Chapter 17 - The Book Club
I have to tell you about my book club - The Myrtle Beach Book Club. Actually it is not MY book club but a book club I am privileged to be in. It was started by a woman in Myrtle Beach about 5 years ago and many of the people in the group have been in it since it started. I am a relative newbie with only about 2 years of tenure. We read many different genres and whoever recommends a book, facilitates the discussion.
The club attracts a variety of readers ranging in age from mid-twenties to mid-seventies, male and female, as well as different backgrounds. The best thing about the club, aside from the people, is that we actually talk about the books. I mean - in depth! We talk about the author, style, story, characters, time period and place. We dissect the book and put it back together. Periodically our discussions turn philosophical as well.
Our latest book was News of the World by Paulette Jiles. The story is about a man who, in 1870's Texas, travels from community to community reading the news of the world. He is asked to transport a young girl, ransomed after 4 years with the Kiowas, back to her remaining family members. The book is about that journey. The majority of us enjoyed it and, if you've never read a "western" before you might try it. If you have read and enjoyed it, here are some other books to try.
One Thousand White Women by Jim Fergus - The book is based on the premise (actually considered by the President Grant's government) that in order to assimilate the Plains Indians to white culture they should marry white women. Where were these women to come from? Well orphanages, insane asylums and jails, of course. The book is well worth the read.
A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick - Set in rural Wisconsin in 1909 a man has advertised for "a reliable wife". When she steps off the train she is not quite the woman she appears. Lots of twists and turns in this book.
The Kept by James Scott - While not "technically" a western as it is set in rural New York state at the turn of the 20th century, there is enough murder, mayhem and bad guys that it could take place in the West. A great shoot-out at the end!
True Grit by Charles Portis - This book has been made into a movie twice and, while those were good, the book is much, much better. Portis' descriptions are clear yet poetic as he tells the tale of Mattie Ross who, with the help of the meanest marshal around, tracks down her father's killer.
And, if you just want more of Paulette Jiles try Enemy Women. The book is about a young woman in Missouri trying to make her way home through enemy territory.
If you have any experiences with a great book club, I'd love to hear about them!