Thursday, September 20, 2012


My book club is discussing Marilynne Robinson's Home. We, the eight of us, seven women and an occasional man take turns choosing a book and hosting the discussions, followed by snacks/food that relate to the book's themes, locale.

This is not an easy book to read. One of our members excused herself.
I had a tough time making it through a chapter without sobbing inconsolably.
Most of us already have exchanged quick reviews, phrases like "This book talks about my family!"; or, "This is the heaviest thing I read this year!"

I've chosen this book. And I'm hosting the discussion at my house, in the sun room, with a view of the new garden spaces. The pear tree will attract many to go down to the orchard and pick a bucket or two. Peas and beans and broccoli and cucumbers and zucchini and fava and lettuces and even strawberries will be picked clean by this afternoon. I wanted all this to happen at this time, a sort of emotional landmark for me, and for everyone to know that I survived this year and things are growing and producing, that tough things happen to all of us, (including to the characters in the book), and that we go on, and plant gardens, and cook, and visit with each other.

I'm preparing chicken and dumplings, hoping my dumplings turn out better than the dumplings cooked by the protagonist. For dessert, apple pie and pear cake, both from fruit in my orchard, mimicking how the protagonist constructed her pies.

We'll talk for a couple of hours; we'll choose the next book; we'll exchange tid-bits about the goings on in each others' lives. For a couple of hours my home will house a community of like-spirits, all sharing words written by a stranger, about strangers, from a time and a place most of us might find similar to our childhood, and for those hours we will piece together what it is to feel at home, for the protagonists, and for ourselves.

Home is an important book; it will engage you deeply.


  1. I have not read this book. One thing I do know there is nothing book lovers enjoy more than reading a good book, unless it is talking about one they just read. Sounds like a delightful way to connect with others and share experiences and thoughts.

  2. Like Patricia, I haven't read 'Home.' It goes right to the top of my next book list! I just finished 'Gone Girl' .. if you haven't read it, I do recommend it! My daughter-in-law's book club read it in August ... gave it an enthusiastic 10 on a scale of 1-10.

  3. Two words stand out! 'Pear Cake' -- sounds mouth-wateringly scrumptious!

    I'll be checking out 'Home' as soon as I can head over to Amazon...

  4. I love Marilynne Robinson, but I have not read this book. Thank you for adding it to my list; she does pack an emotional wallop. And I am thrilled by the (literal) fruits of your labor. May those dumplings be light as air!

  5. I haven't read this book. I won't read something that makes me cry. I feel there are enough things in life to cry about, so I choose books and movies that make me laugh, fascinate me with how people lived in the 1500s to the 1700s, or boggle my mind with mystery.

    And to answer your question from yesterday...we're downsizing because we have applied for senior housing. We're on a waiting list, but eventually will be moving to a one bedroom apt.

  6. hmmm sounds good
    and yes..we go on
    for we must
    and the healing happens

  7. Oh, how I wish I could be there to discuss this book with you. I know exactly what you are saying. I read this book earlier this year. I had much the same response you did.

    You have done what we must do to go on. You have planted and hoped others will reap from that which you have planted. You will share food, a meal, thoughts, emotions, thoughts about loss, and ultimately you will know that life doesn't always work out as we had planned, but we do go on.

  8. This seems like such a good way to mark your important milestone. You survived, your garden thrives, you read books that speak of what you know to be true. I admire and celebrate you. And, surely reading and discussing a great book is one of life's ongoing joys.

  9. I don't know either the author or the book. I hope you have a splendid time with your book club. I anticipate the discussion will be lively, and thoughtful.

  10. i read with awe your description of having your garden picked clean, but recognizing how abundantly it produces, and will produce again. the choice of this book for your book club, the cycle of the earth and your creative passions all speak to this emotional landmark.

    i've not read this book, but will add it to my list.

  11. I never heard of this book, but it seems I must read it. Above all, I'd love to have been one of your visitors that day — sounds like a wonderful occasion. Everyone must have felt so nurtured in all sorts of ways!