Saturday, November 28, 2015

December 2015 - Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble and Coming of Age in the Bronx

We're celebrating the end of the year with a book based on true events and based in the US called "Random Family, Love, Drugs, Trouble and Coming of Age in the Bronx" by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc.
Here's a Book Summary:
In her extraordinary bestseller, Adrian Nicole LeBlanc immerses readers in the intricacies of the ghetto, revealing the true sagas lurking behind the headlines of gangsta glamour, gold-drenched drug dealers, and street-corner society. Focusing on two romances - Jessica's dizzying infatuation with a hugely successful young heroin dealer, Boy George, and Coco's first love with Jessica's little brother, Cesar - Random Family is the story of young people trying to outrun their destinies. Jessica and Boy George ride the wild adventure between riches and ruin, while Coco and Cesar stick closer to the street, all four caught in a precarious dance between survival and death. Friends get murdered; the DEA and FBI investigate Boy George; Cesar becomes a fugitive; Jessica and Coco endure homelessness, betrayal, the heartbreaking separation of prison, and, throughout it all, the insidious damage of poverty.
Charting the tumultuous cycle of the generations - as girls become mothers, boys become criminals, and hope struggles against deprivation - LeBlanc slips behind the cold statistics and sensationalism and comes back with a riveting, haunting, and true story.
We will be meeting at the Embarcadero on Sunday December 13 at 3pm - Please NOTE the Time CHANGE to one hour later than usual.
Next Books To Read in 2016:
Jan 2016 - The Beauty of Humanity Movement by Camilla Gibb
Others to stay tune for 2016
- CompaƱeras - Zapatistas Women Stories by Hilary Klein
- A Woman in the Crossfire Diaries of the Syrian Revolution by Samar Yazbik
- My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante, Ann Goldstein

Sunday, October 18, 2015

November 2015: Witness the Night

Very excited to read a novel set in India next. We will be discussing the book "Witness the Night" by Kishwar Desai on Sunday November 22.

Here's a Book Summary:
In a small town in the heart of India, a young girl is found tied to a bed inside a townhouse where 13 people lie dead. The girl is alive, but she has been beaten and abused. She is held in the local prison, awaiting interrogation for the murders she is believed by the local people to have committed.

We will be meeting in the Richmond neighborhood on Sunday November 22 at 2pm.

Next Books to Read:
December: Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc

Stay tune for books to read in 2016! 
  • The Beauty of Humanity Movement by Camilla Gibb 
  • CompaƱeras - Zapatistas Women Stories by Hilary Klein 
  • A Woman in the Crossfire Diaries of the Syrian Revolution by Samar Yazbik
  • Everything I never told you by Celest Ng 
  • My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante, Ann Goldstein

October 2015 - What Tears Us Apart

This month of October we'll be discussing the book "What Tears Us Apart" by Deborah Cloyed.
Here's a Book Summary:

Love lives in the most dangerous places of the heart
The real world. That's what Leda desperately seeks when she flees her life of privilege to travel to Kenya. She finds it at a boys' orphanage in the slums of Nairobi. What she doesn't expect is to fall for Ita, the charismatic and thoughtful man who gave up his dreams to offer children a haven in the midst of turmoil.
Their love should be enough for one another-it embodies the soul-deep connection both have always craved. But it is threatened by Ita's troubled childhood friend, Chege, a gang leader with whom he shares a complex history. As political unrest reaches a boiling point and the slum erupts in violence, Leda is attacked and forced to put her trust in Chege, the one person who otherwise inspires anything but.
In the aftermath of Leda's rescue, disturbing secrets are exposed, and Leda, Ita and Chege are each left grappling with their own regret and confusion. Their worlds upturned, they must now face the reality that sometimes the most treacherous threat is not the world outside, but the demons within.
We will be meeting on Sunday October 18 at 2pm in the Alamo Square neighborhood.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

WOW Book Club - September 2015

We are now going to Afghanistan through the view of an American woman in our September WOW book club discussion, with the book "Kabul Beauty School" by Deborah Rodriguez
Here's a Book Summary:

Soon after the fall of the Taliban, in 2001, Deborah Rodriguez went to Afghanistan as part of a group offering humanitarian aid to this war-torn nation. Surrounded by men and women whose skills–as doctors, nurses, and therapists–seemed eminently more practical than her own, Rodriguez, a hairdresser and mother of two from Michigan, despaired of being of any real use. Yet she soon found she had a gift for befriending Afghans, and once her profession became known she was eagerly sought out by Westerners desperate for a good haircut and by Afghan women, who have a long and proud tradition of running their own beauty salons. Thus an idea was born.
With the help of corporate and international sponsors, the Kabul Beauty School welcomed its first class in 2003. Well meaning but sometimes brazen, Rodriguez stumbled through language barriers, overstepped cultural customs, and constantly juggled the challenges of a postwar nation even as she learned how to empower her students to become their families’ breadwinners by learning the fundamentals of coloring techniques, haircutting, and makeup.
Yet within the small haven of the beauty school, the line between teacher and student quickly blurred as these vibrant women shared with Rodriguez their stories and their hearts: the newlywed who faked her virginity on her wedding night, the twelve-year-old bride sold into marriage to pay her family’s debts, the Taliban member’s wife who pursued her training despite her husband’s constant beatings. Through these and other stories, Rodriguez found the strength to leave her own unhealthy marriage and allow herself to love again, Afghan style.
We will be meeting on Sunday September 27 at 2pm in the Castro neighborhood at the Hearth Coffee Roasters.
Next Book to Read:

October - What tears us apart by Deborah Cloyed (Kenya)
November - Witness the Night by Kishwar Desai (India)
December - The Beauty of Humanity Movement by Camila Gibb (Vietnam)

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.


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