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Bless Me Ultima Book Group Tonight

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message 1: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Lemaster (21treehugger) | 36 comments I just wanted to say how completely disappointed I am that tonight I will be meeting with my art class rather than meeting with my literary friends to discuss the wonderful book, Bless Me, Ultima. I will miss you all!

I wanted to share that I've begun reading A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man because in the book group questions in the back of the book makes a comparison between these two books. I really thought this was a thin comparison, but I'm interested in your perspectives (of those who may have read this book).

I am also currently reading A Chicano in China and I'm wondering what you all think about this selection when compared to Bless Me Ultima. They are VERY different books, from my perspective. What do you all think of his insistance on the comparison of the cultures of China and Mexico?

I'll see you all tonight IF my group gets through soon enough...

Michelle


message 2: by Sally (new)

Sally (Mostly_Literary) | 72 comments Mod
Michelle wrote: "I just wanted to say how completely disappointed I am that tonight I will be meeting with my art class rather than meeting with my literary friends to discuss the wonderful book, Bless Me, Ultima. ..."

Thanks for your comments on Bless Me, Ultima, Michelle -- we had a very spirited discussion of the book at our noon-time meeting! I haven't read Chicano in China - the most obvious difference would be that Bless Me, Ultima is a novel, and Chicano in China is a memoir. Maybe you can join the autobiography book group discussion of Chicano in China on April 21!

Let me know if you need a copy of The Elegance of the Hedgehog, our selection for May.


message 3: by Robin (new)

Robin | 52 comments Great meeting tonight Sally and Michelle! It is so wonderful to read a book and be able to discuss it with such a great group of people. I have both of the books you mentioned on my "to read" list.

Looking forward to attending the play with everyone!


message 4: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Lemaster (21treehugger) | 36 comments It is my goal to meet up with the autobiography book group, as it has been for such a long time. Eventually my schedule allow it! Hopefully this will be the month that it really happens!

I really didn't expect any similarities considering it is a travelogue and Bless Me Ultima is a novel. I'm not really sure what sort of comparisons I would expect anyone to make. There aren't really any! I guess I am most interested in everyone's take on his insistance on the cultural connections between China and Mexico. I could see them, but I'm not sure I understand why he was so interested in drawing the connections. This question definitely would be best answered in a discussion about that book, not at a Bless Me, Ultima gathering! They are such different topics!

I'm so happy I got to meet with my favorite literary friends, even if only for a little while. Thank you, Sally, for always making me feel that I'm an integral, important part of the group!

See you soon,
Michelle


message 5: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Lemaster (21treehugger) | 36 comments Robin wrote: "Great meeting tonight Sally and Michelle! It is so wonderful to read a book and be able to discuss it with such a great group of people. I have both of the books you mentioned on my "to read" list..."

Robin, my dear!
It was so great to see you and Sally (and everyone, of course!) tonight! You are such dear friends to me, made all the better because we get to get together to talk books! I can't do that with all of my friends. The time and space we have at the Mostly Literary Book Group is absolutely invaluable to me. I can't wait for our trip to see Bless Me, Ultima together!

Looking forward to getting together again,

Michelle


message 6: by Robin (new)

Robin | 52 comments Hi Michelle~I feel the same way. I just love our book group. And it is so true that we can't talk books with ALL of our dear friends. My problem is I am such a chatty Cathy that I could go on all night with book discussions. I try to leave the room immediately after the meeting ends because I know my tendencies and before you know it, the library is closing. : )

Nevermind that we still visit outside in the dark. : ) And I glean the best bits of information this way. For example, Brenda's garden tour, May 2 along with other east bay gardens in the mix. Sharing of authors and great reads, book store info,birding,travel,nursing, more Leonard Cohen discussion and on and on we go. I love it.

Regarding Rudolfo Anaya's insistance on the cultural connections between China and Mexico: I have not read the book YET, but perhaps he is refering to the two groups genetic connection? Our (Mexican) ancestry is first Asian. The nickname Suki given by my grandfather at my birth still remains. : )

Keep us posted when your graduation approaches!

Looking forward to getting together with you and all the group for the play! Exciting stuff!!

Isn't Sally the best? She always steers our group on course! I don't have that talent.

Big Hugs,
Robin


message 7: by Lorene (new)

Lorene Miller | 2 comments Michelle and All,
I too enjoy discussing and reading the range of books in our group. Because of our individual differences, the group allows for the varity of opinions. I like the idea that I do not have to LOVE each book, though I have learned listening to others, there is always something to learn. Lorie


message 8: by Robin (new)

Robin | 52 comments Hi Lorie~I couldn't agree with you more. The divergent opinions only add richness and depth and enrich the discussion. You always add such insightful and thoughful comments to our discussions. Hope to enjoy the upcoming play with you and many from our group.


message 9: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Lemaster (21treehugger) | 36 comments Hi Lorie-

I'm so glad that you're a part of the group! I think we're all on the same page. Everyone has a little something special to offer. Oftentimes, after our gatherings and listening to everyone's views, my feelings about a book we've read have been absolutely confirmed, or sometimes completely changed! All from listening to someone else's perspective and thinking about the book a little differently. For me, that's the beauty of a good book club or a thought-provoking lit class. There is so much insight to be gained by talking about a good book!

Thanks to you and all!

Michelle

PS Are you planning to go to the Chabot College performance? It would be GREAT if you did!


message 10: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Lemaster (21treehugger) | 36 comments Robin wrote: "Hi Michelle~I feel the same way. I just love our book group. And it is so true that we can't talk books with ALL of our dear friends. My problem is I am such a chatty Cathy that I could go on all ..."

