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Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver - Reading Group Guide

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[[Barbara Kingsolver]] is one of my favorite authors and she definitely didn't disappoint with [Flight Behavior]. This is a multi-faceted book which provides a great human story about a bright young woman who grew up with few opportunities (father dying young, mother struggling, poor schools), got pregnant and married in high school and, when we meet her 11 years later is struggling to find her way with a sweet but unambitious husband, 2 children, difficult in-laws, little income and a not so bright future. She discovers that a huge colony (millions) of Monarch butterflies are over-winterig on the family farm and the repercussions of that affect the lives of the entire area. It also provides Kingsolver a medium to include a good bit of information about the life of Monarch and the effects of global climate change on them. The main characters in the book, including the butterflies, are very real and I found myself caring very much about what was happening to them. Highly recommended.
What Money Can't Buy; The Moral Limits of Markets

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The book jacket said it so well I'll have to just quote it:"(Sandel) provokes an essential discussion that we, in our market-driven age, need to have: What is the proper role of markets in a democratic society--and how can we protect the moral and civic goods that markets don't honor and that money can't buy?"In this thought-provoking book, Dr. Sandel argues that the U. S. has moved from being a market economy to being a market society and that, in the process, we have allowed many things to be subject to market forces that shouldn't be. He cites two types of reasons, the fairness argument and the corruption argument. He asks: "And so, in the end, the question of markets is really a question about how we want to live together. Do we want a society where everything is up for sale? Or are there certain moral and civic goods that markets do not honor and money cannot buy?"Although at first glance it may not seem likely, the book is very readable. It provides a number of examples of things where it is counterproductive to allow the market in to those where the nature of the good is changed in fundamental ways. I found some of the examples to be interesting but not things that would greatly disturb me and others to be things I would care about, but I agree with the author that these are decisions that require some community thought and discussion.
Angela's Ashes: A Memoir by Frank McCourt

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Ah and what a lovely book Angela's Ashes 'tis. Frank McCourt recalls his horrible youth with such humor and charm that it kept me smiling most of the time. McCourt was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1930 to Irish immigrants. The family lived in poverty in New York but became truly destitute after they moved back to Ireland in the mid-1930's. The father is a good-natured but irresponsible alcoholic who can't get or keep a job and spends any money he gets at the pub leaving the family starving and living in unspeakable circumstances. The mother somehow manages to struggle on through the death of three children, living in a house which floods all winter, where there are no blankets, only old coats on the beds, where the children have one set of ragged clothes and shoes full of holes and where the biggest dream imaginable is to someday have enough money to afford an entire egg for each member of the family. Frank, an intelligent boy, has as his goal leaving school at 13 and getting a job as a messenger boy so he can support his family. And yet, he grows up to write an account of these years that is full of warmth. It's a treasure.
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