Book Club: August

For the month of August, I wanted to chose a book that a large portion of the world is going through at this moment, war, spiritual awakenings, segregations, and imposed limitations for what someone is “suppose” to believe in (inside their own religion). Find Nouf by Zoë Ferraris dives into each one of those touchy subjects.

Sixteen-year-old Nouf goes missing, along with a truck and her favorite camel, her family (who are wealthy)calls on Nayir al-Sharqi, a desert guide, to lead a search party. Only ten days later, when Nayir is about to give up, Nouf’s body has been discovered by some anonymous desert travelers. At first it seems as those Nouf had died of dehydration, but the coroner’s report came back with the death being ruled as drowning. Her family suddenly becomes uninterested in finding out how she could’ve drowned, however, Nayir takes it upon himself to finding out what really happened to Nouf. This will push gentle, pious Nayir, a Palestinian orphan raised by his bachelor uncle, to delve into the secret life of a protected teenage girl, in one of the most rigidly gender-segregated of Middle Eastern societies.

This novel dives deeper showcasing us Nayir’s deepest thoughts, and see him go through transformations spiritually and mentally as he discovers more about Nouf’s death.

Book Club: July

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“The Diary of a Chambermaid” by Octave Mirbeau graces the book of the month club for the month of July. This classic book transports back in time to witness the life of Celestine, a chambermaid, that goes to different houses and takes care of the occupants. Her first station is at the home of an elderly man who has an odd fetish with her boots, later on while she is still working there, she finds the man dead in bed with one of her boots in his mouth. She then takes a position at a home where a married bourgeois couple reside, and she finds herself in the midst of a estranged marriage and ends up becoming entangled in their marriage as well. Celestine’s last position is at the home of bourgeois café hostess who mistreats her servants at every turn. During all these positions at all of these different residents, Celestine has begun to learn more about her body, her mind frame, and finds herself learning the ways of love, sex, and even the ways of the upper class world.

Octave Mirbeau is one of the most gifted authors of the late 1800’s-early 1900’s, and this book proves the talent he possessed. Celestine, the main character of the novel, is a great strong leading character, showing exactly what all women go through from an early age, and it shows that each woman takes control of their own lives and situations in different ways.

I thoroughly enjoy this novel, just as I enjoy all of Octave’s other novels, and this is why I highly recommend reading this book for the month of July. Once you have finished reading this book, comment below and tell me what your thoughts are on the character, the plot, and the book as a whole.

Book Club: June

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As a book dragon (I divulge books like a dragon and rather enjoy them), I thoroughly enjoy a novel that is both fiction and historic, to me those novels will take me back to a simpler time that I have always wished for. And the Medici’s Daughter is one of those novels, a novel that will transport you back in time and lets you see through the eyes of Marguerite, daughter of Catherine de Medici, and sister to the future king Francis.

The time is 1564 in the winter, Princess Margot (Marguerite) has been summoned to the court in France, where one word from your mouth could cause travesty to you and your family. Being the daughter of Catherine de Medici, who is highly intimidating and such a powerful player of the courts during the time of a religious war, Princess Margot must learned the game just as well to please her family. Margot being the obedient daughter has accepted her role as a marriage pawn, even though she is in love with Duc de Guise, and agrees to marry Henri of Navarre, a man who is over zealous and wishes to seal a truce between the two countries. However, this promised marriage is all but a mirage concocted by her mother. On the day of her wedding, after the bloodshed has occurred, Princess Margot must choose between her family and soul.

Sophie Perinot has truly done it again with this novel of Princess Marguerite, and quite honestly there is nothing this author cannot do. Run to the nearest place where they sell books, and pick up your copy of this wonderful and colorful novel, it is truly a great way to kick off the summer time.

Book Club: May

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For the month of May, the novel that was picked out is by the ever so talented Thomas Hardy, who is a well known romanticist novelist from England. Tess of the d’Urbervilles is one of Hardy’s famous novels for several reasons, one of the reasons is due to the original novel being censored for challenging sexual morals of the time, late Victorian era.

Tess of the d’Urbervilles follows a young sixteen year old girl named Tess, who is the oldest child of peasants, John and Joan Durbeyfield. A chance encounter between John and a man named Parson Tringham occur, and it is in that moment that John has been notified that he is a descendant of nobility. John and Joan send their daughter, Tess, to go to a nearby relative and “claim kin”, to alleviate their status and financial problems. While Tess is visiting the relatives, a young man named Alec d’Urbervilles, he becomes very attracted to Tess and decides to hire her to help his mother with her poultry. While in the residence, Alec seduces and rapes Tess, leaving her pregnant. She gives birth when she gets back home, to a young boy named Sorrow. Suddenly, Sorrow falls ill and dies in infancy, leaving Tess wounded and devastated of losing her child. After losing her child, Tess meets a young man named Angel Clare, and after a while of saying no to Angel’s proposal, Tess finally agrees to marry Angel. However, they are not married for long. For they decide to split after they both divulge each other’s past secrets to one another. After they have both gone their own ways, Tess sees Alec (who is now a minister), and tries to stay away from him. However, Alec leaves his post as minister and pursues her, asking her to marry him over and over again, with Tess giving him the same reply, that she will not be his wife. **You need to read the entire book to understand what all Tess goes through, it is impeccable.

