Reading Roundup: More Recommendations From the Marshall Evening Book Club
An eclectic assortment of titles continue to make up the Book Club’s yearly reading list.
Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe
This 1722 classic was such rollicking good fun that I’m sorry it took a book club meeting to get me to read it! Picaresque and vivid, full of wry humor and sharp insights into the human condition, this book brings the early 18th century to life. Moll herself is intelligent, ambitious, exuberant, determined and boisterous, out to make the most of whatever cards are dealt her. She can be utterly romantic, then entirely callous, wholly mercenary, then selfless. Her adventures come fast and furious: lovers, children, riches, poverty, travel, prison, friends and enemies gallop through these pages. Dickens’ Artful Dodger and Thackeray’s Becky Sharp could have taken lessons from our Moll. Especially interesting are her descriptions of life in the British colonies in the Mid-Atlantic and its contrasts with contemporary English society, and the lively portrait of the underclass and the criminal justice system of those times.
Vicky, Marshall Evening Book Club
Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell
This is an almost unbelievable true history of the making of a fortune by W. A. Clark and what happens to all that money in the 80 plus years after his death. The story centers on his youngest daughter, Huguette Clark, and what a story it is. She is loved and cared for by a few, duped by many, including a bank that loses millions of her entrusted assets. The characters seem more fictional than real, but it makes for a fun read.
Robin, Marshall Evening Book Club
The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
Sarah Grimke, daughter of a socially elite, wealthy planter family in 1800’s Charleston, S.C. is the mistress of Hettie Handful, a slave. Each struggles to find their freedom. Sarah is imprisoned by the social constraints of being a woman of the old South, property of her father, with no rights and no hope of attaining her ambitions to achieve and make a difference in the world. Handful, as they called her, was imprisoned in body, but fought to free her spirit and allow it to fly. Their story is told over 30 years, beginning when both girls are 11 years old. Sarah hated slavery from the time she knew what it was, and eventually she became part of the abolitionist movement as well as part of the earliest thoughts of feminine liberation. Handful uses many methods, both subtle and rebellious, to attain the ability of her spirit to fly to freedom. Sarah’s character is based on a historical figure, while Handful is wholly fictional. Together they tell the story of both freedom from slavery and the beginnings of the feminist revolution. Based on the real lives of Sarah and Angelina Grimke, the novel encompasses a rather different perspective of slavery than is usually found in the pre-Civil War time period.
Laurene, Marshall Evening Book Club
Gaining Ground: A Story of Farmers Markets, Local Food, and Saving the Family Farm by Forrest Pritchard
Once again, this perfect summer read made it to the top of our favorites list. The book really sparked my interest because it was written by a local farmer, who lives in Berryville, Virginia. Forrest Pritchard had such good information about how he started with nothing and worked for years to create what is now a very successful farm operation. When he decided to save his seventh generation family farm, he quickly had a rude awakening. With his first year’s profit at a whopping $18.16, Forrest became more than determined to change the way his operation was going. He began raising free range animals and adopted many of the ideas of Joel Salatin, of renowned Polyface Farm. All the way through the book you find yourself cheering Forrest on to do well no matter how many obstacles he is faced with. Shortly after reading the book, Forrest Pritchard was the invited speaker at a program sponsored by the Fauquier Library. Many members of the book group attended the lecture along with some local farmers. It was very inspiring to hear the interaction between Forrest and others who shared his passion for the land. As you can tell, I felt this was an awesome book read.
Joanne, Marshall Evening Book Club
The Marshall Evening Book Club meets on the last Monday of the month at 7:00. Come join us!