The Crossings Book Club — April, May and June Meetings

Our next meeting is Tuesday, April 16, at 6:30 p.m. at the Crossings clubhouse (the Walnut Country HOA Clubhouse, 44965 S Larwin Ave, Concord, CA 94521). We’ll be discussing The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun. “One rainy afternoon, while riding a city bus, Gretchen Rubin asked herself, “What do I want from life, anyway?” She answered, “I want to be happy.” She decided to dedicate a year to a happiness project. Her book “synthesizes the wisdom of the ages with current scientific research, as Rubin brings readers along on her year to greater happiness” (from publisher’s blurb).

In May, we’ll be reading The Girl with Seven Names: A North Korean Defector’s Story by Hyeonseo Lee, which describes her early life under a brutal and repressive dictatorship, her decision at age eighteen to leave the country, her harrowing escape and defection, and her long and ultimately successful struggle to help her family escape to South Korea. The meeting to discuss the book will be on Tuesday, May 21.

June’s book will be A Column of Fire, by Ken Follett. Set in the political and religious turmoil of the sixteenth century and the struggle between Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots, the story follows the lives of Mary Fitzgerald and Ned Willard, who find themselves on opposing sides of the conflict. Leaving Mary behind, Ned finds himself in a world of intrigue and danger as one of Elizabeth’s new secret service. A Column of Fire is the third book in Follett’s Kingsbridge series, a sequel to The Pillars of the Earth (1989) and World Without End (2007). The meeting to discuss the book will be on Tuesday, June 18.

– LK

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The Crossings Book Club — February, March and April Meetings

Cover of Woman Who Smashed CodesOur next meeting is Tuesday, February 19, at 6:30 p.m. at the Crossings clubhouse (the Walnut Country HOA Clubhouse, 44965 S Larwin Ave, Concord, CA 94521). We’ll be discussing The Woman Who Smashed Codes: A True Story of Love, Spies, and the Unlikely Heroine Who Outwitted America’s Enemies, by Jason Fagone. The book tells the “incredible true story of the greatest codebreaking duo that ever lived, an American woman and her husband who invented the modern science of cryptology together and used it to confront the evils of their time, solving puzzles that unmasked Nazi spies and helped win World War II” (publisher’s blurb).

In March we’ll be reading Still Life by Louise Penny, the first book in the mystery series featuring Armand Gamache, Chief Inspector with the Sûreté du Quebec. The story takes place in the small Quebec village of Three Pines. From the publisher’s blurb: “To locals, the village is a safe haven. So they are bewildered when a well-loved member of the community is found lying dead in the maple woods. Surely it was an accident – a hunter’s arrow gone astray. Who could want Jane Neal dead?” The meeting to discuss the book will be on Tuesday, March 19.

April’s book will be The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun. “One rainy afternoon, while riding a city bus, Gretchen Rubin asked herself, “What do I want from life, anyway?” She answered, “I want to be happy”—yet she spent no time thinking about her happiness. In a flash, she decided to dedicate a year to a happiness project…The Happiness Project synthesizes the wisdom of the ages with current scientific research, as Rubin brings readers along on her year to greater happiness” (publisher’s blurb). The meeting to discuss the book will be on Tuesday, April 16.

– LK

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The Crossings Book Club — November, December and January Meetings

Our next meeting is Tuesday, November 20, at 6:30 p.m. at the Crossings clubhouse (the Walnut Country HOA Clubhouse, 44965 S Larwin Ave, Concord, CA 94521). We’ll be discussing The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, the classic 1959 gothic horror novel considered to be one of the best twentieth-century ghost stories. The novel has been made into a play and several films, and most recently is the inspiration for a Netflix television series.

December’s book will be Christopher Moore’s The Stupidest Angel (A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror). What happens if you make a Christmas wish — and your Guardian angel’s “not sporting the brightest halo in the bunch?” A young boy thinks he’s witnessed Santa Claus being murdered, and has one Christmas wish: “Please Santa, come back from the dead.” I think you can take it from there… The meeting to discuss the book will be on Tuesday, December 18.

In January we’ll be reading Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari. “One hundred thousand years ago, at least six different species of humans inhabited Earth. Yet today there is only one — homo sapiens. What happened to the others? And what may happen to us?” Harari attempts to answer these questions in a “narrative of humanity’s creation and evolution… that explores the ways in which biology and history have defined us and enhanced our understanding of what it means to be ‘human’ (from the publisher’s blurb). The meeting to discuss the book will be on Tuesday, January 15.

