desperate city and watch her little brother grow cruelly thin. Their father, a blacklisted writer who once advocated a robust life of the mind, withers in spirit and body.

At such brutal times everything is tested. And yet Dunmore's inspiring story shows that even then, the triumph of the human heart is that love need not fall away. Amid the turmoil of the siege, the unimaginable happens -- two people enter the Levins' frozen home and bring a kind of romance where before there was only bare survival. A sensitive young doctor becomes Anna's devoted partner, and her father is allowed a transcendent final episode with a mysterious woman from his past. 

We will be meeting in the Castro neighborhood on Sunday March 9 at 2pm!

Next Books to Read:
Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo (India)
The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna
Mayada, Daughter of Iraq by Jean Sasson