This novel is one of the most unique novels out there, because for it to be a novel to challenge the time period that it was released in is truly magnificent and bold. Thomas Hardy is definitely an author that everyone needs to read at some point in their life.

Book Club: April

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Alison Weir is one of the most famous authors for writing about history and bringing it back to life for the modern day bookworm. She has written about so many historical figures from the Prince’s in the Tower to King Henry VIII, and more recently she has tackled on the challenge of writing about all of King Henry VIII’s wives, all six of them.

Katherine of Aragon: The True Queen, is based on the life of Queen Katherine, the Spanish princess who was the daughter of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. She was betrothed to Prince Arthur (King Henry VIII’s older brother) at a very young age, then married him on November 14, 1501 at the Old St. Paul’s Cathedral. They were only married for five months when the sweating sickness swept through the country side and enveloped the both prince and princess. Katherine had survived, however, Arthur had passed away, leaving Katherine a widow. For months Katherine was left to her own devices in a strange and foreign land where she had her servants as friends. Her father and prince Arthur’s father, King Henry VII, were trying to figure out what to do with Princess Katherine, for King Henry VII  was afraid to lose the 200,000 ducats that was her dowry. At one point, King Henry VII had proposed of marrying Katherine himself after his own wife had passed, but thankfully King Ferdinand did not want his daughter marrying him. Instead, King Henry VII had proposed the idea of Katherine marrying his youngest son, Henry ( the future king), but had realized that after her mother had died, her “value” was now down. After years of King Henry VII trying to keep his son and Katherine from marrying, the king passed away, leaving his youngest son to ascend the throne. When Henry was crowned King Henry VIII, he had said that he was going to marry Katherine himself, for love and security for the throne for she would bear him sons (only one son survived for 52 days). The couple did have one surviving child, the future Queen Mary (also known as Bloody Mary). After several other failed pregnancies, King Henry VIII’s eyes started to look the other way and found himself in the arms of a young lady of the court by the name of Anne Boleyn. The divorce trials that followed this torrid triangle affair was outstanding and nearly took the world by storm. For Katherine refused to divorce her husband, for she in her own words, “have been your true wife, in every way.” But King Henry VIII was adamant about divorcing Katherine and marrying Anne, for he wished to have sons succeed him on the throne.

This story follows the entire life of Queen Katherine, and with it being historically accurate and somewhat fictional in certain parts, it is one of the best stories of the 21st century. Queen Katherine has always been my favorite Queen, besides Nefertiti (she was known as a Pharaoh), and this novel does her justice. All of you will truly enjoy this magnificent story.

Book Club: March

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Digging into the archives of all of the novels that have circulated around the globe, I had come across a novel that was published in 1987 by an author named Thomas Gallagher. I had read some of his work before, and was thoroughly impressed with his writing style and also with the way he told his stories. For they truly did capture me, and in a way, forced me to finish the novel right then and there; which there are no complaints coming from me.

Paddy’s Lament was just like every other book by Thomas Gallagher, a well-written, incredibly detailed, historic, and overall the type of story to draw one in, so that they could witness first hand and through the eyes of the character. The story takes place in the 1800’s in Ireland, during the time where all of the citizens were peasants and every one of them relied on one source of food to keep them alive into the next day, the potato. However in 1846, a disease had run rampant across Ireland, taking their only source of food and turned it inedible. Everyone was trying to figure out what they were going to do, what they were going to do for their families, and what else would they be able to eat without falling ill.

Without a doubt, you will enjoy this novel. After reading it, it will make you want to buy all of Mr. Gallagher’s novels.

Book Club: February

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The novel that has been chosen for the book club is the elegantly written, The Girl Who Wrote in Silk, by Kelli Estes. This story has everything a reader would want in a novel; mystery, romance, history, and tragedy. This novel follows a young lady named Inara, who has traveled to her now deceased aunt’s island estate. While she roams about the estate, she finds herself in a part of the house that contains a hidden piece of fabric that is elegantly stitched together and has intricate details all over it. As Inara begins to take apart the hidden secrets it holds, Inara finds herself in connection with a young girl named Mei Lein, who had been driven away from her home a century before. Suddenly, Inara realizes that Mei has written stories inside the silk, and Inara has come face to face with a tragic truth, this truth shakes everyone in Inara’s family, including herself.

This novel is mesmerizing and captivating on every level, you can truly see through Inara’s eyes as you read the story. Your mind will want to know every answer to every question that will surround your head as you read, and you will keep reading it until you get all of your answers. Kelli Estes is a gifted author and deserves a standing ovation for this novel, for it is written wonderfully and the characters seem to come alive.