Category Archives: Club Business

November Meeting Brings Some Changes

Our October meeting didn’t come off, due to a misunderstanding about the changed date.  In November, though, after finding that several people had not read The Edge of Sadness, we had a searching discussion of what we wanted for the future, and how we wanted to proceed. We decided to revise our schedule a bit and institute a new format for our book discussions.  The suggestion was made and approved that for each book, a member would volunteer to lead, preparing a brief summary and a few possible discussion questions.  We’ll give this a try in the new year and see how we like it.

Our schedule for the next few months is as follows: December, a reading of another Dorothy Sayers radio play; January, a discussion of The Edge of Sadness by Edwin O’Connor; February, our anniversary celebration will be the viewing of a movie and follow-up discussion (movie not yet chosen); March, discussion of Left to Tell by Immaculee Ilibagiza.

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September Meeting and Catch-up

I missed the July meeting due to making an airport pickup: family visits! In August, though, we had a relaxed outdoor picnic, based on a French wine and cheese theme.  We took the opportunity to discuss some changes we might want to make, and I wrote down suggestions for more fiction, possible scripts, and some specifics from C. S. Lewis and Dorothy Day.  Another suggestion was that we decide on our books three months ahead instead of two, thus allowing more time for members to order books or wait for library copies to become available.

Because some members’ book orders had arrived late, we agreed to push the Ways of Imperfection through to October.

Our September meeting was held at Father Lawrence’s Glebe House, and we had the pleasure of the company of Father Tom, just before he left for his assisted-living facility.  Members had still had difficulty getting the reading done in Tugwell’s Ways of Imperfection, and I’m wondering if next year we might do better not having assigned reading during the summer months.  We can talk about that in the future.

We decided to plan our reading a little into the future, and these were the works we chose:

October, finish Ways of Imperfection

November, Edge of Sadness by Edwin O’Connor

December, one of the Dorothy Sayers radio plays on the life of Christ

January, Left to Tell by Immaculee Ilibagiza

February, as usual, a play for our anniversary party

March, some of G.K. Chesterton’s Father Brown stories, title to be decided.

One of the things we enjoyed talking about is that there are so many good books out there just waiting to be read!  We have lots of interesting reading and fellowship to look forward to!  After all, this is only our fifth year.

By the way, our OCTOBER meeting time is changed because of a conflict with the Thanksgiving feast.  We will meet on Saturday, October 12, at 7:30, at Father Lawrence’s house.  See you then!

The Blog is Back!

This blog hasn’t kept up, but the book club has enthusiastically continued to read, meet, and enjoy discussing books. We are adding new members and expanding our horizons as we have moved into some serious reading in church history.  We’re not getting bogged down, though, as we have included related historical fiction!

At our August meeting we had a wonderful time at our first-ever summer potluck dinner (thank you, M.R.), and sketched out some plans for our reading over the next few months.  Check out the Our Next Book link above to see the details.  At our September 10th meeting, we will need to set a different date for the October meeting, since our usual second Monday will fall on the Thanksgiving holiday, so please give some thought to what date would work with your calendar.

So, for September 10, be prepared to discuss Count Belisarius.  We’ll be meeting at Father Lawrence’s, 7:30 as usual.  See you there!

January Meeting, 2011

The  January meeting was our opportunity to discuss Jesus of Nazareth, Pope Benedict XVI’s bestseller.  Some people joined us specifically because they were interested to hear our discussion on the featured book, and we also welcomed a new member, Father John.  Two of our regular members were away travelling.

We spent some time at the beginning on planning for our second anniversary celebration in February, working out the menu for the potluck and planning the dramatic reading. 

Then we got down to our discussion.  Everyone had high praise for the book.  The general consensus was that, because it is so deep, reading small sections and then letting those thoughts and explanations sink in is the best approach.  Weaving together so many elements of the Scriptures to build his images of Christ, explicating parables, clarifying Jewish thought, referencing the works of other scholars of Scripture–these were some of the instances mentioned as people praised the pope’s efforts.  People agreed that it was a book which could be read over again with much benefit, and several expressed enthusiasm for the following volume due to be published this spring.

We finished with a vote on our favourite book of 2010, and Silence by Shusaku Endo was the winner, with second place going to John Henry Newman: His Inner Life.

Good Book, Great Saint, Great Dessert

Our November meeting gave us a chance to talk about how glad we are to have come to know more about Blessed John Henry Newman from our current book, and how impressed we have been with his holiness.  He gave up so much to convert from Anglicanism to Catholicism–family, friends, reputation, income, occupation, and personal comfort, but he did it with joy, relying completely on God.  He is, or will be when officially declared, a modern saint, one for our own time.

