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The Invention of Wings
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Group Reads: Post-1980 > Final Thoughts, The Invention of Wings, September 2014

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message 1: by Lawyer, "Moderator Emeritus" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 2699 comments Mod
Let'er rip. Down to the nitty gritty, what did you think about this novel? Spoilers welcomed.


Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 178 comments I originally read this book just before a trip to the Boone Hall Plantation. I blogged about how the two connect! Prepare yourself for a rendering of the not so attractive Grimke sisters. ;)


message 3: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Diane Barnes | 3883 comments Mod
I read this a couple of months ago and thought it was wonderful. Most of us think about the big plantations when we are imagining slavery, but downtown Charleston was home for a big population of slaves to help in the big houses and along the waterfront. Since I live in this area, it added a lot of interest to the book because the streets, and some of the houses and churches are still here. The house the Grimke sisters grew up in is now the offices of a legal firm. I thought this was a better and more mature and complex book than the author's first book, "The Secret Life of Bees" which was also excellent. A lot of research went into this one.


message 4: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Weil | 168 comments I've obviously missed something! If this is an August read, while are final thoughts being posted?


Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 178 comments Patricia wrote: "I've obviously missed something! If this is an August read, while are final thoughts being posted?"

Just ignore this part until you've finished! Diane and I are overachievers an already read the book.


message 6: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Weil | 168 comments Thanks, Jenny!


message 7: by Lawyer, "Moderator Emeritus" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 2699 comments Mod
I may have mentioned in an earlier post about resorting to audio books. I particularly recommend the audible.com download for this novel. Multiple narrators, remarkable voices.


message 8: by Connie (last edited Aug 03, 2014 04:31PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Connie G (connie_g) | 416 comments This was a fascinating book. I encourage people to go to Sue Monk Kidd's website to the reading group material. There is a conversation with her where she tells about her research, the Grimke home in Charleston, and the characters.

http://suemonkkidd.com/books/the-inve...

I've always loved the stories behind quilt designs, and admired the artistry of the quilt makers. Charlotte's quilt of her life was one of the special parts of the book for me.

My review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


Leah McGowan Connie- have you read The Runaway Quilt? I think you'd enjoy it!


Connie G (connie_g) | 416 comments Leah wrote: "Connie- have you read The Runaway Quilt? I think you'd enjoy it!"

Thanks for the recommendation. It looks like it has a similar theme with an Underground Railroad connection.


Marty Elrod (martyelrod) | 22 comments I really liked this book. The themes, the emotions. it really spoke to me.


message 12: by Skipper (new)

Skipper Hammond (skipperhammond) | 13 comments Perhaps not final thoughts, but getting there:
Most of the book's characters, the ones we love and the ones we hate, are women. But perhaps the most ambiguous is the male, Denmark Vesey. Like Sarah and Angelina, he is based on a real Southern abolitionist, although facts of his life are not so well documented as theirs. He was black. Still, even though we know too little of the historical man's life, the man Sue Monk Kidd portrayed is easy to imagine. Very male, very charismatic, the character’s personality and behavior could have been based on any of hundreds of white leaders of The Movement of the 1960s-1970s. A man of courage, passion for freedom and justice, sexual irresponsibility, and lack of trust in his comrades. Should we love him? admire him? fear him? follow his orders? give him free rein? --as Handful did Vesey. Or criticize and discipline him? --As real women like the Grimke Sisters and the New Wave Feminists learned to stand up to male leaders.


message 13: by Skipper (new)

Skipper Hammond (skipperhammond) | 13 comments Connie wrote: "I have always loved the stories behind quilt designs."

A non-fiction recommendation: "This I Accomplish" by Kyra E. Hicks, the story of a quilt and its maker, Harriet Powers. Powers was born into slavery in 1837, near Athens. Like Handful, she learned to read and write from the white children on her plantation.


Connie G (connie_g) | 416 comments Skipper wrote: "Connie wrote: "I have always loved the stories behind quilt designs."

