Book Club

Senior Planet Book Club: Vote For Our Next Book!

Thank you to everyone who participated in our discussion both in the comments section of SeniorPlanet.org and at our meeting over Zoom about “The House on Mango Street” by Sandra Cisneros.

Now it is time to select our next reading!

Each Tuesday, we’ll post a thread on SeniorPlanet.org inviting your comments on the next section of the book and then we’ll host a discussion over Zoom the final week of reading the book together.

But first! We’ve put together a shortlist engaging books suggested by our members and staff. Now it’s up to you pick which one we’ll read together next. Read on for details about each book, then take the poll at the end and tell us: What should the Senior Planet Book Club read next?

We’ll announce the result of the poll in addition to how you can access a copy of the chosen book next Tuesday!

Have any feedback on book club? Tell us what you think in the comments or email membership@seniorplanet.org!

The Books:

The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi

“Vivid and compelling in its portrait of one woman’s struggle for fulfillment in a society pivoting between the traditional and the modern, The Henna Artist opens a door into a world that is at once lush and fascinating, stark and cruel. Escaping from an abusive marriage, seventeen-year-old Lakshmi makes her way alone to the vibrant 1950s pink city of Jaipur. There she becomes the most highly requested henna artist—and confidante—to the wealthy women of the upper class. But trusted with the secrets of the wealthy, she can never reveal her own.” – GoodReads.com

The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to his White Mother by James McBride 

“Touches readers of all colors as a vivid portrait of growing up, a haunting meditation on race and identity, and a lyrical valentine to a mother from her son.
Who is Ruth McBride Jordan? A self-declared “light-skinned” woman evasive about her ethnicity, yet steadfast in her love for her twelve black children. James McBride, journalist, musician and son, explores his mother’s past, as well as his own upbringing and heritage, in a poignant and powerful debut. – GoodReads.com

“In 1938, Ruby, Helen and Grace, three girls from very different backgrounds, find themselves competing at the same audition for showgirl roles at San Francisco’s exclusive “Oriental” nightclub, the Forbidden City. Grace, an American-born Chinese girl has fled the Midwest and an abusive father. Helen is from a Chinese family who have deep roots in San Francisco’s Chinatown. And, as both her friends know, Ruby is Japanese passing as Chinese. At times their differences are pronounced, but the girls grow to depend on one another in order to fulfill their individual dreams. Then, everything changes in a heartbeat with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Suddenly the government is sending innocent Japanese to internment camps under suspicion, and Ruby is one of them. But which of her friends betrayed her?” – GoodReads.com

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennet

“The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Many years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters’ storylines intersect?” – GoodReads.com

Take the poll!

What book should the Senior Planet Book Club read next?

Photo by Paul Schafer on Unsplash

COMMENTS

24 responses to “Senior Planet Book Club: Vote For Our Next Book!

  1. I had just discovered Senior Planet’s book club when I attended the last book club meeting for “The House on Mango Street.” Although I had only read a portion of the book, I thoroughly enjoyed the discussion–both the commentary on literary aspects of the book (by several knowledgeable and observant participants) and the discussions based on connections between the social/historical context and issues of our contemporary society. I was impressed by the level of and focus of the discussion. What a friendly, supportive group they seemed to be! (I am particularly interested in reading China Dolls and The Vanishing Half, but I too will refrain from voting, knowing they had been discussing some choices connecting to diversity prior to reading Sandra Cisneros’ book.) I look forward to seeing what they select!

  2. I belong to several book clubs; each book club has a different focus. I have been participating in this book club for a few months now. This book club focuses on authors from minority cultures, both American and International. In recent months we have read, and discussed, books by Hispanic authors, Native American authors, Black authors and have recommended books by Asian authors. Each month book club members suggest some titles for the upcoming month and 4 or 5 of those titles are then voted upon in an open, and public, online voting process. The title with the most votes is then selected to be discussed the following month. Each author under consideration has well well reviewed in the library and literary fields. If anyone doesn’t like the focus of this book club, I would suggest contacting his, or her, local public library for suggestions for other book clubs that might be more of interest.

