Dear Ernest…

Dear Ernest,

Well, Janet finally convinced us to add one of your books to our book club reading list. No, not one of your novels, but your memoirs from living in Paris, A Moveable Feast. I didn’t realize that the book was finished and published after you died. And I thought it was pretty interesting that it was put together from manuscripts that were found long after your time in Paris living, working, drinking, gambling and hanging out with some of the greatest names in literature at that time. Not many people can say they were welcome to randomly stop by Gertrude Stein’s apartment or that they rode around the European countryside in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s car.

As I read about your time in Paris in the early 1920s, I thought about how your time as an ambulance driver in World War I and the injuries you suffered there might have affected your writing, and, well, your life in general. I imagine your experience had a profound impact on you and it seemed to show up in some of the melancholy and wistfulness of your tone. I wonder if I was the only one who observed sadness in your writing or if my other book club friends noticed it too. I guess I will just have to ask them when we meet today. And not to psychoanalyze you (since I have no training whatsoever), but I also theorize that your time in World War I (and reporting on The Spanish Civil War and World War II) shaped and affected you to such a degree that it probably played some role in the depression and alcoholism you suffered throughout your life, your failed marriages and your eventual suicide in 1961.

But I’ll spare you my judgment or any lectures (since I doubt you would care much anyway), and instead I’ll offer compassion for all of the hard times you experienced during your life. I’ll also thank you for leaving such a literary legacy. I can see why many people enjoy your direct, straightforward style that I am sure your journalistic endeavors helped you to hone.

Out of all of your writings, I’m glad our book club chose A Moveable Feast for our first experience with your work, especially since  part of your literary legacy includes inflicting quite a bit of pain and suffering on high school students, like my husband, who have been assigned The Old Man and the Sea for their high school English classes. Somehow, I think me telling you that would make you smirk a little bit. I had similar feelings about your friend F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby, but we can talk about that another time.

Thank you for your contribution to literature that we get to read and discuss this month!

Sincerely yours,

Gwynne

P.S. I hope you are enjoying your current job in human resources. I am sure helping a young startup company is quite rewarding. 🙂

We hope you can join us to discuss A Moveable Feast this evening, Thursday, November 8 at 7 pm at Catherine’s house (let us know if you need directions).

Here are a few questions to think about for our discussion:

  1. What sort of letter would you write to Ernest Hemingway? A friendly letter, a thank you note, an invitation to dinner, a notice to sue for pain and suffering?
  2. What do you make of Hemingway’s remark in his Preface,”If the reader prefers, this may be regarded as fiction. But there is always the chance that such a book of fiction may throw some light on what has been written as fact.”? What is he saying? Is he suggesting little of none of his memoir is true? (Don’t worry if you’re not sure: no one is—the line is a bit of a puzzle.)
  3. Given his later renown and personal excesses (alcoholism, braggadocio and bluster, womanizing, meanness), what do you make of this young Hemingway? How would you describe him? Is he a likable? Admirable?
  4. What was the relationship between Hemingway and his first wife, Hadley, as described in A Moveable Feast? Where do you see the fault lines of their marriage? What part did horse racing play? Some have surmised that Hadley was the one woman (wife) he truly loved. What happened?
  5. Talk about Hemingway’s depictions of the famous literary characters in his Paris circle of friends. Whom do you find most interesting? What does he say, for instance, about F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald? Some readers have found his observations (even his treatment) cruel; others see Hemingway as honest if acerbic. What do you think?
  6. Which episodes do you find particularly funny—perhaps the luncheon incident with Ford Madox Ford? Or Ezra Pound? Or the trip to Lyons with Fitzgerald?
  7. Writing from a distance of some 30 years, Hemingway paints a beauty, even glamour, in being poor and hungry…in Paris…at that moment. Why does this seem to have been such a happy time for him? What lends this work its twilight nostalgia?
  8. Have you read any of Hemingway’s novels or short stories (which some scholars consider his finest writing)? If so, does reading A Moveable Feast affect how you read his fiction? If you have not other Hemingway works, does this book inspire you to do so?

Thanks to Wikipedia for the biographical information and to litlovers.com for discussion questions 2-8!

