Last Thursday Book Club
2000 Schedule

 [Click on the displayed book jackets to order or obtain book and author information via]
Meeting Date Host Selection Notes
27 January 2000 
Henry Ellis 
1709 Conestoga Dr SE  - In 4-Hills, turn right on Stagecoach,  past Rio Arriba, past Catron
The Perfect Storm:   A True Story of Men Against The Sea 
by Sebastian Junger 
This meeting was the reconvening of the November 1999 meeting, postponed due to personal request by the host.

We learned of the Perfect Storm Foundation, working to educate the children of commercial swordfisher men. Book received grades from A- to C+.
24 February 2000
Tom Genoni  (292-4985) 
1616 Catron SE
Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
by James Joyce
"James Joyce's supremely innovative fictional autobiography is also, in the apt phrase of the biographer Richard Ellmann, nothing less than "the gestation of a soul." For as he describes the shabby, cloying, and sometimes terrifying Dublin upbringing of his alter ego, Stephen Dedalus, Joyce immerses the reader in his emerging consciousness, employing language that ranges from baby talk to hellfire sermon to a triumphant artist's manifesto."
Somewhat disappointing to many of us who had heard of this book all our life but never read it.  Certainly disjointed.  All of us were captivated by descriptions of scenes such as the Christmas Dinner (with adults arguing about Parnell), the 'unfair punishment' for Stephen and his brave visit to the school prefect.  I was a little surprised that Joyce's description of Hell was all taken from Piermonti's sermon, which you can learn from the Notes version of the book.  Grades ranged from B to C-, with one A.
30 March 2000
Rob Easterling (298-7083) 
7800 Northridge NE
by Leslie Marmon Silko
 Well crafted story of 'battle fatique' in a young Indian returning from WWII. Received grades from A to C; some thought it had anti-white sentiment; most felt it was very well done.

Apparently this book is assigned within schools to young readers - some love it, some hate it! 

27 April 2000
Don Benoist (296-2533) 
7709 Harwood Ave NE
  The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
by Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain)

The 'bookjacket' shown above is actually a portrait and link for the audio cassette version, read by Garrison Keillor, for under $15.
 THE American Novel.  Everyone loved the humor and the humorous descriptions; grades ranged from A to B; criticism is that of many 19th century novels: story hinges on highly inplausible events.  Example:  when Huck drifts down the river, and is about to give up, goes ashore and is welcomed at a farm - just happens to be the farm of Tom Sawyer's Aunt.
25 May 2000
Vern Gibbs  (281-3639) 
Sandia Park 
To Kill a Mockingbird
by Harper Lee

One of our best selections:  mostly A grades.  Harper Lee only wrote one novel, but it was a classic.
"When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow....
When enough years had gone by to enable us to look back on them, we sometimes discussed the events leading to his accident. I maintain that the Ewells started it all, but Jem, who was four years my senior, said it started long before that. He said it began the summer Dill came to us, when Dill first gave us the idea of making Boo Radley come out." 
29 June 2000
Mike Blackledge (294-6030) 
14321 Stalgren Ct. NE 

From Tramway & Copper, go east 5 streets, turn right, then left.

Tuesdays with Morrie:   An Old Man, a Young Man and Life's Greatest Lesson 

by Mitch Albom

Polarized the club, thus provided some excellent discussion.  Grades ranged from one A- to two D's.  Some felt it validated the best of American virtues in an age when life seems to be de-valued by school shootings and hate crimes.  Even in June 2000 it was still in the top 5 on the non-fiction list.  The book has sold over 4 million copies; the Jonathan Livingstone Seagull of the 90's.
  Inspired Poem of the Month.
This true story about the love between a spiritual mentor and his pupil has soared to the bestseller list for many reasons. For starters: it reminds us of the affection and gratitude that many of us still feel for the significant mentors of our past. It also plays out a fantasy many of us have entertained: what would it be like to look those people up again, tell them how much they meant to us, maybe even resume the mentorship? And finally we are privy to intimate moments of Morrie's final days as he lies dying from a terminal illness. Even on his deathbed, this twinkling-eyed mensch manages to teach us all about living robustly and fully.

Available thru for less than $11 copy.
27 July 2000

Gary Ganong (298-4731) 
801 Rio Arriba SE 
 Citizen Soldiers:  The U.S. Army from the Normandy Beaches to the Bulge to the Surrender of Germany, June 7, 1944 to May 7, 1945

by Stephen E. Ambrose

see also speech by Gen. Patton

 It is not short, but gives people a real appreciation for the lives of W.W.II soldiers in Europe.  Even if people only read a few pages, they will learn something of our parents generation in W.W.II.
"Stephen E. Ambrose combines history and journalism to describe how American GIs battled their way to the Rhineland. He focuses on the combat experiences of ordinary soldiers, as opposed to the generals who led them, and offers a series of compelling vignettes that read like an enterprising reporter's dispatches from the front lines."

