In March, we're reading The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Phillip Sendker. "A poignant and inspirational love story set in Burma, it spans the decades between the 1950s and the present. When a successful New York lawyer suddenly disappears without a trace, neither his wife nor his daughter Julia has any idea where he might be...until they find a love letter he wrote many years ago, to a Burmese woman they have never heard of. Intent on solving the mystery and coming to terms with her father's past, Julia decides to travel to the village where the woman lived. There she uncovers a tale of unimaginable hardship, resilience, and passion that will reaffirm the reader's belief in the power of love to move mountains."
The first nonfiction book of the year is Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan. ""Aslan rips Jesus out of all the context we thought he belonged in and holds him forth as someone entirely new. This is Jesus as a passionate Jew, a violent revolutionary, a fanatical idealogue, an odd and scary and an extraordinarily interesting man."
Of course I volunteered to moderate the discussion of the only mystery on the list, Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express. "Just after midnight, a snowdrift stops the Orient Express in its tracks. The luxurious train is surprisingly full for the time of the year, but by the morning it is one passenger fewer. An American tycoon lies dead in his compartment stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside. Isolated and with a killer in their midst, detective Hercule Poirot must identify the murderer - in case he or she decides to strike again." It's also our summer potluck (called a pitch-in in Evansville), and our teen invitational meeting.
A couple of us are hoping to go to Kentucky to hear Jamie Ford in March. He's the author of our September book, Songs of Willow Frost. "Twelve-year-old William Eng, a Chinese American boy, has lived at Seattle's Sacred Heart Orphanage ever since his mother's listless body was carried away from their small apartment five years ago. On his birthday - or rather, the day the nuns designate as his birthday - William and the other orphans are taken to the historical Moore Theatre, where William glimpses an actress on the silver screen who goes by the name of Willow Frost. Struck by her features, William is convinced that the movie star is his mother, Liu Song. Shifting between the Great Depression and the 1920s, Songs of Willow Frost takes readers on an emotional journey of discovery. Jamie Ford's sweeping novel will resonate with anyone who has ever longed for the comforts of family and a place to call home."
Amanda Ripley's The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way relates the compelling stories of three American teenagers living abroad in the world's top-notch schools while an education expert explains how these systems cultivate the 'smartest kids' on the planet."
Again, we'll have dinner at a member's house in January and pick the next year's books. But, we've already picked the February 2015 book. It's Fannie Flagg's The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion . I've already reviewed it here, an enjoyable story of a woman who discovers there are secrets she didn't know about herself, secrets that go back to the 1940s and a family that owns a Phillips 66 filling station in Pulaski, Wisconsin.
Interesting list, isn't it? I've never heard of most of the nonfiction titles, but one reason to be in a book club is to read books I wouldn't normally read.