Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Choosing a book for June

Here are three book suggestions.  Leave comments, so I'll know which one most of us want to read next.  If you think we should read all three (or two of the three) in the coming months, please say so.

The Wives of Henry Oades, a novel by Johanna Moran, was published in 2010.
When Henry Oades accepts an accountancy post in New Zealand, his wife, Margaret, and their children follow him to exotic Wellington. But while Henry is an adventurer, Margaret is not. Their new home is rougher and more rustic than they expected—and a single night of tragedy shatters the family when the native Maori stage an uprising, kidnapping Margaret and her children.

For months, Henry scours the surrounding wilderness, until all hope is lost and his wife and children are presumed dead. Grief-stricken, he books passage to California. There he marries Nancy Foreland, a young widow with a new baby, and it seems they’ve both found happiness in the midst of their mourning—until Henry’s first wife and children show up, alive and having finally escaped captivity.

Narrated primarily by the two wives, and based on a real-life legal case, The Wives of Henry Oades is the riveting story of what happens when Henry, Margaret, and Nancy face persecution for bigamy.
The Help ~ by Kathryn Stockett was published in 2009.
Skeeter, 22 years old, has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss.  She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger.  Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.

Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child.  Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way.  She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.

Minny, Aibileen's best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi.  She can cook like nobody's business, but she can't mind her tongue, so she's lost yet another job.  Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation.  But her new boss has secrets of her own.

Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that puts them all at risk.  Why?  Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times.  And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.
Shanghai Girls, a novel by Lisa See, was published in 2009.
May and Pearl, two sisters living in Shanghai in the mid-1930s, are beautiful, sophisticated, and well-educated, but their family is on the verge of bankruptcy. Hoping to improve their social standing, May and Pearl’s parents arrange for their daughters to marry “Gold Mountain men” who have come from Los Angeles to find brides.

But when the sisters leave China and arrive at Angel’s Island (the Ellis Island of the West)—where they are detained, interrogated, and humiliated for months—they feel the harsh reality of leaving home. And when May discovers she’s pregnant the situation becomes even more desperate. The sisters make a pact that no one can ever know.
Leave a comment, and consider it your "vote" for the next book or books that we will discuss here among the book buddies.


Bonnie Jacobs said...

It is past time to pick another book, so I have suggested three possibilities. Leave a comment and I'll tally the "vote" within a very few days so you can go ahead and order or buy or borrow the book we'll read for June.

Lynne said...

I have read The Help and the Shanghi Girls.

The Help is the best book I have read all year and highly recommend it for the group.

The Shanghai Girls was ok but a little bit of a dissappointment for me as I expected more coming from the author of Snowflower and the Secret Fan.

The Wives of Henry Oades by Johanna Moran is the only one of the three I have not read. If that is chosen I would read it with you as long as I know and can get the book in time.

Bonnie Jacobs said...

Lynne, would you be willing to discuss The Help or Shanghai Girls if the buddies choose either (or both) of those? That way, you are already ready to discuss a book and wouldn't even have to buy or borrow it. We don't have to like a book to have a good discussion about it.

It's nice to know you consider The Help the best book you've read this year.

Lynne said...

Looks like I gave more info than I needed.

I would try to join in on the two books mentioned depending on the time they are being discussed.

Jennifer said...

I would happily read all three of these books with ya'll here. I haven't read any of them yet.

I did not read The Help with The Book Nook when they read it in October. I didn't have the time and the book didn't sound too interesting to me. But after the rave reviews there, I do want to read it now.

As I said in my other comment on the party post, reading SG in June is good by me so SG gets my vote for next month.

Janice said...

The Help was an absolutely fascinating book about truth telling and about relationships. The relationships between the white female employers and their black household help was the primary focus but there was also an interesting mother-daughter relationship in this story.

The Wives of Henry Oades sounds like it should be on my "Must-Read" list.

alisonwonderland said...

I read The Help at the end of last year. I thought it was a fabulous book. I'd love to discuss it here - although I wouldn't re-read it (since my to-read list is so long).

I've had Shangai Girls on my to-read list for a while, and I'd love to read and discuss it with this group.

I'd not heard of The Wives of Henry Oades before now, but I'm intrigued. So I'd be very happy to read and discuss it as well.

Bottom line? Any of the three would be great picks for June! (I'm not much help, am I?)

Shirley said...

Any of the three will work for me.

I read via audio The Help and thoroughly enjoyed it. Shanghai Girls is one I've considered reading. I hadn't heard of The Wives of Henry Oades, but it sounds itneresting.

June and July will continue to be quite busy for me as I'm working longer, more stressful hours as a new accounting system is being implemented effective July 1. Hopefully, I can keep up with the reading as I especially enjoy the comments about the books.

Bonnie Jacobs said...

Shanghai Girls seems to have gotten the most interest, so let's make it our book for June.

The Help garnered praise from those who have read it, so let's make it our book for July.

The Wives of Henry Oades has intrigued a few of you, so let's make it our book for August.

Unless I hear otherwise from you, we'll try these for now. Go ahead and get a copy of the one for June and start reading so we can discuss it starting early next month.

I'll add it to the sidebar now.

Shirley said...

Sounds like a good plan. Our library actually had both The Shanghai Girls and The Wives of Henry Oades available. I'm glad that The Help is being discussed in July as that will probably be a very stressful, busy month with the implementation at work of a new accounting system. I'll be able to enjoy your posts and possibly contribute if I remember anything from my earlier listen of the book.