Update: Dear Mr. Hemingway,
It has come to my attention that I may have caused considerable offense by addressing you as “Ernest” in my letter above, as several of my fellow book club members (who are more attentive readers than I) reminded me that you detest your given first name. Please accept my most sincere apology for this egregious oversight, and I hope this mistake will not cause you detest me any more than you already would have been predisposed to detest me.

Sincerely,

Gwynne

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Having Faith When Everything Has Changed

That was all. Nothing had changed. Mrs. Heemstra continued with her recipe for stretching the tea ration with rose leaves. And yet everything was changed. For in that instant, reality broke through the numbness that had grown in me since the invasion. At any minute, there might be a rap on this door. These children, this mother and father, might be ordered to the back of a truck.

Dr. Heemstra came back to the living room and the conversation rambled on. But under the words, a prayer was forming in my heart.

Lord Jesus, I offer myself for Your people. In any way. Any place. Any time. 

The Hiding Place, Corrie ten Boom

This passage from The Hiding Place marks a major turning point in Corrie ten Boom’s life–when nothing on the surface seems to have changed, but everything has. Shortly after she utters this prayer, Corrie becomes involved with the Dutch Resistance to the German occupation of Holland during World War II. The Hiding Place tells us a bit about Corrie’s early life but mainly focuses on her experiences during World War II. These events would go on to profoundly shape the rest of her life, in which she was known for being a prolific writer, speaker and evangelist and a model of what it looks like to practice true forgiveness.

I read The Hiding Place for the first time years ago, and one thing that I remember being struck by that first time, as well as now, is the significant role that her Christian faith played in her life and the lives of all of her family members. As you read the novel (or if you’ve finished all ready), consider all of the ways that faith in Christ influences people’s actions, decisions and responses to adversity. I think you will be impressed, too!

To get you ready for our discussion of The Hiding Place, here are some discussion questions, courtesy of the LitLovers website.

  1. Corrie’s father tells her that he pities the Nazi’s: “They have touched the apple of God’s eye.” What does he mean by that statement. Consider the strength of character it takes to feel pity for a people and a system that means to do harm to fellow beings.
  2. What are the various hiding places, real and symbolic, to which the title of this book refers? How, for instance, do fleas help lead to a “hiding place” for Corrie and Betsie while they are imprisoned?
  3. In addition to the extraordinary kindess and courage of the ten Boom family, what are some of the smaller acts of kindness shown by others in this memoir? Are people inspired to greater compassion, or less, in dire situations? What motivates acts of kindness—in other words, what makes people kind? What makes some people kinder than others?
  4. Talk about the kind of woman Corrire ten Boom and her sister Betsie were. What sustained them during their ordeal in the concentration camps? To what do you attribute Corrie’s courage and survival in the face of so much death and hardship?
  5. Stories like Corrie’s always beg comparison to ourselves and our own lives. We wonder how each of us would behave under similar horrific circumstances? How would you? What inner strengths and courage and compassion would you draw on? Would you have risked your life and the lives of your family (especially, if you have children) to help the Jews or any others subjected to brutal persecution? We know what we are called upon to do, but would many of us find the courage needed to do what is right?
  6. Comment on what Betsie said to Corrie: “I pray every day that we be allowed to do this! To show [the Nazis] that love is greater!” What do you find extraordinary in that statement?
  7. Talk about the incident after the war in which Corrie comes across one of the former SS men at Ravensbruck. How did she respond to him at first…and how did she change? What does this say about the principle of forgiveness—its difficulty and its healing power?
  8. What do you find most surprising…or inspiring in this account of the Nazi era? Did this book change you in any way? Did you come away having learned something…about history…about faith…or about yourself?

I hope you’re enjoying The Hiding Place, and we’re looking forward to seeing everyone for our discussion on Thursday, August 9 at Sheila’s house. The address is in the E-vite. If you didn’t receive it or if you need directions, please comment on this post, on our Facebook page, or get in touch with one of us personally, and we’ll be sure to help you get there.

Happy reading!

Emerson & Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau


Here are some fun (and completely random) facts ::

He was born David Henry Thoreau. After college he changed his name to Henry David, but from the reading I’ve done it looks like he never made that change legal.

The house he was born in Wheeler-Minot Farmhouse still stands today, but 100 yards from where it was originally. Moving houses fascinates me. Really, moving. a. building. It’s crazy!

His father was a pencil maker.