Robin! You cheer me so!
In terms of Anaya's sense of connection to China, he often refers to that genetic connection, looking back to travels along that Bering Straight. He makes clear his reasons for his sense of connection, I guess, what I don't really understand is this NEED, I feel like he conveys in the book,to be connected to peoples from China. Nothing wrong in it. I have often felt connected to groups of people that I probably have no real entitlement to feeling so connected with, but sometimes it happens. I guess I just wish I could put my finger on his sense of connection. I can give a personal example, that probably illustrates his own connectedness, but for some reason I hadn't really thought about until right now.

For a better part of my life I've felt this sense of connection to Native American peoples. Not one particular tribe, but all the peoples who originally lived in the Americas. For years I've gone to pow-wows, read books, listened to music, listened to speakers, bought art, etc. from all kinds of indegenous folks. I couldn't ever really explain my sense of connection other than a deep respect for what I saw as a common respect for the earth and humanity, art and community. Now, as an adult, I know more about my heritage from my dad (I didn't grow up with him so I missed out on a lot growing up)and I know that I have deep Yaqui roots, but I never knew that before when I sensed a connection. Could my "soul" know something that I consciously did not? Does Anaya's soul also know more than his temporal mind? I don't know. I guess not everything needs explanation, but sometimes I just want one.

whew!Q That was a mouthful! Talk about stream of consciousness! I just go on and on and on...

Talk to you soon and see you at Chabot!
Michelle


message 11: by Lorene (new)

Lorene Miller | 2 comments I am looking forward to the Chabot gathering. Perhaps we all can plan for a cup of coffee afterwards,(cafe accross the street?) Lorie


message 12: by Robin (new)

Robin | 52 comments Sounds terrific to me! Looking forward to it.


message 13: by Sally (new)

Sally (Mostly_Literary) | 72 comments Mod
Robin wrote: "Sounds terrific to me! Looking forward to it."

Wow! I'm tuning into this discussion a bit late, but what a delight! I can take only partial credit for the group's success: the real reason the book group is wonderful is all of YOU! Such thoughtful readers -- who come to meetings even if the novel isn't their favorite -- you can't ask for more. Because it certainly is true that the discussions usually always help you think of the book in new ways. I am always interested to hear the thoughts and opinions of every group participant. Characters are discussed in interesting ways I hadn't thought of on my own. Passages are read out loud that help me to appreciate the prose afresh. And sometimes a passage is referred to that I have little or no recollection of, but that helps me to think of an important aspect of the book or characters. And of course I'm always interested to see what you each post here on GoodReads.com, whether it's a book you've read, or something that you've posted about a book we've read together. THANKS!

Yes, let's gather for coffee at Eon after the play next week.

One more thing -- I attended the Big Read event with Francisco Jimenez at Chabot College this afternoon. He has written a series of memoirs about growing up in Mexico, moving to California with his family as undocumented immigrants, and working as migrant farmers in Santa Maria and surrounding areas. Fascinating. I'm looking forward to reading his autobiographical stories (look for his profile here on GoodReads). Maybe we can invite him to read at the Hayward Public Library sometime.


message 14: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Lemaster (21treehugger) | 36 comments Hiya Sally!

I'm so glad you suggested Eon! I was trying to think of a way to gather before the event, but it hadn't occurred to me to think about getting together for a bit after! I much rather get together for a bit after so we can chat about the show- especially while it's fresh!

Sally, I didn't know there were other Big Read events that weren't listed at the library, is there a special link to find out more about citywide events? I would love to check out some more things going on with the Big Read.

I think it would be fabulous to to have this Francisco Jimenez read our beloved library! What a dynamic, wonderful place made all the better by awesome folks like YOU!!!

See you very soon,
Michelle


message 15: by Robin (new)

Robin | 52 comments Hi Michelle~Interesting questions you pose! Man has always sought out answers to his most pressing questions, sometimes arriving at supernatural answers. I like to take the road of reason and science now. But that is just me.

I too had those connections to all things Native American early on, but I also had knowledge of my genetic roots which made me seek out that missing link in ways you mention here. Interesting aside:My oldest child indentifies strongly with his Native American roots, whereas the other two, very little. Who knows why? I think that as an anthropologist he has this strong interest but it has always been so. It is just part of his personality and it grew more so in college.

Anyway... you inspire me to start reading, A Chicano in China.

Nevermind that I was taught erroneously all my life in a religious tradition that my ancestry prior to my Native American roots and Mexican roots originate in Jerusalem. We have to unlearn a lot of things.

When is the big graduation date Michelle???? Inquiring minds want to know. Best to you on all the excitement of this very special time!!!

See you soon,
Robin


message 16: by Sally (new)

Sally (Mostly_Literary) | 72 comments Mod
Hi Michelle - I read about half of Francisco Jimenez's The Circuit last night - a beautiful collection of autobiographical stories about his life as a young boy and his migrant farmer family. I can't recommend it enough, and can't wait to finish it, and move on to his other autobiographical story collections. You can find details about Big Read programs at:

http://haywardbigread.wordpress.com/e...

(Unfortunately, Francisco Jimenez's appearance at Chabot was not included in the Big Read brochure. However, there's still a chance to hear him speak -- he will be appearing at the Barnes & Noble Eastridge/San Jose on Thursday, April 29 at 7 pm, as part of the East Bay Big Read series. If you are free, I really recommend going to hear him. Remember, however, that Rudolfo Anaya is appearing at Cal State East Bay via Skype on Tuesday, April 27 at 6 pm, which I also recommend.)

I'll send out an email to the group about our plans to meet at Eon after the play next Friday. Looking forward to it!


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