Book Share

“Reading at the intersection of interest, information, and good writing.”

Edith Fuller – see below February 11, 2019 entry – retired from our annual Book Talk presentation in 2018.

As it was such an enjoyable experience, it was replaced by Book Share with members reporting on their best book at the meeting.


December 14, 2023    

Viki Mulick:  “Finding Freedom - A Cook’s Story Remaking a Life From Scratch” by Erin French, a New York Times Best-seller. It is a life-affirming mem-oir about survival, renewal and finding a community to lift her up as owner of the critically ac-claimed by New York Times The Lost Kitchen restaurant.

Ray Johnson:  “Two Years Before the Mast” by Richard Henry Dana. A memoir of a two-year voyage on a merchant vessel from Boston to Californ-ia. A vivid and personal dscrip-tion of the life of a sailor in the 1830s. 

Marleen Wallingford:  “Maybe You Should Talk to Someone” by Lori Gottleib. From a psy-chotherapist, and national ad-vice columnist comes a thought-provoking book that takes us behind the scenes of a therapist’s world, where the author’s patients are looking for answers, and so is she.

Nancy Lewis:  “In the Garden of Beasts” by Erik Larson. Set in Berlin in 1933-1934, the book tells the story of America’s first ambassador to Nazi Germany, and his daughter, as they ex-perience the rising terror of Hitler’s rule.

Maureen Barnhart:  “Mythos” by Stephen Fry is a modern collection of the Greek myths, stylishly retold into emotional resonant and deeply funny stories, without losing any of their original wonder.

Eileen Wende:  “The Midnight Library” by Matt Haig. This novel follows a 35-year-old British woman, unhappy in her dead-end life, who after a suicide attempt, is given the opportunity to experience lives she might have had if she had made different choices.

Al Rabchuk:  “The Moonlight Mile” by Dennis Lehane. A tale of vengeance and redemption – the sequel to “Gone, Baby, Gone.” Lehane’s unforgettable and deeply human detective duo, Kenzy and Jennaro, return to the mean streets of blue- collar Boston to investigate the second disappearance of a 16- year-old. 

Mary Lou Oberson:  “The Fifth Chamber” by Anne Gudger (local author). In her debut memoir, Annie is pregnant with her first child and married to her beloved husband when he dies in a car accident on a mountain road. Annie must navigate single motherhood, mourning and learning to love again.

December 8, 2022 

Al Rabchuk: The Whistling Season by Ivan Doig. A historical fiction set in rural Montana in the early 1900s. A father hires a housekeeper who cannot cook. A well-developed story with interesting characters and a bit of a thriller at the end.

Ray Johnson: Lady of France: A Biography of Gabrielle D’Estrees, Mistress of Henry the Great by Noel Gerson. Title says it all, but personal as she was an ancestor, and on his May trip to Paris, he walked the street where the family lived.

Bobbi Yambasu: Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. The story of two Nigerians making their way into the US and the UK. Very well written story of immigrants’ perception of life in another country. Very engaging.

Maraline Karty: Horse by Geraldine Brooks. A discarded painting in a junk pile and the greatest race horse in American History are the background for this Pulitzer Prize winning novel. Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus. Laugh-out-loud story for all the smart girls who refuse to dumb themselves down to fit in.

Bruce Adams: Facing the Mountain by Daniel James Brown. An inspiring story of Japanese American patriots in World War II

Viki Mulick: Cannery Row by John Steinbeck. Classic Steinbeck novel set during the Great Depression. The story revolves around the people who live near a street lined with sardine factories. Troublemaker by Jon Cho. The book follows the events of the LA riots as seen through the eyes of a young Korean American boy.

Marleen Wallingford: Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi. “A powerful, raw, intimate deeply layered novel about a Ghanaian family in Alabama.”

Lisa Abramovic: Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. A comprehensive cookbook that looks at the cooking habits of our ancestors and looks ahead to using these methods in the future for good health for the young. The First Mess by Laura Wright. A vegan cookbook based on the availability of seasonal vegetables.

Eileen Wende: Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson. Fictionalized account of real subjects in Eastern Kentucky, the last of the blue skinned people who delivered books via packhorse due to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s WPA program.

Janet Jackson: Escape from Camp 14 by Blaine Harden. Account of the first-known survivor of one of the most brutal labor camps in North Korea.

Mary Lou Oberson:  Living the Flipside: Adventures of an Expat in Delhi by Elliot Asbury. Title says it all.

Bobbi Yambasu: Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic Schools by Sonora Reyes. Funny and moving novel about a queer Mexican American girl navigating Catholic school.

