February 9, 2011
Reading the Western Landscape Feb/March 2011
The Reading the Western Landscape Book Group met Feb. 2, 2011, to discuss Tales of Burning Love: A Novel. Below is a summary of the questions that were brought up for that book and a preview of the book that will be discussed on March 2.
Previous book selections can be found here and future selections here.
February 2011 – Tales of Burning Love: A Novel
Tales of Burning Love: A Novel, by Louise Erdrich; New York: HarperCollins ©1996. Find it at your local library.
Four women share their secrets after the funeral of their ex-husband. It happens when they decide to ride back together and the car becomes stuck in a snow storm. They all agree he was a good-for-nothing, so why did they marry him? The setting is North Dakota. From the WorldCat summary.
Specific questions for this book include:
What do the narrative devices do to drive the story?
In the mini-reviews on things like Amazon.com or Goodreads.com I have read there is lots of “liking” or “not-liking” Jack. Does the story hinge on that? What is a more subtle interpretation of Jack's role in the story?
What did you learn about relationships from this book?
How does the weather become a character?
If you follow the novel in a concrete, tangible way, many of the activities would seem incomprehensible or incredible. How does this enhance or take away from our understanding of the characters?
March 2011 – In a Desert Garden: Love and Death Among the Insects
Discussion on Wednesday, March 2, 2011, 7:00 p.m.
In a Desert Garden: Love and Death Among the Insects, by John Alcock; New York: W.W. Norton ©1997. Find it at your local library.
From Booklist: Biologist Alcock calls Arizona home, and that is where he tends a desert garden that provides a working laboratory for observing and appreciating insect behavior. Alcock's limitless curiosity about all manner of bugs propels his latest book–beginning with the story of how he converted an unappealing front lawn area into a minidesert environment. Although Alcock makes no bones about mosquitoes that cause malaria and other dreaded pests that color the way most of us see insects, he nevertheless has written an ode celebrating those small creatures. Whether commenting on the fascinating mating rituals of various mantids, spiders, and beetles, or wondering at the camouflagic accomplishments of grasshoppers, butterfly larvae, and caterpillars, Alcock writes with a wry humor that appears as well in reflections on growing vegetables and cultivating compost. Graced with lively line drawings and color photographs, Alcock's engaging, illuminating text offers delightful reading for all who appreciate the natural world. Alice Joyce
For more information about the Reading the Western Landscape Book Group and to RSVP, please contact the Arboretum Librarian, Susan Eubank, at 626-821-3213 or via email.