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Archives > [February] Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi - Part 1

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message 1: by Laura, Celestial Sphere Mod (new)

Laura | 3823 comments Mod
We had a rather exciting voting process this time and the results ended in a tie. But that's ok, we just get to have two Books of the Month! The second winner is Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

This time around, there will be three sections, one at the beginning, halfway through, and the end. Moderators will begin the conversation but if you post an answer to these questions then please post your own question at the end. Then the person after you answers your question and posts their own. This will create a chain of questions/answers, much like the style of "Person Below Me".

For more information about the book of the month, see the Introduction post.

Part 1: Before starting
Part 2: 0-50%
Part 3: 51-100%

Part 1 Questions:
1. Which historical period do you find most interesting?
2. If you could time travel, would you? What time period would you pick?
3. Is there a historical fiction book that you really liked or found amazing?
4. The book starts with the proverb, "A family is like a forest, when you are outside it is dense, when you are inside you see that each tree has its own position". What does this quote mean to you? What tone does it set for the remainder of the book?


Pamela | 626 comments Good solution! But I already read the other one and was planning on this one, so here I am! I will admit, I've already started but am only about 20 pages in, got interrupted by library books

1. Which historical period do you find most interesting? I'm a big Victorian fan. But also like the 20s and postwar periods. I also really like the Dark Ages. I'm a historian, so I kinda like them all.
2. If you could time travel, would you? What time period would you pick? I would have to pick one? I couldn't! I also think time travel would be disappointing- history is so cleaned up and the world we are used to is so busy and artificial. One thing I always think when I'm on ling drives (I live in New England) is I would like to see what the land looked like before people arrived in bulk enough to change the landscape.
3. Is there a historical fiction book that you really liked or found amazing? Oh gosh...so many! I cheated and looked at my 5 star books and there are so many. I like the ones that take you into a time you don't know well and make you look at it differently. One book that did this so well and took me off into a different era of history interest was Anya Seton's Katherine. Mary Stewart's Crystal Cave books and Susannah Kearsley's Scottish books too.
4. The book starts with the proverb, "A family is like a forest, when you are outside it is dense, when you are inside you see that each tree has its own position". What does this quote mean to you? What tone does it set for the remainder of the book? I love this idea of the bulk and mass of the family, being seen as one fro the outside, I kinda suspect this won't be the case as the book goes on, just based on the description of the book!

So excited to read this!


message 3: by Zaz (new) - rated it 4 stars

Zaz | 3034 comments 1. Which historical period do you find most interesting?
I've some kind of allergy with History so none is appealing for me. However, I enjoyed settings that I knew few things about like ancient Egypt, victorian England, segregation in the US, etc. I'm more interested in alternate history or books set in the future I think, I like how authors explore how humankind makes (bad or good) choices.

2. If you could time travel, would you? What time period would you pick?
I'll probably travel to the future, I can't say there are past time periods that I don't feel more or less horrible, so maybe the future would be better.

3. Is there a historical fiction book that you really liked or found amazing?
Kindred was a very great read last year. I don't often read this genre (I won't count novels with a victorian setting) and found the book really well written, with fleshed characters and a good insight about the events. It was a perfect read to widen my knowledge about slavery, without being tedious.

4. The book starts with the proverb, "A family is like a forest, when you are outside it is dense, when you are inside you see that each tree has its own position". What does this quote mean to you? What tone does it set for the remainder of the book?
It's a nice way to describe being inside and outside a clan (friends, family, at work, etc), we always have a different point of view when we are sharing an event or an experience, than when we are outsiders. If all the book is written like this, it sounds good. With this start, it's obvious that family will be at the center of the story, I'm curious to see how she played with it.


Hannah | 9 comments Really excited to read this as it's not a period of history that I have ever read a novel about before. As I'm reading both books this month I'm afraid I've copied some of these answers from the other questions.

1. Which historical period do you find most interesting?
I find world war two the most interesting period to read about. I think because I still have grandparents alive who were teenagers and lived/worked through the war it's very relatable. It's still memorable history for some- albeit just!

2. If you could time travel, would you? What time period would you pick?
I'd definitely be too scared! Theoretically just after world war two perhaps... but, I I'm definitely too much of a coward.

