Saturday, August 1, 2015

August 2015: Island of a Thousand Mirrors

Happy Summer Time!
 
In August we'll be visitng Sri Lanka to discuss a book written by local Bay Area author Nayomi Munaweera called Island of a Thousand Mirrors.
 
Here's a Book Summary: 

 
Island of a Thousand Mirrors follows the fate of two families, one Tamil, one Sinhala as they straddle opposite sides of the long and brutal Sri Lankan civil war.
 
Narrated by the eldest daughter of each family, the story explores how each woman negotiates war, migration, love, exile, and belonging. At its root, it s a story of a fragmented nation struggling to find its way to a new beginning.
 
See you on Sunday August 16 at 2pm, at Crossroads Cafe in the SoMA area at Delancy and Brannan Street.
 
Next Book To Read:
September - Kabul Beauty School by Deborah Rodriguez

July 2015: Philida by Andre Brink

From a contemporary slave story, we're transitioning to another historical slave story based in South Africa. We are reading Philida by Andre Brink.
 
Here's a Book Summary:
 
Philida is the mother of four children by Francois Brink, the son of her master. The year is 1832 and the Cape is rife with rumours about the liberation of the slaves. Philida decides to risk her whole life by lodging a complaint against Francois, who has reneged on his promise to set her free.
 
His father has ordered him to marry a white woman from a prominent Cape Town family, and Philida will be sold on to owners in the harsh country up north. Unwilling to accept this fate, Philida continues to test the limits of her freedom, and with the Muslim slave Labyn she sets off on a journey across the great wilderness on the banks of the Gariep River, to the far north of Cape Town. Philida is an unforgettable story of one woman’s determination to survive and be free.
 
We're meeting in Oakland, near 19th Street BART (10min walk).
 
Next Books to Read:
 
August - Island of a thousand mirrors by Nayomi Munaweera
September - Kabul Beauty School by Deborah Rodriguez

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

June 2015 - Hidden Girl

We are doing a short turn around to over next book club discussion on the book "Hidden Girl: The True Story of a Modern-Day Child Slave" by Shyima Hall.

Here'as a Book Summary:

Shyima Hall was born in Egypt on September 29, 1989, the seventh child of desperately poor parents. When she was eight, her parents sold her into slavery. Shyima then moved two hours away to Egypt’s capitol city of Cairo to live with a wealthy family and serve them eighteen hours a day, seven days a week. When she was ten, her captors moved to Orange County, California, and smuggled Shyima with them. Two years later, an anonymous call from a neighbor brought about the end of Shyima’s servitude—but her journey to true freedom was far from over.

A volunteer at her local police department since she was a teenager, Shyima is passionate about helping to rescue others who are in bondage. Now a US citizen, she regularly speaks out about human trafficking and intends to one day become an immigration officer. In Hidden Girl, Shyima candidly reveals how she overcame her harrowing circumstances and brings vital awareness to a timely and relevant topic.

We will be meeting in the East Bay neighbourhood to a member's request. We will be meeting very close to the Rockridge BART station at the Bittersweet Cafe, 5427 College Avenue, Oakland on Sunday June 7th at 2pm.

NEXT BOOKS TO READ:

July - Philida by Andre Brink
August - Island of a thousand mirrors by Nayomi Munaweera
September - Kabul Beauty School by Deborah Rodriguez

May 2015 - The Queen of Katwe

Hi everyone! We are meeting on Sunday May 24 during Memorial Day weekend to discuss the book "The Queen of Katwe, A Story of Life, Chess and One Extraordinary Girl's Dream of becoming a Grandmaster" by Tim Crothers.

Here's a Book Summary:
PHIONA MUTESI sleeps in a decrepit shack with her mother and three siblings and struggles to find a single meal each day. Phiona has been out of school most of her life because her mother cannot afford it, so
she is only now learning to read and write. Phiona Mutesi is also one of the best chess players in the world. 


One day in 2005, while searching for food, nine-year-old Phiona followed her brother to a dusty veranda where she met Robert Katende, who had also grown up in the Kampala slums. Katende, a war refugee turned missionary, had an improbable dream: to empower kids through chess—a game so foreign there is no word for it in their native language. Laying a chessboard in the dirt of the Katwe slum, Robert painstakingly taught the game each day.
When he left at night, slum kids played on with bottlecaps on scraps of cardboard. At first they came for a free bowl of porridge, but many grew to love chess, a game that—like their daily lives—means persevering against great obstacles. Of these kids, one stood out as an immense talent: Phiona. 


By the age of eleven Phiona was her country’s junior champion and at fifteen, the national champion. In September 2010, she traveled to Siberia, a rare journey out of Katwe, to compete in the Chess Olympiad, the world’s most prestigious team-chess event.
Phiona’s dream is to one day become a Grandmaster, the most elite title in chess. But to reach that goal, she must grapple with everyday life in one of the world’s most unstable countries, a place where girls are taught to be mothers, not dreamers, and the threats of AIDS, kidnapping, and starvation loom over the people. 