– LK

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The Crossings Book Club – August, September and October Meetings

Our next meeting is Tuesday, August 21, at 6:30 p.m. at the Crossings clubhouse (the Walnut Country HOA Clubhouse, 44965 S Larwin Ave, Concord, CA 94521). We’ll be discussing The Dictionary of Mutual Understanding by Jackie Copleton. When Amaterasu Takahashi opens the door of her Philadelphia home to a badly scarred man claiming to be the grandson she believed had died in the bombing of Nagasaki, she is forced to confront painful memories of the years in Japan before the war. Will Ama allow herself to believe in a miracle? (From the publisher’s blurb.)

In September we’ll be reading Chasing Klondike Dreams by Marc Paul Kaplan, an historical novel about three outcasts — a disillusioned Yale Divinity School student, a prostitute condemned after defending herself against a wealthy customer, and a renegade son of a wealthy San Francisco merchant —  who “converge in Skagway, Alaska struggling to ride the crest of the Klondike Gold Rush” (publisher’s blurb). The meeting to discuss the book will be on Tuesday, September 18.

October’s book will be Lee Child’s Killing Floor — Child’s debut novel, and the first book in the popular Jack Reacher series. “Ex-military policeman Jack Reacher is a drifter. He’s just passing through Margrave, Georgia, and in less than an hour, he’s arrested for murder. Not much of a welcome. All Jack knows is that he didn’t kill anybody. At least not here. Not lately. But he doesn’t stand a chance of convincing anyone. not in Margrave, Georgia. Not a chance in hell” (publisher’s blurb).  The meeting to discuss the book will be on Tuesday, October 16.

– LK


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Vacation!

We will be on vacation

from Sunday, July 1 through Monday, July 9


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The Crossings Book Club — June, July and August Meetings

Our next meeting is Tuesday, June 12 (note: this is the second Tuesday of the month), at 6:30 p.m. at the Crossings clubhouse (the Walnut Country HOA Clubhouse, 44965 S Larwin Ave, Concord, CA 94521). We’ll be discussing The Kill Artist, by Daniel Silva. A former Israeli-intelligence operative turned restorer of priceless works of art is being called back into the game to catch a terrorist bent on one last killing spree. What begins as a manhunt turns into a globe-spanning duel fueled by political intrigue and deep personal passions (from the publisher’s blurb).

July’s book is When the Floods Came by Clare Morrall. Set in a future Britain, ravaged by floods and a deadly virus, this novel is equal parts near-future dystopia, a tale of suspense, and a coming-of-age story. Roza’s family lives in a Birmingham tower block, relatively safe and comfortable, if isolated. Then a stranger arrives… The meeting to discuss the book will be on Tuesday, July 24 (note date change from the 3rd to the 4th Tuesday of the month).

In August we’ll be reading The Dictionary of Mutual Understanding by Jackie Copleton. When Amaterasu Takahashi opens the door of her Philadelphia home to a badly scarred man claiming to be the grandson she believed had died in the bombing of Nagasaki, she is forced to confront painful memories of the years in Japan before the war. Will Ama allow herself to believe in a miracle? (From the publisher’s blurb.)  The meeting to discuss the book will be on Tuesday, August 21.

–LK

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The Crossings Book Club — April and May Meetings

Our next meeting is Tuesday, April 17 at 6:30 p.m. at the Crossings clubhouse (the Walnut Country HOA Clubhouse, 44965 S Larwin Ave, Concord, CA 94521). We’ll be discussing The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey, by Rinker Buck. Buck, with his brother Nick and a Jack Russell terrier named Olive Oyl, traveled the length of the Oregon Trail in a covered wagon with a team of mules. The book is part travelogue of “a majestic journey across the West, a significant work of history, and a moving personal saga” (from the publisher’s blurb).

In May we’ll be reading Artemis, by Andy Weir, author of the popular science fiction novel and film The Martian. His new book is a fast-paced science fiction heist story. The novel takes place in the “late 2080s and is set in Artemis, the first and only city on the moon. It follows the life of porter and smuggler Jasmine ‘Jazz’ Bashara as she gets caught up in a conspiracy for control of the city” (Wikipedia). The meeting to discuss the book will be on Tuesday, May 15.

