Book Club I

All Book Club I articles are collected here.

Book Club to meet April 19, 2024

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Joni Mitchell will lead the discussion of The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne when the UMRA book club meets via Zoom at 2 p.m. on Friday, April 19.

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The Scarlet Letter, book cover 2

Book Notes | ‘The Other Einstein’

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In 'The Other Einstein,' an historical novel about the life of Albert Einstein’s first wife, Mileva Marić, author Marie Benedict speculates that Marić contributed significantly to the papers and relativity theory that are attributed to Einstein. The book raises several questions.

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The Other Einstein, book cover

Book Club I to discuss E. M. Forster's masterpiece 'Howards End'

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Pat Tollefson will lead the discussion of  E. M. Forster’s classic work Howard’s End when the UMRA Book Club meets on Friday, February 16.  

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Howards End, book cover

Book Notes | ‘Fox Creek’

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Set in the Northwoods of Minnesota, 'Fox Creek,' the 19th book in the Cork O’Connor mystery series by William Kent Krueger, is about the conflict between Native and white people in the use of natural resources in both the U.S. and Canada.

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Fox Creek, book cover

Book Notes | ‘Strongmen from Mussolini to the Present’

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The topic covered by this well-researched and carefully documented history is depressing but very important as the battle between democracy and autocracy continues around the world today.

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Strongmen, Mussolini to the Present, book cover

'The Dictionary of Lost Words'

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Mary Jane Towle will lead the discussion of The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams.

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The Dictionary of Lost Words

Book Notes | ‘Lessons in Chemistry’

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The UMRA Book Club discussion of Elizabeth Zott’s novel brought to light several real-life examples of discrimination against women close to home, including their exclusion from full participation in the University of Minnesota Marching Band until 1972 and the landmark Rajender v. University of Minnesota sex discrimination lawsuit filed in 1973.

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Lessons in Chemistry

Book Notes | ‘The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane’

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Although it represents exhaustive research and is engrossing, Lisa See’s novel about a young woman who becomes a tea entrepreneur in China and the daughter she gives up for adoption by a family in Southern California drew mixed reactions from members of UMRA’s Book Club I.

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The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane

Book Notes | ‘The Heart is a Lonely Hunter’

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Carson McCullers’ debut novel enjoyed a rapid rise to the top of the bestseller lists when first published in 1940, and ranks high on many current lists of best novels. But members of UMRA’s Book Club I found it to be dark and bleak and would not recommend the book to others.

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The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

Book Notes | ‘Flight Behavior’ by Barbara Kingsolver

Set in a poverty-stricken Appalachian town in rural Tennessee, Barbara Kingsolver’s novel delves into the climate change culture wars and the pressures of striving to be an individual while living in a close-knit community.

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Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver, book cover

June Book Club I

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Beth Bedell will lead the discussion of Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver when the UMRA Book Club meets via Zoom at 2 p.m. on Friday, June 16.

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Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver, book cover

Book Notes | ‘Miss Benson’s Beetle’

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The power of friendship, the destructive impact of war, and genuine appreciation of the natural world are the overriding themes in this quirky, historical novel about an unlikely expedition by two women in search of an elusive golden beetle.

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Miss Benson's Beetle, book cover

Book Notes | ‘Elephant Company’

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Set in Burma after World War I, this “spellbinding” true story about James Howard Williams and his love for elephants provides lessons in courage, trust, and gratitude.

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Elephant Company, book cover

Book Notes | ‘A House Among the Trees’

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The fictional story and characters portrayed in 'A House Among the Trees' are based on the last will of Maurice Sendak, the renowned author and illustrator of children’s books who died in 2012 and left his entire estate to his longtime personal assistant.

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A House Among the Trees, book cover

Book Notes | 'Nomadland'

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For several years, journalist and author Jessica Bruder followed a group of retirees who lived in their vehicles, everything from small cars to worn out RVs, as they tried to piece together a subsistence lifestyle. Her book chronicles the challenges, the hardships, and the community these modern nomads created for themselves.

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Nomadland, book cover