    1. And the point of such reading? There seems to be a condescending approach: all cultures are so simplistic that one book will be enough to know … what exactly?

  3. To date, I haven’t thought too much about joining this or any other book club. I never seem to find the time. However, I love to read and am a writer, so it comes naturally to me. That said, it might help if a couple more choices were added to the list. Equally important, and based on these comments, Senior Planet needs to have diversity, aka race relations, discussions on a regular basis. Some of these comments reveal some deep-seated issues that need to be brought to the light and fully explored. I believe that Senior Planet has now partnered with AARP. That organization might have the resources to address these issues and begin a meaningful discussion. Society or civilization if you prefer, needs its elderly to be leaders using wisdom and compassion. Based on these comments, we might need to add books about how to be griots to the young to this list.

  4. The last book club meeting was my second. The discussion flowed re the book and then turned to politics and what seemed like a political rehashing. I left as that is not what I am interested in doing in a book club. Certainly people can find other places online or in person to discuss politicians and their problems. In addition a couple speakers were cut off abruptly. Zoom calls can be difficult but people can learn how to avoid that if they try.
    Thanks.

    1. Oh, there is a problem. You participate in a club (and a place) that is designed as a political tool. You participate in an activity that is clearly political and you are not interested in it?
      I am relatively new here, but it didn’t take me long to notice that the selection of books serves only one purpose – the promotion of the far left (frankly, very destructive) agenda of the day. I don’t know how one can not notice this.
      December: we read only BLM because BLM is wonderful
      January: we read only BLM because BLM is wonderful
      February: we read only BLM because BLM is wonderful (the fact that it is a designated Black history month doesn’t make BLM wonderful, but OK…)
      March: we read only BLM because BLM is wonderful (not a Black history month, but … it doesn’t matter in a political place)

      In March, BLM locked up some 100 supermarket shoppers (otherwise known as “civilians.” I would like to discuss this instead of this or that manipulated “story”

  5. Most books promoted here (with some convenient tokens) talk about anti-Black racism (not only this time)
    I have a couple of questions:
    – Does it mean that other forms of racism, such as anti-White, don’t exist? Obviously not true, since we have charmers as Farrakhan, Rev (my ass) White (and his company), etc. So, it must mean something else.
    – Does it mean that some order is to promote, distract, manipulate with this perpetual talk about anti-Black racism? Doesn’t this mean that the seniors are used and abused and the society is endangered by constant manipulation?

    1. Oh, really? I thought that most issues on this planet are about the human condition and human limitations.
      When you replace the wisdom of the Bible (and I am an agnostic) with the constant psychobabbling and manipulation (race, woman, transing, etc.) and you live in the most powerful country, you endanger the entire planet.
      Replacing wisdom, knowledge of history, and understanding of the human condition with the prescribed set of cliches, platitudes, slogans, and marching orders, results in what we have now – something that is embarrassing and most importantly – scary. No country, not even the lucky one – between water and water – can survive so much idiocy.

  6. A friend introduced me to James McBride a few yrs. ago w/”Deacon King Kong”. I absolutely loved that bk. – the story and his writing. I went on to read “The Good Lord Bird”. I haven’t read his above bk. but am sure it would be worth reading.

    I did read “The Vanishing Half” this past yr. and also found it a good book! And read Lisa See’s “The Island of Sea Women” recently. It was excellent and I want to read more of her bks.!

    1. Oh, Maggie.
      You must be new here (just like me) and not totally “reeducated” yet. It takes some time and soon we all will be marching and chanting in unison as ordered: “War is Peace: Charlatan is an Angel, Saint, Messiah, God (he is still “leading”), etc.

      1. Correction.
        I wanted:
        “War is Peace, Charlatan is an Angel, Saint, Messiah, God (he is still “leading”), etc.”
        Actually, I wanted “leading from behind” but I am behaving.

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