Sunday, August 14, 2016

WOW Book Club - August 2016 - Last Book Club of 2016!

Hi everyone!

Our last book club of 2016 will be reading Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, with a story based in Ghana.

Here's a Book Summary:

A novel of breathtaking sweep and emotional power that traces three hundred years in Ghana and along the way also becomes a truly great American novel. Extraordinary for its exquisite language, its implacable sorrow, its soaring beauty, and for its monumental portrait of the forces that shape families and nations, Homegoing heralds the arrival of a major new voice in contemporary fiction.

Two half-sisters, Effia and Esi, are born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and lives in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle. Unbeknownst to Effia, her sister, Esi, is imprisoned beneath her in the castle’s dungeons, sold with thousands of others into the Gold Coast’s booming slave trade, and shipped off to America, where her children and grandchildren will be raised in slavery. One thread of Homegoing follows Effia’s descendants through centuries of warfare in Ghana, as the Fante and Asante nations wrestle with the slave trade and British colonization. The other thread follows Esi and her children into America. From the plantations of the South to the Civil War and the Great Migration, from the coal mines of Pratt City, Alabama, to the jazz clubs and dope houses of twentieth-century Harlem, right up through the present day, Homegoing makes history visceral, and captures, with singular and stunning immediacy, how the memory of captivity came to be inscribed in the soul of a nation.

We'll be meeting at Hotel Rex at 4pm - let's have some drinks to celebrate to 9 years of book club reading!

Monday, July 4, 2016

July 2016 - The White Mary

Excited to read a book that has a setting in Papua New Guinea. Pick up "The White Mary" by Kira Salak, and we'll discuss this story in July!
Here's a Book Summary:
Marika Vecera, an accomplished war reporter, has dedicated her life to helping the world’s oppressed and forgotten. When not on one of her dangerous assignments, she lives in Boston, exploring a new relationship with Seb, a psychologist who offers her glimpses of a better world.
Returning from a harrowing assignment in the Congo where she was kidnapped by rebel soldiers, Marika learns that a man she has always admired from afar, Pulitzer-winning war correspondent Robert Lewis, has committed suicide. Stunned, she abandons her magazine work to write Lewis’s biography, settling down with Seb as their intimacy grows. But when Marika finds a curious letter from a missionary claiming to have seen Lewis in the remote jungle of Papua New Guinea, she has to wonder, What if Lewis isn’t dead?
We will be meeting in near the Downtown Berkeley BART at Au Coquelet Cafe on Sunday July 24 at 4pm (yes, 4pm) :)

Friday, May 27, 2016

June 2016 - The Sweetness of Tears

Hi everyone!

In June we will be reading the book "The Sweetness of Tears" by Nafisi Haji. Nafisa Haji is an American of Indo-Pakistani descent. She was born and mostly raised in Los Angeles—-mostly, because there were years also spent in Chicago, Karachi, Manila, and London.

Here's a Book Summary:

From Nafisa Haji, author of the critically acclaimed novel, The Writing on My Forehead, comes The Sweetness of Tears, an emotional, deeply layered story that explores the far reaching effects of cultural prejudice, forbidden love, and hidden histories on a young woman and her family.

A paperback original from a superb writer whose first novel was enthusiastically praised by Khaled Hosseini, bestselling author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, Haji, an American of Indo-Pakistani descent, writes with grace, heart, and wisdom about the collisions of culture and religion, tradition and modernity played out through individual lives.

We will be meeting in the Marina district at Union Street Coffee Roastery on Sunday June 12 at 4pm (different time than usual) to discuss!

Monday, May 9, 2016

May 2016 - Compañeras: Zapatist Women's Stories

Hi everyone!

Excited to read a book about indigenous women in Mexico through "Compañeras: Zapatista Women's Stories" by Hilary Klein.

Here's a Book Summary:

Guerrilla insurgents. Political leaders. Promoters of health and education. Members of economic cooperatives. These are just some of the prominent, everyday roles held by women in the Zapatista autonomous region in Chiapas, where women’s participation has proved indispensable to the creation and maintenance of an alternative, democratic society.

