Penny's Passion: Meet Me At The Library - January 2020 Book Club

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Meet Me At The Library - January 2020 Book Club

Welcome to Thinking Out Loud Thursday!  If you're a blogger, I hope you link up below and share what's on your mind.  If you are visiting as a reader, I hope you enjoy the links and share your thoughts in the comment section.

For the last year or so, I've been attending a monthly book club meeting at our local library.  The books are selected months in advance and are voted on by all the attending book club members.  I thought this year I would share the books with you after the meeting and that's what I'm thinking out loud about today.

One of the things I love about attending book clubs is many times the book selected to read is something I would never choose to read on my own.  January's book, The Warmth of Other Suns, is indeed a book like that.  This 640-page true story follows three individuals on their migration north and west.  Each left the south for different reasons, but all looking for the freedom they knew wouldn't happen if they stayed where they were.  Here's the summary from Amazon:
From 1915 to 1970, this exodus of almost six million people changed the face of America. Wilkerson compares this epic migration to the migrations of other peoples in history. She interviewed more than a thousand people, and gained access to new data and official records, to write this definitive and vividly dramatic account of how these American journeys unfolded, altering our cities, our country, and ourselves.
With stunning historical detail, Wilkerson tells this story through the lives of three unique individuals: Ida Mae Gladney, who in 1937 left sharecropping and prejudice in Mississippi for Chicago, where she achieved quiet blue-collar success and, in old age, voted for Barack Obama when he ran for an Illinois Senate seat; sharp and quick-tempered George Starling, who in 1945 fled Florida for Harlem, where he endangered his job fighting for civil rights, saw his family fall, and finally found peace in God; and Robert Foster, who left Louisiana in 1953 to pursue a medical career, the personal physician to Ray Charles as part of a glitteringly successful medical career, which allowed him to purchase a grand home where he often threw exuberant parties.
Wilkerson brilliantly captures their first treacherous and exhausting cross-country trips by car and train and their new lives in colonies that grew into ghettos, as well as how they changed these cities with southern food, faith, and culture and improved them with discipline, drive, and hard work. Both a riveting microcosm and a major assessment, The Warmth of Other Suns is a bold, remarkable, and riveting work, a superb account of an “unrecognized immigration” within our own land. Through the breadth of its narrative, the beauty of the writing, the depth of its research, and the fullness of the people and lives portrayed herein, this book is destined to become a classic.
I found the book a bit slow at the beginning, but soon I could hardly put it down.  Because I was going to be taking a road trip over the New Year's holiday, I downloaded the Audible version and listened to the last 70% of the book.  It was so interesting to hear about the great migration, an event I really didn't know much about before reading this book.  You could tell that Ms. Wilkerson had gone above and beyond to get to know the characters she introduced us to in the book.  She devoted 15 years researching and writing the book, along with interviewing more than 1,200 people.  By the end, you felt like you knew them too.

Besides being awarded a Pulitzer Prize, Warmth has been named to many "best books of the year" lists and November 2019 Time Magazine named it one of the top ten best nonfiction books of the decade.

Everyone in our book club agreed this was a good read and was glad they read it.  Surprisingly, even though the book was published years ago (2011), no one in our group had previously read it.  Have you read it?  If not, definitely one to put on your TBR list.

February's selection is The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani.  Can't wait to start reading this one!  I'll be sharing my thoughts on it after our meeting on February 24.

Now it's your turn - what are you thinking out loud about today?  Link up and share.

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  1. The book club from the library sounds great and like the selections of books. I have read a lot of books by Adriana Trigiani and I know you will like the book. Have a great day and weekend.

  2. Bucket list is to join one one day!

  3. That sounds like a really interesting book!

  4. Pinned both of these. I have got to start reading faster. So many great books I want to get to!!