The book club rattles on.
Unfortunately it is impossible for me to share any photos on this site at this point. It never works and whole posts seem to just be disappearing into the ether… But all the same the goings on at Wildflower, continue. Including our book club. We have read several books since last I updated… I am having so much trouble with this site lately…. And no point really with everything disappearing… And no ability to share pictures…. Rather disheartening.
But anyway, we have continued on. The Book Club, is now up a comfortable 6 people strong nearly always. So we are gradually growing. We have met monthly now for the better part of 2 years. Sometimes more than monthly. We also on occasion enjoy a good movie night. Among other activities.We have also started an off shoot of the book club, a much smaller group that meets monthly as well to write. Each of us has our own project. But we like to start our meeting off with a good what if, and then explore it for a paragraph or two before moving on to our projects. This way we grow as creative thinkers.
We recently finished a book called See No Stranger, by a Sikh woman named Valarie Kaur. it was very interesting for me to read given my history in a Buddhist commune. This book was full of faith and more importantly practicality. How we can talk to each other. How we can unify society. How we can change ourselves so that we can change our world. I found it transformative. Absolutely brilliant. I have the deepest respect for the author, who also made a film about hate crimes following 9/11. We did as a club take the time to watch it. It was, as someone not of color, one of the hardest things I think I have ever done… Maybe second only to being forced to watch videos in school of Buddhist monks, during Nam, sitting down in Lotus position and setting themselves on fire. What the school failed to realize, is that these protesters were by default of where I was born and where I grew up, people I viewed as family. So they literally made me watch my family burn themselves alive. Then people wonder why I hated school so much… They just assumed because of my skin color what my background was. In my case, unusual as it might be, they were dead wrong. I still have nightmares about those monks burning all these years later at the ripe old age of 42. Valarie Kaur, traveled this country, collecting the stories of people who were abused after 9/11 for looking the wrong way, having the wrong skin color. Like me watching monks burn, she saw these people who looked like her people being mistreated and even killed for something they had nothing to do with. It started her on a journey of understanding that took her through law school and beyond… She worked in human rights in some pretty scary places where human rights don’t even exist according to the US government. She makes us look at ourselves and consider how we discuss things and how we support people and who we support and why. Brilliantly done Valarie Kaur. If it were up to me, this book would be mandatory reading in every high-school. Every politician would have to read it and write a book report on it and then stand up and present that report to the american people before being allowed to represent anyone. I would make it necessary for every person in any position of power to read this book, if it were up to me. This may be the most important book of our age. I truly believe that.
We have followed See No Stranger up, with another really incredible book. I don’t want to say too much about it though. I am only a little more than a hundred pages in. It is called, The Last Green Valley. I love the story. It is at times hard to read. It is about a small family in Ukraine, in the 40s, the last time Russia invaded and starved everyone and made life as hellish as it is presently due to the illegal russian war of aggression. This family, the Martels, flee following the Nazis, because their heritage is German. They don’t seem to like the Nazis anymore than they like the Russians. But the Nazis, offer them a protection for their escape from the invading Russian army. So they follow behind them. What Americans, don’t always seem to grasp, is that there were no good choices for many small nations in the baltics and surrounding Russia at this time. Just crappy ones. Some chose for reasons of safety, like the Martels, to escape Ukraine with the evacuating German army. The Martels had two small sons. What could they do? Stay and have Emil the father killed the children left homeless and alone and the wife raped and starved, turned out of her home onto the streets? So, to protect his family, Emil, made the only choice he really could. He followed along with the German army who he hated. He did it to protect his wife and children. They went on a long track, through Romania, and a number of other nations, into Poland, and finally into Germany, and possibly even further, I don’t know. I haven’t finished the book yet. Right now, we are in Romania. This family, of wheat farmers, in the 40s, traveled across nations in nothing more than a covered wagon while the Germans in front of them battled with the Russians behind them. They were caught in the middle… Just trying to survive. This story is beautiful. it is about perseverence and the human drive to survive and succeed. The imagery is great. The discussion of the war well researched. My only little criticism is the heaviness of religion. It is in my opinion anyway, a bit overloaded with concern about God and faith. For me it is too much. Someone else might love that aspect of this book. it’s not that I want to sanitize it. I just wish instead of hearing about God at least twice in most chapters we could hear mention maybe once every hundred pages or so. But that is my only pet peave and it really doesn’t matter much because the story is just so incredible, as is the telling of the story beyond and outside of this issue. I have no idea how this story will end or how things will go beyond the point that I am at, presently stuck in Romania, shortly after entering the nation. My voice in my brain is still talking at me in a ukrainian accent even though I put the book away a couple hours ago. This is one of those stories that stays with you. I am in love with the characters already… I thought when it was suggested that it is too long…. Now I think, maybe not long enough. Everyone should read this story to understand the history of what is happening now. Why it is so important that we do everything we can short of starting world war 3, to help the Ukrainian people.
We have books chosen to take us through beyond the second birthday of the book club. Kind of hard to believe this little club is nearing 2 years old. Most book clubs die within the first 6 months. Here we are heading towards 2 years going strong, as a sisterhood of women grows stronger together with every meeting. Starting this book club, might be one of the greatest things I have ever done. It is wonderful to have some community again. I didn’t realize for a long time how much I missed it. Oh initially I felt strange not having community when we really left the commune for real beyond a few blocks away… Then I dunno when it happened… It was like I mourned and was not right for so long and finally I just got used to that empty space where once community had been… Then came years of international travel… Only to settle along with my spouse to create a homestead farm and live fairly removed from others… Finally I had this place ready enough that I could host but all my friends had disappeared while I was traveling the world for the better part of ten years… So starting this group, has really begun to fill a void I had forgotten was there… I am so grateful to everyone who participates in our reading adventures. It is a very special thing, and I just am so happy to be part of it. I don’t know if this group could just cease to meet even if we wanted to, we have all become so bound up in our adventures together and in our relationship with one another. So much more to come.
Thank you for reading
Amanda Of Wildflower Farm