NCJW Book Club

The NCJW Book Club meets usually on the second Monday of the month at the Gulf Gate Library from 1-2:30 p.m. Gulf Gate Library is located at 7112 Curtiss Avenue, Sarasota. Get directions »

We welcome new members to join us.

For further information please contact:
Susan Girese at gireseands@msn.com

BOOK CLUB 2019-20 SELECTIONS

LOCATION and TIME: GULF GATE LIBRARY 1-2:30

  • October 14, 2019: Women Rowing North by Mary Pipher
    review by Risa Marlan
  • November 4, 2019: The Last Man by PT Deuterman
    review by Michelle Rosenthal
  • December 9, 2019: Red Notice by Bill Browder
    review by Phyllis Elson
  • January 13, 2020: The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish
    review by Jeri Lipov
  • February 10, 2020: Ten Green Bottles by Vivian Jeanette Kaplan
    review by Susan Horwitz
  • March 9, 2020: Educated by Tara Westover
    review by Nancy Golden
  • April 13, 2020: A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline
    review by Deena Dell 
  • May 11, 2020: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
    review by Andrea Goff

GOODREADS BOOK REVIEWS
FOR 2019/20 SELECTIONS
 

Women Rowing North: Navigating Life’s Currents and Flourishing As We Age

by Mary Pipher
Women growing older contend with ageism, misogyny, and loss. Yet as Mary Pipher shows, most older women are deeply happy and filled with gratitude for the gifts of life. Their struggles help them grow into the authentic, empathetic, and wise people they have always wanted to be.

In Women Rowing North, Pipher offers a timely examination of the cultural and developmental issues women face as they age. Drawing on her own experience as daughter, sister, mother, grandmother, caregiver, clinical psychologist, and cultural anthropologist, she explores ways women can cultivate resilient responses to the challenges they face. “If we can keep our wits about us, think clearly, and manage our emotions skillfully,” Pipher writes, “we will experience a joyous time of our lives. If we have planned carefully and packed properly, if we have good maps and guides, the journey can be transcendent.”

The Last Man

by P.T. Deutermann
When a young Israeli woman suddenly goes missing, her boyfriend, an American nuclear engineer, suspects her disappearance is connected to her tantalizing theory about the haunting fortress of Masada. He decides to travel to Herod’s 2000 year old mountain fortress to see if her theory was right. There, he makes a discovery so astonishing that forces from the dark side of Israeli intelligence begin to converge on him to deflect his pursuit of the truth by any means necessary. With the aid of a beautiful Israeli archaeologist, he struggles to bring to light the treasures he believes are concealed in the mountain, unaware that there is a dangerous contemporary secret at stake.

Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice

by Bill Browder
A real-life political thriller about an American financier in the Wild East of Russia, the murder of his principled young tax attorney, and his dangerous mission to expose the Kremlin’s corruption.

Bill Browder’s journey started on the South Side of Chicago and moved through Stanford Business School to the dog-eat-dog world of hedge fund investing in the 1990s. It continued in Moscow, where Browder made his fortune heading the largest investment fund in Russia after the Soviet Union’s collapse. But when he exposed the corrupt oligarchs who were robbing the companies in which he was investing, Vladimir Putin turned on him and, in 2005, had him expelled from Russia.

In 2007, a group of law enforcement officers raided Browder’s offices in Moscow and stole $230 million of taxes that his fund’s companies had paid to the Russian government. Browder’s attorney Sergei Magnitsky investigated the incident and uncovered a sprawling criminal enterprise. A month after Sergei testified against the officials involved, he was arrested and thrown into pre-trial detention, where he was tortured for a year. On November 16, 2009, he was led to an isolation chamber, handcuffed to a bedrail, and beaten to death by eight guards in full riot gear.

Browder glimpsed the heart of darkness, and it transformed his life: he embarked on an unrelenting quest for justice in Sergei’s name, exposing the towering cover-up that leads right up to Putin. A financial caper, a crime thriller, and a political crusade, Red Notice is the story of one man taking on overpowering odds to change the world.

The Weight of Ink

by Rachel Kadish
Set in London of the 1660s and of the early twenty-first century, The Weight of Ink is the interwoven tale of two women of remarkable intellect: Ester Velasquez, an emigrant from Amsterdam who is permitted to scribe for a blind rabbi, just before the plague hits the city; and Helen Watt, an ailing historian with a love of Jewish history.

As the novel opens, Helen has been summoned by a former student to view a cache of seventeenth-century Jewish documents newly discovered in his home during a renovation. Enlisting the help of Aaron Levy, an American graduate student as impatient as he is charming, and in a race with another fast-moving team of historians, Helen embarks on one last project: to determine the identity of the documents’ scribe, the elusive “Aleph.”

