Coral Glades High School Book Club
Information About Books and Stories Previously Read.
Updated 2009-11-20 @ 06:30 EST (UT-5)

2009-11-05 TH
Details After school in Mr. Alonso's room (167)
Stories We discussed the following three stories and essays.
  • "The Wife's Story" by Ursula K. LeGuin

  • "Button, Button" by Richard Matheson

  • "How Much Land Does a Man Need" by Leo Tolstoy
2009-10-15 TH
Title Three short stories as documented below
Summary We discussed the three short stories below:
2009-09-17 TH
Title The Good Earth
Author Pearl S. Buck
Summary The Good Earth (Wikipedia)
See Below:

Our next meeting will be on Thursday Oct. 15. Mr. Beames distributed three short stories for us to discuss:

  • "The Laugh" by Tea Obreht
  • "Telling Tales" by Tim O'Brien
  • "Fish Story" by Rick Bass (How funny is that?)
Over the Summer We Will Be Reading:
Title The Good Earth
Author Pearl S. Buck
Summary The Good Earth (Wikipedia)
The Good Earth is a novel by Pearl S. Buck published in 1931 and awarded the Pulitzer Prize for the Novel in 1932 and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1938. It is the first book in a trilogy that includes Sons (1943) and A House Divided (1945).

The novel of family life in a Chinese village became a best-seller upon publication and has been a steady favorite ever since. In 2004, the book was returned to the best seller list when chosen by the television host Oprah Winfrey for Oprah's Book Club. The novel described Chinese village culture in detail and helped prepare Americans of the 1930s to consider Chinese as allies in the coming war with Japan.

The 1937 film, The Good Earth, was based on this novel.

2009-05-21 TH
Title Outcasts United
Author Warren St. John
Summary Outcasts United Website
Outcasts United is the story of a refugee soccer team, a remarkable woman coach and a small southern town turned upside down by the process of refugee resettlement.

In the 1990s, that town, Clarkston, Georgia, became a resettlement center for refugees and a modern-day Ellis Island for scores of families from war zones in Liberia, Congo, Sudan, Iraq and Afghanistan. The town also became home to Luma Mufleh, an American-educated Jordanian woman who founded a youth soccer team to help keep Clarkston's boys off the streets. These boys named themselves the Fugees -- short for refugees.

Outcasts United follows a pivotal season in the life of the Fugees, their families and their charismatic coach as they struggle to build new lives in a fading town overwhelmed by change. Theirs is a story about resilience in the face of extraordinary hardship, the power of one person to make a difference and the daunting challenge of creating community in a place where people seem to have so little in common.

2009-04-16 TH
Title Water for Elephants
Author Sara Gruen
Summary Sara Gruen's Website
As a young man, Jacob Jankowski was tossed by fate onto a rickety train that was home to the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. It was the early part of the great Depression, and for Jacob, now ninety, the circus world he remembers was both his salvation and a living hell. A veterinary student just shy of a degree, he was put in charge of caring for the circus menagerie.

It was there that he met Marlena, the beautiful equestrian star married to August, the charismatic but twisted animal trainer. And he met Rosie, an untrainable elephant who was the great gray hope for this third-rate traveling show. The bond that grew among this unlikely trio was one of love and trust, and, ultimately, it was their only hope for survival.