Compañeras is the untold story of the women of the Zapatista movement, gathered by longtime community organizer Hilary Klein. The Zapatista women’s own recollections of their lives, struggles, and critical involvement bring to light the tremendous transformation of gender roles that has occurred in this culture of revolution, and are instructive for everyone committed to examining how existing grassroots alternatives to global capitalism can guide the way toward justice, equality, and democracy.

See you in Sugarlump on Sunday May 22!

Friday, March 11, 2016

April 2016 - ZAMI, A New Spelling of My Name

Hi everyone

Very excited to discuss a book this month by Audre Lorde! She was an American writer, radical feminist, womanist, lesbian, and civil rights activist. We'll be reading ZAMI, A New Spelling of my Name by Audre Lorde.

Here's the Book Summary
ZAMI is a fast-moving chronicle. From the author's vivid childhood memories in Harlem to her coming of age in the late 1950s, the nature of Audre Lorde's work is cyclical. It especially relates the linkage of women who have shaped her . . . Lorde brings into play her craft of lush description and characterization. It keeps unfolding page after page.

We will be meeting at the Mazarine Cafe in Financial District on Sunday April 17 at 2pm.

Next Books To Read: 
May: Compañeras Zapatistas Women Stories by Hilary Klein

Thursday, January 28, 2016

February 2016 - A Women in the Crossfire (Syria)

Very excited that this month we'll be reading a book that shares a personal account on Syria through the book "A Woman in the Crossfire; Diaries of the Syrian Revolution, "by Samar Yazbek.
Here's the Book Summary:
A well-known novelist and journalist from the coastal city of Jableh, Samar Yazbek witnessed the beginning four months of the uprising first-hand and actively participated in a variety of public actions and budding social movements. Throughout this period she kept a diary of personal reflections on, and observations of, this historic time. Because of the outspoken views she published in print and online, Yazbek quickly attracted the attention and fury of the regime, vicious rumours started to spread about her disloyalty to the homeland and the Alawite community to which she belongs.
The lyrical narrative describes her struggle to protect herself and her young daughter, even as her activism propels her into a horrifying labyrinth of insecurity after she is forced into living on the run and detained multiple times, excluded from the Alawite community and renounced by her family, her hometown and even her childhood friends. With rare empathy and journalistic prowess Samar Yazbek compiled oral testimonies from ordinary Syrians all over the country.
These diaries will inspire all those who read them, and challenge the world to look anew at the trials and tribulations of the Syrian uprising.
We'll be meeting in the West Portal neighborhood on Sunday February 28 at 2pm.
Next Books To read:
March: Zami, A new Spelling of my Name by Audre Lorde
April: Compañeras Zapatistas Women Stories by Hilary Klein

Sunday, January 3, 2016

January 2016 - The Beauty of Humanity Movement

Welcome 2016!
We are starting 2016 with a discussion on Vietname through the book "The Beauty of

Humanity Movement" by Camilla Gibb.
Here's a Book Summary:
Tu’ is a young tour guide working in Hanoi for a company called New Dawn. While he leads tourists through the city, including American vets on “war tours,” he starts to wonder what it is they are seeing of Vietnam–and what they miss entirely.
Maggie, who is Vietnamese by birth but has lived most her life in the U.S., has returned to her country of origin in search of clues to her dissident father’s disappearance during the war. Holding the story together is Old Man Hung, who has lived through decades of political upheaval and has still found a way to feed hope to his community of pondside dwellers.
This is a keenly observed and skillfully wrought novel about the reverberation of conflict through generations, the enduring legacy of art, and the redemption and renewal of long-lost love.
We will be discussing in the Russian Hill neighborhood on Sunday January 24 at 2pm.
Next Books to Read:
February: A woman in the crossfires: Diaries of the Syrian Revolution by Samar Yazbek
March: Zami, A new Spelling of my Name by Audre Lorde
April: Compañeras Zapatistas Women Stories by Hilary Klein