Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Spiritual Beginning for 2009

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

We're starting our book club in 2009 with a more light, spiritual-oriented book: The Witch of Portobello by Paulo Coehlo.

Here's a book summary:

Best-selling fabulist Coelho continues to transform his trademark combination of mysticism and storytelling into spellbinding examinations of the human soul. In this deceptively simple novel, a bereaved lover attempts to chronicle, dissect, and comprehend the often-twisted path followed by Athena, otherwise known as the Witch of Portobello Road.

An orphaned Romanian gypsy, adopted as an infant by adoring Lebanese parents, Athena recognized and struggled with the power of her magical gifts at an early age. Spurred on by truths and passions inaccessible to most of her contemporaries, she traipsed around Europe and the Middle East in search of acceptance, enlightenment, and a truer path. Developing a cultlike following, she became the object of a modern-day witch hunt that seemingly culminated in tragedy.

Please join us on Sunday January 11 at 2pm at a local coffeeshop (Cup & Cake Cafe in Inner Richmond) in San Francisco for an inspiritional discussion!
Remember: you get a 15% discount at BookSmith, when you purchase your book and say you're a WOW Book Club member* - Support your local bookstore!

Getting to know Julia Alvarez

Hi everyone!

If you would like to listen to a great presentation of Julia Alvarez on her book "Saving the World" I recommend listening to a program that Julia Alvarez did for New York Pulic Library, found at

Also, the owner of our partner bookstore, BookSmith, interviewed Julia Alvarez last year last year as part of their LitMinds literary innovators interviews and shared us this link to enjoy reading the interview...

Happy Reading and Listening!

How do we save the world?

This was a wonderful discussion to end our last book club event of 2008!

This book provided a unique format to sharing two stories in one and we each shared which story attracted us more, Alma (the Dominican woman living in Vermont circa early 2000s) or Isabel (the Spanish rectoress who accompanied the orphaned children to the "New World" who were live carriers for the smallpox vaccine in the early 19th century).

We found parallels between the women as well as the male characters in both stories, where saving the world can be seen is different ways. It seems that with Alma and Isabel, saving the world started within themselves by figuring out their own life path and their own personal contribution to life in general. Whereas with the male charaters, Richard and Don Francisco, they are working towards saving the world, but does the ego and arrogance blinds them to forget the well intentions of doing something good in this world?

It was a great discussion and looking forward to more of them next year!