Maureen Barnhart: Melancholy Accidents: The Meaning of Violence in Post-Famine Ireland by Carolyn Conley. The title says it all.

December 9, 2021 

Al Rabchuk: The Whistling Season by Ivan Doig. A historical fiction set in rural Montana in the early 1900s. A father hires a housekeeper who cannot cook. A well-developed story with interesting characters and a bit of a thriller at the end.

Ray Johnson: Lady of France: A Biography of Gabrielle D’Estrees, Mistress of Henry the Great by Noel Gerson. Title says it all, but personal as she was an ancestor, and on his May trip to Paris, he walked the street where the family lived.

Bobbi Yambasu:  Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. The story of two Nigerians making their way into the US and the UK. Very well written story of immigrants’ perception of life in another country. Very engaging.

Maraline Karty: Horse by Geraldine Brooks. A discarded painting in a junk pile and the greatest race horse in American History are the background for this Pulitzer Prize winning novel. Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus. Laugh-out-loud story for all the smart girls who refuse to dumb themselves down to fit in.

Bruce Adams: Facing the Mountain by Daniel James Brown. An inspiring story of Japanese American patriots in World War II

Viki Mulick: Cannery Row by John Steinbeck. Classic Steinbeck novel set during the Great Depression. The story revolves around the people who live near a street lined with sardine factories. Troublemaker by Jon Cho. The book follows the events of the LA riots as seen through the eyes of a young Korean American boy.

Marleen Wallingford: Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi. “A powerful, raw, intimate deeply layered novel about a Ghanaian family in Alabama.”

Lisa Abramovic: Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. A comprehensive cookbook that looks at the cooking habits of our ancestors and looks ahead to using these methods in the future for good health for the young. The First Mess by Laura Wright. A vegan cookbook based on the availability of seasonal vegetables.

Eileen Wende: Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson. Fictionalized account of real subjects in Eastern Kentucky, the last of the blue skinned people who delivered books via packhorse due to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s WPA program.

Janet Jackson: Escape from Camp 14 by Blaine Harden. Account of the first-known survivor of one of the most brutal labor camps in North Korea.

Mary Lou Oberson:  Living the Flipside: Adventures of an Expat in Delhi by Elliot Asbury. Title says it all.

Bobbi Yambasu: Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic Schools by Sonora Reyes. Funny and moving novel about a queer Mexican American girl navigating Catholic school.

Maureen Barnhart: Melancholy Accidents: The Meaning of Violence in Post-Famine Ireland by Carolyn Conley. The title says it all.

December 9, 2020

Maureen Barnhart: The Death and Life of the Great Lakes by Don Egan​. The environmental decline of the Great Lakes.

Judy Matsumoto: The Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates​. How empowering women change the world.

Marleen Wallingford: The Murmur of Bees by Sophia Segovia. Historical fiction mixed with magical realism.

Jane Morgan: This Is Your Time by Ruby Bridges​. First Black child to integrate into an all White elementary school.

Terri Hjelm: News Of the World​ by Paulette Jiles​. A retired Captain travels and tells stories.

Lisa Abramovic: Leave Only Footprints: My Acadia-to-Zion​ Journey Through Every National Park​ by Conor Knighton​. A sampler plate of our National Parks. 

Julia Simson: Small Great Things​ by Jodi Piccault​. A focus on race in America and revolves around a nurse protagonist.

Maraline Karty: The Caste by Isabel Wilkerson​. The history of race, as the hidden work of a caste system.

Eileen Wende: The Dutch House by Ann Patchett. The story of a sister and brother over five decades.

Al Rabchuk: A Concise History of Austrailia by Stuart Macintyre​.

Mary Lou Oberson: Quick and Simple by Jacques Pepin​. A cookbook filled with recipes that are easy to make. 

Ray Johnson: Truman by David McCullough. A biography about the 33rd President of the United States.Susie Garrison: The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Historical fiction set during the era of slavery.

February 11, 2019 

Eileen Wende: Lost in the Victory by Ann Mix and Susan Johnson Hadley. Orphans from WW II

Nancy Lewis: Facism by Madeleine Albright. Use of childhood experiences in WW II to explain fascism.

Bobbi Yambasu: The Overstory by Richard Powers. Use of tree to tell stories of peoples' activism and resistance.

Jane Morgan: The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu by Joshua Hammer. Malians efforts to save ancient Arab texts from Al Qaeda.

Jane Kirkpatrick: Homestead by Rosanna Lippi. Story of women over span of 80 years in remote village of Austria.

Marleen Wallingford: A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles, Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Russian nobleman imprisoned in hotel following Bolshevik revolution, and immigrants from Nigeria.

