The Friendly Persuasion


We have been reading Jessamyn West’s The Friendly Persuasion, for the past two months. We will meet again on Thursday, August 17, 8:30 pm at my place. See you then.

Here is a blurb about the book from Amazon:

A quintessential American heroine, Eliza Birdwell is a wonderful blend of would-be austerity, practicality, and gentle humor when it comes to keeping her faith and caring for her family and community. Her husband, Jess, shares Eliza’s love of people and peaceful ways but, unlike Eliza, also displays a fondness for a fast horse and a lively tune. With their children, they must negotiate their way through a world that constantly confronts them-sometimes with candor, sometimes with violence-and tests the strength of their beliefs. Whether it’s a gift parcel arriving on their doorstep or Confederate soldiers approaching their land, the Birdwells embrace life with emotion, conviction, and a love for one another that seems to conquer all.
The Friendly Persuasion has charmed generations of readers as one of our classic tales of the American Midwest.

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Living Buddha, Living Christ


For this month we are reading Living Buddha Living Christ by Thich Nhat Nanh. It is supposed to be very good, and since we haven’t read any philosophy in a long time, this should be good. We did not decide on a time to meet next so I will poll you all and we can decide on a time. Here is the summary from Amazon:

Buddha and Christ, perhaps the two most pivotal figures in the history of humankind, each left behind a legacy of teachings and practices that have shaped the lives of billions of people over two millennia. If they were to meet on the road today, what would each think of the other’s spiritual views and practices? 

Thich Nhat Hanh has been part of a decades-long dialogue between two great contemplatice traditions, and brings to Christianity an appreciation of its beauty that could be conveyed only by an outsider. In lucid, meditative prose, he explores the crossroads of compassion and holiness at which the two traditions meet, and he reawakens our understanding of both. “On the altar in my hermitage,” he says, “are images of Buddha and Jesus, and I touch both of them as my spiritual ancestors.”

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Rilke’s Book of Hours

For this month we are reading Rainer Maria Rilke’s Book of Hours. I also highly recommend his “Duino Elegies”, particularly the first couple, then if you have time move on to the “Sonnets to Orpheus. ” It’s all really wonderful stuff.

We will meet next on the evening of April 19, 8:30 pm. Bring along what other books you have been reading to share with the rest.

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Reminder: Meeting tonight

Just a reminder that we will be meeting tonight at 8:30 to discuss Leslie Marmon Silko’s book Ceremony. Hope you all can make it. Feel free to bring a friend, some treats, and some good literature to share.

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For this month we are reading Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko. Here is the synopsis from Amazon:

Thirty years since its original publication, Ceremony remains one of the most profound and moving works of Native American literature, a novel that is itself a ceremony of healing. Tayo, a World War II veteran of mixed ancestry, returns to the Laguna Pueblo Reservation. He is deeply scarred by his experience as a prisoner of the Japanese and further wounded by the rejection he encounters from his people. Only by immersing himself in the Indian past can he begin to regain the peace that was taken from him. Masterfully written, filled with the somber majesty of Pueblo myth, Ceremony is a work of enduring power.

We will meet again Thursday, March 9, 8:30 pm. Hope to see you all there.

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On letter writing

Debra sent this beautiful essay to me, so I thought I would share it. It echoes much of what I feel about the art of letter writing, and of course, it is related to the book we are reading for this month.


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The Delicacy and Strength of Lace


For this month we are reading The Delicacy and Strength of Lace, which is the correspondence between the poet James Wright and the novelist Leslie Marmon Silko. Here is the synopsis from Amazon:

Leslie Marmon Silko and James Wright met only twice. First, briefly, in 1975, at a writers’ conference in Michigan. Their correspondence began three years later, after Wright wrote to Silko praising her book Ceremony. The letters began formally, and then each writer gradually opened to the other, sharing his or her life, work, and struggles. The second meeting between the two writers came in a hospital room, as Wright lay dying of cancer.

We will meet again on February 9th, 8:30 pm. Hope to see you all then. And remember that we would still like to a add a few new members to the group. Perhaps some guys? So invite some like-minded literary friends to come along.

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