Book Club will meet at 12:30 p.m. in the conference room of the Christian Church of Arlington Heights, 333 West Thomas Street, Arlington Heights. Those attending should take lunches to eat. Kay Belt, founder of the Church Book Club will serve as discussion leader.
Book Club for October was “A Gentleman In Moscow,” by Amor Towles, a novel chosen by Kay Belt. The book weaves a story of Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov who was under house arrest at a Moscow Hotel. He was accused in the 1920’s by the Russian Revolutionary Court and sent to live in the hotel. If the Count left the hotel, he would be shot. He observes the revolution from his hotel balcony view of life. He is tortured by his imprisonment for being an aristocrat and being a son of Royalty. His sister was murdered as well as many in this family. Family properties were taken by the Russian Revolutionaries. He had only a few possessions to take with him. He can read. He became a fixture at the hotel’s restaurants, but the revolution removed flowers, labels from wine bottles and things not needed for everyday comforts.
This author also wrote “Rules of Civility,” a novel about New York society in the 1920s.
Book Club for September read “The Source” by James Michener. The novel parallels an archeological dig in Israel to the history of humans on earth and belief in God. I suggested the novel. It is one of the first historical novels made successful by Michener. It tracks the origins of cave men, how humans moved out of the caves, their religious sacrifices, Judaism and Christianity. It was first written decades ago. Because of it relevance for today’s reader, it has been reprinted into paperback with a forward by Dave Barry.
Book Club for August read “Water for Elephants,” a best-selling novel by Sara Gruen. I was not able to attend, but I understand the discussion was great.
Book Club Rules — Club will meet at 12:30 p.m. on the third Friday of the month at the Christian Church of Arlington Heights. Kay Belt serves as discussion leader. All are welcome whether we’ve read the book or not. We take lunches to the discussions in the Conference Room at the Christian Church of Arlington Heights, 333 W. Thomas, Arlington Heights, IL – 847-259-0059. Each person attending writes book suggestions on slips of paper, which are drawn from a basket at the end of each meeting.
July’s Book Club was “this is how it always is,” a novel by Laurie Frankel. The book chronicled a family with five sons, one of whom loved pink and wearing dresses and playing with dolls. The mother is a doctor and the father a stay-at-home writer. They move across the United States and to other countries to find a home with acceptance for their son.
For June, Book Club read “The Little Paris Bookshop” by Nina George. The book was chosen by John Herron who drew the selection placed on “suggestion slips”. The book generated much discussion about the many kinds of love. It is a beautiful and complicated novel set in present day France. The Bookshop is on a floating barge and is operated by an eccentric book seller and taken from Paris to the Loire Valley.
Book Club for May 2019 read, “Just Mercy: a Story of Justice and Redemption,” by Bryan Stevenson. Stevenson is an attorney trying to defend men sentenced to death row. He identifies the wrongs done by authorities wanting a quick win, especially if the man has little or no money. It is a powerful book. We were joined by John Herron who added depth to the discussion. There is an ability to financially support the work of the attorneys for mostly men on death row.
Book Club met on April 2019’s Good Friday — and discussed “The 100-year-old man who climbed out the window and disappeared,” a novel by Jonas Jonasson, a Swedish writer. Kay Belt led the discussion; others attending included Coleen Schumm, Peg Zimmerman, Sue Minarik (who recommended the book) and me.
March 2019’s Book Club read “the curious incident of the dog in the night-time”, a novel by Mark Haddon, suggested by me. Discussion was lively because it was written to better understand someone with autism. It tells of a British family and how each person in the novel relates to the autistic boy
This is one book I read twice because I didn’t get it the first time.
February 2019 we read “Skeletons at the Feast,” a novel by Chris Bohjalain. Book was suggested by Judi Frost, past member at our Christian Church of Arlington Heights.
Kay Belt, a friend and long-time member and elder of the Christian Church, began Book Club a few years ago. Kay’s mission — read good books, discuss them over lunch, and learn insights about literature and each other. Kay serves as discussion leader.
January’s first book for 2019 was “Educated”, a memoir by Tara Westover. Over lunches we discussed how a woman raised in a survivalist family survived illnesses, car crashes and never going to a doctor to become a professor.
Book Club skipped December’s 2018 meeting —
in November 2018 we read “The Tea Girl from Humming Bird Lane,” by Lisa See, novel about a girl and her family growing up in China. It tracks experiences in a closed Chinese society with spies and ruthless leaders.
Book Club skipped October 2018’s meeting —
For September 2018 we read “Glory Over Everything,” a sequel to our August book, “The Kitchen House,” both novels are by Kathleen Grissom and show the lives of plantation slaves and owners.
Book Club for August 2018 read “The Kitchen House,” a novel by Kathleen Grissom.
Book Club for July 2018 read “A Man Called Ove,” by Fredrik Backman. We were joined by Carol Nelson who is on summer break from her job at school. This was a book recommended by our church’s administrative assistant, Sue Minarik.
We met in June 2018 to discuss “Killers of the Flower Moon” by David Grann. It tells about the murders of the Osage Indians in Oklahoma and the birth of the FBI. It was my choice for this month, and a real page turner. It cornicles how the Federal government with its treaties worked to rid fertile farm land of Indians. It brought in homesteaders and white settlers to replace tribes. The Osage tribe was given “worthless” land in Oklahoma, but deposits of oil were eventually discovered, making them wealthy. Then the Osage Indians living where oil was found began to be murdered. This book is important to my family because my Father’s first wife was Cherokee and French and he had a daughter and son, my half-sister and half-brother who would have gone to Indian School, but my father objected and wouldn’t send them away.
