Reading Roundup: Favorites of the Marshall Afternoon Book Club

Posted by Aaron on

Book ClubsWhen an enthusiastic group of readers gets together to share books, you are sure to discover some great reads.

The Good Spy: The Life and Death of Robert Ames by Kai Bird

One of the things I like about the book club is that we read books that I might not have read otherwise. The Good Spy: the Life and Death of Robert Ames is one of those books. Not only does Bird paint an intriguing portrait of one of the most important and influential CIA operatives in the Middle East, but he also draws us into the history of an area of the world still in tumult. Robert Ames was a brilliant, if unorthodox, clandestine agent: he built meaningful relationships and found common ground with Arab intelligence officers and those on the ground. Through one of these contacts Ames met with Yasser Arafat, unbeknownst to the CIA. Bird devotes much of the book to stories gleaned from extensive research, interviews and letters. Tragically, Ames was killed in the 1983 bombing of the American Embassy in Beirut. In an interview Bird says that Robert Ames was a decent man and good at his work…a good spy…who might have continued to make a difference had he lived. Thought-provoking and a very good read!
     Barbara M., Marshall Afternoon Book Club

The Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon

This is the love story which began in 1968 within the confines of the Pennsylvania State School for the Incurable and Feeble-minded. Through the grit and determination of two divergently different individuals and their compassion and understanding of each other a third individual is born. This child is entrusted into the care of a retired school teacher and becomes over time the hub of this now separated family. This is also the story of how society treats individuals with developmental disabilities, an extraordinary tale of love, compassion and misunderstanding combined within institutional settings. I invite you to read this wondrous story of love overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds.
     Judy, Marshall Afternoon Book Club

Doctor Zhivago, by Boris Pasternak

What many of us loved about this book was Pasternak’s beautiful writing style. I especially loved his evocative descriptive passages. The book differs from the Omar Sharif movie: less romance and more 20th-century Russian history. Poet and physician, Yuri Zhivago, leaves his family to tend soldiers in WWI, and after the war he struggles to establish a personal life in the midst of the revolutions of 1917 and the subsequent Russian civil war. Pasternak’s manuscript was smuggled out of Russia in 1957, and the book was banned there for 30 years. Jane, Marshall Afternoon Book Club

The Right-Hand Shore by Christopher Tilghman

Cross the Bay Bridge, over the waters of the Chesapeake, and you have reached the other world of Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The Right-Hand Shore  is the story of a home, the Retreat, and the Mason family. Set on this shore, a slave owning family struggles to keep their peach farm going Post-Civil War with former slaves who have now become servants and farm hands on the plantation where they previously worked in servitude. They are now free but not truly, for it will be more than a hundred years before freedom becomes a reality. The relationships are complicated and forbidden, especially those that involve inter-racial friendship and love. The stories hold you and break your heart. Beautifully written, the author captures the characters and the beautiful land on which they work and live. For those wanting more of this story, Mason’s Retreat follows the family in to the years of the Second World War. Both books are memorable.
     Deborah, John Marshall Afternoon Book Club

The Marshall Afternoon Book Club meets on the second Wednesday of the month at 1:00. We have a wonderful selection of titles for 2015. Come join us!

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