His grandfather Asa Dunbar let the first student protest in the US at Harvard University in 1766… over butter of all things. But, personally as a huge fan of butter, I can understand being upset about being served rancid butter. (the Butter Rebellion)

He attended Harvard between 1833 and 1837 but unlike his grandfather he did not take part in a butter rebellion. He did refuse to pay $5 for a (strange, honorary, in my opinion) Masters diploma Harvard would give graduates three years after graduating if they could prove they were alive and had $5 to pay the University.

Pertaining to his appearances, he wore a neck-beard for several years and claimed women liked that. (!!) It sounds like Lousa May Alcott might have set him straight on that disillusion.

He took a leave of absence from school in 1735 from school and took a teaching job, that he quickly left so he wouldn’t have to administer corporal punishment. He and his brother John, a few years later opened a Grammer School where they instituted some new concepts like nature walks (which I’m totally on board with) as well as field trips to local stores and businesses.

After graduating he met Emerson, our other author this month. Emerson was older than Thoreau and took him under his wing. Emerson encouraged Thoreau to write for The Dial, a quarterly periodical. (Nathaniel Hawthorne also wrote for The Dial) He even lived with Emerson from 1841–1844 and was his children’s tutor, assistant editor and gardener.

Much more can be read about his life on wikipedia.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

His formal education began when he was nine. (Wonder what would be different in our society if kids stayed home until they were nine now?)

I think he had the earliest form of GoodReads when he began keeping a list of all the books he read in a series of journals he called “Wide World”

His graduating class at Harvard was only 59 students and he was somewhere in the middle.

In 1826, due to poor health he started traveling south to find a better climate, finally ending in St. Augustine, Florida.

He was very good friends with the nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte, Murat.

He was part of the Transcendental Club as was Thoreau, both writing for its journal previously mentioned, The Dial. It’s reported it was the “most original and thoughtful periodical ever published in this country”. -wow!

More on Emerson here.

I could keep going but there’s just a little to give you a taste of some fun random facts from these guys. Have you read any other works by Emerson or Thoreau? Anything since back in high school when it was required? If I’ve read them before it was in school, and I’ve long since forgotten what works of theirs I’ve read. Hope you’re making great progress on our essays this month and we’ll see you next Thursday! **Remember we are now meeting at the other Paradise! If you didn’t get the evite email me (sarahronk{at}gmail{dot}com) or leave a comment or facebook msg. 

Happy Reading!

About the Author: Victor Hugo

Before we talk about Victor Hugo, I wanted to share a bit about why we’re reading this book…

When we sit down to choose the books for the year, we (Gwynne, Sarah R. and I) come together with our own lists of what we want to read during the year and try to mesh them while keeping a good amount of variety and challenging ourselves. I told them I felt we needed to go big this year. We needed to read one of the big guns. And I wanted it to be French. (It was either that or a big Russian book, and none of us really wanted to go there :D) We picked Les Miserables in particular because it is such a classic, AND because it’s being made into a movie- yet again- this year. Lucky for us, the trailer came out recently. Take a peek:

Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, and Amanda Seyfriend. WHAT. and it’s directed by the guy who made The King’s Speech. I am so excited! We might just have to make it a book club event 🙂

So, Victor Hugo. What an interesting man. His life would be an excellent soap opera. His parents ended up on two different sides of the political drama. His mother’s lover was arrested (at his mother’s house) and executed for his role in said drama. His brother went insane at Victor’s wedding (because he, too, loved the bride) and never recovered. Three of his children died before he did, and the only survivor was institutionalized for more than 30 years for insanity. He and his wife were separated and each had long-term extramarital affairs- his wife with Victor’s best friend. He was always political, but transitioned from his mother’s Royalist leanings to being an advocate for a republic. He was exiled for 19 years for his political activity. During his exile, he spent some time involved in seances that had a significant impact on his opinions and beliefs for the rest of his life. He also wrote Les Miserables during his time in exile. Upon returning from exile, he was elected to the Senate on at least two separate occasions.