Moving from the subject to the book itself, one member declared that the author, Zeno, takes it very easy on members of the Catholic clergy who were distrustful of Newman and caused a great deal of trouble, particularly Cardinal Manning and Father Faber.  In her opinion, Zeno tends to whitewash them, declaring that they acted in good faith and therefore were not at fault for the miseries, hardships, and misunderstandings they caused.  She feels that a truer picture is given by Meriol Trevor in her classic two-volume biography of Newman.  Another member, however, felt that the particular focus of Zeno’s book, Newman’s inner life, was exactly what he was looking for and gave him the insight into Newman’s character that he valued.

We adjourned for tea and the dessert brought by ‘bookgetaway’, which was a great hit, prompting seconds (and maybe some thirds), as well as a request for the recipe.  Over our goodies we demonstrated to contributing members how to post to this blog, and discussed what book we would like to read for our January meeting.  Our decision was Jesus of Nazareth by Pope Benedict XVI.  We are eager to read the Pope’s insights into Scripture and into theological as well as historical studies of Jesus.  Since the Pope has been working on a second volume to this work, it seems that this will be a good time for us to become familiar with this initial work.

We look forward to discussing Flannery O’Connor‘s Wise Blood on December 13, our next meeting.

October Meeting

The discussion of this month’s book, John Henry Newman: His Inner Life, was lively and the atmosphere sparked with strong views of this character, Blessed Newman.  All agreed, however, that his overriding goal in life was to do the will of God, come what may, which led him down unexpected paths.    His remarkable giftedness and keen sensitivity has often led Blessed Newman to be misunderstood, both during his life, by friend and foe, and down to our own time.  Since this month’s gathering covered only the first seven chapters of the book, we can hardly wait for the discussion of the second half of the book at the November 8th gathering of the “Getaways”.

  At the meetflannery-oconnor-self-portraiting, members, again after lively banter, tea, and chocolates, lighted upon the Flannery O’Connor novel, Wise Blood, for the December 13th gathering.   Since most of the books we have read have been non-fiction, it was time to tackle a novel.  Flannery O’Connor was born in 1925 in Savannah, Georgia.  She was  a devout Catholic her whole life and died at the age of 39 of lupus.  As a Christian writer, her work is message-oriented, yet she is far too brilliant a stylist to tip her hand; like all good writers, crass didacticism is abhorrent to her. Nevertheless, she achieves what few Christian writers have ever achieved: a type of writing that stands up on both literary and the religious grounds, and succeeds in doing justice to both.  The novel Wise Blood can be read as a dark comedy, a philosophical novel,  and an unsual case study of heresy and redemption.  Although none of our members had read this novel, the synopsis and reviews of it promise to make it intriguing fodder for our December 13th getaway get-together.  Here are a couple  random reviews of the book:

“I was more impressed by Wise Blood than any novel I have read for a long time. Her picture of the world is literally terrifying. Kafka is almost the only one of our contemporaries who has achieved such effects. I have tremendous admiration for the work of this young writer.”—Caroline Gordon

“No other major American writer of our century has constructed a fictional world so energetically and forthrightly charged by religious investigation.”–Brad Leithauser, The New Yorker
Review

wise blood

Check Out the New Suggested Books Page

The  “Suggested Books” page has now been updated and has links for each book to Amazon.com.  My purpose in doing this was to make it easy for members to read summaries to help in deciding what our next book should be, and, of course, there are usually reader reviews as well, which could assist your decisions.  You will notice that I have also indicated which books are likely to be found in libraries.   It would be good if you could look the page over before our next meeting.

Just a reminder–our next meeting has been changed to Tuesday, October 12, because of the Canadian Thanksgiving holiday.  The time stays at 7:30.

Papal Visit to Beatify John Henry Newman

This site is providing 24/7 streaming coverage of Pope Benedict’s four-day visit to the UK.  I have found it of great interest, especially since we are now reading a biography of Newman.  It also has texts of his speeches during the visit, as well as those of relevant others, the Queen for one.  Enjoy!  http://www.thepapalvisit.org.uk

Working on “Suggested Books” Page

I’ve now put together a list of books that have been suggested by members at previous meetings.  Please check it over and let me know of any I may have left out.  I checked through my old notes from meetings, but it’s quite possible that I may have missed some suggestions, and I’d like the page to be as complete as possible. 

When we have our list together, a friend of the book club will help me format the page so that we can have links to book publishers and Amazon.com so that we can easily access descriptions and reviews.  This should make it easier for us to decide what book we’d like to read next.  And of course, if you come across other books you would like to recommend, I can add them as well.