3. Is there a historical fiction book that you really liked or found amazing?
I've just finished Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly. It's great. It follows three women (a polish girl in Ravensbruck concentration camp, a female Nazi Dr in the same camp and an American socialite/heroine). It's also very historically accurate and heartbreaking/heartwarming all at the same time!

4. The book starts with the proverb, "A family is like a forest, when you are outside it is dense, when you are inside you see that each tree has its own position". What does this quote mean to you? What tone does it set for the remainder of the book?
I love the idea of this proverb. To me it's the difference between everyone in a family having a different personality, ideas, motives, but still a common value and origin that binds them together. A sense of belonging to a group, but also being able to stand alone. I agree with Zaz, the centre stone of this book is obviously about family, but the tone that sets is harder to know. I'll definitely think about that as I'm reading though.


SamZ (samwisezbrown) | 182 comments 1. Which historical period do you find most interesting?
I love the old west (1850-1900, Western USA), and frequently choose to read books and/or watch stories from that time period.
2. If you could time travel, would you? What time period would you pick?
I would LOVE to time travel! I would particularly love to go back and visit with my grandparents and get to know them better; especially the one I never met!
3. Is there a historical fiction book that you really liked or found amazing?
I loved Gone With the Wind, Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Sarah, Plain and Tall, Children of the Promise series, Little Women, A Woman's Place - a bunch!
4. The book starts with the proverb, "A family is like a forest, when you are outside it is dense, when you are inside you see that each tree has its own position". What does this quote mean to you? What tone does it set for the remainder of the book?
Wow, I feel like a family is a perfect unit. Together you are strong and love each other, but separately you are unique and follow different paths. I hope that this book will follow a family and their different choices, but will also show that they love and support each other.


Michelle (mich2689) | 476 comments 1. Which historical period do you find most interesting?
I've always been fascinated by ancient history, so like ancient Rome, ancient Greece, and Mesopotamia.

2. If you could time travel, would you? What time period would you pick?
I think I would love to time travel, but at the same time be very afraid to do so because of the butterfly effect. I would do it if I could be an invisible observer. I'd be able to see everything happening, but I wouldn't be able to interact with anything or anyone there.

3. Is there a historical fiction book that you really liked or found amazing?
I haven't read that much historical fiction, but two that really stood out for me in the past were All the Light We Cannot See and The Historian.

4. The book starts with the proverb, "A family is like a forest, when you are outside it is dense, when you are inside you see that each tree has its own position". What does this quote mean to you? What tone does it set for the remainder of the book?
To mean, this means that a family has a set of shared values, culture, and traditions. However, when you look at each individual member of the family, you see that despite the similarities, each person is also unique. I'm going to echo what has already been said, and say that the proverb sets the tone that family will be a central theme in this book.


Molly (mollyrotondo) | 57 comments Part 1 Questions:
1. Which historical period do you find most interesting?

I read a lot about WWII Europe. I'm really interested now in reading more about Japan during WWII since I don't think that part of the world is written about as much as the gruesome events in Europe. I really want to start exploring other historical time periods though.

2. If you could time travel, would you? What time period would you pick?

I would definitely time travel, but I would like to act as an Observer like from the tv show Fringe. I want to know what it was really like to live during the Salem witch trials. I want to know what people were really thinking when they sent all those people to the gallows for witchcraft.

3. Is there a historical fiction book that you really liked or found amazing?

I read Han Kang's Human Acts recently and it was absolutely beautiful. Lilac Girls was also amazing.

4. The book starts with the proverb, "A family is like a forest, when you are outside it is dense, when you are inside you see that each tree has its own position". What does this quote mean to you? What tone does it set for the remainder of the book?

To me it means that each member of a family has their own individual traits and experiences that shape them into the people they become. I don't think that this book will necessarily show all characters in this family providing love and support to one another. I think it will show how even though these characters came from the same place, their experiences will turn them into very different people.


message 8: by Bec (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bec | 769 comments 1. Which historical period do you find most interesting? I enjoy reading lots of different historical fiction to see how life was so different in the past.

2. If you could time travel, would you? What time period would you pick? Yes I would love to time travel. Not sure where i would go to.

3. Is there a historical fiction book that you really liked or found amazing? The Bronze Horseman and The Hangman's Daughter

4. The book starts with the proverb, "A family is like a forest, when you are outside it is dense, when you are inside you see that each tree has its own position". What does this quote mean to you? What tone does it set for the remainder of the book? Everyone in the family is important in their individual way.


