Thursday, June 23, 2011

Following our start-up meeting...

Hey all!

We had a great first meeting of our book club. I cooked too much and then Grace brought chocolate! We tasted Mead from Wine Haven and Cabernet Sauvignon from Gnarly Head this last month. They were both delicious!!!

Cindy recommended that folks read two of her favorite books: "The Winds of War" by Herman Wok and "Last Seen Wearing" by Colin Dexter. I praised "Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons", a book about a book club written by Lorna Landvik. And Amy suggested "The Spirit Catches You When You Fall Down," another great book about the Hmong culture.

We'll be rotating who picks the book. I picked for July. The book is "The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir" by Kao Kalia Yang. Amy is going to be ordering a few used copies from Borders (they are about $3). Let her know right away if you'd like her to order a copy for you. I picked this book because it received much acclaim when it came out a few years ago and I've been wanting to read it ever since. The Hmongs are such a big culture group in Minnesota and I'd like to learn more about them. There was another woman in my last master's class who was Hmong but had been born and raised in Minnesota. She shared some of the struggles she's had as a Hmong-American, including how odd it is to speak Hmong at home and English every where else. Plus, she didn't learn anything about her own culture, people or language in Minnesota schools. That is also something Yang discusses -- and the Hmongs fought on the side of America in Vietnam. I'm really exciting to be reading this book with the rest of you.

From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Yang, cofounder of the immigrant-services company Words Wanted, was born in a Hmong refugee camp in Thailand in 1980. Her grandmother had wanted to stay in the camp, to make it easier for her spirit to find its way back to her birthplace when she died, but people knew it would soon be liquidated. America looked promising, so Yang and her family, along with scores of other Hmong, left the jungles of Thailand to fly to California, then settle in St. Paul, Minn. In many ways, these hardworking refugees followed the classic immigrant arc, with the adults working double jobs so the children could get an education and be a credit to the community. But the Hmong immigrants were also unique—coming from a non-Christian, rain forest culture, with no homeland to imagine returning to, with hardly anyone in America knowing anything about them. As Yang wryly notes, they studied the Vietnam War at school, without their lessons ever mentioning that the Hmong had been fighting for the Americans. Yang tells her family's story with grace; she narrates their struggles, beautifully weaving in Hmong folklore and culture. By the end of this moving, unforgettable book, when Yang describes the death of her beloved grandmother, readers will delight at how intimately they have become part of this formerly strange culture. (Apr.) 
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

July: Tesha - The Latehomecomer
August: Cindy
September: Amy
October: Becky G.
November: Grace
December: Elizabeth
We'll be announcing the next month's book at each month's meeting.

Our next meeting will be the Third Wednesday of July, the 20th, again at my place from 5-8. I make dinner so come hungry! Bring a bottle of wine and a treat if you want to. 

We're going to need to reschedule the wine tour of local wineries. Please email me and let me know which dates work for you:
• Saturday, July 30
• Sunday, July 31
• Saturday, Aug. 6
• Sunday, Aug. 7
• Saturday, Aug. 20
• Sunday, Aug. 21

I'm so excited about our new little group, and hope to see those that couldn't make it last night at our next meeting!

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