Grades ranged from A- to C+
31 August 2000
Keith Gilbert (265-8122) 
913 Parkland Circle SE

take Zuni to Carlisle, go south on Carlisle.  When median splits, take a left to Keith's.

Slaughterhouse Five 
or the Children's Crusade
A Duty Dance With Death 

 by Kurt Vonnegut
   See also The Vonnegut Weband particularly this mapping of his Life and Text

There are 25 copies in the Rio Grande Valley Library System. Book inspired a 1972 movie

Extra CreditTimequake by Kurt Vonnegut
The three main protagonists are the author, Kilgore Trout* (the unappreciated, long out of print science fiction writer who is KV's alter ego), and a dysfunctional world.  You learn a lot about (the now 74 year old) KV from this book, and it ties up many loose ends from his life and work.
* "Trout was the only character I ever created who had enough imagination to suspect that he might be the creation of another human being. He had spoken of this possibility several times to his parakeet."
28 September 2000
Ron B. 
.. Loma Linda SE
between Carlisle and Washington, take Montclaire south.
Of Love and Shadows 
by  Isabel Allende

  (approx. 220 pp, 1987). The niece of the former Chilean president, Allende (1942- ) writes in Spanish and trusts in the excellence of her translators.   Characters seem to flow freely from her pen; some LTBC criticism on juxtaposition of maggots and humans mating.
From the Publisher---
 Isabel Allende transports us to a Latin American country in the grip of a military dictatorship, where Irene Beltran, an upperclass journalist, and Francisco Leal, a photographer son of a Marxist professor together discover a hideous crime. They also discover how far they dare go in search of the truth in a nation of terror ...and how very much they risk.

Very good discussion.  Grades ranged from A- to C+, avg: B+
LTBC Field Trip: [Note: trip was solo by the host]: Left Friday, 
27 October 2000
Returned Sunday.
29 October 2000
Taos Lodging
John Beresky

Cold Mountain 
by Charles Frazier
We were not in time to reserve this Friday destination: 3 pm tour of Georgia O'Keeffe ranch/home near Abiquiu.  [Tours are reserved months in advance; $20 donation per person requested at least 30 days in advance. Only on Tues, Thurs, Friday.]
30 November 2000 
[Thursday after Thanksgiving]
Ben Smith
3918 Solano Pl, NE
Go one long block EAST on Consitution from Carlisle to Morningside. Turn left and go one block north and turn left on Solano Place. 
From the Flashman Papers, 1839-1842 

by George MacDonald Fraser

Fun!  The median grade was a B+, with range from A- to B.  Many marveled at the clever concept of fiction set within obscure historical events.  Host recommends 'Flashman at the Charge' (set in Crimean) as his pick of the series.

 George MacDonald Fraser's
"Flashman" is the first of what became a series. It is available in a new paperback edition at most bookstores and BN and Amazon on the net and might even turn up in some of Albuquerque's used book stores since it has gone through several editions. Do not expect to obtain a Library copy!
It is hard to believe that this first book of the Flashman series is now nearly 30 years old. Written as if it is an actual published memoir (later books put "a novel" on the cover, probably to protect the publisher from receiving annoying letters of shock and outrage from the truly ignorant and  profoundly clueless). This is a book for lovers of historical fiction, military fiction, or British history, but will be enjoyed by those who otherwise would never read in these areas. They are books of humor, following a knave and poltroon -- Harry Flashman -- as he stumbles into many of the great events of the 19th century (often fleeing irate husbands). 
28 December 2000 
[Thursday after Christmas]
Tom Genoni  (292-4985) 
1616 Catron SE
 Invisible Man
by Ralph Ellison

Expected guest:  Genoni's old English teacher.
 A classic from the moment it first appeared in 1952, Invisible Man chronicles the travels of its narrator, a young, nameless black man, as he moves through the hellish levels of American intolerance and cultural blindness. 

Extra credit:  Approaches to Teaching Ellison's Invisible Man

Despite Washington Post critic Jonathan Yardley's listing of Ellison's book as 'perhaps the finest American Novel' [in his Misfit], our Club did not find it so.  Grades ranged from B+  to B-.  The first three chapters are definitely worth reading, consensus by all.


This Page is LTBC Schedule for Year 2000

This schedule last updated: 
5 January  2001

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