Despite all the eventfulness of a lifetime, he is revered. Seriously. He’s considered a Saint in the Vietnamese religion of Cao Dai. The French consider him one of their best poets. The world recognizes him for his efforts on behalf of the poor. His two major novels are well-known and continue to inspire (Les Miserables and Notre-Dame de Paris aka: The Hunchback of Notre-Dame). He campaigned world-wide against the death penalty resulting in changed policy in Geneva, Portugal, and Columbia. He attempted to save the lives of John Brown (USA abolitionist) and emperor Maximilian I of Mexico, but failed. However he was successful in saving the lives of 6 Irish terrorists in the United Kingdom. He even played a role in the development of the copyright, and while he never pursued it as a career, his drawings are fascinating.

I am currently not very far into the book. I am GOING to finish it before our meeting or I’m sure Sarah and Gwynne will have my head for putting it on the list and not finishing it! Haha. But 57 pages in, I know it will be worth the effort. So we’ll see you there! At our yearly picnic? Thursday June 14th, 7PM at Geist Park BYOT (Bring your own tableware) and a salad of any kind to share (green, fruit, pasta, etc.). We’ll be providing dessert and drinks.

*Normally I  find my information for these posts only from wikipedia, but this time I also used information from the beginning of my abridged version released by Barnes and Noble- provided by Laurence M. Porter.

Never Underestimate a Young Reader: About Madeleine L’Engle

“You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.”
– Madeleine L’Engle

Madeleine L’Engle was born in 1918 in New York City. She wrote her first story when she was 5 and began keeping a journal when she was 8. Despite her prowess in writing, she was not a good student. Her family traveled a lot and even lived by the French Alps for a while, and she received most of her education in various boarding schools. Madeleine went on to study English at Smith College from 1937-1941, where she graduated with honors.

After graduation, Madeleine worked in the theater in New York and wrote on the side. During her time in theater, she met actor Hugh Franklin, whom she married in 1946. They moved to the country for a while and ran a general store before returning to New York. L’Engle worked at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine where she was the librarian and writer-in-residence and had an office for more than 30 years.

From the 1960s through the 1980s L’Engle wrote dozens of books for both children and adults. Her most famous novel is our book for this month, A Wrinkle in Time, which was published in 1962 and turns 50 years old this year. The book was very close to never being published, as it received numerous rejections. Publishers complained that that the plot seemed too complicated for children. They didn’t like the mixture of science fiction and philosophy, and science fiction didn’t typically feature female protagonists. It was finally bought by the publishing company Farrar, Straus and Giroux. When an outside reader didn’t like the book, the editor admitted that it was “distinctly odd” but defended it by saying, “I for one believe that the capabilities of young readers are greatly underestimated.” (You can find out more about the story behind the publishing of A Wrinkle in Time in this NPR story.)

L’Engle’s editor turned out to be right. A Wrinkle in Time was an immediate success,  became a bestseller, won the prestigious Newbery Medal in 1963, and has continued to be beloved by generations of readers. L’Engle’s insistence on writing a book that doesn’t talk down to kids or underestimate them is part of the reason why the novel still speaks to kids today.

If you want a little more of a glimpse into what Madeleine L’Engle was like, look no further than A Wrinkle in Time’s Meg Murry, since L’Engle wrote a lot of herself into the character.  And you can also find out more on the official Madeleine L’Engle website, which also has links to a number of articles celebrating the 50th anniversary of A Wrinkle in Time.

We hope you’ve been enjoying A Wrinkle in Time and that you can come discuss it with us this Thursday, May 10 at 7 p.m. at Paradise Bakery and Café at Hamilton Town Center. Remember that since this  month is our young reader book, any girls who have read the book are welcome to join us, too!

Happy Reading!

Pearl S. Buck

I asked Sarah to pretty please trade me posts this month. I was supposed to write the intro post, but as I haven’t yet read the book, I thought someone who loved it should write that post. Undoubtedly, when I learn more about a book/author/movie/artist, their work becomes more interesting to me.

This beautiful woman is Pearl S. Buck. I think the S stands for Sydenstricker, her maiden name. Considering that both her names are concrete nouns, I think the S was a good idea. With that observation, I immediately started to like her. She must have good judgement.

Then I read that she won both a Pulitzer and a Nobel prize. Woah. Way to go! The Pulitzer was for this month’s book The Good Earth, and the Nobel prize for her body of works, rather than one specific piece. I did a bit more reading and found that usually the Pulitzer for a novel is given for a work about American life, so I found it particularly noteworthy that she won for a story on rural Chinese life.