A non-fiction recommendation: "This I Accomplish" by Kyra E. Hicks, the story of a quilt and its maker, Harriet Powers. Powers..."


Thanks, Skipper. I've seen some beautiful historic quilts at art museums where the quilters managed to express their feelings, dreams, or situations using the most basic of materials.


message 15: by Cher (new) - rated it 3 stars

Cher (cher_n_books) | 10 comments It seems that I'm the odd man out here as while I thought the book was ok, to me it didn't live up to the hype that surrounds it. I was very disappointed at how little time was actually spent exploring the actions of the Grimke sisters. All of the parts that discussed their campaign for equality for all were rushed and too sparse. For me, this was a well written, but overall typical and unoriginal book about slavery. My review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 16: by Skipper (new)

Skipper Hammond (skipperhammond) | 13 comments Cher wrote: "It seems that I'm the odd man out here as while I thought the book was ok, to me it didn't live up to the hype that surrounds it. I was very disappointed at how little time was actually spent explo..."

Yes, Cher, I agree. The adult years when the Grimkes were involved in work of historical significance felt rushed. But the insight into personal relations between slaves and slave owners was exceptional.


Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 178 comments I think I had the sense that we "already knew” the story of their adulthood, and this was an exploration into the childhood that would lead there. I mean, a child of a plantation owner, bucking the system?


message 18: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Weil | 168 comments I felt too that the book was more about the relationship between Sarah and Hetty--as well as their interior struggles--than about recounting the history of the Grimke sisters. To me it seemed that history was M-Kidd's taking off point. I read the book as fiction inspired by fact.


message 19: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Diane Barnes | 3883 comments Mod
I, too, felt that the story explored how the Grimke sisters became such feminists and abolitionists. More about the journey than the destination.


message 20: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Diane Barnes | 3883 comments Mod
I just discovered that a Grimke Sisters tour is being offered in Charleston during the month of October, on Thursdays thru Sundays. I'll try to get more details to post. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if they get so much interest that it will be offered regularly.


message 21: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Diane Barnes | 3883 comments Mod
This tour is offered by The Preservation Society in conjunction with the Fall Tour of Homes. Tickets are $25.00. Tours are 1 1/2-2 hours long and will show all things Grimke. No interiors are included.

For more information: web site: thefalltours.org
phone: 1-800-514-3849


message 22: by Jane (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jane | 738 comments Thankyou for this information!


message 23: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Diane Barnes | 3883 comments Mod
I went downtown with a friend today to take the Grimke Sisters tour. The weather was beautiful, our guide was friendly and knowledgable, and I learned so much about daily life and slavery in this area that I had not known before. We walked all over town, stopping in a lot of places where things "used to be", the workhouse, for instance, where the slaves were punished, no longer exists. But our guide had drawings and photographs of these places to show us. She also had photographs of some of the major players, had read journals kept by the sisters, and told us so much that Sue Monk Kidd could get another couple of books out of it. It was a wonderful couple of hours and if any of you will be in this area this month it is definitely worth your time.
After the tour, we were lucky enough to be able to lunch at HUSK, one of the restaurants downtown that you have to book reservations for months in advance. It's famous for using only ingredients from the south, and most of their food (including the meats ) are grown on their own farm near here. We decided to give it a shot and not only got in but were seated on an outdoor balcony. I had the bacon-infused cheeseburger which absolutely melted in my mouth. Indescribable!


message 24: by Jane (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jane | 738 comments Wow i am very envious ;) Sounds amazing


Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 178 comments Sounds so cool! I'd like to do that.

Side note, Sean Brock just came out with a gorgeous cookbook and opened a new restaurant in Charleston with tacos! The cookbook is more Husk like, all the local and heritage ingredients that he's such a champion of. I have Charleston gold rice at home and tried a few of those.


message 26: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Diane Barnes | 3883 comments Mod
Jenny, our newspaper did a test with some local home chefs to prepare some of the recipes from his new cookbook to see how easy they would be to prepare. They had a potluck, and results were mixed, but apparently the creamed corn was a hands-down winner. I love creamed corn, so I might have to try that one.


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