2009-04-02 TH
Title I-80 Nebraska, M. 490 - m. 205r   Night Talkers
Author John Sayles [published in Atlantic Monthly, May 1975]   Edwidge Danticat (b 1969)
I-80 Nebraska M.490-M.205 covers one night in the life of a big rig driver who calls himself Ryder P. Moses. No one has ever seen this larger-than-life trucker, but his voice rules the night citizens band (CB) radio on which the long-distance haulers depend. These eighteen-wheelers travel the highways, carrying their huge loads from coast to coast, and their drivers use their CB radios to warn one another of police cars ("Smokey Bear") or errant passenger cars ("four-wheelers") and to entertain fellow truckers with stories and information. ...
  Christian Science Monitor via Powell's Books
[This short story later appeared as one of 12 chapters in the author's novel Dew Breakers]
In "Night Talkers," a young man returns to Haiti to tell his elderly aunt that he's found the man who murdered their family. He couldn't bring himself to confront the Dew Breaker in New York, but he let him cut his hair and even crept into his house and stared down at his sleeping face to wonder, "Why?"
2009-03-05 TH
Title The Fall of the House of Usher
Author Edgar Allan Poe
Summary Wikipedia
The tale opens with the unnamed narrator arriving at the house of his friend, Roderick Usher, having received a letter from him in a distant part of the country complaining of an illness and asking for his comfort. Although Poe wrote this short story before the invention of modern psychological science, Roderick's symptoms can be described according to its terminology. They include hyperesthesia (extreme hypersensitivity to light, sounds, smells, and tastes), hypochondria (an excessive preoccupation or worry about having a serious illness), and acute anxiety. It is revealed that Roderick's twin sister, Madeline, is also ill and falls into cataleptic, death-like trances....
2009-02-12 TH
Title MS [Manuscript] Found in a Bottle
Author Edgar Allan Poe
Summary Wikipedia
In Poe's tale, an unnamed narrator, estranged from his family and country, sets sail as a passenger aboard a cargo ship from Batavia (now known as Jakarta, Indonesia). Some days into the voyage, the ship is first becalmed then hit by a Simoom-which, in Poe's story, is a combination of a sand storm, typhoon, and hurricane-that capsizes the ship and sends everyone, except the narrator and an old Swede, overboard....
2009-02-05 TH
Title Leaf, by Niggle   Young Goodman Brown
Author J. R. R. Tolkien   Nathaniel Hawthorne
Summary Wikipedia
In this story, an artist, named Niggle, lives in a society that does not much value art. Working only to please himself, he paints a canvas of a great Tree with a forest in the distance. He invests each and every leaf of his tree with obsessive attention to detail, making every leaf uniquely beautiful. Niggle ends up discarding all his other artworks, or tacks them onto the main canvas, which becomes a single vast embodiment of his vision.
The story begins at sunset in the late 17th century Salem, Massachusetts, with the young Goodman Brown leaving his home and Faith, his wife of three months, to meet with a mysterious figure deep in the forest. As he and this mysterious figure meet and proceed further into the dark forest, it is broadly hinted that Goodman Brown's traveling companion is, in fact, the Devil, and that the purpose of their journey is to join in an unspecified but obviously unholy ritual.
2009-01-29 TH
Title A Good Man is Hard to Find
Author Flannery O'Connor
Summary Wikipedia
The story begins with a family argument about where to go on vacation. They live in Atlanta, Georgia. Everyone except the grandmother wishes to go to Florida. She suggests they go to east Tennessee instead. In a failed attempt to persuade the family to abandon their plans, she says that The Misfit, a serial killer who escaped from the Federal Penitentiary, is on the loose somewhere on the way to Florida, foreshadowing events to come...
2009-01-22 TH
Title The Snows of Kilimanjaro
Author Ernest Hemingway
Summary Wikipedia
The story centers on the memories of a writer who is on safari in Africa. He develops an infected wound from a thorn puncture, and lies awaiting his slow death. This loss of physical capability causes him to look inside himself - at his memories of the past years, and how little he has actually accomplished in his writing.
NOTE We had also intended to read "Deception Point" by Dan Brown, but didn't do this.
Title Native Son
Author Richard Wright
Summary Wikipedia
The novel (published in 1940) tells the story of 20-year old Bigger Thomas, an African-American living in utter poverty. Bigger lived in Chicago's South Side ghetto in the 1930s. Bigger was always getting into trouble as a youth, but upon receiving a job at the home of the Daltons, a rich, white family, he experienced a realization of his identity. He accidentally kills a white woman, runs from the police, rapes and kills his girlfriend and is then caught and tried. "I didn't want to kill", Bigger shouted. "But what I killed for, I am! It must've been pretty deep in me to make me kill."
2008-09- ...
Title A Clockwork Orange
Author Anthony Burgess
Summary Wikipedia
A Clockwork Orange is a 1962 novel by Anthony Burgess. It tells the dystopian story of a teenage boy Alex, his violent and unlawful lifestyle, the effort of the state to reform him and henceforth the consequences.
2008-05- ...
Title The Green Mile
Author Stephen King
Summary Wikipedia
The main characters are the inmates and guards of E Block at Cold Mountain State Penitentiary in Louisiana. The book is clearly a first-person narrative; the voice belongs to block supervisor Paul Edgecombe. "The Green Mile" is the corridor from the cells where the prisoners leave the cell block to go to the electric chair beyond Edgecombe's office. The story takes place in the 1930s, but there is also a framing plot where Paul is shown as an old man in a nursing home, trying to exorcise the ghosts of his past through writing. His "special friend" Elaine Connelly reads the book Paul is writing.