I am not surprised, though, that she decided to write on Chinese life. She was the daughter of missionaries to China which perfectly poised her to share their lives with us. She was more than an author, though. She has commendable bibliography, but she also founded the first international and interracial adoption agency. WHY HAVEN’T I HEARD OF HER BEFORE?

She spent the later half of her life bringing light to then unpopular issues such as, “racism, sex discrimination and the plight of the thousands of babies born to Asian women left behind and unwanted wherever American soldiers were based in Asia.” (Wikipedia)

I am so impressed by this artist (writer), humanitarian, and political activist. So I’m going to go read her Pulitzer prize-winning novel. You should too. Then, join us for our annual spring tea party Thursday, April 12 at 7pm. (Leave a comment if you need location information.)

Emma: About the Author

I have SO MUCH to tell you about this month’s author, Jane Austen. When I first found out I would be writing this post, I thought, “This is our 4th Jane Austen book. There won’t be anything else to tell them about her! I’ll have to think of something else to write.”

Except we didn’t start writing About the Author posts until more recently, and there’s only one other post on this dear woman which I wrote in a characteristically lazy manner. So lazy that I said nothing about her! I claimed it would spoil the book or some such nonsense. Ha.

After thoroughly chastising myself, I set about to laboriously research our favorite writer by combing through her Wikipedia article. I’ve seen Becoming Jane. What else could there possibly be to know? And then I chastised myself some more.

She’s a sneaky one. You see she purposefully had many of the documents that could have told us about her life destroyed. How did she know anyone would care? She wasn’t actually famous per se during her lifetime. I mean, the books were well known, but she published under the name “A Lady.” Although some people must have known she wrote them because she was invited to visit the Prince Regent, George IV, who requested she dedicate her next book to him. Since she felt she had no choice but to do so, she did- sarcastically- with Plan of a Novel.

We do know some fascinating tidbits about the timeline of her life. Apparently she decided at the age of 13 to be a serious writer, and from that young age worked consistently on her craft. In her early twenties she began putting the characters of Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, and Northanger Abbey on paper. Lack of fortune, want of connections, and- I’m going to guess- war, all had their hand in preventing her from publishing anything until she was 35 years old. Well, that, and a cranky publisher who bought the copyright to Northanger Abbey when she was 22 and never published it. Mansfield Park, Emma, and Persuasion were all written towards the end of her life which ended so early at the age of 41. In fact, Persuasion and Northanger Abbey  were published posthumously with a note from her brother Henry which revealed her as the author of the novels.

Although it has been quite some time since I’ve seen Becoming Jane, I do remember James McAvoy’s character, and indeed there was such a man in her life. Well, Wikipedia didn’t really tell me enough for me to know that she was in love with him, but they did cause some trouble together and apparently his family felt the need to keep them apart, so there must have been some attraction. We also know that she was engaged for one day to a family friend who is also a character in the movie, but unlike the movie, he apparently was, “a large, plain-looking man who spoke little, stuttered when he did speak, was aggressive in conversation, and almost completely tactless.” If we know anything about Jane from her stories, we know there is no way you could convince her to marry such a man.

After all my careful toiling through Wikipedia, I have come to just that conclusion: We know Jane from her stories. We know her sensibility, prejudices, and persuasions. She told us herself. I’m enjoying her sense of humor in Emma. I need to get going though, and finish the book. I’ve spent way too much time on this blog post for you all! If you need to find out more for yourself you can always check Wikipedia, but if you really want to know, you’ll read her writings for yourself.

Garrison Keillor, that guy your parents think is funny

Garrison Keillor

Photo from the WikiMedia Commons: Copyright Prairie Home Productions

Garrison (whose real name is actually Gary) Keillor was born in 1942, and he is described as being an “American author, storyteller, humorist and radio personality. His biggest claim to fame is serving as the host of the popular public radio program “A Prairie Home Companion.”

I have memories of riding in the backseat of the car while my family was traveling listening to “A Prairie Home Companion.” I didn’t always get the humor (some things were more funny to a little kid than others), but I always enjoyed listening to Keillor’s storytelling ability (especially during the private eye skits) and hearing the tales of that the fictional town of Lake Wobegone, Minnesota, “where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.” At any rate, my parents thought he was hilarious.