May 2018’s book was “Maximum Security Book Club”, by Mikita Brottman. It tells about the time the author taught a literature class at a maximum security prison. The group felt some of the literary choices the author chose were advanced in terms of being too literary for the men she taught. But it also told of the lives of men locked away for serious crimes and their knowledge they would not get released soon.
April 2018’s Book Club read “Books for Living,” by Will Schwalbe. This is a continuation of his previous work, “End of life Book Club,” which had given the group lots to discuss.
March 2018’s book club was skipped because of Lent –
February 2018’s book was “Suffragette: My Own Story,” by Emmeline Pankhurst, an English suffragette who demonstrated to get laws passed allowing women the vote in England. United Stated suffragettes were also ridiculed and imprisoned. Voting rights for US women had to be an Amendment to the Constitution, which is approved by a majority of voters in each state in the union. US suffragettes knew laws could be overturned, but not Amendments to the Constitution. US is a representative democracy where laws of self governance differ from England. England has a parliament, prime minister and king or queen. The US is a true democracy where every office is elected, up and down the ballot.
Book Club met on January 19, 2018, having read “Grace Without God” by Katherine Ozment. Joan Froelich recommended the book. Ozment does not believe in God. She names herself God and like Moses invents her own 10 Commandments. She then gives herself and her children Grace. She could just attend CCAH – we seek God with abundant love, but she only went to witch covens and alternative gatherings.
December 2017’s group was skipped due to members being busy during Advent –
November 2017’s Book was “Expecting Adam” by Martha Beck. It is about a difficult pregnancy and the unique son who was born with Downs Syndrome. She was a professor and debated having and abortion but decided to deliver her son, Adam, who became a blessing to people he met.
Book Club for October 2017 got a jump on Advent by reading “Wishin’ & Hopin’,” by Wally Lamb – a Christmas Best Seller. During the discussion it was a trip down memory lane for us and the family Lamb wrote about.
September 2017’s book was “Small, Great Things” – by Jodi Picoult. “Small, Great Things” tells the story of a hospital delivery nurse accused of murdering a newborn in her care. She is African American and the father of the newborn is a member of a white-supremacist group.
Book Club for August 2017 meeting was skipped –
Book Club for July 2017 read – “Trials of the Earth: The true Story of a Pioneer Woman” by Mary Hamilton.
Book for June 2017 was “Inside the O’Briens” by Lisa Genova. The novel was recommended by Lisa Edwards and Coleen Schumm. It tells the story of a family of a police officer as they face the illness of the officer. This is the second Genova book read this year.
May 2017’s book was “The Book of Unknown Americans” by Christina Henriquez. This was an All-Arlington-Heights-reads-it book; and was recommended by Jack Sturgeon.
In April 2017 we read, “Still Alice” by Lisa Genova about a woman with Alzheimer’s Disease. The book was suggested by me and Coleen Schumm for its portrayal of a college professor with early onset Alzheimer’s.
In March 2017 we read “The Paris Architect” by Charles Belfoure. It was recommended as a “can’t put it down” by Sue Minarik, Christian Church’s Administrative Assistant.
February 2017 book was “Run” by Ann Patchett, a novel about a Boston family, its members, both adopted and born to the Boston Royalty.
January 2017 – We welcomed new pastor, Rev. Allison Lundblad who chose “Dreamers of the Day”, by Mary Doria Russell for January 20, 2017, the first Book Club choice for the new year. It was a fictional depiction of historical events in the Middle East.
Christian Church of Arlington Heights read Jim Wallis’ book, “America’s Original Sin”.
We joined other Disciple churches in the Region to use the Wallis book to discuss issues for unity in a beloved, but fractured country. Book discussion was led by Rev. Allison Lundblad and Ken Nelson. Beginning February 26 and every 2 weeks we met in the Church Conference Room after church. All were welcome to attend this on-going discussion.
I post this blog to help us remember great books we’ve read and to get comments from any who also have read them. The following is a list – from recent to older – of most of books read by the Christian Church Book Group. The Club was started in 2010.
“The Invention of Wings” – by Sue Monk Kidd. All the light We Cannot See – by Anthony Doerr • The Aviator’s Wife – by Melanie Benjamin • The Nightingale – by Kristen Hannah • The Piano Teacher – by Y. K. Lee
Orphan Train – by Christina Baker Kline • Behind the Beautiful Forevers – by Katherine Boo • The Midwives – by Chris Bohjalian • Same Kind of Different as Me – by Ron Hall • Nine Parts of Desire – by Geraldine Brooks • The Book Thief – by Markus Zusak • The Red Thread – by Ann Hood • An Invisible Thread – by Laura Schroff and Alex Tresniowski • Now You See Her – by James Patterson • Of Gods and Men • The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow – by Joyce Magnin
All Other Nights – by Dara Horn • Little Bee – by Chris Cleave • The Descendants – by Kaui Hart Hemmings • The Nineteenth Wife • Complications • Gilead – by Marilynne Robinson • Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter – by Tom Franklin • Cutting for Stone – by Abraham Verhgese • The Light Between Ocean’s – by M. L. Stedman • Gone Girl – by Gillian Flynn
Bel Canto – by Ann Patchett • The Stone Diaries – by Carol Shields • The Language of Flowers– by Vanessa Diffenbaugh • Loving Frank – by Nancy Horan • The Beginner’s Goodbye – by Anne Tyler • Zeitown • Rules of Civility by Amor Towles • Infidel -by Ayaan Hirsi Ali • Fare well My Queen by Chantal Thomas • The Fourth Turning – by William Strauss and Neil Howe
Interpreter of Maladies • The Year of Living Biblically • A fine Balance – by Rohinton Mistry • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society – by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows • The Known World • Professor and the Mad Man • Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – by Stieg LarssClub Rules –