Ray Johnson: Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Grant by Ron Chernow. Author's letter to his 15-year-old son on living in a Black body in America, and, biography of the 18th president. 

Susie Garrison: Becoming by Michelle Obama. Memoir.

Mary Lou Oberson: The Residence by Kate Anderson Brower. U.S. presidents.

Julie Schmann: Snow in Vietnam by Amy M Le. Escaping Vietnam after war.

Julia Simpson: Still Life by Louise Penny. Dectectives investigate a murder.

Rose Jensen: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesymn Ward. Mississippi sharecroppers, and family's dynamics in a fictional town in Mississippi.

Lisa Abramovic: Women Rowing North by Mary Pipher. Cultural and develpment issues women face as they transition from middle to old age..

Florence Bancroft: Chesapeake by James Michener. History of several families around Chesapeake Bay from late 1500s to mid-1970s.  

The Edith Fuller Years

As a retired Portland Public School librarian, Edith Fuller presented book talks for members of PMAE-Retired at our December meeting each year. During the year, she paid close attention to books she reads – published during the current and just past year – and made notes. Just prior to the meeting, she looked through her pile of notes to choose the more interesting, compelling, or important ones to present. Following Edith’s presentation, each person at the meeting shared with the group the author and title of a book they were currently reading. Edith's presentation and members' suggestions gave us all ideas of books to read for ourselves or to present to others.

The following are Edith's notes on the books.

December 13, 2018 

Birds Art Life: A year of observation / Kyo Maclear. New York : Scribner, 2017. 

Daring to Drive: A Saudi woman’s awakening / Manal al-Sharif. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2017.

A Girl Walks into a Book: What the Brontës taught me about life, love, and women’s work / Miranda K. Pennington. Berkeley, Seal Press, 2017.

Women & Power: A manifesto / Mary Beard. New York: London: Liveright, 2017.

The Golden Thread: A song for Pete Seeger / by Colin Meloy; illustrated by Nikki McClure. Balzer + Bray, 2018. 

The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the border / Francisco Cantu. New York: Riverhead Books, 2018.

On Tyranny: Twenty lessons from the twentieth century / Timothy Snyder. New York: Tim Duggan Books, 2017.

No Time to Spare: Thinking about what matters / Ursula Le Guin. Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017.

Handmade: Creative focus in the age of distraction / Gary Rogowski. Fresno: Linden Publishing, 2017.

Ivy Get Your Gun: An Ivy Meadows mystery / Cindy Brown. Frisco, TX: Henery Press. 2017.

The Last Ballad: A novel / Wiley Cash. New York: William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins, 2017.

Lullaby Road: A novel / James Anderson. New York: Broadway Books, 2018.

The Overstory: A novel / Richard Powers. New York: Norton, 2018.

What We Owe: A novel / Golnaz Hashemzadeh Bonde; translation by Elizabeth Clark Wessel. Boston, New York: Mariner Books, 2018.

The RBG Workout / Bryant Johnson. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017.

Easy Soups from Scratch with Quick Breads to Match: 70 recipes to pair and share / Ivy Manning. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2017.

December 14, 2017

FICTION

At the Waterline: Stories from the Columbia River Brian K. Friesen

Charcoal Joe: An Easy Rawlins Mystery Walter Moseley

 A Gentleman in Moscow Amor Towles

The Golden Son: A Novel Shilipi Somaya Gowda

News of the World: A Novel Paulette Jiles

Norse Mythology Neil Gaiman

Piano Tide: A Novel Kathleen Dean Moore

Skeleton God: An Inspector Shan Tao Yun Mystery Eliot Pattison

NONFICTION–SELF-HELP

The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a conversation, facilitated by Douglas Abrams

Books for Living Will Schwalbe

NONFICTION–PSYCHOLOGY, TECHNOLOGY

Solitude: in pursuit of a singular life in a crowded world Michael Harris

Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Acceleration Thomas L. Friedman

NONFICTION–BIOGRAPHY

Churchill & Orwell: The Fight for Freedom Thomas E. Ricks

You Must Change: The story of Rainer Maria Rilke and Auguste Rodin Rachel Corbett

NONFICTION–SCIENCE

The Death and Life of the Great Lakes Dan Egan

Eruption: The Untold Story of Mt. Saint Helens Steve Olson

FICTION–POLITICAL SATIRE

Boomsday: A Novel Christopher Buckley

FICTION–HISTORICAL

SHORT STORY COLLECTION

City of Weird: 30 Otherworldly Portland Tales Edited by Gigi Little. 