Keillor grew up in the town of Anoka, Minnesota, which in many ways was the inspiration for Lake Wobegone, and graduated from the University of Minnesota. While there, he began his broadcasting career on the student-run radio station that is known today as Radio K. Keillor went on to host a morning radio show on the Minnesota public radio station and also began writing fiction for The New Yorker. Keillor resigned from the morning program for a short time, citing creative differences over musical selection, but returned later that year, and the show was called “A Prairie Home Companion” upon his return.

The show did its first evening broadcast on July 6, 1974 with variety show style in front of a live audience. In addition to his popularity as a radio personality, Keillor has written articles for newspapers and magazines as well as books for children and adults. He’s done voiceover work for commercials and the Ken Burns documentaries The Civil War and Baseball, and he wrote the screenplay for the film, A Prairie Home Companion. In November of 2006, he also opened a bookstore called Common Good Books, G. Keillor, Prop. in St. Paul Minnesota. Keillor has had a long and eclectic career in the broadcasting and writing world, and with 4 million people listening to A Prairie Home Companion each week on more than 600 public radio stations, it’s still going strong.

We’ll be getting together on Thursday, February 9 at 7 p.m. at Paradise Bakery and Café at Hamilton Town Center to discuss Happy to Be Here. Whether you have fond memories of “A Prairie Home Companion” and appreciate Keillor’s style, or can’t understand why your parents think he’s so funny, it’s sure to be a lively discussion. We hope you can join us!

In the meantime: What have you thought of the book and Keillor’s style so far? Have you ever listened to “A Prairie Home Companion,” and if so, what did you think? 

About the Author: Kathryn Stockett

The Help is the first novel for this month’s author, Kathryn Stockett, and as her career as a novelist is just beginning, there is little fodder for this month’s post.

However, she used her own childhood experiences in writing the story, and she wrote a bit about how her childhood compared to the novel as a postscript. I think. I already gave my copy away to someone else to read so I can’t say for sure. But assuming you have a copy yourself, you should just go ahead and read that part at the end. I remember enjoying it, so I’m sure you will, too!

I can’t wait to see what she will write next. I imagine she’s feeling a lot of pressure in that regard since her first novel has been on the NY Times Bestseller list for more than 100 weeks. I’m reminded of a TED talk that I really enjoy by Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat, Pray, Love) on Nurturing Creativity that she gave in the aftermath of her own success. This is my advice to you, Kathryn, and I hope we can read more from you in the years to come!

I hope you’ll join us for our discussion on January 12th at 7pm at the Paradise Bakery at Hamilton Town Center. This month is “Bring a Friend” month, and somebody will win a copy of next month’s book at the discussion!

Living the Good Life: About Peter Mayle

I have to admit I’m a little jealous of Peter Mayle. Not only has he established himself as a very successful writer, he also had the opportunity to just up and move to an exotic place. While the January winds of Provence don’t sound appealing, the delicious food year-round and the beautiful weather during other times of the year that Mayle gets to enjoy certainly make me wish I could relocate to France for a while.

Peter Mayle was born in Brighton, England on June 14, 1939. He spent 13 years in the advertising industry before leaving to become an author. He started by writing educational books, including several sex education books. When A Year in Provence was published, it became a bestseller, and Mayle became most famous for his books written about this area of France (See a full list of his books here). Mayle has continued to write articles and books and released his most recent novel The Vintage Caper in 2009.

A Year in Provence won the British Book Award for Best Travel Book of the Year in 1989, and it was even turned into a British TV series that aired in 1993 (although it supposedly wasn’t very good). Mayle won the British Book Award for Author of the Year in 1992.

Want to find out more about Peter Mayle and A Year in Provence? Check out this interesting article The Guardian published in January of 2010 called “A Year in Provence: 20 Years Later.”  Mayle talks about how he happened to write the book when he had intended to write a novel instead, the surprising success of the book when no one thought it would sell, and how his life became more public when the book became a hit. As of the article’s writing, Mayle was still living in Provence. I wish I was there, too!

Since moving to an exotic location is unrealistic right now, I think I’ll settle for warm drinks and delightful conversation at our annual Book Club Christmas party. Hope you can join us on December 8 at 7 p.m. at Sarah J’s house. Please be sure to RSVP, we want to have enough goodies for you all!  **Don’t forget to bring a wrapped favorite book for our exchange game! (See the Evite or Facebook for details.)