July 2010 home page

  Words of Summer
Sherryl L. Parks | Kalamath Drive, with Tom McGreal and Ann Gardner


According to a monthly local men’s book club, one of the unexpected benefits of the club is that the members would never select such a broad range of reading material on their own. The diverse interests of the members stretch us all. This is reflected in the recommended reading list:

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen by Paul Torday.  A satirical novel about a wealthy sheik that wants to introduce salmon fishing into the mountain streams of Yemen. The sheik turns to the British for expertise bringing politics, bureaucrats, religion and the Middle East together to tackle the improbable idea.

Chantung Compound by Langdon Gilkey.  A first hand account of what happened to the foreigners in Japanese controlled parts of China in World War ll. Imagine a diverse group of 1500 British and Americans locked up in an internment camp for over two years. The task of building and managing a community under these circumstances is fascinating and troubling.


Charlie Wilson’s War by George Crile. The movie only scratches the surface of the story of America’s involvement in Afghanistan’s war with Russia. The chronicle of how one Congressman, the CIA and the President of Pakistan carried out a covert operation involving a surprising list of accomplices spanning the Middle East is truly an extraordinary story. The amazing success and unintended consequences are particularly relevant today.



The “Del Mar Bibliophiles,” a local women's book club, have been meeting since the early 70s when families gathered on the beach for volley ball games, and exchanging book ideas became part of the routine. They are now eleven women, meet monthly with a discussion leader who does research and “keeps us on track. Our group discussions bring out much more in a book than we get from reading on our own.” Here are their most recent favorite book selections:

Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1968. We also read two other books by this Japanese novelist: A Thousand Cranes and The Old Capital. We often read more than one book by the same author.

Team of Rivals, The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin led us to a deeper appreciation of the political turmoil of the country and the Civil War presidency than we had ever imagined. It looks at Lincoln in the context of his political rivals and their lives. His challenges, compromises and political brilliance provided insight into many of today’s governance frustrations.

Call It Sleep by Henry Roth. A work of fiction about immigrant life in Manhattan during the peak years of immigration to the United States. This book is one of the books we have selected as part of an immigration-theme reading. Following that theme, we are currently reading The Lemon Tree by Sandy Tolan, a non-fiction account of both the Palestinian and Jewish experience on the same piece of land.


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