MEMOIR

The Cowshed: Memories of the Chinese Cultural Revolution Ji Xianlin

Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl: A Memoir Carrie Brownstein

Temperance Creek: A Memoir Pamela Royes 

SCIENCE FICTION–ZOMBIES, CONSPIRACY THRILLER

Feedback: A Newsflesh Novel Mira Grant

SCIENCE FICTION–DYSTOPIC

Gold Fame Citrus Claire Vaye Watkins 

NONFICTION–CLIMATE CHANGE

Great Tide Rising: Toward Clarity and Oral Courage in a Time of Planetary Change Kathleen Dean Moore

NONFICTION–TECHNOLOGY

The Internet of Us: Knowing More and Understanding Less in the Age of Big Data Michael P. Lynch 

NONFICTION–BIOGRAPHY

Hero of the Empire: The Boer War, A Daring Escape and the Making of Winston Churchill Candice Millard

NONFICTION–SOCIOLOGY

The New “N” Word: The White Middle Class Jim Hill 

AMERICAN HISTORY

The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey Rinker Buck 

The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America Andrés Reséndez 

Portlandness: A Cultural Atlas David Banis and Hunter Shobe

HISTORY

The Upstairs Wife: An Intimate History of Pakistan Rafia Zakaria 

AGING

This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism Ashton Applewhite

February 2017 (2016)

December meeting canceled due to snow

FICTION–POLITICAL SATIRE

Boomsday: A Novel Christopher Buckley

FICTION–HISTORICAL

SHORT STORY COLLECTION

City of Weird: 30 Otherworldly Portland Tales Edited by Gigi Little.

MEMOIR

The Cowshed: Memories of the Chinese Cultural Revolution Ji Xianlin

Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl: A Memoir Carrie Brownstein

Temperance Creek: A Memoir Pamela Royes

SCIENCE FICTION–ZOMBIES, CONSPIRACY THRILLER

Feedback: A Newsflesh Novel Mira Grant

SCIENCE FICTION–DYSTOPIC

Gold Fame Citrus Claire Vaye Watkins

NONFICTION–CLIMATE CHANGE

Great Tide Rising: Toward Clarity and Oral Courage in a Time of Planetary Change Kathleen Dean Moore

NONFICTION–TECHNOLOGY

The Internet of Us: Knowing More and Understanding Less in the Age of Big Data Michael P. Lynch

NONFICTION–BIOGRAPHY

Hero of the Empire: The Boer War, A Daring Escape and the Making of Winston Churchill Candice Millard

NONFICTION–SOCIOLOGY

The New “N” Word: The White Middle Class Jim Hill

AMERICAN HISTORY

The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey Rinker Buck

The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America Andrés Reséndez

Portlandness: A Cultural Atlas David Banis and Hunter Shobe

HISTORY

The Upstairs Wife: An Intimate History of Pakistan Rafia Zakaria 

AGING

This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism Ashton Applewhite

December 2015

LOCAL PORTLAND AUTHOR

The Brightwood Stillness: A Novel Mark Pomeroy 

NONFICTION–GRAPHIC 'NOVEL', AGING PARENTS

Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant Roz Chast

Medicine and What Matters in the End Atul Gawande Mortal 

The Gift of Caring: Saving Our Parents From the Perils of Modern Healthcare Marcy Cottrell Houle and Elizabeth Eckstrom 

Knocking on Heaven's Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death Katy Butler. 

SCIENCE FICTIONS–SHORT STORIES

Carbide Tipped Pens: Seventeen Tales of Hard Science Fiction Ben Bova and Eric Choi, eds. 

NONFICTION–HISTORY, CHINA

H is for Hawk Helen Macdonald 

The China Mirage: The Hidden History of American Disaster in Asia James Bradley

NONFICTION–MEMOIR, NATURE

Landfall: A Novel Ellen Urbani

FICTION–LOCAL AUTHOR

 disclaimer, I get advance copies from the publisher

The Orenda Joseph Boyden

FICTION–HISTORICAL, 17TH CENTURY, WILDERNESS OF UPPER CANADA, ONTARIO FIRST CONTACT STORY

Hiebert, Helen. Playing With Pop-ups: The Art of Dimensional Moving Paper Designs

NONFICTION–PAPER CRAFTS

Barnett, Cynthia. Rain : A Natural and Cultural History

NONFICTION–ENVIRONMENT, WEATHER, CLIMATE CHANGE

Lambert, Craig. Shadow Work : The Unpaid, Unseen Jobs That Fill Your Day

NONFICTION–THE WORLD TODAY

Kolbert, Elizabeth. The Sixth Extinction : An Unnatural History

Hedges, Chris. Wages of Rebellion: The Moral Imperative of Revolt

NONFICTION–SOCIAL ASPECTS OF REVOLUTION

Kim, Suki. Without You There is No Us : My Time With the Sons of North Korea’s Elite : A Memoir

BIOGRAPHY

McCullough, David. The Wright Brothers

PAT-Retired Members Made These Book Recommendations:

Bradley, James. The Imperial Cruise: A Secret History of Empire and War.