Next Books to Read:
Sunday June 7 - Hidden Girl by Shyima Hall
July - Philida by Andre Brink
August - Island of Thousand Mirrors by Nayomi Munaweera
September - Kabul Beauty School by Deborah Rodriguez

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

April 2015 - Shanghai Girls

We are now reading another book from Lisa See called "Shanghai Girls."

Here's a Book Summary:

In 1937 Shanghai—the Paris of Asia—twenty-one-year-old Pearl Chin and her younger sister, May, are having the time of their lives. Both are beautiful, modern, and carefree—until the day their father tells them that he has gambled away their wealth. To repay his debts, he must sell the girls as wives to suitors who have traveled from Los Angeles to find Chinese brides. 

As Japanese bombs fall on their beloved city, Pearl and May set out on the journey of a lifetime, from the Chinese countryside to the shores of America. Though inseparable best friends, the sisters also harbor petty jealousies and rivalries. Along the way they make terrible sacrifices, face impossible choices, and confront a devastating, life-changing secret, but through it all the two heroines of this astounding new novel hold fast to who they are—Shanghai girls.

We will be meeting in the Hayes Valley Neighborhood at the Grove Hayes on Sunday April 12 at 2pm. We're back in San Francisco!

Next Books to Read:
May 2015 - The Queen of Katwe by Tim Crothers

Saturday, February 28, 2015

March 2015 - When the Ground Turn in its Sleep

Our next book discussion will be set in Guatemala through the book "When the Ground Turn it in its Sleep" by Sylvia Sellers-García. 

Here's the Book Summary:
Nítido Amán knows he was born in Guatemala, but he doesn't know where, or why his family left. Raised in the United States by his immigrant parents, he never asked them about his homeland as a child-and they never talked about it. When Nítido loses his father to Alzheimer's disease, his despondent mother grows increasingly silent. Realizing that his only links to the past are disappearing, he travels to Guatemala, against his mother's wishes, to see what he can uncover for himself.

He arrives in the tiny town of Río Roto, where he suspects his family came from, prepared to ask questions, and perhaps find work teaching there. But when he is mistaken for the new local priest, Nítido decides to play the part, thinking that the confessional confidences of the townspeople will prove more fruitful than ordinary conversation in leading him to the answers he seeks. What he finds in Río Roto, though, is a place shrouded in silence and secrets, a place that can neither escape nor give voice to the unnamed horrors it has survived. Nítido is at once determined and frightened to unearth these horrors-even as they force him to reevaluate his own haunted past. 

In elegant, hypnotic prose, Sylvia Sellers-García delivers a story of divergent cultures and
divided identities, of conflicts between generations and civilizations, of mourning, and, finally, of healing. When the Ground Turns in Its Sleep marks her arrival as a distinctive and powerful new voice.


Looking forward to meeting once again in Oakland, near the 12th Street BART station at the Awaken Cafe!

Next Book to Read:
April - Shanghai Girls - Lisa See

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

February 2015 - Finding Nouf

Hi everyone! We are going to try something different and meet in the East Bay, near 19th Street Bart in Oakland at a cafe called Tierra Mía. We are also meeting an hour later at 3pm. We will be discussing the book Finding Nouf by Zoe Ferraris.

Here's a Book Summary:

In a blazing hot desert in Saudi Arabia, a search party is dispatched to find a missing young woman. Thus begins a novel that offers rare insight into the inner workings of a country in which women must wear the abaya in public or risk denunciation by the religious police; where ancient beliefs, taboos, and customs frequently clash with a fast-moving, technology-driven modern world.

The missing woman is Nouf Shrawi, one of several sheltered teenaged daughters of a powerful local family. Hired to track her and her potential abductor is Nayir, a solitary, pious desert guide of dubious origin, and a friend of the family. As Nayir uncovers clues that only serve to deepen the mystery behind Nouf's disappearance, he teams up with Katya, a liberated Saudi woman who is engaged to one of Nouf's brothers.

In a land of prayers, purity, and patriarchy, the dreams of mere mortals often go unrealized, and the consequences of misbehavior for both men and women are disastrous. The final revelation of the truth forces Nayir to confront his own attitudes about women and society and in his deepening relationship with Katya, to face up to his own long-denied yearnings for love and intimacy.

See you on Sunday February 15th (after Valentine's Day) at 3pm in Oakland at Tierra Mia Coffee, near 19th Street BART station.

Next Books to Read:
March: When the ground turn in its sleep by Sylvia Sellers-García
April: Shanghai Girls by Lisa See