Kelly Brown | 379 comments I am like Hannah above, I am going to attempt to do both BOTMs. I did not want to post anywhere until I knew I could walk the talk, so I have finished Homegoing. It wasn't the one I voted for, but I liked three choices, and when this one won, put a hold on the library for it, and it was available Feb 1st. Talk about timing....

1. Which historical period do you find most interesting?
Hard to pick, (used to be a history major), but I would say ancient Rome, Greece, or Egypt, also colonial America. I live in Delaware, so I have a soft spot for local history.

2. If you could time travel, would you? What time period would you pick? Have you seen the tv show Timeless? Sign me up, but I don't want to lose my sister. I live vicariously through them. I wouldn't stick to one time period!

3. Is there a historical fiction book that you really liked or found amazing? The Book Thief and Orphan Train were two I found pretty amazing! I actually went on to read another book about orphan trains afterwards.

4. The book starts with the proverb, "A family is like a forest, when you are outside it is dense, when you are inside you see that each tree has its own position". What does this quote mean to you? What tone does it set for the remainder of the book?

I believe it means a family is protecting and unified when all together. And when you are inside the family, each person has their own individual responsibity to the family. I think it sets the tone up of family and how togetherness can be a big part of it's strength.


Veronica | 794 comments 1. Which historical period do you find most interesting?
I love the Tudor period, the Old West (1800's America) and the early 20th century.
2. If you could time travel, would you? What time period would you pick?
I think it would be interesting to see for myself what some of these periods were really like and experience it firsthand. I would pick the Old West.
3. Is there a historical fiction book that you really liked or found amazing?
I read The Nightingale last year and absolutely loved it! I had never read anything about the French occupation during WWII and found it very interesting
4. The book starts with the proverb, "A family is like a forest, when you are outside it is dense, when you are inside you see that each tree has its own position". What does this quote mean to you? What tone does it set for the remainder of the book?
I think it means that a family ius a big group but each member has its own role and place in that group. I think that there are going to be many family members and it may not seem clear at first how they are connected or their role in the family, but at some point it will all come together.


Rachel A. (abyssallibrarian) | 2633 comments I'm doing both book of the month books, so some of my answers here are repeated from the thread for All the Light We Cannot See Part 1.

1. Which historical period do you find most interesting?
I love history. I actually considered double-majoring in history, but decided against it because I didn't want to take on too much at the time...kind of regret it now. I've always been very interested in Tudor England, and also in ancient Greece and Rome. I would love to learn more about the history of Japan and China.

2. If you could time travel, would you? What time period would you pick?
I probably would, but I'm also a coward when it comes to these kinds of things. I'd probably worry about getting killed in a war, or catching the plague or something!

3. Is there a historical fiction book that you really liked or found amazing?
One of the best ones I read in the past few years was The Nightingale. I loved it because it told a WWII story from a perspective I'd never seen before -- of French citizens during the German invasion.

I also really love The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult. I've read quite a few Holocaust stories over the years, but this was by far the best.

4. 4. The book starts with the proverb, "A family is like a forest, when you are outside it is dense, when you are inside you see that each tree has its own position". What does this quote mean to you? What tone does it set for the remainder of the book?
I think the idea here is that a family looks alike from the outside, like all the trees in the forest, but as you get closer, you can see the differences in each one. Each family member is part of the group, and has things in common with each other, but still unique individuals as well. To me, it suggests that the book will show how the paths of different family members diverged.


Sophie (sawphie) | 2920 comments 1. Which historical period do you find most interesting?
- I like them all honestly, because I've always been interested in history.

2. If you could time travel, would you? What time period would you pick?
- I'd love to go visit a Celt village and be taught by the Druids ;)

3. Is there a historical fiction book that you really liked or found amazing?
- I read quite a lot of historical fiction, my favorites beeing Burial Rites and Fall of Giants.

4. The book starts with the proverb, "A family is like a forest, when you are outside it is dense, when you are inside you see that each tree has its own position". What does this quote mean to you? What tone does it set for the remainder of the book?
- I think it states that when you look at a family from afar, it seems quite united, but each member has their individuality.


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