Doerr, Anthony. All the Light We Cannot See.

Mones, Nicole. Night in Shanghai.

Shapiro, B. A. The Art Forger: A Novel.

Dean, John W. Conservatives Without Conscience.

Manjoo, Farhad. True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society.

Carson, Rachel. Silent Spring.

Hannah, Kristin. The Nightingale.

Sheehy, Gail. Daring: My Passages: A Memoir. 

Sutcliffe, Phil. Queen, Revised and Updated: The Ultimate Illustrated History of the Crown Kings of Rock.

Baca, Jimmy Santiago. A Place to Stand.

Tartt, Donna. The Goldfinch: A Novel.

Unger, Harlow Giles. Lafayette.

Hawkins, Paula. The Girl on the Train.

Rankine, Claudia. Citizen: An American Lyric.

Holt, Tom. Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Sausages.

December 2014

ADULT FICTION

Haruf, Kent. Benediction: a Novel. Knopf, 2013.

Berne, Dan. The Gods of Second Chances. Forest Avenue Press, 2014.

Penny, Louise. The Long Way Home. Minotaur Books, 2014.

BIOGRAPHY

Lively, Penelope. Dancing Fish and Ammonites: a Memoir. Viking, 2013.

Goodman, Matthew. Eighty Days : Nelly Bly and Elizabeth Bisland’s History-making Race Around the World. Ballantine, 2013.

Chang, Jung. Empress Dowager Cixi : the Concubine Who Launched Modern China. Knopf, 2013.

Sakamoto, Mark. Forgiveness : a Gift From My Grandparent. Harper Collins Canada, 2014.

Montgomery, Ben. Grandma Gatewood’s Walk : the Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail. Chicago Review Press, 2014.

Mills, Marja. The Mockingbird Next Door : Life with Harper Lee. Penguin Press, 2014.

Darling, Lynn. Out of the Woods : a Memoir of Way Finding. Harper Collins, 2014.

NONFICTION

Lewis, Michael. Flash Boys : a Wall Street Revolt. Norton, 2014.

Kasson, John F. The Little Girl Who Fought the Great Depression : Shirley Temple and 1930's America. Norton, 2014.

Kiernan, Denise. The Girls of Atomic City : the Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II. Touchstone, 2013.

Patchett, Ann. This is the Story of a Happy Marriage. Harper, 2013.

Butcher, Tim. Trigger : Hunting the Assassin Who Brought the World to War. Grove Press, 2014.

December 2013 

Children’s Picture Poetry

Everyone Out Here Knows: A Big Foot Tale. Words by William Stafford. ACS Services, 2014.

Adult Fiction

Kingdom of Strangers: A Novel. Zoë Ferraris. Back Bay Books, Little, Brown, 2012.

Chain of Evidence: A Burren Mystery. Cora Harrison. Severn House, 2012.

The Bartender’s Tale. Ivan Doig. Riverhead Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA), 2012.

A Simplified Map of the Real World: The Renata Stories. Stevan Allred. Forest Avenue Press, 2013.

Bad Faith. Robert K. Tanenbaum. Gallery Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, 2012.

Prague Winter: A Personal Story of Remembrance and War, 1937 – 1948. Madeleine Albright with Bill Woodward. Harper Perennial, 2012.

Soundings: The Story of the Remarkable Woman Who Mapped the Ocean Floor. Hali Felt. Holt, 2012.

Nonfiction

Lies: The Truth about the Self-Deception that Limits Your Life. Bridget Harwell and Elizabeth Scott. Universe, 2013.

The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Daniel James Brown. Viking, 2013.

Walking Home: A Poet’s Journey. Simon Armitage. Liveright, 2012, 2013.

Apocalyptic Planet: Field Guide to the Everending Earth. Craig Childs. Pantheon Books, 2012.

The Big Disconnect: The Story of Technology and Loneliness. Giles Slade. Prometheus Books, 2012.

The American Way of Eating: Undercover at Walmart, Applebee’s, Farm Fields and the Dinner Table. Tracie McMillan. Scribner, 2012.