–LK

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The Crossings Book Club — January Meeting

Our next meeting is Tuesday, January 16 at 6:30 p.m. at the Crossings clubhouse (the Walnut Country HOA Clubhouse, 44965 S Larwin Ave, Concord, CA 94521). We’ll be discussing Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking: A Memoir of Food and Longing by Anya von Bremzen. Part family memoir, part social history, von Bremzen and her mother cook their way through three generations of family and historical dishes, beginning with the fabulous excess of Tsarist Russia on through the Revolution, World War II, famines, food shortages, black marketeering and punishing socialist rules against the “decadent” enjoyment of food. Anya von Bremzen is a three-time James Beard Award-winning food writer. She was born in 1963 in Soviet Russia.

February’s book is Georgia: A Novel of Georgia O’Keeffe by Dawn Tripp, a novel that “brings to life Georgia O’Keeffe, her love affair with photographer Alfred Stieglitz, and her quest to become an independent artist.” (From the publisher’s blurb.) The meeting to discuss the book will be on Tuesday, February 20.

CHANGE IN MARCH BOOK: The book choice for March will be The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler. We were originally planning to read Chandler’s The Little Sister, but members are having trouble finding copies. The Big Sleep, a classic hardboiled mystery, features the private detective Phillip Marlowe and was made into the famous Bogart and Bacall movie. Extra credit points to anyone who reads both Chandler books! March’s meeting will be on Tuesday, March 20.

–L.K.

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November: NaNoWriMo Write-Ins

What is NaNoWriMo? Short answer, from their website:

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30.

Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought fleetingly about writing a novel.

Sound good to you? Then come join us — Berkshire Books co-owner Cheryl will once again be participating, and Berkshire Books will once again be hosting NaNoWriMo write-ins. The write-ins will be held on Saturday afternoons.

When:
Every Saturday afternoon in November
4:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Where:
Berkshire Books
3480 Clayton Road, Concord
Call (925) 685-9999 if you have questions

(Yes, we have a place to plug in your laptop. No, we don’t have WiFi)

Coffee, chocolate and cookies on the house.

But wait! There’s More:
You can also drop in any time to write! There’s a small table and Lynn will dig out the snacks for you. We’re open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. (Closed Sundays and Mondays). Be warned that on Saturday mornings until about noon there’s a meeting of the Concord Curmudgeons (who discuss local politics) but otherwise the space is free.

For more information on this crazy program, go to nanowrimo.org

Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month

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The Crossings Book Club — October Meeting & Next 3 Books

Our next meeting is Tuesday, October 10 at 6:30 p.m. at the Crossings clubhouse (the Walnut Country HOA Clubhouse, 44965 S Larwin Ave, Concord, CA 94521). We’ll be discussing Death at La Fenice by Donna Leon, the first book in the Commissario Brunetti mystery series. The world-Renown and much-hated conductor Maestro Helmut Wellauer has been poisoned during an intermission at La Fenice, the premiere opera house in Venice, and Brunetti’s task is not to find a suspect, but to narrow the choices down to one. Donna Leon is an opera expert and the crime reviewer for the London Sunday Times. (Note: the meeting is on the second Tuesday of the month.)

In November, we’ll be reading the novel Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger. “In New Bremen, Minnesota, 1961. The Twins were playing their debut season, ice-cold root beers were selling out at the soda counter of Halderson’s Drugstore, and Hot Stuff comic books were a mainstay on every barbershop magazine rack. It was a time of innocence and hope for a country with a new, young president. But for thirteen-year-old Frank Drum it was a grim summer in which death visited frequently and assumed many forms. Accident. Nature. Suicide. Murder… Told from Frank’s perspective forty years after that fateful summer, Ordinary Grace is a brilliantly moving account of a boy standing at the door of his young manhood, trying to understand a world that seems to be falling apart around him.” (From the publisher’s blurb.) November’s meeting will be on Tuesday, November 14. (Note: the meeting is on the second Tuesday of the month.)

December’s book is The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George. “Monsieur Perdu calls himself a literary apothecary. From his floating bookstore in a barge on the Seine, he prescribes novels for the hardships of life. Using his intuitive feel for the exact book a reader needs, Perdu mends broken hearts and souls. The only person he can’t seem to heal through literature is himself; he’s still haunted by heartbreak after his great love disappeared. She left him with only a letter, which he has never opened.” (From the publisher’s blurb.) The meeting to discuss the book will be on Tuesday, December 19.

–LK

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