Monday, October 1, 2012

MRBC: October Update

I don't often talk about my bookclub, Mocha Readers on this site.  But I thought it would be interesting to at least do one update a month on what we are reading.

I founded Mocha Readers (MR)  almost a year ago (last November).  My main reason was because it was really hard to find people in Miami that were interested in reading.  Also, because the only other book club that I could find was held on a Weekday evening which was hard for me to get to.

I am in charge of "selecting" the books.  Basically, the task fell into my lap because it was hard to get suggestion from other members.  I decided to  have the group vote on a list of books that shared a common "theme" every month.

The Theme this month was Georgia, either stories set in Georgia or written by Georgian authors.

Runners Up:

Youngblood by John Oliver Killens

John Oliver Killens's landmark novel of social protest chronicles the lives of the Youngblood family and their friends in Crossroads, Georgia, from the turn of the century to the Great Depression. Its large cast of powerfully affecting characters includes Joe Youngblood, a tragic figure of heroic physical strength; Laurie Lee, his beautiful and strong-willed wife; Richard Myles, a young high school teacher from New York; and Robby, the Youngbloods' son, who takes the large risk of becoming involved in the labor movement.

I Wish I Had a Red Dress by Pearl Cleage

Since Joyce Mitchell was widowed five years ago, she's kept herself occupied by running the Sewing Circus, an all-girl group she founded to provide badly needed services to young women at risk, many of whom are single mothers. But some nights, home alone, she has to admit that something is missing. And soon she may not even have the Sewing Circus to fill up her life, as the state legislature has decided not to fund the group.
Feeling defeated and pessimistic, Joyce reluctantly agrees to dinner at the home of her best friend, Sister, and finds not only a perfect meal but a tall, dark stranger named Nate Anderson. His unexpected presence touches a chord in Joyce that she thought her heart had forgotten how to play.
Suddenly, Joyce feels ready to grab a sexy red dress and the life that goes with it . . . if she can keep her girls safe from the forces--useless boyfriends and government agencies--alike against them.


Flight of the Blackbird by Faye McDonald Smith

In her remarkable debut novel, Faye McDonald Smith gives us a portrait of American family life in the nineties that is at once startlingly realistic and superbly entertaining. In it we meet the Burkes, an upwardly mobile, attractive, near-perfect family made up of Mel, an accomplished Atlanta executive who is beloved by her friends and family; her husband Builder, a hard working entrepreneur who is also a loving husband and a wonderful father; and their twelve-year-old daughter, Sasha, an only child who is an excellent student, popular and happy. All appears well in this African-American household, whose inhabitants have pretty much achieved the American dream. But one day Mel walks into her boss's office at the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and by the time she walks out again everything has changed; she is told that the office is being downsized and that her position will be eliminated. This event triggers a downward spiral in the life of the Burke family and it soon seems that the foundation upon which their American dream has been built is not very solid. Mel and Builder begin to question everything about their heretofore seemingly idyllic lives and it is on this journey that we accompany them.

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