November 13, 2011

Let's Discuss 2012

There's a poll in one of the center column for 2012's classic read; please be sure to vote. Mari and I had discussed reading something by either Ernest Hemingway or John Steinbeck which is why you see the two of them featured. If you're interested in something else, shoot me a comment here.

Here's what I've got for 2012 so far:

For non-fiction, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloots. This one has earned universal praise for both its insight into the field of medical research and story of Ms. Lacks family.

As recommended by Mary Helen Stefaniak, Nicole Krauss' The History of Love

So Much For That by Lionel Shriver. Mari and I both thought Shriver's We Need To Talk About Kevin was amazing but I know that's a tough one to read. Still, she's a great writer so let's try this one.

And, in the hope that we can get Timothy to join us, Timothy Schaffert's The Little Coffins of Hope.

We can discuss these Tuesday. And please, please come with any recommendations! I want to make sure we're including everyone in choosing our books!

November 8, 2011


Wanted to make sure you had all seen the article in the Omaha World Herald titled "Cancer Pateint Shows Bravery In Blog" a week or so ago. Such a wonderful tribute to our friend! Even having read the entire blog, even having talked to Eleanor about so much of what she went through, I found myself reading the article with tears rolling down my face. At the end, I guarantee you will find yourself saying "Oh, yeah!"

November 6, 2011

An Evening With Mary Helen Stefaniak

Here we are on our best behavior - wouldn't it be nice to think that we had behaved so well the entire time Mary Helen was with us? Sadly...

Bruce probably found getting us to pose more like rounding up cats. So easy for us to be distracted!

What fun it was to have Mary Helen Stefaniak join us in October to discuss her book The Cailiffs of Baghdad, GA! Having heard Mary Helen speak twice at the Omaha Lit Fest and once at a book signing, I knew she'd make a great guest. When you ask Mary Helen a question, you get so much more than a one or two word answer! We spent as much of the evening discussing Stefaniak's writing process as we did discussing aspects of the book. The time Mary Helen spent as a young person visiting family living in the area that this book is set in inspired her to write a book about that part of Georgia and her own family gave her plenty of detail to add to her characters. But it was the bombing of Baghdad that really set her on her path. How, she wondered, could anyone risk destroying a part of the world that is the cradle of civilization? She became convinced that she wanted to write something that included the heritage of Baghdad. But how to tie it in with this family heritage she'd been wanting to write about? Along came Miss Spivey, the new teacher to Two Step, Georgia, who had traveled to Baghdad, Iraq and brought that part of the world straight into Georgia with her. Then the problem became finding a way to make everything realistic - happily, in doing research, Mary Helen discovered that there was, in fact, a link between the Middle East and the very area that her family had lived in.

Conversation between the Bookworms and Mary Helen wasn't limited to the book - we also learned a lot about the Ku Klux Klan from her and we talked about her family. As the World Series was in full swing, we also learned that she is a big fan of the St. Louis Cardinals, much to the delight of several of our members! Would we have her back again? Any time!