Electrifying and ambitious, sweeping in scope and intimate in tone, The Weight of Ink is a sophisticated work of historical fiction about women separated by centuries, and the choices and sacrifices they must make in order reconcile the life of the heart and mind.

Ten Green Bottles: The True Story of One Family’s Journey from War-torn Austria to the Ghettos of Shanghai

by Vivian Jeanette Kaplan
To Nini Karpel, growing up in Vienna during the 1920s was a romantic confection. Whether schussing down ski slopes or speaking of politics in coffee houses, she cherished the city of her birth. But in the 1930s an undercurrent of conflict and hate began to seize the former imperial capital. This struggle came to a head when Hitler took possession of neighboring Germany. Anti-Semitism, which Nini and her idealistic friends believed was impossible in the socially advanced world of Vienna, became widespread and virulent.

The Karpel’s Jewish identity suddenly made them foreigners in their own homeland. Tormented, disenfranchised, and with a broken heart, Nini and her family sought refuge in a land seven thousand miles across the world.

Shanghai, China, one of the few countries accepting Jewish immigrants, became their new home and refuge. Stepping off the boat, the Karpel family found themselves in a land they could never have imagined. Shanghai presented an incongruent world of immense wealth and privilege for some and poverty for the masses, with opium dens and decadent clubs as well as rampant disease and a raging war between nations.

Ten Green Bottles is the story of Nini Karpel’s struggles as she told it to her daughter Vivian so many years ago. This true story depicts the fierce perseverance of one family, victims of the forces of evil, who overcame suffering of biblical proportion to survive. It was a time when ordinary people became heroes.

Educated

by Tara Westover
Tara Westover was 17 the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her “head-for-the-hills bag”. In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father’s junkyard.

Her father forbade hospitals, so Tara never saw a doctor or nurse. Gashes and concussions, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home with herbalism. The family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent.

Then, lacking any formal education, Tara began to educate herself. She taught herself enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University, where she studied history, learning for the first time about important world events like the Holocaust and the civil rights movement. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.

Educated is an account of the struggle for self-invention. It is a tale of fierce family loyalty and of the grief that comes with severing the closest of ties. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, Westover has crafted a universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education is and what it offers: the perspective to see one’s life through new eyes and the will to change it.

A Piece of the World

by Christina Baker Kline
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the smash bestseller Orphan Train, a stunning and atmospheric novel of friendship, passion, and art, inspired by Andrew Wyeth’s mysterious and iconic painting Christina’s World.

“Later he told me that he’d been afraid to show me the painting. He thought I wouldn’t like the way he portrayed me: dragging myself across the field, fingers clutching dirt, my legs twisted behind. The arid moonscape of wheatgrass and timothy. That dilapidated house in the distance, looming up like a secret that won’t stay hidden.” 

To Christina Olson, the entire world was her family’s remote farm in the small coastal town of Cushing, Maine. Born in the home her family had lived in for generations, and increasingly incapacitated by illness, Christina seemed destined for a small life. Instead, for more than twenty years, she was host and inspiration for the artist Andrew Wyeth, and became the subject of one of the best known American paintings of the twentieth century.

As she did in her beloved smash bestseller Orphan Train, Christina Baker Kline interweaves fact and fiction in a powerful novel that illuminates a little-known part of America’s history. Bringing into focus the flesh-and-blood woman behind the portrait, she vividly imagines the life of a woman with a complicated relationship to her family and her past, and a special bond with one of our greatest modern artists.

Told in evocative and lucid prose, A Piece of the World is a story about the burdens and blessings of family history, and how artist and muse can come together to forge a new and timeless legacy.

Where the Crawdads Sing

by Delia Owens
For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.

Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russell, Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.

BOOKS WE HAVE RECENTLY READ

2018/19
• Beartown by Fredrik Backman
• The Bridal Chair by Gloria Goldreich
• Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue
• The Woman who Smashed Codes by Jason Fagone
• The Pearl That Broke It’s Shell by Nadia Hashimi
• Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
• Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin
• The Leavers by Lisa Ko

Summer Reading 2018 & 2019
• Shanghai Girls by Lisa See
• Exit West by Moshin Hamid
• Americanah by Chimamanda Adichie
• Chilbury Ladies’ Choir by Jennifer Ryan
• Elizabeth Street by Laurie Fabiano

2017/18
• The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
• The Mathematician’s Shiva by Stuart Rojstaczer
• A Replacement Life by Boris Fishman
• Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff
• Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf
• My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
• Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

2016/17
• Hologram for a King by Dave Eggers
• The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng
• The Invisible Thread by Lana Schroff
• The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
• Citizens of London by Lynne Olson
• The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende
• The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker
• The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure